An interview with Prof. Richard Legutko, Polish MEP
by Wojciech Golonka
Wojciech Golonka: The European Parliament is debating a resolution to declare the European Union an “LGBTQ zone of freedom.” Is this the European Union’s main concern at the moment?
Ryszard Legutko: Actually, yes. Regardless of the current crises, the pandemic, and Putin’s actions, nothing absorbs MEPs more than the issues of LGBT, abortion, or same-sex marriage. These are their constant themes. They can talk about it endlessly, which highlights a rather peculiar state of mind – a mono-ideology that has reached the level of fanaticism. On the one hand, the resolution is to vent their ideological passion, and on the other, organize a show of hatred against all those “bad guys,” among whom Poland is, of course, the leader. LGBT is, therefore, the current priority of the European Union, supported by all major political forces in the European Parliament, including the so-called conservatives, i.e., the European People’s Party. They are the strongest parliamentary group, but they ceased to be conservative a long time ago because they bought into the LGBT ideology and other leftist ideologies. In principle, they subordinated themselves to them. In addition to individual members and smaller political groups, we have a united front in Europe. Anyone who has a different position is subject to insults. The mainstream’s voice, on the other hand, is monotonous, intense, and deafening.
How have formerly marginal issues become the focus of a powerful alliance, bringing together large corporations, universities, the media, and politicians?
When it comes to corporations, entrepreneurs tend to take a dominant viewpoint, making it easier for them to act. And because the mainstream is so powerful today and seems to have no alternative, they are not only not contesting it but are also joining it. They place a lot of money into marches of equality or ideological promotion campaigns and boast about it. This attitude is entirely consistent among entrepreneurs. Let us remember that in the German Third Reich, significant consortia supported National Socialism without any resistance, not necessarily because they were forced to, but because they had an interest in it. If there were private oligarchs in the Soviet Union, I think they would also become communists – which is perfectly evident in China today. This is not new. If the balance of power were different, if Western societies were more diverse and balanced, some large companies would not necessarily be engaged with their heart and soul on one side only. It is similar in the academic world.
We have been witnessing a strong left-wing tendency there for a long time. To put it mildly, academics are not the bravest people in the world and like to act in a herd. Unfortunately, the Polish academic community, which should remember the times of the one and only acceptable ideology, does not approach today’s ideological threats responsibly. It is enough to cite the unpleasant and compromising statements of the Conference of Deans of Academic Institutions in Poland or the introduction of “correct” ideology by various collegiate bodies. Academics do it on their own. No one is forcing them to do so. And no one will dissent. If a university were to declare that gender is complete nonsense, invented by a segment of the humanities department, having nothing to do with science, and is a dangerous position because it introduces censorship and suppresses independent research, then such a university would be immediately ostracized, all contacts with it would be severed, and it would be closed down. It would destroy itself, so it is evident that no one would dare to take such a step. Some will be silent, others will pretend that nothing is happening, and when time comes to take a position, they will go with the crowd, just like the mandatory attendance at May Day parades in communist Poland.
In what direction will they go?
The standard message is that today’s world is what it must be, and that is good. Why is this good? Because it is said that we live in times in which diversity and openness are defended. Of course, this is a lie, but a lie that disarms many intellectually. If someone says: “We’ve had two genders so far, and now we have 50 genders, so which world implies more diversity?” Of course, the answer would be today’s world, with more diversity. We need to open ourselves to diversity only that the so-called opening requires a brutal operation. Since time immemorial, our civilization and culture have been built by two genders. That’s why the division into men and women is present in everything – in language, art, science, custom, the most natural reactions, everywhere. Now, to introduce these 50 genders, would require it all to be devalued and destroyed. This, in turn, requires a kind of terror, censorship, and indoctrination; the sooner, the better, starting from preschoolers, and as deep as possible. Culture based on the existence of two genders, and thus practically the entire Western culture, is, therefore, an enemy that needs to be neutralized. The 50 genders are supposed to be around us, everywhere – in songs, in books, in entertainment, in popular culture. Everything must be filled with them. But this change required getting rid of differences between people because the differences are primarily incorrect, inappropriate, discriminatory, reactionary, elitist, exclusionary, etc.
As a result of this mass destruction, instead of openness, we see more and more people indistinguishable from each other, who scream in unison, how different they are and how they love openness. And the more they censor and muzzle people up, the more they pride themselves on their tolerance, and to all who think otherwise, they say: we are tolerant so that we will permanently shut your intolerant fascist mouths. This is more or less what it looks like.
When I look at the place where I work, which is the European Parliament, I see over 500 MPs from the main parties supporting the “LGBT freedom zone” throughout Europe, who do not differ from each other, say the same, speak the same language, and think the same on every subject.
