Special Reports archive
I still believe in progress
The year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of one of Francis Fukuyama’s most famous works, The End of History and the Last Man, which argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracy may…
How to preserve liberal values when institutions undermine them
Adam Puchejda: For more than 30 years, you have been saying that liberalism is in decline and that liberal institutions are not necessarily serving to advance the ideals of justice and freedom. But when we look…
Hate at “The End of History”
In the 1990s, Fukuyama had the impression that his ideas were better understood in post-communist countries than in the West. This is no longer true. We are now closer to attaining a Western style reality than…
Crime is a crime, the rest is racism
When you heard about the assaults on women in Köln, were you surprised? That’s not the right question. It is not a question of cultural identity or anything like that, it’s a crime. It shouldn’t have…
Does solidarity pay off? 23rd Tischner Debate “Belonging and Identity”
After the terrorist attacks in Paris Europe once against needs to cope with fear of its citizens and questions of how to truly assimilate people of different cultures and religions coming arriving in the Old Continent. In face of deep-rooted prejudices and anxiety is such political integration at all possible?
Europe is a series of crises
Tomasz Sawczuk: After the Ukrainian and Greek crises, we now have the migrant crisis. Europe is becoming divided. John Gray: The big crisis is not economic any more, it’s about migration. And it can only…
The new “industrial revolution”
Will sharing economy force us in the future to become enterpreneurs ready to take various jobs and work 24/7?
Open markets are a fraud
We’re seeing the end of social democracy of the XX century variety. Labour and social democratic parties of the old Swedish, German, Spanish model of social democracy have reached the end.
The end of the world of democracy is near
“Donald Tusk, a really intelligent man, led us on with that line about ‘warm water on tap’, saying it was better than other alternatives”.
Russia: A sick man with a gun
“If Putin decides on his way down that the only way to remain in power is to create a real crisis, he’ll do it”, claims an American journalist and author.
„Democracy, Internet, Transparency” – The 22nd Tischner Debate
Dear Readers! The financial crisis has hit hard on the European morale and caused the democratic states problems that have not been seen in years. Yet, more challenges await us… and there are few real…
Internet and Democracy
Ivan Krastev, Evgeny Morozov, Katarzyna Szymielewicz and Alek Tarkowski discuss major threats the Internet and global technological companies pose to democracy as well as opportunities new technologies present to our public life.
You will have it worse!
The financial crisis is also a crisis of young Europeans. How many young Poles are concerned with the problems of unemployment and lack of perspectives? And how to help them? Katarzyna Kasia, Jacek Męcina, Piotr Szumlewicz, Joanna Tyrowicz and Karolina Wigura discussed these issues at “Kultura Liberalna”.
A new or an old war? Secular state and faithful believers
Dear Readers, the story happened in Kielce. A clerk from the local magistrate’s office has converted to Islam. She started to wear a scarf covering her hair, and long, dark skirts. Troubles came step by…
We should not fear political emotions
We can ban the veil but we cannot ban the emotions it symbolises. And the fear of political emotions might be the cause of the European project’s crisis
Covering up – a new form of exhibitionism?
Does the burqa ban amount to discrimination? According to French Islamic Studies scholar Oliver Roy, not at all. Wearing the burqa, Roy argues, is an individual decision, made by a small group of well-educated and by no means submissive women. That the ban threatens multiculturalism as an European project, he says, is an equally misguided assertion.
Are religious women a threat to democracy? Martha Nussbaum argues with Alain Finkielkraut
Dear Readers, Empty churches, civil unions, apostasy on a massive scale- we have lived with a strong conviction that the West will inevitably secularize. Today, such an argument raises many doubts….
Liberalism needs love
American political philosopher explains why in her view a ban on wearing burqas is a sign of islamophobia, how can we address the question of violence against women and why she believes a man has an inherent tendency towards evil.
Do not trust economists!
Czech economist and bestselling author talks on the causes of the financial crisis, weaknesses of modern economics and on what vampires and zombies have to do with the free market.
Toying with nationalism
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is dominated by imperial rather than ethnic nationalism, according to our expert in Russian politics. If in the language used by the ruling elite we come across a certain type of syncretism, this is because the said rulers, having abandoned European ways of communicating, are looking for a new narration, and in doing so borrow from the likes of the far-right Dugin and the anti-semitic Kiselyov.
Nationalism – a master key to open all doors?
