30 December 2011

Socialism as a Buzz Word: Why?

The other day, I came across something a friend of mine posted on Facebook.  I know him from my study abroad and I've accepted that a majority of the people I associated with at college are politically conservative.  My school is crazy conservative and that's not something I consider particularly negative, though it does not reflect my own political views.  I bring this up because the post included the dreaded phrase, "Obama's socialism".  I honestly cannot stand when the label of "socialism" is misappropriated, particularly in political debate.  You may oppose higher taxes (I do not), but do not justify it by saying raised taxes is socialism.  I spent an hour composing a response to this posting because I find it so distasteful. Misappropriating the label distorts our understanding of recent, as well as current, history--much like using the label "Hitler" for any oppositional figure.  The more we use it, the less it means, and it diminishes the powerful lessons.  I won't go on about my response (though it was a masterpiece.  I am very proud of it), but will share the post.  I hope it doesn't set you off like it does for me.  I normally don't engage in such internet debates, but since I knew him, I couldn't stop myself.  Please note that this analogy assumes progressive taxation is the same as collecting all of your money and redistributing it evenly.

19 December 2011

A Beloved Czech Passes Away

Though Kim Jong Il's death is also significant, it was auspiciously timed with a famous Communist dissident's death, which brings much more sorrow.  Václav Havel was a famous and principled dissident in Czechoslovakia who eventually came to be president.  His reluctance to be president reminds me of George Washington, but Havel had much more healing to begin.  His presidency was a testament to his good nature--he never lost himself in politics, but always searched for the light of truth.  The Economist did a lovely eulogy for this great man and his death is a sad fact of history.  Havel will be remembered kindly.  The eulogy touches on what his version of The Beggar's Opera illustrated: living a lie is living a lie.  He lived the truth and we loved him for it.

04 December 2011

Serbia + Kosovo = civil?

You've probably already heard the news.  Serbia and Kosovo struck a deal on the border after a few weeks of Les Misérables-esque car barricades AND after Germany frowned upon Serbia's EU ascendancy publicly.  Am I the only one who's excited?  Who's saying, "WHOA" and refuses to listen to any conversation in the near vicinity because I'm so psyched for some Balkan cooperation?  Maybe.  This does not damper my enthusiasm.

Krtek otec zemřel

Zdeněk Miler died this week.  He was the animator of the famous "Krtek" animation that the whole world fell in love with.  I fell in love with it in one viewing.  So accessible, cute, and universally loved.  I am very sad he is gone and that his classic, classy style is no longer to be created.  Rest in peace, Zdeněk.