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Vaclav Havel

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

VACLAV HAVEL

VACLAV HAVEL

Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel died December 18, 2011. The Associated Press report on his death said: "Vaclav Havel wove theater into revolution, leading the charge to peacefully bring down communism in a regime he ridiculed as "Absurdistan" and proving the power of the people to overcome totalitarian rule."

Havel was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1936. His family was wealthy, privileged, and of the highest social circles before the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. After the Nazis were defeated the Communists subjugated the nation for forty years.

He was married to Olga Splichalova for forty years. She died of cancer in 1996, and the following year he married the glamorous actress, Dagmar Veskrnova, who survives as his widow.

Havel was a brilliant thinker, writer, and playwright. He served thirteen years (1989-2003) as the first President of Czechoslovakia after it was freed from bondage behind the Iron Curtain. During those years, Havel was celebrated as one of the great leaders of the free world.

OLGA SPLICHALOVA (1933-1996) WIFE OF 40 YEARS TO VACLAV HAVEL

OLGA SPLICHALOVA (1933-1996) WIFE OF 40 YEARS TO VACLAV HAVEL

VACLAV HAVEL

VACLAV HAVEL

MAP OF CZECH REPUBLIC

MAP OF CZECH REPUBLIC

Vaclav Havel Bio

Vaclav Havel was a mild-mannered Roman Catholic intellectual. The Communist regime under which he lived most of his life feared his ideas and surveilled his every move. His plays and books were banned. Four times Havel was arrested for opposing what the Communist Party deemed politically correct.

He never promoted violence. But he was against the complete individual submission to Communist ideology that was demanded in exchange for a humble subsistence. Havel spoke out for honesty, truth, individual freedom, and personal liberty.

In 1979, Havel was publicly condemned by the Left-Wing government of Czechoslovakia as an enemy of the state. The government offered him freedom if he would move to the United States. He did not want to leave his homeland. So Havel served four years in a gruesome prison.

He returned to his country cottage in Bohemia where he continued to write about why "high moral standards and respect for the transcendent" are necessary in any society. He believed that individual responsibility was paramount in a free society. Havel fretted about the severe decline he observed of civility and manners in western societies. Even more so, he worried greatly over the decline of moral values and the growth of secular atheism in Europe.

In 1989, Vaclav Havel was arrested for the last time by the ThoughtPolice. Though he was sentenced to nine months in jail, an enormous public protest developed and he was released after two months.

He had no desire for political power and did not seek any office, but the public overwhelmingly desired him to be their first president when Czechoslovakia was freed from tyranny after the massive Prague uprising called the "Velvet Revolution."

VACLAV HAVEL

VACLAV HAVEL

VACLAV HAVEL SPEAKS TO THE VELVET REVOLUTION

VACLAV HAVEL SPEAKS TO THE VELVET REVOLUTION

PRESIDENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC, VACLAV HAVEL

PRESIDENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC, VACLAV HAVEL

DAGMAR VESKRNOVA (WIDOW OF VACLAV HAVEL)

DAGMAR VESKRNOVA (WIDOW OF VACLAV HAVEL)

'Politics, Morality and Civility' by Vaclav Havel

Politics, Morality & Civility is an essay written by Vaclav Havel in 1992. In it he stresses "the significance of moral values and standards in all spheres of life" and bemoans the fact that "freedom" has let loose "an enormous and dazzling explosion of every imaginable human vice." What has been lost is "responsibility and morality."

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Havel sees politics descending into "an extravagant hunger for power and a willingness to gain the favour of a confused electorate by offering a colourful range of attractive nonsense, while faking concern about social justice and the working class."

He laments a "gutter press" that spews "familiar sewage" and that "Analysis is pushed out of the press by scandalmongering."

Havel makes this interesting observation: "It is largely up to the politicians which social forces they choose to liberate and which they choose to suppress, whether they rely on the good in each citizen or on the bad."

He points out that many Leftist governments have purposefully excited "the worst human qualities, like selfishness, envy, and hatred."

Havel believed in politics infused with morality and strongly objected to political scientists who said that "morality has no place" in politics, which they deemed essentially "the manipulation of power and public opinion."

He believed that "the world might be changed by the force of truth."

