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Poland is ruled by the same sort of people who brought her to ruin in 1939, and if they do not change course soon, Poland will be forgotten and cease to exist…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
—T.S. Eliot

rose-polish-flag-grave-ww2“Poland, once poised to lead Eastern European nations as a regional power, will now at best follow the lead of Mr. Orban, whose conservatism is equally thoughtful and effective as the Czech republic’s Vaclav Klaus, but, given the size and potential of Hungary, can actually impact policy in the region rather than be a voice in the wilderness. Poland, and Polish conservatives, meanwhile, have lost their historic chance to lead.”

So I wrote on these pages on June 2nd, 2014, so it is today. Prime Minister Orbán’s principal argument with regard to European politics—that unrestricted illegal migration is a danger to European identity and security—is no longer a fringe or marginal position, as even Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker have acknowledged the urgency of border security. Likewise, Mr. Orbán’s warning that a European Union that attempts to undermine European national and religious identities in favor of ideology will risk disintegration has borne itself out with the British vote to leave the Union.

Mr. Orbán’s measured recalcitrance has made the point of view of European conservatism very clearly. Now, with his recent pivot to stand with twenty-seven other EU member-states for the re-election of European Council President Donald Tusk, he has again demonstrated the pragmatism and sense of realism that go hand in hand with idealism in the conservative disposition. Mr. Orbán, the “trouble maker” of Europe, understands what continental conservatives throughout Europe should now all accept: the time for iconoclasm is over.

Europe is at a crossroads. For those European conservatives among us who have been struggling for unity, but against centralization, it is time we recognize that our tactical political gambits have been successful. 2016 proved our point. 2017, depending on election results in France and Germany, may prove our point all the more so. Yet independent of the election results, the question is no longer “should Europe change,” only “how”?

The British debate over the United Kingdom’s place in the Union is over; the time of the British political iconoclast in the EU is over. It is now the time for pragmatic and realistic negotiations that will enshrine EU-British relations that preserve trade and security cooperation between two sovereign blocs: the European Union and the British Commonwealth. The British government recognizes that the time for iconoclasm has ended. Prime Minister Theresa May stood with the majority of the EU nation states in re-electing the acting EU Council President. She wisely understood that the British ought not antagonize the EU further: The British are by democratic mandate headed for formal independence and owe courtesy and diplomatic deference towards the EU in the lead-up to formal British withdrawal from the Union. Prime Minister May recognizes that British victory in the coming years means a good treaty with the EU, not standing athwart the EU majority in the waning months of Britain’s formal membership.

Almost all the member-states of the European Union now realize that the Union is in a race for time. Either it will reform and find accord, or it will collapse and necessitate a completely new European architecture for the twenty-first century. At this point, whether or not the European Union formally collapses or not, it is obvious to almost all that new ideas are in order. The general sense of the twenty-seven countries that voted to re-elect Mr. Tusk recently is a conservative one: to reform the Union through existing structures rather than further erode those structures.

This requires clear thinking and pragmatism. The recent White Paper on the EU issued by Jean-Claude Junker makes apparent that the notion of a multi-speed European integration, wherein various blocs within the Union integrate at different rates, is gradually becoming a reality. Whether or not this is controlled integration or controlled disintegration is another matter—at this point, it appears to be the only realistic means of maintaining the Union. It is inadequate in the long-term because it lacks democratic and historical grounding, but it is the prevailing mood in Europe now.

It will soon become clear whether or not the EU will face a second existential challenge. The lone nation-state to withhold its support for Mr. Tusk was Poland. The decision was born of antipathy for their compatriot, whom Poland’s current rulers accuse of being a German agent and an assassin who murdered the former Polish president.

