In the spring of 1980, the Senior Tutor and the Master of Balliol College, Oxford, both philosophers, and an English schoolboy were
expelled from Czechoslovakia, after interrogation, for attending the unofficial philosophy courses of Dr. Julius Tomin. The Oxford dons were the latest in a stream of academic visitors Tomin had received. Had the seminars been permitted to continue by the police who roughly invaded the apartment where they take place, they would have treated the subjects of rationality in science and of Aristotle’s Ethics, respectively. As it was, they could only leave their philosophical thoughts with the Prague police who, given the amount of energy
they devote to interrogating and confiscating papers from intellectuals, must be the best educated cops in the world.
The treatment these Oxford visitors received is mild when compared with that regularly meted out to Dr. Tomin himself and to the participants in his seminars. The authorities of what he calls “The Security State” have frequently interrogated him, denied his elder son an academic education, beaten up his wife (a remarkably sensitive and intelligent person and a leading spokeswoman for Charter 77), threatened him with...
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