An Exclusive Interview with Czech President Vaclav Klaus

Climate Change, Environment, Frontier Centre, Publications, Role of Government, Uncategorized

For most people being the President of a country would be enough to keep one busy, but not so Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic. He directs as much time and energy as he possibly can to campaigning against those he characterizes as global warming alarmists. That is why Klaus was delighted when a major Czech daily newspaper ran the complete text of a speech he gave last week – in Tokyo – to the prestigious international economics organization, The Mont Pelerin Society, of which he is a member. Klaus, who has been President of the Czech Republic since 1993, holds a Ph.D. in economics.

The Tokyo meeting gave President Klaus an opportunity to introduce his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles. The book’s subtitle – What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? – reveals Klaus’s concern about the totalitarian agenda of environmentalists. He sees no difference between the ideology of communism and that of climate change. He says he is no longer simply concerned about the consequences of politicians using global warming to gain and wield power over ordinary citizens. Klaus describes himself now as “angry.” He agrees with author Michael Crichton. “The greatest challenge facing mankind is distinguishing between reality and fantasy, truth from propaganda” as regards global warming.

After he delivered his talk before the MPS, President Klaus sat down for a private interview with Human Events. The man whom Al Gore refused to debate in public – when the Czech President challenged him – had much to say.

“I am frustrated by the fact that many people, including some leading politicians who privately express similar views to my own, are publicly silent,” Klaus began. He believes the global warming issue “is not being debated in a rational way, but is being thrust into the public consciousness as one sided propaganda.” He invokes the term “silent majority” to describe rationally thinking people who do not speak out against global warming propagandists.

Klaus believes that the goal of climate change alarmists is nothing less than a continuation of the socialist model of the centralization of economic control. “They invoke the image of apocalyptic imminent danger in order to trigger the need in others to have a savior – a messiah,” Klaus contends. Then he adds: “The constraints of political correctness are tougher than ever. They are being enforced and only one permitted truth is – yet again – imposed on us. Everything else is being denounced.”

Klaus contends that global warming has also become “a false identity for the failed United Nations which seeks power over governments and the citizens of the world.” Although he concedes that environmentalism evolved from humble and legitimate origins, Klaus calls Al Gore’s claim – that earth is headed toward ”a planetary emergency” – absurd. He labels it as “scaremongering.” “What is being attempted now (by the environmentalist movement) is a form of human behavioral modification, not for purposes of improvement, but for political power.”

“Environmentalism has become a quasi-religion,” Klaus asserts. “It is an ideology that shares much in common with Marxism. Climate change is the new recruiting strategy for the anti-capitalist, socialist, communist army. They are both monolithic belief systems designed to suppress human freedom.” Klaus sees those “who would otherwise reject socialism for what it is – a system which destroys personal freedom” as being regrettably receptive to global climate change fears. “Propaganda on the false impact of global warming is now being taught by so-called environmentalists to high school students – just as virtues and correct thinking was taught under communism decades ago.”

These are strong words for someone who had to survive under Soviet domination for decades.

“Politicians have been searching for a new topic – for a very long time – through which they could control the people because communism and socialism is dead. Global warming is perfect because of escapism. We are far away from the future so that politicians cannot be held responsible for their actions now,” Klaus observes.

“When I listened to the G8 meeting in Tokyo a few months ago, each politician proposed ever more ridiculous goals to reduce global warming – the results of which would not be realized for 100 years. Since the so-called Kyoto global warming treaty was signed, the countries agreed to a reduction of 50% in CO2 goals. Japan’s emissions are up 6% – yet Japan’s Prime Minister promised to cut Japan’s emissions by 80% in 100 years. Since that meeting just a few months ago, half of those leaders have gone. The Japanese Prime Minister resigned in the first week of September. I am now in Tokyo to meet the head of government. Who should I meet?”

“We will command the wind and the rain! This was an old communist saying well known in the Czech Republic. When I listen to Al Gore, I hear the same objective, except now it’s not the wind and the rain they want to control, it’s the global environment. Most people make the mistake of thinking that Mr. Putin is their enemy. They are wrong. Their real enemy – who would steal their money and personal freedoms – is Mr. Al Gore.”

It is no surprise then that Klaus views global warming quotas and promises by politicians as a means of inflicting untested ideas – in the form of market controls – on the international economic engine. This, Klaus says, “gives new life to top down government and controls over people’s lives.”

“Serious economic consequences are seldom if ever discussed,” he notes. “Cost benefit studies on plans to reverse global warming are not carried out. Economic theory is discounted.” Sadly, he points out, “less developed countries have been taken hostage by this debate. Environmentalists have placed the growth ability of lesser-developed countries in jeopardy by limiting progress via increasing controls and restrictions. The ultimate victims of green ideology will be the world’s poorest people.”

“Environmentalism is a movement that intends to change the world radically regardless of the consequences (at the cost of human lives and severe restrictions on individual freedom). It intends to change humankind, human behavior, the structure of society, the system of values – simply everything,” Klaus warns.

President Klaus stresses this point because of his commitment to free market economics. The economist who most influenced his worldview was the late Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, whom Klaus regards as the greatest economist of the 20th century. Friedman was one of the original founders of The Mont Pelerin Society.

Klaus describes himself as a short-run pessimist, but a long-term optimist. He believes that rationality will trump global warming fundamentalism. He thinks that future generations will look back on this era with amusement and pity for the passion with which this wrong-headed ideology took hold over the minds of primitive 21st century humanity.

In one of his previous books – which is comprised of speeches given in both Europe and the US between 1996 and 2004 – Klaus writes: “I came to politics at the age of 48 (after the velvet revolution) without thinking about it and without consciously preparing for it.” Critics of Sarah Palin, please take note.

Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom, by Vaclav Klaus, has been published by The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C. ISBN 978 1 889865 09 6