Mr. Tusk has indeed long enjoyed the support and political patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Mr. Tusk’s Polish rivals—centered around Jarosław Kaczyński—are likewise “German agents.” Mr. Kaczyński recently voiced his support for Chancellor Merkel’s re-election bid in Germany and the Polish government he informally controls has asked for and received German soldiers, tanks and officers to man strategic positions in Poland. Germany today exercises near total military, economic and political power over Poland, overshadowed only by the United States—all of this at the request of a bipartisan consensus stretching from the previous Polish government to the present government. Historically, this situation is akin to Poland’s old request for Prussian military units to be stationed on its soil as a presumed buffer against Russia. Then as now, Poland erased itself from the map of Europe, all the while howling that it was being erased by force. Then as now the pretext was the “Russian threat” and the odd presumption that “for your liberty and ours” it was necessary to curtail Polish-Russian relations in favour of German-Russian relations.

Elsewhere in these pages, I made the point about Mr. Kaczyński’s political activity in the Ukraine that he “surrounded himself with Russophobes and men of little intelligence, purged his party of many thinking conservatives, and ultimately made a fool of himself.” Today, one may elaborate this point and add that not only has Mr. Kaczyński botched Poland’s eastern policy, he has definitively ruined Poland’s European standing. All of Eastern Europe, including the conservatives of Hungary and even Great Britain, which is leaving the Union, have united against Mr. Kaczyński’s little government. Not since 1939 has Poland been so badly isolated on the world stage. Indulging in morbid humor: The only difference now is that since Mr. Kaczyński and Mr. Tusk invited German soldiers to station in Poland, while wholly dedicating themselves to preserving Ukraine, there is no need to invade Poland from either east or west.

Dark humor aside, the current Polish situation is Europe’s next crisis. It is the unfortunate truth that Poland’s recovery on the world stage since 1989 can now be called a definitive failure. To be clear, Poland’s Catholic culture, as embodied in the political activity of Pope John Paul II and Primate Stefan Wyszyński before him, is Europe’s greatest strength—a strength which saved the continent from the Cold War and brought about the present extent of the European Union. As a people, Poles are amongst the best that Europe has to offer. Sadly, this is not reflected in their political architecture.

The present Third Republic proved itself more durable than the Second Republic, but it has collapsed into a petty tyranny of incompetents no different from the Sanation dictatorship that shattered Woodrow Wilson’s dreams of a free and independent Poland following World War I. It is now ruled by people who on the one hand are convinced that a German-Russian conspiracy exists to subvert their country, that German-Russian state sponsored terrorists collaborated with the European Union Council President to murder the Polish President, and on the other hand who demand that German soldiers defend Poland and German statesmen bankroll her. Poland is ruled by the same sort of people who brought her to ruin in 1939.

The easiest way to understand the Polish failure is to compare the country to Hungary. Both faced very similar problems. Both were burdened by imperfect post-communist constitutional orders akin to the compromises Americans had to make with the institutions of slavery in order to form an independent government. Hungary under Mr. Orbán has done the hard work of amending the Hungarian constitution, thereby rectifying the problems arising from post-communism through legal means. In Poland, Mr. Kaczyński’s acolytes—the utterly dependent President and Prime Minister—simply ignored the Polish constitution and declared the entire document moot. Constitutional order was never a strong aspect of the Polish political tradition, where aristocratic oligarchs enjoyed absolute power, including the power to vote Kings in and out of office. The new “Polish Masters,” following in the footsteps of their idol, Polish dictator Marshal Piłsudzki, found the constitution not to their liking and discarded it for all practical purposes. This situation naturally brings into question the extent to which Poland is a constitutional republic. Eager to protect itself from domestic popular discontent, the current Polish government invited the Venice Commission and the European Union to examine and opine on the rule of law in Poland. When the Commission and the European parliament censured Poland, the government—shocked—rebuked the censure as an attack on Polish sovereignty. Indeed it would have been had Poland itself not requested the procedure.

In terms of economic policy, Poland has utterly failed—counting from 1989 to the present—to achieve the goal of raising the standard of living for the general populace. The current government is cementing all the poverty, inefficiency and systematic unemployment that has lingered on since 1989 through policies that will destine Poland to remain economically underdeveloped for the foreseeable future. In short, the present Polish government has raised the welfare state to the level of chief substitute for rational economic policy.

