World of Ideas and Politics

Volume 1

World of Ideas and Politics
Volume 1/2001

Table of contents:
Studies and analysis:

  • Rafał Nawrocki: Making a choice - a ritual of the present liberal democracy
  • Artur Laska: Between an individual's autonomy and the public weal - ethic dilemmas of political liberalism
  • Jarosław Nocoń: Role of elites in the structure of a political system - a model of a functional theory
  • Katarzyna Polus-Rogalska: Has depreciation of honesty taken place already?
  • Sławomir Czarnecki: Suppression of politics by morality - philosophical anarchism of Robert Paul Wolff
  • Paweł Malendowicz: Trends of social changes to anarchic journalism of the nineties
  • Aleksandra Ciżmowska: The Right in the face of the problem of unemployment in Poland
  • Tomasz Kuczur: The process of national and political consciousness formation of Galician peasants versus programs of the peasant parties on the turn of 19th century
  • Michał Kosman: A union of Germany or Europe? Postwar dilemmas of the Federal Republic of Germany's foreign policy

Rafal Nawrocki

Making a choice - a ritual of the present liberal democracy
Does morality have an effect on politics? Does politics influence morality? Asks the author and answers: moral values stimulate political solutions and political solutions create morality.
The relation between morality and politics is interesting due to the fact that both spheres make a cultural phenomenon and both can be read parallely. Culture is a set of opinions common for members of a given social group. It is a mental reality that is common. These opinions are expressed by symbols.
Both politics and morality expect to make choices from us. We cannot base on a ready-made way of activity. The world does not give us ready for use solutions - it gives us lots of proposals and a multitude of goods. Affirmation of this state of affairs makes us feel lost.
In the author's opinion, choices made by contemporary man submit to the twofold processes: economization and esthetization. Since there are many goods, I behave like in a store: I simply ,,take a product from a shelf". Nowadays such products became: identity, tradition, religion, love, a body, clothes, and even death. Economic calculations and attractiveness of the product decide about my choice. These processes apply to both political and moral choices.

Artur Laska

Between an individual's autonomy and the public weal - ethic dilemmas of political liberalism
This article is an attempt to oppose expressing liberalism as a tightly understood ethic particularism. According to the author, loss of moral bases in the present political practice seems to be a result of the improper understanding of what the liberal ethos is and stretching it to an almost every axiology. The structure of the work is based on an interpretation of liberal expressions of an individual's autonomy and the general weal. In the author's opinion, the ethical meaning of the development of the emphasized doctrine is the area where the two ideas clash.
In his conclusion, the author underlines that also in liberalism we meet a minimal community of values. It results directly from the political nature of this doctrine. On the other hand, a heteronomic social reality causes that the analyzed ideology does not absolutise one vision of the good as an unchangeable axiom for political effectiveness. Most of the liberal thinkers put forward a postulate of public cocreation of the political consensus which can take a different shape in different time and conditions. In the author's opinion, the articulated public weal is a kind of the common weal, however, the latter has a distinctly dynamic character in the liberal meaning.
The last sentences of the article lead to a postulate of making a liberal doctrine political again. The present creators of the doctrine concentrate too much on economic problems only, whereas the contemporary liberalism should include the fact that a modem political system is based on principles of a social agreement, in which, if possible, private interests ought to be submitted to the common weal.

Jaroslaw Nocoń

Role of elites in the structure of a political system - a model of a functional theory
The article tries to characterize political elites perceived as an integral element of the political system structure basing on main assumptions of the structural and functional research paradigm. According to these assumptions, the political elites are complementary and mutually coherent components of the political system. The analysis of genetic and functional relations and interdependences of wielding power processes locates the class of elites in a strategic position in the structure of political community. Comparative confrontations of functional theories of elites make it also possible to separate basic functions of the elites realized within the political system.

Katarzyna Polus-Rogalska

Has depreciation of honesty taken place already?
We all reflect on the problem what has happened to the sense of honesty in our country. In the article, apart from presenting the problem, the author suggests precautions that are to be taken to solve this matter. First, it seems to be necessary to reveal the incomes of politicians and to eliminate profits from different kinds of services and hardly measurable privileges (it is suggested that politicians' salaries should oscillate in range of mean incomes the citizens obtained under their government). Second, moral standards have to be of a prior character. Third, the struggle for raising morality to higher level cannot be single only, but a long and continuous activity that would have to be subordinated to other current affairs. And finally, the struggle for moral values ought to join all people, as the effects that result from failing ethics burden our lives and are a plague of ordinariness.
The author concludes that if any significant changes do not take place in social systems and in conscious educational actions, the process of value degradation is expected to follow and the whole system of values will be still attacked.

