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What Can the Citizen Do, And What Can the State?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 10, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Democratic theory and the rule of law are inexorably linked to the concept of limited government. The state solely possesses the powers granted to it by the constitution and laws and may not go beyond them in interfering in citizens’ lives. The creation of the social state, the social market economy practiced in recent decades in Europe and elsewhere, the extraordinary demands on the state at times of war and other crises and the skyrocketing volume of data that the state gathers or has access to via its agencies is leading to an expansion of the state apparatus and the instruments at its disposal at in developed countries. Such factors in turn lead to growth in the citizen’s claims on the state, to a rising number of cases where the state wrongfully invades the privacy of citizens and to legal clashes between citizens and the state.

In democracy is there some kind of natural border between the citizen and the state whose contravention signals a threat to freedom as such? The line of contact between the citizen and the state and the conflicts that take place along it will be discussed by Karel Šimka, judge, lawyer and political scientist, chairman of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court; political scientist Anna Shavit; and other guests.

Debate chaired by Michael Žantovský, director of the Václav Havel Library.


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