Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Czech The Facts

Eastern Europe went through a phase of gangster capitalism after the Wall came down. Hardly what those Polish priests and East German pastors had had in mind. But Václav Havel contributed significantly to it. Far too many of the dissidents went on to be flag-wavers for neoconservatism. Havel was one such.

Opposition to Stalinism only proved what they were against, not what they were for. Edward Norman had warned about that all the way back in his Reith Lectures in 1978. Richard Nixon took the same view. Havel proved their point. The same was largely true of South Africa. The same was true of Iraq. The same was true of Libya. The same is true of Iran. The same is true of Syria. The same is true of China.

And just how good are Havel’s plays, really? I may be wrong, but I suspect a Beyond the Fringe effect making anything appear earth-shattering if it was a little bit daring for its time and place, and a bit clever-clever in that well-heeled, male, undergraduate way.

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