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Reflex: Freedom no longer sexy for Czechs

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Prague, Nov 12 (CTK) – Freedom is no longer sexy for Czechs who give an authoritarian system the green light in many aspects, 26 years since the collapse of the communist regime, Bohumil Pecinka writes in weekly Reflex out yesterday.
People connected the change of regime in November 1989 with various expectations, but they all had in common the desire for freedom and aversion to one predominant opinion and a police state with repressive bodies penetrating their lives.
However, since then some of the principles turned into mere empty slogans and the substance has considerably changed, Pecinka says.
He writes that economic Marxism with its vision of general nationalisation of all economic and human activities is fortunately over, but it is being replaced by “unofficial cultural Marxism called political correctness (PC).”
The programmes based on the PC values, supported by European grants and state subsidies, are successfully filling the place of one and only “view of the world” in public space. This is especially apparent at Czech universities, mainly their humanities institutions, Pecinka adds.
The original purpose of political correctness was a considerate approach to minorities, but it has ended up in a situation where equality under law is only a fiction and mutual consideration is turning into pretending and lies that damage a free opinion exchange, Pecinka points out.
As a result of such limited debates full of taboos, the society uses false preconditions and reaches false conclusions.
“A typical example is the refugee crisis and its perception in some Western countries. Where substantial issues are swept under the carpet, problems will intensify and they will only lead to extremism and restriction of democracy in the name of the fight against extremism and so on and on,” Pecinka writes.
Instead of free thinking, various labels are used. Some public utterances and newspaper articles are full of phrases, such as Islamophobe, homophobe, racist, xenophobe and unbalanced in terms of gender terms, the sense of which is to disqualify the opponent in a discussion and suffocate a free debate, Pecinka writes.
Typical features of the communist regime were various kinds of denouncing, state pressure and intruding into the private life, the embodiment of which was the communist secret police (StB).
However, at present the state has such technologies enabling to penetrate the citizens´ privacy of which the StB did not even dream. Not just a drastic rise in the use of wiretapping is alarming, but also the abuse of sensitive data for business purposes has massively spread, Pecinka notes.
Czech political parties have failed to keep political power in their hands in the past ten years and the state power has disintegrated. The general feeling thateverything is corrupt and embezzled of which the whole political scene from left to right is accused prevails, Pecinka writes.
He says the atmosphere of state disintegration and efforts to unite and strengthen the central power are apparent in the neighbouring countries as well. However, the turn to an authoritarian regime was legitimate in them as it resulted from democratic elections. While people give their votes to a strong right-wing party in Hungary and Poland, in Slovakia they supported a leftist party.
Consequently, one party is governing in each of the neighbouring countries like 26 years ago. “The framework of democracy is preserved, though it has a less liberal face,” Pecinka writes.
In the Czech Republic instead, the state security forces, in particular some elite police and top state attorneys, demanded a bigger share in power.
A certain group in the police and state attorney´s office decided to stand above democratic power. A typical symptom of this is that they have written a bill on themselves, which turns them into “the fourth power” in the state, Pecinka writes
Leading Czech politicians know that this trend is wrong, but they are afraid of standing up against it. In the past, some police and attorneys helped them in the fight against political rivals. Now, they require a reciprocal service, and politicians can do nothing but retreating cowardly, Pecinka says.
The role of some media is also tragic in this respect. They trivialise the dangerous development by cliches about a stronger independence of state attorneys and the police.
“The public debate about the sense of strengthening the repressive apparatus occurs in a fog that is to hide that we actually face a takeover of powers within state institutions,” Pecina writes.
However, not everything is like 26 years ago – nothing is being taken from people and mostly nothing wrong is done to them either.
“The main feature of this time is that we alone are voluntarily giving up our freedoms. It is like a Velvet Anti-November Revolution,” Pecinka writes in conclusion.

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