Havel wrote: "Genuine politics are moral because it is— a 'higher' responsibility—only because it has a metaphysical grounding; that is, it grows out of a conscious or subconscious certainty that our death ends nothing, because everything is forever being recorded and evaluated somewhere else, somewhere 'above us' by God to whose judgment everything is subject."

Therefore, he argues: "Genuine Conscience and genuine responsibility are always, in the end, explicable only as an expression of the silent assumption that we are observed 'from above,' that everything is visible, nothing is forgotten."

He reminds us that there are "moral dimensions of all social life," and "morality is, in fact, hidden in everything."

He writes: "Whenever I encounter a problem in my work and try to get to the bottom of it, I always discover some moral aspect, be it apathy, unwillingness to recognize personal error or guilt, reluctance to give up certain positions and the advantages flowing from them, envy, and excess of self-assurance, or whatever."

Havel teaches that "the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently. Goodwill longs to be recognized and cultivated. people want to hear that decency and courage make sense."

Havel is convinced "that politics is not essentially a disreputable business; and to the extent that it is, it is only disreputable people who make it so. I would concede that it can, more than other spheres of human activities, tempt one to disreputable practices. But it is simply not true that a politician must lie or intrigue."

Still, he admits that "the cynic, the vain, the brash, and the vulgar are drawn to politics."

Above all other human activities, Havel is concerned with culture. He writes "that this catastrophic decline in the general cultural level frightens me more than economic decline does."

He adds "however important it may be to get our economy back on its feet, it is no less important to do everything possible to improve the general cultural level of everyday life." I

n conclusion: "We must initiate a large-scale program for raising general cultural standards."

Vaclav Havel is no pie-in-the-sky dreamer. He writes: "A heaven on earth in which people all love each other and everyone is hard-working, well-mannered, and virtuous, in which the land flourishes and everything is sweetness and light, working harmoniously to the satisfaction of God: this will never be. On the contrary, the world has had the worst experiences with utopian thinkers who promised all that. Evil will remain with us, no one will ever eliminate human suffering, the political arena will always attract irresponsible and ambitious adventurers and charlatans."

Why? "Because God wants it that way. It is an eternal, never-ending struggle by good people against evil people, by honourable people against dishonourable people, by people who think about the world and eternity against people who only think of themselves and the moment. I feel a responsibility to work towards those things I consider good and right."

Havel says, "Perhaps we can all agree that we want a state based on rule of law, one that is democratic, peaceful, and with a prospering market economy."

Some insist that the state be used to force 'social justice' on its citizens. But "a functioning market economy can never guarantee any genuine social justice. People have, and always will have, different degrees of industriousness, talent and last but not least, luck. Obviously, social justice is something the market system cannot, by its very nature, deliver. Moreover, to compel the marketplace to do so would be deeply immoral. Our experience with socialism has provided us with more than enough examples of why this is so."

Havel continues: "I am convinced that we will never build a democratic state based on rule of law if we do not at the same time build a state that is—regardless of how unscientific this may sound to the ears of a political scientist—humane, moral, intellectual and spiritual, and cultural. The best laws and the best-conceived democratic mechanisms will not themselves guarantee legality or freedom or human rights—anything, in short, for which they were intended—if they are not underpinned by certain human and social values."

He adds: "Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly. They are all marvelous products of the human spirit, mechanisms that can, in turn, serve the spirit magnificently—assuming that the human spirit wants these mechanisms to serve it, respects them, believes in them, guarantees them, understands their meaning, and is willing, if necessary, to fight for them or make sacrifices for them."

Havel reminds us "the meaning of the state, which is, and must remain, truly human—which means it must be intellectual, spiritual, and moral."

He concludes that "it demands the courage to breathe moral and spiritual motivation into everything, to seek the human dimension in all things. Science, technology, expertise, and so-called professionalism are not enough. Something more is necessary. For the sake of simplicity, it might be called Spirit."

MR. & MRS. VACLAV HAVEL

MR. & MRS. VACLAV HAVEL

References

My source for this article is the monograph published by The Trinity Forum "Politics, Morality, and Civility" by Vaclav Havel with a foreword by Alonzo McDonald. This monograph and many others are highly recommended and available from The Trinity Forum.

