Final Word from Thursday, September 22, 2011

Children are taught that "sticks and stones may break mybones, but words will never hurt me," yet Miroslav Kalousekresorted to violence yesterday when a youth accosted him inthe street and said he will hang for being a crook. Kalousekgave the "insolent little brat" a few slaps. In and of itself, thisincident is irrelevant other than for its entertainment value. Butin the broader context of what is occurring in Czech society(and in much of Western civilization), it's a useful lesson. Theyoung man's criticism was legitimate, even if the form of protestwas ill-mannered. But the state - in the body of Kalousek -responded with excessive force. There is a certain parallel withthe "merciless" use of force that Václav Klaus wanted in NorthernBohemia. Some of the protesters there might be racists, butmany are merely decent people who are frustrated with theoverall state of society. It's worrisome that the two leading candidatesfor future Czech dictator have such a tendency to turnto force at the first sign of rebellion against the status quo.

Glossary of difficult words

to accost someone - to approach and address someone boldly or aggressively;

insolent - showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect;

brat - a child, typically a badly behaved one;

ill-mannered - bad-mannered, discourteous, rude.

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