Conservatives are generally opposed to the welfare state. Prudent conservatives recognize that it may be necessary, as statesmen from Bismarck to FDR have argued, to retain a basic safety net despite theoretical inefficiencies of government intervention in the long run as a means of preventing crippling revolutions in the short run. The Polish government, unfortunately, does not see the welfare state either as a case of compassionate redistribution from rich to poor or as a pragmatic buffer against revolutions. The present government has radically expanded the welfare state in Poland with cash payouts from the state to all families with two or more children.

This welfare scheme is not even a component of a broader economic agenda. It is the economic program of the government. The principle concern of the present government is to raise tax revenue in order to fund greater cash handouts. In pursuit of this goal, the tax and regulatory agencies in Poland have been given broader authority to harass business. They naturally fail to have much effect on the international corporations on the Polish market which usually have larger legal and accounting budgets than the Polish state. They do, however, serve to destroy the last vestiges of Polish-owned private business initiative. The private market is mainly composed of international corporations while the largest Polish owned economic entities are all government-owned. In fact, the proportion of the economy that is government-owned is between forty and fifty percent. The proportion of the private business market which is owned by regular Poles is abysmally low. There is hardly anything resembling a middle class. The government is doing nothing to rectify this disproportion and everything to cement it. The civic and commercial institutions associated with advanced economies have not grown in the last thirty years. The government sector is now vastly larger than it was under communism.

Statistics are not a good measure of Poland’s situation, and the image they painted of a prospering economy since 1989 have led to the present shock amongst pundits at both the most recent election results and the accelerating unravelling of the country since 2015. The seven-eight percent unemployment rate, hailed as one of the lowest in Europe, is a misleading statistic because it does not account for the millions of Poles who have been forced to emigrate West by perpetual jobless economic growth, which has been the norm for thirty years. Americans got a taste of jobless economic growth for a short time in the waning years of the economic recovery under President Obama. It is perhaps the most disheartening of economic situations: a rising GDP and rising corporate profits combined with falling wages and high unemployment. This has been the norm in Poland since 1989 and has levelled out into the systematic basis of the economy. Subsequent governments have been content to solve unemployment by exporting Poles abroad rather than attempting to create conditions for domestic economic advancement. No greater testimony to the failure of Poland since 1989 exists than the fact that emigration from Poland since 1989 has been at rates unseen since either the fall of Poland in the late eighteenth century or World War II. Those left in the country experience an average income of roughly 600 Euro per month with costs of living no different than those of Germany or Belgium, and an effective twelve-hour workday.

The equivalent of an entire generation of the youngest, highly educated, and most productive Poles have fled the country, principally for Great Britain. Politically, this has left Poland without a domestic constituency eager to reform the economy. There is no political pressure on either the government or opposition coming from the aspiring middle class because there is no aspiring middle class. Taxes as a share of real income total roughly fifty percent of gross salaries, which are on average at the European poverty level, and the willingness of the population to suffer further privation in hopes for effective reform is at an end. People no longer organize and vote: They flee.

The government has not only destroyed bilateral relations with Russia and the West, it has resisted a Chinese overture to heavily invest in the Polish economy. China, completely independent of Polish efforts, decided that Poland should become its chief strategic trade partner in Eurasia and the focal point of a mass land-based transportation network that would have goods delivered from Chinese factories to European warehouses in forty-eight hours. Poland—the Chinese decided—would be the center of Eurasian trade. To date, China is the only major power in the world to have lavished the current Polish government with the honor of a state visit and a show of serious respect. The response of the Poles to this fantastic economic opportunity has been muted uninterest.

All this will soon become Europe’s next crisis. It will be a crisis more severe than Brexit because Poland is not vying to be outside of the EU. Britain will, within one or two years, enjoy a renaissance of good relations with the EU, as all political bonds which had been a source of displeasure will have been dissolved while economic and cultural exchange will blossom. Poland is poised to remain the sick man of Europe.

The prospect of a multi-tier European Union, which is now taking shape, could effectively push the Polish problem to the margins of European affairs. Isolated and impoverished, Poland will eventually lose its lavish EU funding and, having refused to undertake the creation of an alternative to EU membership, she will lag. Yet Europe cannot escape the fact that Poland is an enormous country with a formidable population.