A MULTITUDE GATHERS IN PRAGUE TO HONOR THE LIFE OF VACLAV HAVEL (PHOTOGRAPH BY PETR DAVID JOSEK, AP)

A MULTITUDE GATHERS IN PRAGUE TO HONOR THE LIFE OF VACLAV HAVEL (PHOTOGRAPH BY PETR DAVID JOSEK, AP)

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2016:

Larry~ Thank you for your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2016:

Frantisek~ Thank you for bringing that idea to light. It is something I had never heard before from any quarter.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2016:

Debora~ Well, you certainly have a different view of Vaclav Havel than I do. Still, your comments are welcomed here. God Bless You.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2016:

Riki~ I enjoyed reading your comments, as tinged with sorrow as they are. And I surely agree with you that "My parents lived full lives and had . . . the light of love during 63 years of marriage. This is how it's supposed to be."

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2016:

Johnson~ Thank you very much for your erudite commentary. I find your remarks quite insightful.

Frantisek on June 29, 2015:

His family supported the Nazis! He was a lunetic person!

Debora on August 30, 2013:

Bravo! We will, hopefully, not see the likes of Havel and Gorbachev again. With Slavic Blood on their hands, if not in their veins, these reilved creatures surely were "Quislings" for the debauched Western Empire that seeks to equate Slav with slave. One must wonder if Havel saw, on his deathbed, the coming end of Empire and the rebirth of Eastern Europe and Russia, the Mother of us all?

Riki on August 28, 2013:

Over the past 10 days I lost both my parents, my dad and then my mom. During this peorcss the days were filled with love and learning and relationships and light, never darkness. I learned so much about life, about the peorcss of dying and about my own value to friends and family. My brother and I spent hours and days reflecting, reconnecting and hoping for a better future for our children and grandchildren in the wake of the tragic shooting and the loss of beautiful, innocent lives and potentials never reached. My parents lived full lives and had the love of two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They had the light of love during 63 years of marriage. This is how it's supposed to be. What happened in Newtown is not how it's supposed to be, but we must go forth and follow the light, not the darkness, as there is so much to be learned and so much to still do. When there is hope in darkness the light will shine through.

Johnson on August 28, 2013:

to have oberved that the ployhcsogical resistance of modern nations to war was so great that "every war must appear to be a war of defence..." What better way to assure that than to rename the government department that wages it Defense -- pardon the American spelling.Has Falcon perhaps unlocked the next step, which is to say, renaming DOD as Department of Humanitarian Intervention (DHI)? This only as an intermediate step toward the final veil when it becomes simply the DOP, Department of Peace ?Lasswell by the way was a close student of the Committee On Public Information during the same World War I, on which young Bernays served as a shining light and the main job of which was to demonize Germans.World War I again wasn't that the war to make the world safe for Anglo-American empire ? Whatever one wishes to do with that, one might note, as one has seen no one else do, that what began as mainly domestic propaganda in World War I, expanded into a domestic and world effort during and after World War II.But that is a vast subject, even for a footnote.Obviously with all these footnotes and good soldiers and trains one again has run out of time for Havel's masterpieces.Perhaps Angela Merkel deserves the final word on Havel as politico. Greeting his demise with dismay, reports Reuters, Merkel is said to have written: "His dedication to freedom and democracy is as unforgotten as his great humanity. We Germans also have much to thank him for. Together with you, we mourn the loss of a great European. Merkel is almost universally portrayed and portrays herself?--in the western media as a homey and homely figure, closer to a dumpy Little Orphan Annie than Mrs. Thatcher's slick and glossy attempt at Daddy Warbucks. Might it be noted that she was raised and educated in auld East Germany, and highly educated at that--as a physicist. If one dares to attribute her a certain irony, one will find the above message not only as finely crafted as anything you are likely to find in Havel, but far more witty--indeed hilarious.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2013:

Silva Hayes— Thank you so much! I sincerely apreciate your kind words. It is great to "see" you again. I hope all has been well. I need to come by and see what you've been writing lately. Good of you to come.

James :-)

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on January 06, 2013:

Brilliant, James. So relevant to the state of the world today. I will read this again and again.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 27, 2012:

Derdriu— I love this scrumptious line of yours: "a wonderful eulogy for an unusual individual who showed that poets can be statesmen."

I am just so happy to once again read such praise of my work here on HubPages from you. I humbly accept your laudatory remarks but we'd better stop before I get the big head. :D

Just kidding! Bring it on. I can take it.

Thank you for everything. And you are welcome.

