Donald Tusk’s ‘liberals’ are conservatives in drag.
“Poland's liberal opposition Civic Platform party has won a massive poll victory…” (BBC); “Poland's main liberal opposition Civic Platform was leading elections for the European parliament early Monday with 25.21 percent…” (Eurobusiness); “’Liberal landslide ends Poland's era of the twins”…” (M&C); “Foreign leaders and Poland's business community on Monday welcomed the victory of the liberal Civic Platform party in Sunday's parliamentary elections…” (Financial Times).
So wrote the western press after the victory of Civic Platform in last autumn’s general election. With the defeat of the Kaczynski/Giertych/Lepper arch-conservative coalition, the future of Poland was Donald Tusk’s ‘liberalism’, right?
Wrong. As I have pointed out many times there is little ‘liberal’ about the current government, apart from a certain liberalising instinct when it comes to the economy. This past month we have seen how conservative the Civic Platform party really is. Donald Tusk is the equivalent, not of a Polish J.S. Mill, but a weird kind of Polish pro-European Margaret Thatcher - in drag.
Take his call for ‘chemical castration’ of paedophiles following the brutally strange case of the Polish Fritzl. When challenged that castration, be it of the chemical or knife variety, was against human rights - once a punishment is served and a debt paid to society the convict should be free to rehabilitate themselves back into society; or when doctors complain that they are there to treat people, not castrate them; or that this is against the Polish Constitution, the ‘liberal’ Donald Tusk said: “I don’t consider paedophiles truly human, so why should they have ’human rights’?”
Of course, castration would not have prevented the repeated rape of the Polish Fritzl’s daughter…nor would it have prevented the abuse of the majority of the victims of child molesters in general. Most have no previous convictions. But that’s not why Tusk is supporting chemical castration. His policy proposal is the typical knee-jerk reaction of a reactionary, conservative political jerk - the need to be seen to be doing something about a modern folk devil, whenever a media panic ensues.
The liberal Civic Platform government also has a problem with that bastion of liberalism throughout the ages - free speech and expression. Director Paweł Chochlew is looking for funding for his new fictional feature about the Nazi invasion of Westerplatte that effectively began WW II. A thousand national myths surround this event. But Chochlew decided that a fresh approach was needed and decided to look again at some of those myths. But when he sent the script in to the government’s film board to try and get some money to produce Tajemnica Westerplatte (The Secret of Westerplatte) the government promptly threw it in the bin. The script is “anti-Polish” and “demeaning”, apparently. Chochlew’s defence that his film was meant to be fictional and so has no responsibility to be ’historically and/or politically correct’ fell on deaf ears.
It seems that some of Poland’s myths are so fragile that they cannot be challenged.
Donald Tusk’s government is censorial and reactionary. And each time journalists - both at home and abroad - reach for the ‘liberal’ adjective to describe them, John Stuart Mill turns, uneasily, in his grave.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Posted by beatroot at 9/21/2008