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Conservatism Roger Scruton UK Commentary

Polish conservatism lacks a viewpoint on culture: opinion

Thoughts on Polish and British conservatism after the death of Sir Roger Scruton

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Marek A. Cichocki

There is a conviction on the Polish right about fostering deeper connections with British conservatism, but the famed British conservative thought leader Sir Roger Scruton shows that this connection may not actually be simple or straightforward.

In reality, it should be rather obvious that it is impossible to draw a straight analogy between conservatism in Poland and in Britain.

Yet, for the right in Poland, for some reason there is a particular kind of emotional connection to the idea of a shared vision between Polish and British conservatism and a thought of a deeper alliance of the two in Europe.

A very clear and political sign of this was the establishment of cooperation in the European Parliament between British Conservatives and Law and Justice (PiS) as part of the European Conservatives and Reformists.

The numerous reactions in Poland the recent passing of Scruton, known a conservative giant in both Great Britain and across Europe, are further proof of the existence of a conviction in the Polish right about a deeper emotional bond with British conservatism.

Scruton show that connection between the Polish right and British conservatism is not so clear and it has a lot to do with culture.

Scruton represented everything that began to strongly characterize political conservatism in the UK since the time of Cameron: the rising skepticism towards the direction of EU integration, the abandoning of Thatcherism and more broadly, neoliberal dogmas, in favor of earlier traditions of a socially responsible economy, and finally, the struggle against the cultural and anthropological consequences of the left-wing revolution in Europe.

It is that last area, paradoxically, which seems to be the most problematic for the supposedly imagined symbiosis of Polish and British conservatives.

Scruton represented the great tradition of European conservatism dating as far back as the time of Romanticism. As a witness himself to the events of May 1968 in Paris, he understood that the true battleground at the front line for the future of the West will not be economics or politics, but rather culture.

This is because culture is a way of expressing our humanity and our approach to the world. Culture is created by everything we partake in and everything we believe: our customs, our pleasures, what we learn and how we learn it, what our approach to the natural world is, and how we imagine and develop the public space in which we live together.

From this viewpoint, a human is simply culture, which is why we must never end our quest to both understand culture and empower it in our own societies.

It is the lack of this point of view, however, that seems to be one of the largest shortcomings of Polish right-wing thought, which is mostly concentrated currently on one thing – claiming and maintaining power as a value in and of itself.