November 21, 2017
Guest post by W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz
Many foreign media sources, including The Guardian and CNN, have described the Independence March in Warsaw on November 11, in which between 60,000 to 100,000 participated, as nationalist, fascist or white supremacist, creating thus a negative image of this event. While a massive demonstration can attract people with many beliefs, some of them far-right, the vast majority of people who participated in it can be described as ordinary Poles. The march was not a disturbance of the Poland’s Independence Day, as some foreign media described, but, on the contrary, it was its popular, spontaneous, and peaceful expression. The leading slogan of the march was “We Want God!” It has shown a continuous support by Polish people of two ideas that lie at the foundation of the Western civilization: God and nation.
The ideological challenge in the form of “culture wars” that Poland is facing today are those that the US and some other countries have also already confronted. On the one hand, there are people who can be described as “conservative or traditional nationalists,” who claim that in order to maintain our civilization, we cannot erase from our collective memory the rational and moral reflection of ancient Greece and Rome, the writings of the Old and New Testament that comprise the base of Judeo-Christian religion, and the ideas related to the establishment and development of European nation-states, including the ideas of democracy and freedom. On the other hand, there are “postmodern globalists,” who challenge the values of religion, nation, virtue, and reason, and try to replace them with secularism, globalism, moral relativism and manipulative emotionalism, and attempt to lead us to a post-nationalism and post-truth era.
Postmodern globalism, which has already won in some Western countries, is expressed in practice in the policies of multiculturalism and migration permissiveness. It has led to such absurd situations like the recent order of the removal of a cross over the statue of John Paul II in the city of Ploërmel by the France’s top administrative court, the reason being secularization of the public space. This act is a symbolic expression of how postmodern globalists, in the name of secularism and multiculturalism, assuming the equality of all religions and values related to them, and separating them from state, destroy the very foundations of our civilization.
Today most people in Poland stand against uncontrolled migration and anything that undermines traditional Polish national and religious values. There are reasons for this. One cannot be blind to the fact that postwar mass migration to Europe, particularly during the last few years, has changed the character of European societies and damaged the European quality of life. As Douglas Murray demonstrates in his new important and yet depressing book, The Strange Death of Europe: Identity, Immigration, Islam, people from cultures radically other than those of Europe often do not want to integrate and insist on retaining and promoting their values that contradict key European values. At the extremes, which are all too common, he claims, this means such well-known phenomena as the hypersensitivity of Muslims to any criticism of their religion, with threats, violence and even murder; a massive rise in sexual assaults and rapes of European women and children by men from non-European countries; and the growth of no-go areas for native Europeans in what were earlier their neighborhoods. The difficulties of dealing with the problems are compounded by the hypocrisy and dishonesty of many liberal politicians about these issues and the complicity of local authorities and the mainstream media in such dishonesty.
While there are now many advocates of globalization and of post-national governance, it is important to understand that the nation-state is in fact the oldest political organization of humankind, since its tradition goes back to the Sumerian and Greek city-states, and even earlier to independent tribes. As John Stuart Mill convincingly argues in his essay On Liberty, European nation-states have, as diverse cultural communities, been the greatest source of progress of humanity. Indeed, we need political and cultural diversity of nation-states for humanity creativity and progress. They cannot be turned to cosmopolitan entities, in which there is a confusion about values, or be replaced by a world state.
On 11 November, people in Poland, who at many crucial moments of her history have shown a great courage and devotion to their own country, celebrate its independence. Independence for them means to be able to shape by themselves Poland’s future and to save her from today’s postmodern ideologies that lead Europe astray. Fortunately, their aspirations find support from the current Polish government. While commenting on the spontaneous march, the interior minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, commented: “It was a beautiful sight. We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day.”
W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz is professor at Lazarski University in Warsaw. He has received a doctorate from the University of Oxford and specializes in political philosophy. In the early 1980’s, he was a student leader in Poland’s Solidarity movement, and in 1991 was elected Deputy Mayor of Gdansk. He has taught at many universities. He is the author of several books, including Tractatus Politico-Philosophicus: New Directions for the Development of Humankind.Guest contributor