Instability in Poland has, like Balkan instability, always posed a danger to European order. Segments of Poland’s political scene will likewise deepen their sense of despair and seek outside intervention as they have always done. This process is already under way and has been for quite some time. Eventually, it will all end when Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine and Russia agree to a course of action that stabilizes the Polish situation for the next hundred years. Subsequent Polish parliaments will ratify subsequent stabilization measures, subsequent generations of Poles will leave the country and in the end—Poland will be forgotten and cease to exist. This scenario had already played itself out in the past, during the partitions. It has now commenced again. One could say that it is up to the present generation of Poles to work to rectify the situation, but they know better—they are boarding airplanes and buses and leaving the madness behind in favour of calm, decent lives. One sees them everywhere on YouTube channel after YouTube channel: from Tokyo to Toronto, the modern Pole is an intelligent, creative individual whose talents and hard work are helping build other countries because his own is determined to remain stagnant. Poles make good neighbours wherever in the world they may be. As Poles enjoy peaceful bourgeoisie lives around the world, Poland will remain transfigured by the cult of Smolensk: the pinnacle of all her national vices coalesced into a political religion which can only end just as the fateful flight of the Tupolev ended on April 10th 2010

That is, in suicide.

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18 replies to this post
  1. Profound, heartbreaking article. I as a first-generation US-born Pole have been convinced for a while now that Poland has internal tension built into its very fabric; we are Slavs, easterners, who have become latinized and engulfed by the West, which in its essence and values is quite alien to us. Orthodoxy is the proper Slavic religion, and yet we have somehow managed to align ourselves with the Latin church, and our identity is therefore split. In the coming decades, Poland has two or three options. Poland can fully integrate with the West and quit resisting EU mandates, which would result in extreme confusion and anger on the part of the average nationalistic Pole. The country would go through massive internal turmoil and the result would be chaos and dissolution into the failing, dangerous, multi-kulti EU. Poland can also choose to rediscover its Slavic essence and begin to rebuild not only relations, but cultural and spiritual ties with the Slavic East, particularly Russia, and therefore retain its Christianity (which would have to be baptized Orthodox, as the Roman Catholic Church has for decades, centuries even, been collapsing and caving to Western degeneracy). In this way Poland would only have to distance itself from its Latin accretions, which are foreign to the nations’s ethnic essence anyway. Poland would therefore be a Slavic, Orthodox, Christian nation with a strong ally in Russia. This would require a huge shift away from the idiotic anti-Russian propaganda, and a realization that most of Polands’ problems with Russia stem not from conflicts between the two nations as such, but were and are conflicts deliberately stirred up by semitic peoples, who never should have been let in to Poland in the first place. King Casimir the Great’s decision to make Poland a safe haven for them, and Poland’s subsequent decline into becoming the “paradis judaeorum” is Poland’s greatest and most tragic mistake – all subsequent conflict with Germany and Russia has stemmed from this terrible and fateful decision. Poles must consciously decide to rediscover their slavic roots, understand their history and release themselves from centuries of pro-semitic and anti-russian propaganda, become Orthodox, and therefore have a solid, authentic identity and find salvation with the help of those who our ethnically and spiritually our brothers. Russia is Poland’s only hope. The third option is non-existence.

    • Re :”Poland would only have to distance itself from its Latin accretions, which are foreign to the nations’s ethnic essence anyway.”

      This is a false reading. Poland is just too Polish today since WWII than it ever was in its history where the dividing line of the rationalism of St. Thomas Aquinas divided Europe.

      It was a hotbed of theological debate during the Reformation that ended after the Swedish Deluge showed an ugly side of Protestantism to Poland.

    • Pole here. What cultural and spiritual ties with the Slavic East? Poland was Christianized by Roman Catholics under the authority of the Roman pope. It was never Eastern Orthodox, though it was for a short time largely Protestant. I mean, the similar cultural and spiritual ties pretty much ceased after Christianization. Poland never used cyrillic nor looked to Constantinople for authority.

