Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

USA Not Alone In Having Religious Right Problems

Hi Folks,

A couple of days ago Poland elected a right wing, Catholic conservative, nationalist (Lech Kaczynski) to be their President. His main opponent, Donald Tusk, was a classical Liberal (see many previous posts by me about how Americans don't know what Liberals really are).

This man (and the Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski - they are identical twins) support radical reform of Polish politics to emphasize/preserve state intervention in the economy, Catholic-nationalism and social conservatism. Support for their party is dominated by rural Poles who are fundamentally anti-modern and opposed to Polish participation in the world economy. When Poles slip towards fascism this is what it looks like.

However, lest we in the USA get too judgmental of our Polish friends, we should be aware that Poland is only following our lead. Bush and his crowd have a very similar ideology to the Kaczynski brothers and their support comes from the same type of voter (anti-modern, rural nationalists).

Hopefully Poland's membership in the European Union will constrain some of the nuttier ideas these brothers have. They could turn out to be the Catholic-nationalist versions of Margaret Thatcher's orthodox free-marketeering. We'll find out soon enough.


Anonymous said...

Geez. If "Kaczynski" doesn't tip you off, I don't know what will...

On a more serious note, it's more fair to say that Poland is in the throes of political experimentation of various kinds, amid post-communist economic doldrums. With America turning away from liberal democracy, one can expect Eastern Europe ("New" Europe) to do the same. True democrats like Vaclav Havel are the exception. Poland's future will, thankfully, be constrained by EU membership. And I should suggest that there is something about EU membership that may promote experimentation of this sort: the danger is less, with such constraints. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I agree that the EU is a major moderating factor. But I won't let Poland off the hook here. Downplaying a country's adoption of nationalist populism as "experimentation" is the political equivolent of saying your teenager is going through a phase when you see them shooting up heroine. There is no excuse for nationalism.

And its not as if Poland didn't have alternatives. Poland has produced its own true democrats on both the center left (Adam Michnik) and the center right (Tusk).

This is short of a total disaster for Poland but mainly because the EU will keep them from doing really serious harm to themselves and others (at least I hope that ends up being the case).

But I really must disagree with the attitude that countries like Poland (and Russia) get a pass when it comes to fascist tendencies just because they've had a rough century (largely as a result of previous "experiments" with fascism and related governmental forms).  

// posted by Raised By Republicans