And this is a picture of today’s world and the European Union. We are ruled by a tyranny of the majority, not only in the EU but also in the entire Western world, except for some countries such as Poland. And for this reason – for no other reason – Poland has become the target of attacks. This ideological front has taken over virtually all institutions. The longer the alternative countries such as Poland and Hungary last this out, the greater the chances that others will muster up the courage. Nothing absorbs MEPs more than the issues of LGBT, abortion, or same-sex marriage. These issues have taken over all institutions, and since there is no counterweight, they can do whatever they want.
Let’s consider the “LGBT- freedom zone issue for all of Europe.” Article 9 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union makes it clear that matters relating to marriage and family are to be handled by national law. Thus, the Polish municipalities that announced a Charter for the defense of the family and marriage as a union of a woman and a man remained in full compliance with Polish law (which states exactly this!) and was based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. And so what happened? Nothing! This resolution goes against the Charter, which today’s fanatics worship and which they themselves have adopted, but which they are now shamelessly going against, and nothing can be done about it. Can they be sued in the Court of Justice of the European Union? Equal-minded people are in control of the EU Court of Justice, so they will always find some trick to defend an evident travesty.
The same applies to abortion … After the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment in Poland, they went crazy. The hysteria in the European Parliament over this with their: “Women’s rights, women’s rights!” However, there is no such thing as “women’s rights” or “reproductive rights” in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is another ideological construct and a cudgel on people who think differently. Again, we are dealing with the appalling dictatorship of the majority. They don’t take prisoners or hostages … They don’t want any compromise, no conversation! They are demanding unconditional surrender.
In a recent interview with Le Figaro, however, you saw a glimmer of hope in our European culture.
One of the problems with these people is that they have been deculturized. Perhaps it has to do with the collapse of education or the far-reaching revolution of 1968, which broke the continuity of European culture, accusing it of injustice, exploitation, discrimination, fascism, and other sins. The revolution has passed, but changes have begun in the public sphere, in teaching, which is becoming more and more evident. The people who rule Europe today do not know European culture but believe that it is a dangerous carrier of discrimination and fascism – this is thinking similar to what we had under communism. Now we have cancel culture, which officially orders everything to be gotten rid of. Any yahoo inculcated with primitive ideology will appear and say with contempt: Out! Sienkiewicz, Out! Prus, Out! Because they are anti-Semites, misogynists – this is their attitude towards culture.
Meanwhile, European culture is the most wonderful culture that has ever been created in the history of mankind. In order not to succumb to barbarism, one must open up to it again – to antiquity, to Christianity, to all this heritage. A person who is formed by this culture will not accept today’s revolutionary changes because he or she will be disgusted by them, by this language, the ideas, and the ideological primitivism. How can this be done? It is a tough challenge, but you can’t give up. We Poles who survived communism, especially the older generation like me, remember the belief that communism was to last forever. But something did happen, and communism finally collapsed. Therefore, it is necessary to reject the defeatist view of the inevitability of the current processes; the world belongs to us, and we must boldly try to form it as much as we can. Many people in Western societies look with horror at the growing despotism. One has to persevere until these grassroots movements become so strong that today’s powerbrokers’ monopoly will be shaken. The longer countries such as Poland or Hungary can hold out, the greater the chances that others will dare.
Are political actions for this cultural counter-offensive sufficient in Poland?
Of course, there is always more that can be done, but I don’t think that’s just a government matter. The government does have a crucial task, yes, because it provides for protection and steers the direction of change. But this is not all. Let’s pay attention to the media. Poland has a significant imbalance in favor of the left. However, 25-30 percent of the media is conservative, which is a phenomenon on a wider European scale and is nowhere else to be found. And they weren’t created by the government. So there are communities that create and work together, and the result is impressive. Although, of course, this alternative trend may keep expanding, the support for the other side remains enormous and ruthless. So it will not be easy, especially as Poland is only a medium-sized country, and in addition, a large part of Poles suffer from the centuries-old Targowica* syndrome. This belief is firmly rooted in the Polish character that an external entity should rule Poland. It is a disease that has caused us to collapse as a Nation and a State so many times in the past. Fortunately, there are some who believe otherwise, and today they are the ones who decide.
Therefore, we must support the activities of the sovereignty forces because this is an epochal issue. If this despotism grips everything, we will have a “brave new world” in which the possibility of rebellion will be much less than in Orwell’s “1984.” I will make an analogy to Solidarity: in those days, we became the center of world events for a certain period as the first great organized movement against the communist system, which then covered a large part of the globe. Today, Poland is also a country that challenges another despotism, much less brutal but also dangerous. You have to be aware of the stakes ahead. This is not a game. We stand upon the precipice of change. Suppose the government in Poland changes; there will be a chasm ahead of us. In that case, they will throw us into these ideological constraints, and again, symbolically speaking, we will have to go into the forest and take up guerrilla warfare. For now, however, we still have a strong position. This is not only a national issue but also a pan-European one. On our continent, we are the ones who defend Europe, and those who attack it include The European Commission or the European Parliament. The latter is an entirely absurd institution, but that is a topic for another conversation.
The original article, in Polish, appeared in 11/416 issue of a weekly Do Rzeczy – dorzeczy.pl