      I understand the appreciation for the East, especially in this day and age, and admit I myself have seriously been considering becoming Eastern Orthodox, but to try and justify such a move based on the Polish experience is, in my humble opinion, trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

      Moreover, if Poland really is more “Eastern,” despite never having actually been of the Eastern Church, that suggests that what makes Eastern Orthodox lands more “Christian” has something more to do with indigenous pre-Christian Slavic culture than it does Palamite theology.

  2. Poland will be fine. It has faced far greater existential problems than this current batch in its 1,000 year history and is somehow still around.

    • Agree, but this time we have internal problems, which is far more dangerous as we don’t have any common enemy to be united against. I doubt that our independence is in danger if we’re talking about intervention from other country, however for example our rights (our = common citizen’s) in comparison to one that are granted to Religion institutions aren’t equal. Is this still independence ? I’ll leave question mark to have something to think about.

  3. Thank you for the comments. The Roman Catholic Church has made great strides towards communion with the Russian and other Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Polish Catholic Church itself is far more Eastern than the Western Roman Catholic Church. There is no need for one Church to consume the other. The problem is not cultural (Polish culture is superior to Western European and far closer to Russian in every way) but political.

  4. I enjoyed much reading the first, political part of your text; even if not exactly agreeing with all conclusions, I admire the amount of detail and knowledge about modern Poland you conveyed there.
    Still, I find it hard to understand what specifically did you mean by “Poland’s old request for Prussian military units to be stationed on its soil as a presumed buffer against Russia.” When exactly did that take place? Also, I don’t believe there are any German troops in Poland as of now. The NATO brigade that’s just arrived is under American leadership, and all, if not all of it, consits of American troops. Germans are to be stationed in Lithuania, but not Poland.

    Then, the whole economical part begins, and I could not be more surprised to read what I’ve read. “In terms of economic policy, Poland has utterly failed—counting from 1989 to the present—to achieve the goal of raising the standard of living for the general populace.” I was born in Poland in 1990, lived there until moving to study in the U.S. in 2014, and I certainly do intent to move back to Poland–which pace of economical development I consider, both statistically and empirically, an enormous success. You did not offer any statistics in your text to support your economical argument; except for a few numbers that, taken out of context, may impress a foreigner without knowledge of Polish realities. Among them: saying that costs of living in Poland and Germany or Belgium are “no different” is simply a blatant lie.

    No business is “harassed” under the current government, as my own family running a small business can attest; same with a number of my personal friends in their 20s and 30s who have been successfully creating their own businesses from scratch and are happily maintaining them and making profit. Plus no statistical sign of small business being hurt so far.
    An extreme surge of new tax revenue (in billions of PLN) has been produced not by “harassing” small business, as you wrote, but by implementing policies and practices to curtail the tax fraud mainly in fuel market, also metals market. VAT tax is prone to be exploited by organized crime, and so far this government has been trying, with some success, to limit this.
    Anyway, there has been no example of small businesses in general being hurt so far; in case I missed anything, I’ll be happy to read any counter-arguments providing specifics.

    “The civic and commercial institutions associated with advanced economies have not grown in the last thirty years.” Again, please – specifics. You’re making extreme, blunt assertions, which are just baseless.

    Since you’ve dedicated a whole paragraph to emphasizing that the Polish migration to UK and elsewhere distorts the real truth about unemployment data, perhaps it would be reasonable to write about hundreds of thousands of Ukraininians coming to Poland to work throughout last years. The mechanisms of migration work both ways, and not only in Poland but to some extent all over the world — and yet no one simply dismisses the unemployment statistics based on one-sided data.

    “There is no aspiring middle class”. I come from middle class myself. And I am not some symbolic “rich 1%.” Anyone who lived in Poland between 2000 and now could see what rapid and enormous change in the standard of living took place. Not to be without support of stats, see https://www.oecd.org/eco/growth/going-for-growth-poland-2015.pdf Diagram B, last page.