James

Derdriu on January 25, 2012:

James A Watkins, What a considerate, factual, intelligent tribute to Vaclav Havel! You excel at balanced interpretations and careful presentation of facts when presenting the life and times of people, places and times. In particular, I like the way in which you situate the great Czech president within the context of the influences on his personal life and professional activities as well as within the wider picture of history and world events. It's a wonderful eulogy for an unusual individual who showed that poets can be statesmen.

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all,

Derdriu

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2012:

suzettenaples— I have not been to Prague but by all accounts it impresses people as you say it did you. That is awesome that you actually traveled Behind the Iron Curtain. Wowser!

I surely agree with your assessment of Vaclav Havel. I love him! Thank you for your gracious compliments. I appreciate you reading my Hub. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

Eiddwen— Thank you, Eddy, for the voted up and the wonderful compliment.

I will see you soon!

James

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on January 06, 2012:

Great article, James. Vaclav Havel was an extraordinary man and world hero. I remember the "Velvet Revolution" and how sad that all revolutions cannot be in this manner.

I visited Prague while it was still behind the Iron Curtain and what a wonderful city and country the Chech Republic was at that time and is now.

Under communism, I really felt for the people, but even then, the beauty of Prague rose up and was visible. Havel will be remembered as the savior of the Chechs.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

Tamarajo— Vaclav Havel was indeed a brilliant thinker. He does make it sound possible for morality to play a role in politics—even necessary.

I am glad you enjoy my articles. Thank you for saying so. As always, I appreciate this visit from you and your fine comments.

Eiddwen from Wales on January 05, 2012:

One word for this one James:- Brilliant !!!!

A vote up for sure.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Tamarajo on January 02, 2012:

I always learn so much from your articles James. I sincerely had never heard of Havel before. He certainly was a brilliant thinker. I enjoyed reading of His political and moral philosophies. it seems at times like politics and morality are such worlds away from each other yet he makes it sound possible.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 30, 2011:

Hello, hello,— Yes, I surely agree completely with your sentiments that you succinctly and pithily expressed in your comment box. Thank you for reading my Hub. It is always a pleasure to hear from you. :)

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 27, 2011:

A great loss to the world and especially to his country. He was the ideal politician. They all could take a leave out his book. That is a politician one can respect.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 26, 2011:

htodd— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 26, 2011:

Sueswan— Hello Sue!

Thank you for the kind compliments as well as the voted up and awesome!

I love the additional quotes you provided in your comments, especially the second one, if I may repeat it:

"As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it."

Wow! There it is.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

htodd from United States on December 23, 2011:

Vaclav Havel ..He was really great ..Thanks for putting insights on it

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

JuliaFine— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I see you just joined 24 hours ago. I will come over and check out your Hubs ASAP.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Thank you for reading my article.

Sueswan on December 23, 2011:

Hi James,

I was not familiar with Vaclav Havel. I was very impressed with your hub and the following Havel quotes .

"I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions."

Vaclav Havel

"As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it."

Vaclav Havel

Voted up and awesome.

Merry Christmas!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

Kaie Arwen— What a distinct pleasure it is to receive you, my lovely lady. You are my favorite Hubber. Your work on HubPages is unsurpassed. And your comments on my Hubs always brighten up my days. :D

You are right on target with your excellent line that Vaclav Havel was "unselfish and made life improving contributions he made to his country."

Well said!

I am glad the particular section you quoted touched your preternatural heart. :-)

Thank you for all of your irreplacable affirmation and encouragement. You are the best.

Faithfully Yours,

Jimmy Joe Ray Bob Junior

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

Alastar Packer— You are quite welcome, my friend. You asked a brilliant question:

"Can you imagine an American president as a brilliant thinker, playwright, writer, and believes politics should be infused with morality"?

hmmm . . . Good one.

Vaclav Havel was indeed a prophet and a multi-faceted man. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

phdast7— Thank you very much for the lovely laudations! You have made my day. :-)

I have a good friend whose father was a famous jazz saxophonist behind the Iron Curtain, in Czechoslovakia. I should write about him. Those in charge of "watching" him loved his music so much that they helped him escape to West Germany. His son, my friend, later settled in America. He was a boy when they found freedom.

That course you were blessed to take on "Eastern European Politics and History" must have been something!

