Sunday, May 20, 2007

Summer Meditations

As I was putting my books in a stack for DI, I found Summer Meditations by Vaclav Havel (President of Czechoslovakia 1989-1992 and President of the Czech Republic 1993-2003). He started his book with:

As ridiculous or quixotic as it may sound these days, one thing seems certain to me: that it is my responsibility to emphasize, again and again, the moral origin of all genuine politics, to stress the significance of moral vlaues and standards in all spheres of social life, including economics, and to explain that if we don't try, within ourselves, to discover or rediscover or cultivate what I call "higher responsibility", things will turn out very badly indeed for our country.

The "moral origin" of politics? Unfortunately, Havel doesn't go on to descrive his definition of genuine politics - but I suspect that genuine politics is more about genuine cooperation of trustworthy and honest parties for the betterment of all sides. Economic deals also work best when both parties involved in a transaction benefit from that transaction - then the parties will continue to deal with each other in the future and continue to benefit. OK, I know this may be a simplistic view of the world, but I found it interesting.

In a country where we have established the separation of church and state (another issue, I know), I just hope that we don't also separate morals and politics. Like Havel said, we are each responsible for making moral choices. And like we have heard many times from Church leaders, these are the values we learn first at home.