Even liberals don’t believe in liberal democracy anymore

The liberal opposition marched "in defense of liberal democracy" on many occassions. Now they are in power, they have forgotten what they so recently preached.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

For eight years of the Conservative (PiS) government, the Liberals kept calling Poland an “illiberal democracy.” A plethora of experts, commentators and celebrities kept on saying that Jarosław Kaczyński and his party were destroying liberal democracy and creating an authoritarian state. 

They argued that when the West took the democratic road, it encountered the problem of democracy being seized by potentially irresponsible demagogues who, like Hitler, would destroy it. Liberal democracy was to guard against that by creating a range of safeguards such as independent media; the courts; and a division of powers between the government, head of state, and the legislature.

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Constitutional norms would ensure that government was carried out on the basis of laws rather than decrees or resolutions. It was all to ensure that autocracy would be avoided at all costs.

There were those who doubted the sincerity of the Liberals, feeling that they were using the idea of liberal democracy as a stick to beat their opponents with and to induce a moral panic among voters that would return the Liberals to power. 

In fact, since forming a majority, albeit not one big enough to change the constitution or even overturn the presidential veto, the Liberals have changed their tune. They are doing exactly the opposite of what they had professed to believe in.

Suddenly, a democratically elected president is no guardian of the constitution but a provocative, unnecessary blocker they must simply ignore or evade. In addition, ministers who change the law by resolutions or administrative decrees are not abusing democracy but enhancing it, because surely he who has the majority can do what they like without any restraint or safeguards. 

This is not just hypocrisy. It is in essence a departure from the very liberal democracy that was to protect us from the drift toward authoritarianism. This radical departure is the work of the Liberals.

There is now no indication whatsoever that they will be deterred from going further along this path. 

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