Politics is more than the eye can, or would like to see. If you don’t want to get caught in frames of thought, question what is certain. The political landscape in Poland weeks before the 2020 presidential election was full of propaganda, provocation, and pointing fingers. One particular incident resonated across international news stations.
In a TVN24 (Polish central-left news station) interview, one of the representatives of the ruling conservative party – PiS (i.e. Law and Justice) – said that “LGBT aren’t people, they are an ideology.” Representative Zalek was kicked out of the debate at once 1.
The journalist, who apparently felt offended for all the people that Zalek presumably dehumanized, didn’t let the representative explain his stance. Not a day passed before Zalek, along with the rest of PiS, was called out on social media as a homophobe who calls for hate and persecution.
Discussions in comments and outrage on the Left broke out. The Left expressed their outrage in online discussion. I myself took part in one such discussion on Facebook. Young, pissed off liberals started reposting and sharing the story. Had it not been enough, the reelected president Andrzej Duda repeated the words at his latest political rally, claiming that “LGBT is worse than communism,” stirring further backlash on the Left.
Here are my views on the situation from the perspective as a centrist:
Neither representative Zalek nor the reelected Duda expressed their comments as a dehumanizing attack against people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender.
Nevertheless, that is precisely how Leftist youth interpreted their comments. For the left – their statements were a clear call for hateful repression.
Likewise, that’s also what PiS’ electorate understood. To the Right, this statement was also a call for hateful oppression.
Why So Much Confusion?
It seems to me that both sides are wrong. How come so many people have drawn the wrong conclusions? Why are so many of us confused? Short answer – language. If you look at any ideology, religion, mass movement, or a belief, there’s always a clear linguistic distinction between the belief and the believers. Hence, it’s impossible to confuse Christians with Christianity, Marxism with Marxists, nationalism and nationalists, or even activism with activists.
When it comes to LGBT, it means both the movement (LGBT activism based on identity politics) and people – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people.
The distinction between ideas and people should have been openly established at the very beginning of that debate. Similar confusion has recently been stirred in France.
What is the result of this entire sensation?
The Polish government – PiS, their representatives, and President Duda – cannot be accused of homo- or transphobia. At the same time, without getting their definitions straight, it was an inconspicuous call to hate – only fueling trans- and homophobia in Poland.
In his “12 Rules for Life,” Jordan Peterson said:
“If you can’t understand why someone is doing something, look at the consequences of their actions, whatever they might be”
PiS politicians’ narrative only led to further polarization and heated the hatred towards the LGBT community. They deepened the ideological differences between the Left and the Right. They got people talking and screaming in outrage – and that on both sides.
At the same time, their hands are clean. They cannot be accused of dehumanizing, for they criticized ideas (the LGBT movement) and not the people (the LGBT community). One interview lit up the spark, threw the apple of discord between the people, letting them fight each other – leaving the big game (politics) to the big boys (politicians) 2.
LBGT vs LGBT – The Difference Between the Movement and the Community
So now we have a general outlook on the situation and why it was met with such a response. Do I support Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual people? Big time. Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody. I really don’t care who you find attractive or not, it’s your choice and definitely not my business. I would like people to be safe and I am against blind hatred toward anybody. It’s just silly (though this phenomenon is not often voluntary, humans being derivatives of ideas they’ve come across, but I won’t elaborate on the complexity of the human psyche just yet).
Do I support LGBT – the mass movement that has gained momentum recently, comprising activists fighting for equality, and so on, and so on? Hell nah.
Wait, aren’t those two contradictory? Is my enemy’s enemy… also my enemy? In the convolution of the modern sociological and political landscape, we need to keep our minds clear of such simplifications. So why am I not in support of the LGBT movement?
First of all, I’ve grown to be an advocate of individualism. Whatever holy cause you’re fighting for, no matter what political goals you want to achieve – I don’t like the idea of group identity being more important than individual identity. As a former Fridays For Future 3 activist, I know how easy and soothing it is to find consolation and identity in a mass movement. They give you the impression that you matter, that together you can make a change.
