Saturday, March 23, 2019

How I became a non-voter last week

Last Friday, March 15th, was quite a scary day. Too bad that such days can't be removed or reversed in some way. To summarize the contemporary tragedies with a symbol, that day was the 80th anniversary of the occupation of the rest-of-Czechia by Nazi Germany in 1939.

I received a certain hostile letter from a lawyer which has probably devastated me to a similar extent as some Czech patriots were devastated by the occupation 80 years ago.

But that's not the only thing. It was also a day when tons of high school kids across the world went to skip the classes in order to support "science" and save the world from the climate Armageddon. (I just read that Greta nicely surprised and supported nuclear energy – before her dad intervened and she no longer supports the nuclei. Makes one wonder whether she's ever been more than her green dad's puppet.) To make it even worse, thousands of students accumulated in the streets of Prague as well – and pictures from our otherwise sensible skeptical nation became the organizers' most popular snapshots.

Sorry, kids, but you can't get closer to science by skipping the classes. Those who skip the classes are likely to become scientifically illiterate manipulated sheep. To get closer to science, you need to study it – and you need to study it critically so that you may also figure out when something said by the teacher does't add up.

But there was also an event in the political world of Czech adults: Mr Václav Klaus Jr was expelled from the party (ODS, the Civic Democratic Party; note that if you change three letters, ODS is the acronym for the English name of the party, is that a coincidence LOL?) founded by his father, ex-president Václav Klaus Sr. The tension has been obvious for a year or two – and at the family level, for a decade – but some politically incorrect propositions by Klaus Jr were quoted as the reason why he had to be expelled as soon as possible.

Klaus Sr – whom I know in person and who is the most important Czech and Czechoslovak politician after 1989 – has hated his former party, ODS, for a long time. I didn't quite share these views in their entirety. For me, it was still a right-wing party in some fundamental sense, surely more right-wing than Merkel's CDU, and it was more conservative in some aspects that Klaus Sr seemed to neglect, like the life of small businesses without the excessive harassment by the government.

But after I analyzed the expulsion of Klaus Jr, I couldn't reach any other conclusion. After more than 25 years when I voted for ODS almost without an exception (the only exceptions were my votes for Zeman as the president, but he is close to Klaus Sr; and my vote for Petr Mach as the European lawmaker, which succeeded but he later resigned), I turned into a non-voter who doesn't find any party to be promising enough (both ideologically and when it comes to the power it may reasonably get) to bring me to the polling booths.

OK, Klaus Jr is the guy on the right, pictured along with Vlasta Dlab, a Czech Canadian mathematician and my 82-year-old friend. I think it makes sense to use a picture they took. As you can see, Klaus Jr was born with a face that exhibits some spontaneous symmetry breaking. This imperfection was probably known to his mother Ms Lívia Klausová before the birth but she refused all soft suggestions to go through abortion.

And aside from this aesthetic imperfection (which is obviously the #1 thing that ordinary people associate with him), Klaus Jr has been doing great. He's become the principal of PORG, a prestigious Czech high school, and at some moment, joined the conservative ODS founded by his father where he represented the patriotic, increasingly Euroskeptic, politically incorrect wing, if I put it concisely (it was often a one-man wing). Of course, I've always found his wing to be naturally important for me although I didn't "quite" identify with it.

Well, first, it's not quite a coincidence that I often felt closer to Klaus Sr than Klaus Jr – Sr's perfectionist, scholarly way of writing (and sometimes speaking) is closer to me than the more folksy discourse of the Jr (well, the Jr is closer to me in the expletives but that's just a cherry on a pie for me).

Another reason why I sometimes felt closer to the "mainstream ODS" is that Klaus Jr has been somewhat more tolerant of PM Babiš and his coalition with the communists and some communist-inspired policies and other things. I have a big problem with most of those things and ODS has been a standard, articulate, serious opposition to this standard, arrogant, old-fashioned left-wing politics which is why I often felt closer to the "mainstream ODS" when it came to these domestic affairs.