    The whole argument about the government radically expanding the welfare state is based on, I assume, the programme of providing families 2+ children with 500PLN monthly per child. As controversial and perhaps not very productive that programme may be (I personally haven’t made up my opinion on it yet; the limited stats regarding its effects so far are rather positive), it’s still JUST ONE thing; a policy (direct financial support for families) that has been standard in most Western European countries for decades. I can barely see how this one instance suddenly makes my country falling into some dramatic “welfare state” chaos.

    To sum up: interesting to read such a knowledgable piece when it comes to politics of Poland. Disappointing to see so horribly misleading text in regard to the economic reality of Poland.

  5. Have any of you read Arthur Bliss Lane’s I Saw Poland Betrayed or Patrick Buchanan’s The Unnecessary War, the former a first hand contemporary look at the events leading to Russia’s brutal and treacherous takeover of Poland (with American complicity) and the other a recent look at the entire WWI and II scenario with the betrayal of Poland one of a series of steps that left Europe a mangled corpse and forced an opening for a one world government dreamed of by internationalist financiers for many many years. Lane, by the way, was US ambassador to Poland in the 40’s.

  6. Again, thank you for the comments. To answer some points:

    1. I refer to the Polish-Prussian military Alliance of 1790.

    2. It is not “a blatant lie” to say that cost of living expenses are no different in Poland and certain Western EU countries, while the average per capita income in Poland is at the Western poverty level. If someone is satisfied with the level of economic development in Poland, then I take this as a sign of unrealistic optimism.

    3. I suggest researching the extent and specifics of German military presence and German-Polish military colaboration in modern Poland. Obviously it is less pronounced than US presence, but it does exist. The similarities to the partitions, and Polish requests for foreign forces to station in Poland in return for concessions of sovereignty likewise exist. One can choose not to see them.

    4. With regard to Ukranian migration to Poland, it is the result of the failure of Ukraine as a state, just as mass Polish migration to the UK is the result of Poland’s economic failure. If one wishes to treat as absolutely natural that millions of people from one country flee in pursuit of a minimum standard of living to another, I consider this misplaced optimism.

    5. Dr. Panglos is Voltaire’s most exquisite literary creation. Poland has an abundance of professors of metaphysical-theo-cosmoronology who will continue to proclaim that poverty and political instability are in fact wealth and good government. One can only congratulate such optimism.

  7. As an aside, I should like to also point out the supreme irony and grand chuckle elicited by the comment that German troops are primarily stationed in Lithuania, “not in Poland.” It is eminently amusing, in a sad sort of way, to consider what Poles of the previous generation would have thought…”there are no German troops in Poland – just in Vilnius.” But again – if you are satisfied with the current state of affairs, congratulations on Poland’s wonderful success.

  8. I was reading this article with mixed feelings, most probably because I agree with it’s conclusions and it’s sad that I was reading about my own country.

    However I would like to point one thing, namely I wouldn’t assume that current direction of Poland is constant and won’t change in future. Well, won’t change until next elections, that’s for sure, but very important thing is the reason why Law and Justice (LaJ) was able to gain such power. During campaign before elections “LaJ” presented completely different program, most of first-plane politicians that we can see right now was hidden from electorate, so LaJ was able to convince the “middle electorate” by their social funding promises. I think that this trick won’t work second time. At least I hope so. Biggest problem is that both leading fraction and the Church authorities are supporting nationalists and other extreme social groups, which are blind for any attempt of discussion and become hard electorate for next elections.

    Fortunately I can see 2 positive trends inside our country.

    First of all it seems that Polish citizen starts to see that economy and democracy are not important for LaJ. Putting own, loyal party members in charge of biggest industries which are still under government influence, internal fights about “Growth Strategy” and army, power abuses – these are examples of subjects on which people in Poland starts to react. Effect would be much more significant, unfortunately we have serious problem with national media, which became nothing more than propaganda tool, so access to the information is reduced.

    Second thing is reaction on recent action inside EU. Aside huge manifestations (which by the way are marching quite often after recent elections) we got some surveys in which LaJ “performance” during Donald Tusk reelection was crushed. And what is more important, support for them dropped to 29% and was almost the same as their opponents (27%) which represent pro-european and pro-democracy position.