I agree with you about Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa—and I might add Pope John Paul II.

Theresa, I wish you and yours the best Christmas ever!

James

Julia Fine from Long Beach on December 23, 2011:

I also knew little of this man and his philosophy, which I agree with. In fact, I just wrote something about Ebeneezer Scrooge taking over our society that hasn't gotten read at all. I hope your article does. We need to be aware of Havel's beliefs--they are so true for all of us.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

Gypsy Rose Lee--- Thank you!! Thank you very much! :-)

Merry Christmas!!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

CMerritt--- You are most welcome, Chris, my friend. I agree with your comments, and I am glad you found this article to be interesting. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

Rob Jundt--- I must say, your comments are wise and discerning. If I had a prize to hand out for "Best Comment on this Hub" I would award it to you. You are truly blessed with keen insights.

Thank you very much for your extraordinary remarks. And I appreciate the compliment, too.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

Vladimir Uhri— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

satomko— I surely appreciate your affirmation and encouragement, teacher. Thank you for visiting and commenting. It is always good to hear from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

drbj— You are quite welcome, my dear friend. I am well pleased that you came by to read my piece and voiced your approval of it. Thank you for the voted up and the kind compliments.

Merry Christmas!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 22, 2011:

lilyfly— Yes, I would say the derivatives trading had its fill of men with greedy hearts. I suppose they were bundling billions of dollars worth of home mortgages and selling them as sound, soild assets when in fact, through Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae, as mandated by the Community Reinvestment Act, millions of those homes had mortgages to people with lousy credit, no money down, and sometimes no job. I wrote about this. Here is the link to that article, if you are interested:

https://hubpages.com/education/Mortgage-Crisis-cau...

I do see a lot of similarities between Vaclav Havel and Solzhenyitsyn. Good call.

I'd love to have that conversation with you. Merry Christmas!

James

Kaie Arwen on December 22, 2011:

I admittedly knew very little about this man until now........... this article is a wonderful tribute to the unselfish and life improving contributions he made to his country.

"Evil will remain with us, no one will ever eliminate human suffering, the political arena will always attract irresponsible and ambitious adventurers and charlatans."

Why? "Because God wants it that way. It is an eternal, never-ending struggle by good people against evil people, by honourable people against dishonourable people, by people who think about the world and eternity against people who only think of themselves and the moment. . . . I feel a responsibility to work towards those things I consider good and right."

This small section of the article touched my heart this morning.......... they are words to remember! Kaie

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 21, 2011:

James I'd heard the name before but for the life of me couldn't attach it to any particular thing. Thanks for the fine enlightenment. Mr. Havel was a multifacted man. Can you imagine an American president as a brilliant thinker, playwright, writer, and believes politics should be infused with morality! As far as politics go, I guess you could call the man a bit of a prophet.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on December 20, 2011:

Terrific Hub and about a deserving individual that too few Americans know much about. I was introduced to Havel's work in grad school in a course called Eastern European Politics and History. Great course team taught by two professors, one from Poland, the other from East Germany. They often interpreted events from different perspectives, but they were both brilliant and it made for a wonderful class.

I appreciate the direct quotes from his work that you incorporated; it provided a good indication of the style of his writing and the belief system of the man. He is one of two great figures/heroes that come to mind when I think of late 20th century Eastern Europe...the other is Lech Walesa. Excellent work.

I hope you and your family have a Merry and Blessed Christmas. Theresa

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 20, 2011:

A fascinationg read. I would otherwise never have known about this gentleman. Hope you and your family have great holidays.

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on December 20, 2011:

James, I have NEVER heard of this man....thank you for introducing him to me, and may he rest in peace.

Wow, this really shows us just how important God and morality really is, not just in our country but the world.

A very interesting read.

Chris

Rob Jundt from Midwest USA on December 20, 2011:

James:

Another great work. My first impression on men and women who have witnessed the worst of humanity is that they often make the greatest leaders. Due to the realities they have faced, in Havel's case Nazi and communist tyranny, morality and justice become paramount in their lives. If there ever was a reasoning for the injustices of this world it might well be that they serve as brewing kettles for leadership.

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on December 20, 2011:

Merry Christmas, James, to you and entire family. It is holiday of love to me.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

Vladimir! Hello, my friend. "Absurdistan!" I love it.