Fears of Ukrainian nationalism and of Russian imperialism have some historical grounding. But, as in all fears, these two contain traces of insecurity, delusion and only partly formulated arguments about national security being threatened.
We need to challenge Putin’s propaganda
On the initiative of professor Timothy Snyder (Yale University, IWM) and Leon Wieseltier (“The New Republic”) a conference “Ukraine: Thinking Together” will be held in Kiev from 16th May to 19th May. Before it begins we ask prof. Snyder to briefly explain the idea and aim of the meeting.
Svoboda’s swan song
Viktor Yanukovych’s fall from power means Svoboda has lost its most important means of negatively influencing voters, while also still lacking any tools of motivating them positively. The national colours of Ukraine were also the colours of the revolution – its society today, however, displays civic-republican rather than nationalistic tendencies.
Church and paedophilia
Dear Readers, A sad scandal connected with the suspicions of paedophilia that fell recently on Polish clergymen has been decisively addressed by Bishop Wojciech Polak. The Secretary General of the Polish…
A back-to-reality lesson
Paedophilia is not a problem of the community of the faithful. The Polish Church has a problem with its hierarchs. The contrast between bishops’ expectations and their attempts to cover up their own sins makes us increasingly bewildered by the current situation of the Church.
The last chance
We should condemn those who view the Church as a corporate institution which should fiercely defend itself from attacks from the outside and protect its employees. The Church is represented also by people harmed by priests. Priests who disgrace the Church. Pope Francis, while keeping the earthly deposit of the Church’s faith intact, shows us the way.
The cracked world of a Catholic
The loss of trust means that the Church’s prestige has to increasingly rest on some other foundation. In the case of the Polish Church, this new foothold is… fear. It is precisely this loss of authority that explains the increasing ease with which this usually gentle institution passes verdicts of guilty against people who reject its recommendations. When the ground is slipping from beneath your foot, you plant the other foot more firmly.
Social consequences of priestly paedophilia
Priests in Poland (and abroad) who commit a sin of paedophilia become perpetrators of the greatest evil. Obviously, some priests have lovers, drink to excess and do many other indecent things, which, as reprehensible as they are, cannot be compared to child abuse.
When the sacred touches the profane
Is it enough to wear sackcloth and ashes and say “sorry” to absolve oneself of the blame for harm done to the youngest believers? I do not think so.
The most important elections in Europe
Dear Readers, Is it possible for the elections to the Bundestag to be more important than those to the European Parliament? It seems quite true, indeed: hardly anything over the last few weeks has caused quite…
The reluctant leader
Faced with the Euro crisis, it was Angela Merkel that has set the policy for Europe. It is still too early to say if the austerity policies she has insisted upon for highly indebted countries will work. But at least in this area, she has accepted a leadership role. However, leadership is sorely needed in foreign and security policy, too. Europe needs to think and act strategically in order to help stabilize and democratize its eastern and southern neighborhoods. The same goes for building a new…
The Merkel Era and what next?
The almost certain electoral success of Angela Merkel in the elections to the Bundestag on September 22 will be a confirmation of the exceptional symbiosis binding the chancellor, who has been holding power for the last eight years, and the German society. Probably no German chancellor since the time of Willy Brandt had such a good understanding of social sentiment and none stood so well for the zeitgeist of the political époque.
Finance and remembrance
When the financial crisis arrived on the Old Continent from the United States, it turned out that Berlin was the only capital that managed best to cope with it and that it slowly began to take over the initiative in the EU. Germany’s growing domination conjured up the ghosts of the past. There is nothing more convincing than the current crisis that economic policy must be accompanied by a more efficient policy of remembrance.
Merkel’s policies show a paralysing presentism
Claus Leggewie talks to Jakub Stańczyk on the German society’s state of mind before the coming election, the Chancellor in office, and the energy policy in a European dimension.
A pedagogy of crisis
Today’s contradicting expectations from Germany and extreme opinions come as a confirmation of a special status of this country in Europe. The present German Kanzlerin reassures us about her pro-European instincts but also about her resolute defence of the German interests. Disappearance of the reason for which the decision to restructure the Euro Zone has been postponed, and reappearance of a tempestuous discussion on subsequent aid packages will be the major effects of Germany’s coming…
To what extent does this year’s campaign tell us something about our neighbor’s political class and society?
The 21st Century. A World Without The Left?
Dear Readers, Theoretically, now is the time for the left. The revival of political extremisms, the euro zone crisis, immigration and new inequalities – the list of challenges which European politicians are…
Future for the left?