And maybe you can. But maybe you should get a grip of yourself before you go out telling people – or entire past generations – what they did wrong. You see, it ain’t easy. You can only notice it once you try to take responsibility for yourself and make your own decisions.
What is more, is that LGBT activists – the most radical of them – play identity politics. They divide humans into the oppressors and the oppressed. Of course, the oppressors possess all the negative traits there are, and are responsible for all the evil in the world; while the oppressed are the noble people who represent all the good in the world.
This doesn’t mean that there are no oppressed and oppressors in the world. There surely are underprivileged people and those who hate, especially as is the case with Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people in Poland. Yet I don’t see it as a way forward to a unified world.
Instead of unifying, such politics can only divide. We’re going back to tribalism, endless conflicts and general struggle. What’s for sure, is that such tactics do a great job for the unification of the mass movement. Among all the factors that can get people together, hate is the strongest one. In his book, “The True Believer: Thoughts on Mass Movements,” Eric Hopper says:
“Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without belief in a devil.”
Another quote comes from Hitler:
“It is impossible to exaggerate the formidable quality of the Jew as an enemy.”
Now, I’m not comparing LGBT to Nazis, but once you learn the basic sociological and psychological motives behind mass movements of all kinds (be it religious, political, or else), you inevitably see patterns and how they all function in a similar way. The tangible enemy is associated with all evil there is, and, according to radicals, it can never be enough. “The True Believer” was written in 1951, and the term identity politics was only coined in 1977.
Still, dividing people is not the game I want to play, which might be a naive claim. 4
The last thing that really does my head in is how the LGBT movement claims to represent Gays, Lesbians, Transgender people, Bisexuals, Queers, Asexuals, and everybody who identifies as the “+”. Let me be clear with this point – LGBT activists have no legitimate claim to represent all the people I just mentioned.
They say they do, they probably even think they do, but they don’t. No activist was chosen in democratic elections by the LGBT community (by that I mean Gays, Lesbians, etc.). The LGBT community has never asked LGBT activists for help. LGBT activists are but self-proclaimed messiahs, all about political correctness, safe spaces, and equality (though only according to their definition).
Before you try to label me as any-phobe, here comes a confession. I’m bisexual. Those of you who know me have probably suspected it for a long time, and it’s the first time I say it to a larger audience. That’s my little coming out, if you wish to call it this way.
I’m bisexual and the LGBT movement doesn’t represent my ideas, interests, or anything else. Period.
It’s a great example of how mass movements look at you through the prism of group identity over individual identity. The fact that I’m bisexual is more important than the fact that I’m David. Both identities are true, it’s about which one’s the foundation of your persona.
We’re living in a world where ideas keep fighting against one another. We should be able to criticize ideas as a part of the public debate in order to progress our civilization. Let the process of changing the system be a peaceful evolution, not a screaming revolution.
The situation for the LGBT community – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people – isn’t too beautiful in Poland.
Will the ruling, conservative government of PiS stop hatred? I doubt it.
Will the LGBT movement stop hatred in their stead? I doubt it.
To my mind, the confusion and news sensation over the “scandal” on live television was a giant misunderstanding. 5 Let’s be able to discuss ideas freely and try to build a better society together without hateful or patronising voices from both sides of the political spectrum.
Or is it too much I’m asking for?
- It took 40 seconds for Zalek to get kicked out by the interviewer.
- By causing further polarisation between the Right and the Left just before the presidential election, PiS clearly saw a political opportunity in deepening the differences between people. While masses where arguing about who said what, politicians could do their jobs at peace while the people kept fighting. Simultaneously, PiS cannot be accused of the hatred that occurred on both sides after the scandal.
- The local, Polish fraction of Fridays for Future is Młodzieżowy Strajk Klimatyczny.
- It most probably is.
- A misunderstanding of words and further ideological fights between people. Was this polarization the desired result of PiS? Possibly, if not probably. Should Zalek have been kicked out of the interview? Maybe the masterminded idea was for Zalek to be kicked out? That certainly puts PiS in the position of a victim – again, with their hands clear of hatred.