Václav Klaus, Pen Thief

A few longtime listeners may recall that I am no fan of the Great White Hope of Euro-skepticism, green-baiting, and Schumpeter-quoting, the one and only President Václav Klaus of the Republic Czech. (See here and here and here for examples of why.) So it is with some admittedly juvenile glee that I present you with The Great Pen Stealing Caper of 2011:

Hat tip: about seven different people.

Nick Gillespie and I write about both Klaus and that other Václav guy in our forthcoming, you-can-order-it-now-so-why-dontcha book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America.

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  • Jozef||

    Damn. Klaus behaved as if he were Polish in that video; I would've expected better of him...

  • ||

    Some sources are saying that the pen was actually meant to be a gift.

  • ||

    heller, you must have misunderstood, this is the time when you agree with Welch and talk about how Klaus is a bad man.

  • ||

    And this is the time when you show your complete and utter ignorance of stuff that happens in far away places.

  • ||

    What a dick.

  • ||

    The pen must be capable of writing upside-down.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Mind if I borrow a pen to take notes with? I forgot to bring one today.

  • Not a story||

    Those pens are typically inscribed with the date, official functions title, and they are meant as gifts

  • ||

    According to the organizers of the event, the pens were intended to be gifts that the participants could take.

    As to Klaus and AGW: I think he's mostly correct that the modern environmental movement is a (not "the" however) great danger to our freedoms but to claim that the entire AGW argument is a complete fraud is just absurd. Are there frauds in the movement?; to be sure, yes. But to argue that the entire cause is a myth being foisted upon the public is just not true.

  • Colin||

    Matt, it's strange how you have so much animus toward the only head of state that's even remotely libertarian.

    Like you, I was living in Prague during Klaus' term as premier, and I remember him being pretty good overall. I guess your reflections from your days at Prognosis are quite different.

  • MWG||

    I was thinking the same thing. Of all the politician to write about... that, and the pen was a gift.

  • ||

    You spent a few months in Prague back in the 90s, and you can name Prognosis. Wow, you must be right, Klaus really is a Thatcherite hero.

  • Fat Crack Ho||

    Good thing he wasn't in Saudi Arabia, or he'd be minus a hand right now.

  • Abdul||

    What politician isn't accustomed to stealing in plain view?

  • ||

    It would be interesting what the authors opinion is on Gordon Brown, Sarkozy or Cameron ? Compared to those bunch of sewer politicians, Klaus is bordering angelic, despite all his inconsistencies.

  • Jesse Walker||

    That whole clip has a Blake Edwards vibe. Must be the Mancini-esque music. (Or is that actual Mancini?)

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That Czech (?) chick's look at the end is 12 different kinds of satisfied smug.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    And is it just me, or is there something Virginia Postrel-like about Matt's scorn for one of only a handful of libertarianish leaders in the "free" world?

    (Go ahead and drink, it's close enough.)

  • ||

    I am pretty sure Matt just thought this video was funny.

    And it is.

  • ||

    Klaus is no more libertarian than Bush or Obama.

    Crony capitalism, how does it work?

  • Ted S.||

    The Czech Republic currently has much more severe political problems, but videos like this become popular because the Establishment hates Klaus. (Not just for the views on AGW; he's a Euroskeptic.)

    The previous Czech government collapsed when the Czech Republic held the rotating EU presidency, and the Eurocrats did everything they could to keep power out of Klaus' hands. Contrast this with Belgium's presidency last year, despite their not having a government.

  • ||


    I'm a libertarian and I've been living in Prague for 16 years. Klaus is a sleazy, corrupt, self-serving piece of shit.

    So are the socialists who succeeded him as PM of course, but to buy into Klaus as a 'thatcherite', as the Economist did is to severely deceive oneself.

  • roy||

    Very true

  • yadyn||

    When can we get that book in eBook format?

  • Robert||

    If it was a gift, wouldn't you be obligated to take the case too, even if you wound up disposing of it later? This is like putting pistachio shells back in the bowl empty.

  • Robert||

    Anyway, one of Mr. Welch's references to Mr. Klaus that he linked to above had Mr. Welch unironically referring to him as a hero, not a word non-fans throw about lightly.

  • ||

    Is it just me or does Chilean President Sebastian Pinera look to be in on the caper?

    In fact if you watch the hands of the two men it appears that Klaus stole the pen and handed it off to Pinera.

  • ||

    Vaclav Klaus- przyjaciel L.Kaczynskiego

  • ||

    Vaclav Klaus- jak pamiętamy -dobry przyjaciel Lecha Kaczyńskiego!

  • ||

    I'd no idea you saw through and wrote about Klaus' bullshit way back in 2003.

    I'm very impressed.

    As usual, look at what they do, not what they say. Komercni Banka was privatized by the socialists (!!) after Klaus lost power.

    Klaus as PM was a perfect model of crony capitalism.


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