    In summary, I think that in next elections (assuming that we will have one) will show that current situation was only an accident in our newest history.

  9. I’ve read the article and I almost cried. Unfortunately, as it comes to the feelings, almost all is true. I’m 31 yo, I was born in Poland and I live here. I finished university and I work in IT on some low managerial position. I earn about 1300 Euro per month and it is considered very good salary here. Still it hardly covers daily upkeep. To go for 1 week holiday in Poland (not to mention abroad) I need to save for half year. I drive 20 yo car and I have mortgage for small old flat for 30 years. Still, I’m in better position than most of the society. I don’t want to leave the country. I have family here, this is my home. I worked abroad, I didn’t like it, this was not for me. I used to see a hope here, all the previous governments sucked but at least they pretend they respect law and you could see sind small steps toward some better nation wellbeing. I had a hope that some day at some election new government will be created that will actually do something for a nation instead of party interest and political games. But we ended up with law and justice. They do not care about the constitution. Whatever they do they do it for their purposes, to make better to their acolytes. Poland is slowly fading into some postsoviet dictatorship. Government treat country as their ownership. Who does not agree with government is called communist (BTW. Fun fact – many key people in current government used to be communist officals), foreign spy and nation’s enemy.
    I used to have hope, now I have none.

  10. I’m with Charlie.

    One’s normal instinct is to fall back on the notion of the next election. Unfortunately, this assumes Poland has infinite or at least vast time at its disposal to stumble along towards success. To my mind time has run out.

    The window of historical opportunity is closed. An entire generation has been scattered across the globe, eliminated from its otherwise natural participation in the affairs of the state and the remaining population is trapped in cyclical poverty on the one hand and denial on the other.

    Poles who are well off or even moderately at the level of a Western middle class life yet refuse to see that the definition of a strong middle class is that a plurality of citizens – not just your personal friends and family – participate in the middle class (otherwise there is no middle class)- need to think very hard about the difference between their perception of economic reality and that of their fellow citizens.

    There is rampant and unacceptable poverty and all of the problems attendent to poverty. True, history explains much of it, true the West could and should have done more, but this generation has failed in optimizing the period from 1989-2017 and what little time there was to forge a strong basis for prosperity is now gone. Poland is doomed to be the Mexico of the EU. There is nothing left to be done, no election will change anything for the foreseeable long term future. There is no one to elect. The country is over, with only the Church remaining eternaly strong.

    It is a matter of fundamentals. Charlie: take your IT skills and your family to some place where they will be respected.

    Voting with your feet is the last “party” to vote for – and sadly the fastest growing.

    And just in case anyone who read my earlier work on Russia and Belarus asks why I am not so critical of them – why I do not say “Russia is a failure” or “Belarus is a failure” but only “Poland is a failure”: easy – I expected more from Poland’s elites and so did everyone else. Russia and Belarus are doing well because there is no mass murder, no war, no gulag. But Poland? I respect the intelligence of Poles too much to hold Poland to such a low standard. Everyone knows it could have been much much better, but the elites chose failure and the country will now pay for their choice.

