Two years ago, I wrote an essay for Czech magazine Reflex called Is Darwin's Theory Gibberish? (full) that politely but unambiguously disagreed with the creationist opinions about the origin of species held by Czech President Václav Klaus' top aide, Mr Petr Hájek. Mr Hájek has actually summarized some arguments in favor of creation - which I found interesting enough to deserve a serious reply.
Of course, Reflex had included some funny pictures I didn't authorize but whose amusement value I can confirm (see the link above) such as this one, including the caption below:
Václav Klaus as the ultimate culmination of the evolution of the human species. (Caption by Reflex)
However, Mr Hájek is a neverending source of inspiration and amusement. On Monday, he has clarified everything you need to know about Osama bin Laden. Mr Hájek wrote:
"Bin Laden is a media fiction. He has died in the same way he emerged, under strange, almost mystical circumstances. It is a modern fairy-tale for adults - good and evil. Let´s believe, if we want," Hajek told the server.Needless to say, President Klaus himself disagreed with his aide and criticized him - and he praised the successful operation as an event that will bring some peace and increased prosperity. Also, a top Czech social democrat Mr Lubomír Zaorálek wiped Mr Hájek when he pointed out that Mr Bin Laden couldn't have been a fairy-tale hero because Mr Zaorálek has personally attended wild parties with Osama's family, some of the socialist politician's best friends. ;-)
It is like in the U.S. film Wag the Dog: the given information must be true as they reported it on TV, Hajek said.
However, you may still see that the Czech Republic doesn't operate in the same way as most PC Western countries would.
I personally think that President Klaus respects Mr Hájek as an aide because Mr Hájek is a genuine carrier of some "conservative values and attitudes" that may be ideologically stronger than those of our president. In this way, his aide helps to protect Dr Klaus from his libertarianism's degeneration into some liberalism in the left-wing sense which could possibly be induced by the environment.
Also, I obviously think that Mr Hájek's beliefs about 9/11 - he is also a truther - are kind of insane conspiracy theories.
However, in most Western countries, such an aide would be instantly forced to resign. Everyone has his right for any opinions - but some opinions prevent you from showing up in the public. Political correctness has made most Western countries very intolerant and, if I exaggerate just a little bit, it has transformed genuine political freedom to something that largely exists on paper only.
Petr Hájek, Czech Republic's most high-profile truther
It is one of the special features of the contemporary Czech Republic that I am grateful for. Mr Hájek isn't being forced to resign. And he won't. He has certain opinions that are crazy but that are supported by some other logic. And while he's almost certainly totally wrong about this particular bin Laden story, he is still right about some more general points - the ability of the Western media to create a virtual reality that people often uncritically buy. No doubt about it, I agree with him about this wider point. President Klaus said the same thing.
Some top Czech politicians, including Foreign Minister Karl von Schwarzenberg, were first laughing but then they were worried what our allies would think. Well, some people who hear the story may be offended by Mr Hájek's opinions. But at the very end, with all my respect to Mr Hájek, I think that with the exception of one WSJ blog, no one gives a damn about him.
But I may be wrong. Today, IHNED.CZ, a counterpart of WSJ, has claimed that the U.S. administration demands an official apology from the Czech government. This is silly, of course. No top politician besides Mr Hájek, who is not really a politician, is a truther here and - while everyone may say that we're sorry that Mr Hájek has said something silly and irritating - it's still true that Mr Hájek's opinions are his personal opinions that are protected by the Czech constitution.
So the Czech Republic as a country has been and remains one of America's most faithful allies in the war on terror and similar enterprises. However, if the question is whether the Czech Republic has sacrificed the freedoms of its citizens - bakers, writers, and aides - in order to amplify and purify its status of an ally, the answer is a resounding No. The Czech foreign ministry and our ambassador to the U.S. have already declared that President Klaus's own statement concerning the destruction of bin Laden must be enough for the White House and they won't get anything else.
Anniversary of liberation by the U.S. army
I won't write a separate article about the liberation festival again. However, we're celebrating the anniversary of the end of the war, too. And this article about Czech-American relations could be an appropriate place to post it. There are lots of Americans in Pilsen these days - and lots of military vehicles.
M4 Sherman, a huge tank that was liberating my hometown in 1945, was added as a new animal to Pilsen's zoo. ;-) It's pointing at a bunker where last hardcore German soldiers were hiding, unless I have confused some details.
However, I wonder whether some of the last veterans who come here hate Germans. I guess that most of them don't look at it from the nationalist perspective. But if they do, they must be shocked by the new construction over here.
Pilsen has just opened the largest Hornbach - a German counterpart of Home Depot - in the Czech Republic. It used to be an uncultivated region with bushes near the railway station - and now it's a beautiful U.S.-style mall with its computer shop, McDonald's, and especially Hornbach. It's half a mile from my home. You move by 200 meters and there is Baumax, not to mention Kaufland, Billa, Norma, Lidl, Albert, and all the other German chains you may think of. ;-)