At any rate, Klaus Jr, who was the boss of the Parliament's education committee and who has very similar views to your humble correspondent when it comes to the parasitic subjects at schools, indoctrination, and most "PC things", not to mention the relationships to Russia and the EU (well, he really wants a Czechout and I would still vote No in current circumstances, also because of the bad enough British experience so far), was finally expelled because of these two colorful comments made at two places. I don't want to look for the exact quotes, the details don't matter, but the content was basically exactly the following:
Don't think that Macron isn't serious about his dreams to reshape Europe. Hitler meant it seriously, too.

Our Parliament's discussions about the laws prescribed by the EU remind me of the committees of Jews around 1940 that were deciding whether old grandmas would be placed in the first transport to the concentration camp or the next ones. The big issues are being decided in Berlin and what is left to us is to pretend some political discussions and arguments but we're only affecting some small details.
Clearly, both examples are strongly worded sentences. They violate a basic rule that many people consider unbreakable – that nothing from the present world may be compared to Nazism, its leaders, and the difficult Nazi era circumstances in general. Clearly, any comparison to Nazism may be considered an exaggeration and, in this sense, an argumentative "porn". On the other hand, comparisons of this powerful type are likely to get listeners which is sometimes needed because some underlying essence of Klaus' worries is still justified and serious enough.

And don't make a mistake about it: a slight majority of the Czech citizens prefer a direct language like that of Klaus Jr instead of the language of the polished Prague Café elites.

Macron hasn't done a small percentage of the truly inhuman things that Hitler has. But his megalomania about Europe simply is comparable. Macron's dreamed about Gleichschaltung of Europe – including its majority where he could never have been elected – sound pretty scary to me. If he's allowed to do such things, he will do them. He may really break the European nations' sovereignty over their fates – he is rather explicit about having no support for the sovereignty of other nations and the political rights of the voters, especially those outside France.

Funny, Klaus Jr took a picture with some climate alarmist girls in Novi Sad, Serbia. The girls were smiling because, as Klaus Jr commented on Facebook, they still had no idea that they would be expelled from the anti-climate movement for that picture with the strange uncle. ;-)

Concerning the Jewish committees, again, the comparison is tough but the essence is correct – and, from some viewpoint, shockingly apt. Klaus' analogy has been oversimplified and distorted. Some PC journalists have said that he had compared the GDPR – an annoying EU regulation about the personal data protection (that was being discussed by the lawmakers at that moment) – to the Holocaust. But that's not really what the analogy does in the first place. The analogy is an analogy between the lack of power (and feeling of one's political impotence) of the Jews around 1940 – although they were in some committees that were kindly granted the power to decide about something (details of their own destruction) – and the lack of genuine power of the EU member states such as Czechia and their lawmakers. This analogy really exists – about 60% of the Czech laws that are approved have been ordered by the EU-wide legislation – and it's not really insulting at the Nazi level.

At any rate, it must be obvious to you why I would identify with Klaus Jr in this particular pair of controversies. To make it simple, I think it's rather likely that I would be facing similar problems in the contemporary ODS, too! My direct language is often similar to his – and yes, he has used some vulgarities in his life, too – and it would be very strange if I kept on voting for a political party that is suppressing the top members' free expression in this gross way. The plans at the European Union level to "order" all EU countries and their citizens are way too important, potentially dangerous, and serious for the discussion to be restricted by some arbitrary criteria of the political correctness. Details of the history and "regime changes" vary with time but the history hasn't ended, various events are analogous to each other in many ways, we have the obligation to learn from the history, and a free society (or a party of free citizens – well, it's the name of another party but I didn't capitalize it here) simply cannot prohibit the discussions about these similarities (and differences).

Even without Klaus Jr, ODS still has many politicians whom I almost enthusiastically support or "mostly support" or whom I find better than the lawmakers in all other 8 current Parliamentary parties. But my affinity just isn't strong enough to give them my vote because they have shown that they're too close to Merkel's CDU or to TOP 09, a would-be conservative hyper-PC party near 5% that may only get votes in Prague, or to the Pirates and STAN, or some others.