Adam Puchejda talks to Zygmunt Bauman
Leftist ideals are still alive
A left that is not rooted in social movements – old, new, yet to be born – would not be anything more than “une gauche caviar”.
Revival of the left!
Marcel Gauchet talks to Adam Puchejda
The left is distorted
After five years of Hollande’s presidency, France is to be confronted with the situation that Front National will become one of the main actors on the French political scene and its chairwoman, Marine Le Pen, will qualify for the second round of presidential elections, scoring better than her father.
Liberty, climate, electricity!
Ladies and Gentlemen! Already in the 1970s, the Polish United Workers Party leadership dreamed of energy might. In the era of General Jaruzelski’s junta, the construction of a nuclear power plant at…
A battle over electricity
Claudia Kemfert talks to Kacper Szulecki about the German energy turnaround.
Energy revolution and counter-revolution
Poland does not seek an understanding and dialogue with Germany on energy policy, does not want to use the neighbor’s experience, and does not seek compromise.
Energiewende consumer – a slave
transformation of the German energy consumers into prosumers. Independent energy producers were to cater for themselves and sell the surplus to the public network. The need for becoming independent from the depleting and ever more expensive fossil fuels was being emphasized, along with the energy empowerment of the German citizens. Today those ideals have been completely betrayed in Germany.
Energy revolution, Švejk-style
Make no mistake, we will not let the pesky Germans spoil us with their solar sorcery. And if you want to know the culprit, look no further than the Sun.
Civil partnerships and democracy
Dear Readers, A radio broadcast conducted by Alain Finkielkraut, whose programme is usually quite placid , was recently the scene of a heated debate between guests. A Catholic columnist was in vigorous…
Łukasz Pawłowski interviews Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, an MP from the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO), former Minister of Labour and Social Policy
The Church protects its foundations
The Church will protect marriage and family for more than the usual reasons. However, it has begun to notice that the direction of unwelcome changes may be reversed only by grass-roots actions aiming to transform individuals, and not by bringing out another big political or cultural gun.
The notion of state ideological neutrality is empty
On the one hand, the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) was split on the issue, on the other there appeared a movement comprising the Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD) and the Palikot’s Movement (Ruch Palikota) which questions the traditional way of thinking – explains Paweł Śpiewak in an interview conducted by Tomasz Sawczuk.
I prefer reactivation to revolution
(Weakened) democracy votes today on changing its (weakened) foundations, like marriage. You do not have to be an engineer to understand that such revolutionary construction methods are very risky.
Debate for the sake of sovereignty
In the case of civil partnerships we have to stress the issue of sovereignty of the state and regulation of social relations – ones that benefit society, the people and even the common good. This, however, requires a serious discussion even with the alleged “threat to family” by the civil partnerships.
The Magic of Constitutional Marriage
Following the strike-down of three civil partnership bills by Polish deputies, the President suggested abandoning the idea of a new civil partnerships act and pursuing instead amendment of existing acts.
Make iPads, not bullets. Interview with Ivan Krastev
Dear Readers, the financial crisis has dealt a devastating blow to the morale of Europeans, democratic countries are facing their biggest crisis in years, and all the while our statesmen are nowhere to be…
Where is Polish multiculturalism?
Dear Readers, A short bus ride or some time sitting in a café is all it takes to discover that visions of a multicultural Poland are not yet supported by reality. Cultural diversity is still something that is…
Where is Polish multiculturalism? [Reportage]
A Vietnamese man: Mickewicz helped me quit smoking Thirteen days. That is how long it took me to get to Poland for the first time. I was travelling by train through China, Siberia and Russia. In 1964 the…
The Most Important Election in the World
Ladies and Gentlemen! Americans elect their president, but even a few hours before the election no one knows who of the two candidates will emerge victorious. “America deserves someone better than Obama, but…
Change is a „right” thing now
Barack Obama won re-election, his party managed to hold the Senate, and the House of Representatives is still – exactly as before the elections – dominated by the Republicans hostile to presidential administration. Nothing has changed? By no means, potential changes are more than plenty, but the most important one concerns the American right.
Obama, Romney, India
If one were to judge by the campaign debate on foreign policy between President Obama and Governor Romney held a few weeks ago, there is very little to separate the two candidates when it comes to U.S. international policy.
Obama won’t win. But don’t worry, Romney will lose
Political scientist Benjamin Barber in an interview with Łukasz Pawłowski on the American presidential election, future of the Tea Party and Mitt Romney’s uniqueness.