  11. After reading this article I had a mixed feeling–not following the current economic and political situation in Poland I made a couple of phone calls to my family members back in Poland.
    Since getting our “independence” back in 1989 up until 2016, Poland was ruled in a greater or lesser degree by Tusk’s people—people whose morals can be characterized as cleverly (demonically) lukewarm—about such people Jesus said that he will vomit them out of His mouth at the judgment day. It doesn’t matter if Tusk is a German agent or not, or if he was involved in Smolensk tragedy or not, he is an enemy of Catholic Church, and the enemy of Catholic Church cannot be considered as acting for good of Poland, or as a matter of fact for any other good either.
    I was laughing at Las comment about Poland conversion to Orthodoxy. I assume he is a member of these 0.7% Orthodox believers that reside in Poland (What about trying to convert Croatians to Orthodoxy so they unite with Serbians). Catholicism is not a characteristic of Poland—Catholicism is the essence of being Polish. Polonia semper fidelis- Poland with its Latin alphabet (as opposed to Russian Cyrillic) was formed by Roman tradition. Poland was faithful to the Spirit of the Western Civilization, and became its guard through the centuries. And the West paid us back by selling us to Russians in Yalta.
    Anyhow….West is not Christian anymore, quite contrary for Tusk and EU, Catholic Church is the enemy number 1. I was thinking, finding it rather interesting, about one sentence in the article “the pragmatism and sense of realism that go hand in hand with idealism in the conservative disposition.” One question that may be asked is where is the line that crossing would mean selling yourself out, betraying God, your country and your loved ones…I guess it’s relative.
    St. Augustine said that immoral life is far worse that the fiercest war enemy. EU is morally rotten, and they want to impose it on everybody else corrupting the minds of young. And half of Polish population, the half that supports Tusk and others of his sort, are already gone…they already committed spiritual suicide.
    Asking Poles about EU they would list one benefit: You can go abroad and work for much higher wages, but that actually harms Poland as a nation with young people leaving Poland to build well-being for others.
    What’s the solution? Not sure. But there are still people who would rather die than apostatize for euros or security. Yes, and this could be seen as suicide to some…but they spirit will carry on.

  12. Thank you for the interesting comment.

    To answer your question about where a conservative disposition draws the line between pragmatism and “selling out” your country and your loved ones:

    I think King Mieszko I answers the question in his conduct: here you had a Prince who wished to preserve his estate and envied the strength of his German neighbors. He prudently decided to Christianize Poland, to adopt Germanic modes and orders and Roman religion and therefore gain recognition of the legitimacy of the Polish state by the West.

    To what extent was this pragmatism, to what extent idealism? Was Mieszko guided by a true faith or political calculus? Likely both.

    What is the difference between the Polish yearning for Western forms 1000 years ago, which led to the adoption of Roman Catholicism and the Polish yearning for Western forms in modern times that led Poland to enter the European Union?

    To my mind, not very much. Poland has tended to envy the West and replicate its modes and orders. To some degree this is admirable, to some degree it bespeaks a lack of independent judgement.

    These are interesting historical or psychological questions, but my point in the article was far more down to Earth and concrete.

  13. Thank you very much for replaying to my comment.
    This is excellent: Mieszko I vs. D. Tusk–first Christianized Poland and strengthen the nation, second has been de-Christianizing Poland and weakening the nation.
    Poles, and that includes not only conservative but also most of the leftist, don’t envy, and yearn for Western forms (maybe there are few that yearn for some Western geniuses—the likes of G. K. Chesterton or Hillarie Belloc) they just long for economic prosperity…or to be more precise for work and adequate wages. And lack of such is the result of a few factors, and the main one is that Poland was under Communist regime for 50 years; the second one is that at the turn, during those few crucial years following 1989 Tusk’s mentors with collaboration with Bolek (Walesa) and ex-communists parted Poland’s assets among each other establishing pretty much unmovable entity, while the nation suffered. Decapitation of Poland by Hitlerism and Stalinism that attacked and killed much of Polish elite and intelligence didn’t help either–How could the nation elect and re-elect time after time people like Tusk and Kwasniewski? But, hopefully, that generation naturally loses its voice, as it was evident in the last elections.
    Polish conservatives not only don’t want to replicate current “Western” modes and orders, they’d rather despise them. And the leftist…I’d rather not go inside their minds, I would give them half of Poland (the better one) and put them all in there so they live there according to their ways, but they would never agree to such a deal: evil needs good to parasitize on it, as on its own it simply ceases to exist.
    At the end, the only really concrete point must have its origins in the transcendence and metaphysical– the one that deals with Beauty, Good and Truth, and those furthermore relates to other virtues that lead to the ultimate end of anybody—God whose idea is being viciously eliminated by EU. Virtuous life also naturally leads to just and prosperous society…And one may think that it is the concrete and down to earth argument. Upon visiting Washington I was struck by writings of the founding fathers…such a contrast to what we hear now from politicians.
    Thank you very much for writing this article and making me think of my native country.

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