I think we can agree "there is no good society without moral values." I know you once lived behind the Iron Curtain. No pie-in-the-sky idealist can persuade you about the glories of Socialism.

Thank you for coming by and leaving your kind comments.

Merry Christmas!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

Spirit Whisperer— You are welcome, my friend. I am well pleased that you liked the quotes from Vaclav Havel, especially the prophetic one you highlighted. This is what I would call a "great man," yes.

I sincerely appreciate the laudations. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

trecords0— Welcome to my Hub, my fellow "Father, husband, author, composer, percussionist, explorer."

I believe Vaclav Havel and Frank Zappa were indeed good friends. I am a big fan of "Overnight Sensation." My band used to play some of its cuts.

I have some of Zappa's older albums too. "Suzie Creamcheese!?" "It couldn't happen here!" "Help, I'm a rock!" :D

Thank you for visiting and you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

liftandsoar— You are most welcome. You were in Prague during the Velvet Revolution!? Amazing! I am so glad you stopped by and left your note.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

The Writers Dog— You're welcome. Thank you for the compliment, as well as the voted up! Welcome to the HubPages Community.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

Wayne Brown— It is always a distinct pleasure to "see" you, WB. I join you in that prayer for America, Brother.

Thank you for reading this piece. I appreciate the accolades.

JAW

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

Deborah Brooks— You are quite welcome. I am a lover of history, too. Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement. I appreciate the voted up and awesome!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 20, 2011:

John Sarkis— Hello John! Thank you for being my first visitor. And Happy Holidays to you, my friend.

I appreciate the visit and your kind compliments. Always good to hear from you.

James

Seth Tomko from Macon, GA on December 19, 2011:

Excellent work illuminating the life a man who is too often not remembered. Well written and researched as usual, James.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 19, 2011:

Thanks for focussing our attention on this remarkable man and what he believed, James. Havel certainly zeroed in on the evils of socialism when he said many Leftist governments have purposefully exploited "the worst human qualities, like selfishness, envy, and hatred."

Unfortunately, that seems to be the hallmark of our so-called leaders in the U.S. today.

This is a fascinating and well-written tribute. Voted up.

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on December 19, 2011:

Utterly brilliant! Do you not think that the derivative bankers incite the very worst, in envy and greed? I can't even turn on the tube... This man was a Solzhenyitsyn for his country? Does Havel anything for us to read?

How I would adore having you and your wife, and a few friends around for a supper... the conversation, however humble my home, would be exalted and commonsense too... With great respect and love, happy Holidays, Sir. lily

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on December 19, 2011:

Great article James. I like word Absurdistan. I did like Havel. Not sure he did not slide to New Age. But I like him. He believed that there is no good society without moral values.

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on December 19, 2011:

You have written a marvellous tribute to a great man. I am glad you quoted him directly in this hub as it gives a a very real flavour for the essence of what he stood for. Presenting the information as you do we are given the opportunity to digest it ourselves and come to our own conclusions and this is what you excel at James.

I particularly like the following quote by Havel:

"Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly. They are all marvelous products of the human spirit,..." It sounds prophetic doesn't it?

Thank you James for another great hub.

trecords0 from DeLand, Florida on December 19, 2011:

Oddly enough, I learned of Havel through Frank Zappa. Apparently they were good friends. This is a very informative hub James. Thanks.

Frank P. Crane from Richmond, VA on December 19, 2011:

Thanks, James. I was Prague the summer of the velvet revolution. Havel's been one of my heroes ever since.

The Writers Dog on December 18, 2011:

A great Hub about a great man. Voted up. Thank you!

Wayne Brown from Texas on December 18, 2011:

Havel says, "Perhaps we can all agree that we want a state based on rule of law, one that is democratic, peaceful, and with a prospering market economy." I think this is the essence of what is being said here, Jim. You are so ever astute as a writer and as a citizen of democracy in your delivery of evidence of what is going on today in America. I salute you for this effort and I can only pray that it will be enough for us to see the light as a public. WB

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 18, 2011:

This article is great.. Thank you for putting all of this together..I love history and that's what this is.. I voted up and awesome..

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on December 18, 2011:

Hi James,

Great article. Yes, I was reading about him just this morning, so I caught on to your article right away... He seemed like an interesting individual. I didn't know he was also a playwright...

Thank you and enjoy the holidays

John

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