Can value-respecting politics be successful in the 21st century?

“The only way to defend populists is to be a good politician.” That is statement by economist and former Saxon PM Georg Milbradt said during a discussion on October 17, 2016 at Vaclav Havel Library in Prague. He also said a good politician should look beyond next election and let values set his or her direction in politics.

“I would not put values against compromises” said philosopher Jan Sokol, who was one of the guests of the event. He added that we should not judge politicians on what wrong have they ever done but on their good deeds. When asked by the audience whether we are at the threshold of two cultures, he answered “No one knows; however, nothing indicates so. It is not true that all the refugees from South are Muslims. Refugees from Iraq are mostly agnostics.”

Member of European Parliament Pavel Svoboda reminded that in the theory of state and law values are defined as ideas people are willing to sacrifice something or even themselves for. “You cannot write a meaningful political program without values” said Mr. Svoboda in a crowded hall of the Library and add that values are not only for politicians but for each and every citizen as well and we simply cannot ask our politicians to save the situation themselves.

“Is there a value that would make you leave the government?” was one of the questions to Vice Premier of the Czech government Pavel Bělobrádek. “I cannot easily imagine that.” He said and mention the ethics of lesser evil, which is a pattern he follows in politics. “When there is no good solution we have to choose which of the possibilities is the least bad solution. For example, it would not be the best idea not to join the coalition we are part of now. If we had done that we would have freed space for someone else and that could have been Mr. Okamura and his party or the Communist Party.” He added that people often do not realize that situation when one party leaves a coalition does not necessarily means the end of the coalition itself. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully consider all the possible options.

The discussion Can value-respecting politics be successful in the 21st century moderated by Veronika Sedláčková was organized by the Institute for Christian-democratic politics, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftugn, Václav Havel Library, and the Forum 2000 foundation.

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