THE victory of Law and Justice Party incumbent Andrzej Duda in Poland’s presidential election on Sunday was the best news of the month and, politically, the best news of the year (so far). There is no country and no culture in the world today that the extremist left is so eager to overwhelm, ideologically and spiritually, as Poland. Not even America tantalises them more. The great survivor of the twin monsters of Nazism and communism, cradle of Pope John Paul II – sainted scourge of moral relativism – and defiant still against the encroachments of the Anglophone world’s post-Christian barbarism, it is a beacon for the faithful and secularist conservatives alike. But how long can it stand? Yes, President Duda won but only just: his majority was 51.2 percent. His opponent, Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, was the preferred candidate of Brussels and the far left parties of Germany and Slovakia, all of which see Duda’s agenda – especially “controversial” reforms of the judiciary and continued opposition to aborton on demand – as “far right.” The President’s dismissal of gay “rights” during the campaign as a foreign “ideology” more destructive than communism enraged all of the usual Yankee wannabes – not least because it resonated with a majority of Poles as undeniable.
There was a time – from the mid-fifth century – when Ireland is said to have salvaged the patrimony of the ancient world, even as the Germanic hordes laid waste to its written treasures as quickly as St Patrick’s monks transcribed and shelved them for posterity. For many Christians – Orange or Green – Ireland continued to be both hold-out and cultural archive for how a Western country should constitute itself until very recently. It took about 1500 years for the barbarians to sack it as they once sacked Rome. True, sackings now are gentler affairs but that’s only because there are so few loyalists on the watchtowers. The Apostle of Ireland’s episcopal descendants played a treacherous role from the inside, of course. This week’s news from Second Rome of the Hagia Sophia’s re-conversion to a mosque is a horrible reminder from 1453 that venality and pride – or “filth,” to use Pope Benedict XVI’s word for church corruption – are termites in the buttresses of a Christian society. Strangely, for the West’s remaining Spartans Poland in the East is now the inspiration that Ireland used to be. So Andrzej Duda’s re-election is a big deal.
The first thing the President did after claiming victory was visit Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, home to Poland’s most revered icon. To Poles, the Black Madonna is more than an ancient art-work or mere symbol of national survival. Under this title, Mary was crowned Queen and Protectress of Poland in the 1600s; by then the wax tempera image was already centuries old and beloved. The scars on the Madonna’s cheek are slash marks inflicted by a swordsman during the failed Hussite siege of Częstochowa in 1430. The Hussites were puritanical extremists who policed their own number and those they sought to dominate with a dogmatic zeal very much akin to today’s cancel culture. As this comparable act of vandalism in Boston last week demonstrates, the siege goes on. Donald Trump, who made his own symbolic visitation to a Polish icon in June, has welcomed news of President Duda’s triumph. Militancy loves company as much as misery.
I’ve argued that Poland is more crucial for civilisation than America; that is a judgment based not on what the US is capable of but on how far gone I now consider it to be. A Duda-esque re-election for President Trump in November will be a devastating blow to the burners and the slashers but without a culturally all-encompassing repudiation of their enablers – I mean a years-long extermination of their lies – it won’t matter as much as it should. Ominously, Thomas Sowell told Mark Levin this week that if Joe Biden and his terrorist backers win the presidency this year, it will be “the point of no return” for his country. If history teaches us anything – from the disintegration of the Roman Empire to the fall of Constantinople and the destruction of Christian Ireland – it’s this: the possibility of civilisational collapse is real and its onset will be sudden.