A European Example

“by their fruits ye shall know them”- Matthew 7:16

American politicians always seem to be looking to Europe for examples of governance. I never understood what the most successful and productive nation in the history of man could learn from far less productive, socialist states, except for examples of what not to do. However, if America were going to look to Europe for examples, perhaps looking at “New” Europe, the Czech Republic in particular, would be more beneficial than “Old” Europe.An article from the International Herald Tribune dot com, A fiery Czech is poised to be the face of Europe, provides ample reasons why America and the world should take a long look at themselves, the Czech Republic and its president, Vaclav Klaus.

On January 1st, 2009, Vaclav Klaus will assume the rotating presidency of the European Union. He is a former finance and prime minister who “is credited with presiding over the peaceful 1993 split of Czechoslovakia into two states and helping to transform the Czech Republic into one of the former Soviet bloc’s most successful economies.”

Vaclav Klaus’s critics consider him “a cynical populist, a hardheaded pragmatist long known as a foil to Havel, the philosopher-dreamer, and a troublemaker.” 232 years ago the author may have been describing America’s founding fathers.

To supporters, Klaus is a brave, lone crusader, a defender of liberty, the only European leader in the mold of the formidable Margaret Thatcher. (Aides say Klaus has a photo of the former British prime minister in his office near his desk.)

Additionally, Klaus seems to be the only politician in the world to see man-made global warming for what it is, “a dangerous myth that threatens economic growth”. Making him even more enduring, he takes a needed step further blaming “the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis” and branding “Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight”.

More than that however, Klaus is a trained economist and free-market thinker “deeply influenced” by Milton Friedman and knows that an unchecked march to the left can end in disaster. To better understand the “oppressiveness of communism” while growing up, his father encouraged him to read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

“If you lived under communism, then you are very sensitive to forces that try to control or limit human liberty,” he said in an interview.

Perhaps by studying Klaus and his ideas of governance America can learn something useful from Europe. She can revisit her past and realize what has made her so wonderful, freedom and liberty, and re-think her slow, persistent creep to left.

God help us!