I have no idea how many voters like me the ODS is going to lose. The number can't be negligible because Klaus Jr has gotten the second largest number of personal bonus points from the voters after PM Babiš (party: ANO) – and he was running in Prague. So these people did vote for ODS and they apparently did vote for ODS because of him, or mostly because of him, or something like that.

These are difficult calculations. ODS may become more attractive for some "PC" voters after the Klaus Jr expulsion – but I think that these voters have voted for TOP 09 or the Pirates, anyway. And it will be less attractive for some people who were Klaus Jr's fans – but many of these voters are said to have voted for the PM Babiš's ANO or the nationalist SPD, anyway. But you may see that the latter arguments can't be quite right – I am one example and the Prague voters who voted for ODS and Klaus Jr personally is the second example.

So ODS, led by Prof Petr Fiala for five years or so, a polished, boring, uncharismatic political science scholar, may very well drop close to the 5% threshold in which its very membership in the Parliament will become uncertain, like for TOP 09 and others. Meanwhile, it's not clear whether Klaus Jr will join another party. I think he's not the kind of a guy who wants to build his own party and do many things like that. It's a lot of work, he's less of an organizer who wants to be an admired boss of a large community, like his father who is stellar at that and who really enjoys that – in this sense, he's closer to your humble correspondent as a natural enough "permanently independent" thinker.

But Klaus Jr could join the SPD, the nationalist party of Tomio Okamura, as the critics who dislike both Klaus Jr and SPD have suggested (in order to insult him). I have never considered to vote for SPD for a second, despite my agreement with numerous statements by the chairman of SPD Okamura and other lawmakers. It's just too populist a party for me, the vote for SPD would feel like becoming a part of a lower class that I don't really identify with (sorry for all that "elitism" but I just don't want to lie), and I don't really want the "direct democracy" that they have in the very name. But if Klaus Jr were accepted by SPD, I would start to consider SPD, too. Frankly speaking, before the expulsion of Klaus Jr was a serious topic, I spent some time to investigate the potential to merge the "nice" ODS and the "evil" SPD into a formidable right-wing party with 30% – that would be quite a shock on the political spectrum. But this plan is moot now – the PC bulk of the ODS survivors would never approve it, it seems obvious now, and I have probably been very naive if I have ever thought otherwise.

The sanitization of ODS is very unfortunate. For a decade, I didn't want to believe Klaus Sr – who has already hated "his" ODS – that it was so bad. But I think that I have been persuaded last week. It is this bad. ODS is turning into another former conservative party in Europe that is really starting to play according to the cultural Marxists' scores and it is a big No for me. Shy suggestions that they're less culturally Marxist than others are just not enough for me. These suggestions may completely evaporate very quickly.

All this evolution is too bad. In the 1990s and the early 2000s, ODS was a party that was getting around up to 35% in the elections, more than Babiš is getting now, and for some 10-15 years, Czechs underwent the unprecedented historical epoch of looking like a "right-wing nation". But it was a catch-all party that was still open to many ideological subdivisions. And it got some extra voters due to the charisma of Klaus Sr and other qualities, and perhaps even thanks to the voucher privatization that turned millions of Czechs into "small capitalists", and other things. A "right-wing" party that doesn't tolerate a critical thinking towards the European Union is a much less inclusive animal. Most of those 35% unavoidably have to feel unwelcome by that party. I would surely do.

Klaus Jr took the expulsion as an easy-going man. He said that he would keep on cooperating with many members of ODS (he surely primarily means the likes of Jan Skopeček and Marie Zahradníková, I am in some soft contact with them) and there's no big issue. So maybe the expulsion was a bigger issue for many of us, ODS' voters (and former ones), than for him, because we actually became non-voters while he remained a lawmaker. ;-)

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