UNYP welcomes Ing. Mirek Topolánek to give PULSE lecture

An auditorium packed with students, faculty, and community members listened as Mirek Topolanek, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, delivered a thorough lecture detailing the failings of democracy and their economic consequences. Self-described as a “neo-liberal, neo-conservative, neo-catholic, Neolithic neotype,” Topolanek asserted that freedom, democracy, and the market economy cannot be taken for granted. These are things that cannot be guaranteed or inherited by any culture; freedom must constantly be actively defended and secured against new threats by each generation. The threat of totalitarianism can creep in and may resemble democracy in various ways, said Topolanek, speaking of the years he lived under communist rule. To thrive, totalitarianism does not need to destroy formal democratic institutions; it only needs to destroy freedom. “Democracy is always a step away from tyranny,” warned Topolanek. 

Topolanek concluded his lecture with the assertion that democracy’s weaknesses are rooted in the very essence of democratic principles, and are as such inevitable. “This knowledge,” he assured, “gives us the tools to defend democracy. I would like you to understand that every ideology, every seemingly justified claim, every promotion of good, leads inevitably to political decision-making. Every such decision brings with it compromises, rent-seeking, potential corruption, and bureaucracy as the necessary consequences. There will always be a trade-off. Nothing is free of charge. There is no such thing as a free lunch.” 

The former Prime Minister then called for questions from students, remaining for a while after the lecture to speak personally with many of the attendees.

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