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Joshua Sharf

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January 4, 2009

What's The Deal With the Czechs?

Among the central European countries to have regained their freedom after 1989, the Czechs have enjoyed the greatest run of success. Starting with the Velvet Revolution, that managed a peaceful transition of power, the country has consistently made wise choices. (Look, throwing Ceacescu and his wife up against the wall and machine-gunning them was one of the great moments in human liberty, but best viewed from a distance.)

But more than that, they've made common sense and moral choices, not easy when you're in an EU dominated by Germany and France.

  • They elected Vaclav Havel, one of the few poets with enough common sense and political smarts to guide the transition to democracy, and establish apparently enduring institutions.
  • They're one of only two European countries (along with the Poles) not resigned to living under Iranian nuclear blackmail, having signed onto hosting pieces of an anti-missile system.
  • Their current president, Vaclav Klaus, has penned a book defending economic liberty against the new religion of environmentalism
  • The current foreign minister has supported both for Israel's preliminary air attacks and its current ground offensive, no small matter as the Czechs current hold the EU's rotating presidency.

While other Europeans indulge their latent anti-Semitism, the Czechs, "enjoy the luxury of telling the truth."

Whence this island of common sense in the middle of Europe? I don't know enough Czech history to say for certain, but it would appear that whatever it is manifested itself early on, in the decision to try for a peaceful Soviet exit and de-Communification.

Whatever the reason, a nice email or note to a local consulate general or honorary consulate would seem to be in order.


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A War Like No Other


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Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

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Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud