Charter 77 has at least two remarkable achievements to its credit: it has gathered together a broad spectrum of political opinion and civic attitudes; and it has managed to remain legal. It has paid for these achievements by finding itself, from the outset, in a rather schizophrenic situation. On the one hand, despite deep differences in the principles behind their criticism and even deeper ones in their notions about how change might be brought about, everyone takes a very dim view of the present political system and how it works. On the other hand, we behave as though we had failed to notice that the claims the regime makes about its own good intentions, and the laws that appear to limit its totality, are merely propagandistic camouflage. This tactic of taking the authorities at their word is, in itself, a shrewd ploy. Nevertheless, with all due respect to shrewdness, such an approach cannot bridge the gap between the positions mentioned above.
KeywordsParallel Structure Civic Activity Moral Commitment Moral Stance Common Starting Point
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