Pragmatic Obama and unpredictable Romney
Martin Wolf, chief economic correspondent at the Financial Times, on the impact of the presidential election on American economy, disappointment with Obama’s stimulus and irresponsibility of Mitt Romney’s proposals.
Romney alike Obama, Obama alike Bush
American journalist and author, Anne Applebaum, on U.S. foreign policy, differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and the limits of presidential power.
A democracy, the Democracy or liberal democracy?
An interview with Jeffrey C. Isaac, Professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington and editor-in-chief of “Perspectives on Politics”, a journal of the American Political Science Association.
Viktor Orbán: dismantling democracy
Few years ago we feared that the IV Polish Republic would become indivisibly prevalent. The process of a creeping revolution, of slow and gradual changes was restrained by the Constitutional Tribunal and its renown verdict concerning the case of the vetting act. It had only been later a downward path for Jaroslaw Kaczynski‘s party followed by the elections in September 2007 and the take over by the Civic Platform.
While most Hungarians were thinking only about dressing the tree and buying the final Christmas presents, Viktor Orbán’s government kept busy. Despite the opposition’s protests, the day before Christmas Eve the Hungarian parliament passed a package of rather controversial laws.
Attempt on democracy
The Hungarian Presidency in the EU Council in the first half of 2011 began with a discussion on the new media act.
Something worse than a dictatorship: Viktatorship
Viktor Orbán makes a point of calling the landslide victory of Fidesz in the April 2010 elections a “revolution at the ballot box.” This expression bears an uncanny resemblance to the political discourse of 1989 in Central Europe and is probably the last trace of political genealogy of Orbán, who started as a liberal within the ranks of the Hungarian democratic opposition during late Socialism.
What’s that thing called democracy?
Dear Readers, Year 2011 was a year of protests organized in the name of “people’s power”. Demonstrations sweeping through North Africa, Europe, the United States, and at the end of the year Russia,…
Sometimes to progress means to stop, to pull the emergency brake
An interview with Professor Susan Buck-Morss, philosopher at the City University of New York
Democracy as a learning process
An interview with Carl Gershman, the President of the National Endowment for Democracy
Revolutionaries without borders
An interview with Srdja Popovic, Serbian democratic activist, recognized by “Foreign Policy” magazine as one of the top 10 intellectuals in the world in 2011
Decapitating a many-headed Hydra: how to finish a revolution?
A call for papers was recently announced by Harvard University with a slick question as the topic for the conference: “How to finish a revolution?” This question is posed at the end of a year in which many unfinished revolutions took place: mass protests, occupations, and rallies, turning one after another into media events. 2011 unfolded according to seasons of protests: the Arab Spring was followed by a European Summer (which honestly should not be limited to Europe—recall the protests…
Polish presidency, or how to explain Europe to the Europeans?
Dear Readers, “Kultura Liberalna” is proud to present you with the first Anglo-Polish issue of our magazine, devoted to the Polish presidency in the European Union. Although it has already been three weeks…
The power of limited ambitions
We should not have excessive expectations of the impact Polish presidency will have over the European Union during the next six months. Due to the reform introduced by the Lisbon Treaty the role of the country presiding in the Council of the European Union has been largely diminished and one has to bear in mind that the scope for action is nowadays quite limited.
Explaining Europe to the Europeans
During a conference organized five years ago in London to celebrate Europe Day one of the major issues raised by Austrian ambassador to the United Kingdom (Austria was at that time president of the EU) was… the lack of jokes on European Union. At the time being, only British historian, Timothy Garton Ash, replied with the one-liner: “If the EU applied to join the EU it would not be admitted”. Over the next few years this became more of a reality than anecdote and I am pretty sure that…
There will be no breakthrough – but is it bad?
In the Polish presidency the more important part is “Polish” rather than “presidency”, because, first of all, this is no longer a position that would give its holder real power and secondly the circumstances in which we take over it are not favourable. The crisis in the eurozone means that our influence on one of the most important issues of the day is limited and – what is no less important – it undermines all the ideas for spending European money which threatens many initiatives…
Governmental and civil dimensions of the European politics
Presidency in the European Union as specified in European treatises is a part of all-European and transnational politics. This neologism in the political language clearly emphasizes the uniqueness of the European political system. Its “hybridism” makes the European Union something less than federation but more than a mere coalition of states.