Sławomir Czarnecki

Suppression of politics by morality - philosophical anarchism of Robert Paul Wolff
Acceptance of the fact that man is responsible for his activities is a basic assumption of the moral philosophy of R.P. Wolff. If man is responsible for them, there is no duty to submit to the government. As the consequence, there is no politics that, in the author's opinion, is using the authority by the State. Autonomy suppresses authority and analogically morality suppresses politics. (In that sense exactly the author used a phrase ,,suppression of politics by morality".)
Philosophical anarchism can be interpreted - the author tends to such an interpretation - as a radical protest against politics made from moral point of view. It would be an extreme form of moral objection to politics concerning not the actual actions, such as unjust war or unfair taxes, but politics itself and the fact that there is somebody who makes decisions for me, while I do not accept them.
The article ends up with the most general and most risky thesis that philosophical anarchism is an expression of post modernistic consciousness.

Paweł Malendowicz

Trends of social changes in anarchic journalism of the nineties
Within the compass of years the anarchic doctrine passed through an evolution: from anarcho-individualism, anarcho-collectivism and anarcho-communism to libertarianism, anarcho-syndicalism and situationism, which were dominating currents of anarchic idea in the period of social and political transformation in Poland.
The article describes a relation of the anarchistic movement to: democracy, political elites, the Church, army, mass media, ecological problems, globalization, the union of Europe.
As to the latter: anarchistic groups mention three reasons for which they are against accession of Poland to the European Union: first, they are afraid of the lot of the Polish cultural identity subjected to a pressure of both commercial market and Euro bureaucrats; second: in their opinion, integration between Poland and UE may limit democracy; third: integration of the Polish economy with the European one will bring some groups of people a rapid increase of incomes, but at the same time it will lead to increase of unemployment and the crash of large economic branches, such as: metallurgy, mining and agriculture.

Aleksandra Ciżmowska

The Right in the face of the problem of unemployment in Poland
Unemployment is one of the most important social and economic problems in Poland in the time of transformation. It became a large-scale phenomenon in the early nineties, when the authority was taken by the parties of the solidarity and opposition origin. During the last years of the Right's governing the unemployment rate increased again. The article reviews the ideas of counteracting unemployment included into the programs of the rightist and middle-rightist parties playing a significant role in the political life of the country after 1989: the Confederation for Independent Poland, the Christian-Democratic Alliance, the Conservative Peasant Party, the Movement for Poland's Reconstruction, the Union for Freedom, the Union for Real Politics and the political agreement made by the "Solidarity" Action for Election.
As it results from the performed analysis, most parties assumed intervention of the State into the employment market functioning and pointed to an economic increase as the most important direction of the activities in order to limit unemployment. The specificity of the Polish rightist parties in the nineties was creating programs respecting to a large extend leftist solutions in the social sphere, also including unemployment.

Tomasz Kuczur

The process of national and political consciousness formation of Galician peasants versus programs of the peasant parties on the turn of 19th century
The article presents a process of formation of national and political consciousness of Galician peasants and collates its status with a program idea of peasant parties and famous individuals dealing with broadly understood peasant problems.
The relation mentioned in the title of the article emphasizes the importance of evolution of peasants' attitudes and their political representations as the two factors which have a strong mutual effect.
While discussing the process of national and political consciousness of the Galician peasants, the author tried to answer the following questions:

what factors had a decisive effect on national and political consciousness of the Galician peasants in the Austrian sector,

how far did programs of the peasant parties reflect a state of the peasant consciousness and also an interest and needs of the villagers,

what historical events influenced the relation of peasants to the politics and the state formation.

Michał Kosman

A union of Germany or Europe? Postwar dilemmas of the Federal Republic of Germany's foreign policy
The article takes up problems of the German identity and dilemmas related to determining the country's place on the political map of Europe. It reveals a dissonance which raised on the German political scene in the matter of taking a priority: either the united Germany but at the cost of neutralization on the international arena, or the (West) Germany related to Euro-Atlantic and West European structures, but at the cost of the state division. It gave rise to a specific polarization on the political scene of the western occupation sectors, later the Federal Republic of Germany. The SPD with Kurt Schumacher adhered to the first option, and the CDU with Conrad Adenauer to the other one (a profile of the first Chancellor of Germany was wider presented). The victory of the first option settled the question of the FRG's participation in forming the background for the united Europe and in bringing into being the first of the European Communities: the European Coal and Steel Community and trials to create the European Community of Defense. The article also presents how West Europe perceived Germany in the first years of the state division.

Jacek Knopek

Polish interest of North Africa at the beginning of the 20th century
It must be stated that North Africa was best known in the Polish land up to the beginning of the 20th c. Polish individual social classes, similarly to other middle European communities, had different imaginations about the Dark Continent. It is admitted that the more educated and wealthy social class, the better this part of the world was known. Amongst the countries of North Africa, Egypt was the one the knowledge of which reached Poland most often and enjoyed much interest. It could happen due to the fact that Egypt was on the way of Polish peregrinations and travels to the countries of the Middle East and Holy Land. The Poles going to the east side of the Mediterranean Sea also visited this country of pyramids. Knowledge about the other countries of North Africa began to reach Poland at the end of the 1 8th century due to frequent Polish travels to that part of the world. However, our knowledge of the land starts only with the thirties of the 19th century, i.e. when North-West Africa began to be colonized by France and Spain, and when Great Britain started to be interested in Egypt.