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“Regulation, centralization versus decentralization — that for me is something that is not just about freedom in a political sense, but another layer, another dimension of the discussion,” Klaus explained. This is a matter of philosophical consistency for Klaus, who has expressed serious misgivings about centralized power of the European Union as well.
“When I [talk about] the standard social science and the standard economic approach, it’s not just saying you must be a libertarian to stress and promote freedom,” he continued. “The standard social science and economic approach will tell you something about the irrationalities of centralization, the irrationalities of over-regulation, the irrationality of the bureaucratization of our lives. This is something I don’t hear quite often enough.”
Is it any wonder the Competitive Enterprise Institute is honoring Klaus at its upcoming annual dinner? Our time was almost up, but in light of our discussion of the “irrationalities of centralization,” I couldn’t help but ask the president for his thoughts on the recent election in Russia — a country he has maintained friendly ties with.
“I must say the Russian elections are not the same elections as in the United States of America or in the Czech Republic,” Klaus answered with slow and deliberate care. “So in this respect we both wouldn’t be happy to have such elections. But on the other hand, when I look at it in a historical perspective and compare it with the past in Russia, when I compare it with much of Asia, in this respect, these elections were relatively okay. I would not have a highbrow negativistic approach which is quite popular in some circles.”
Before I could follow up I noticed Klaus’s ceaselessly amiable scheduler leaning into my line of vision across the room. When he was certain I saw him he shot me a half plaintive, half apologetic look. Time to wrap it up. Klaus gave a little single nod of the head, a one-pump handshake, thanked me for the interview and then was on to another. Queries about missile defense, Putin’s successor and the U.S. presidential election would have to wait. It was a shame, really: I’ve met state legislators less candid than this head of state. This isn’t the kind of thing the EU exports, is it?
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H/T to National Review Online