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Poland Should Get Out of Marxist Istanbul Agreement

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By Thursday, 30 July 2020 10:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The New York Times has just gone ballistic because Poland wants to withdraw from the so-called Istanbul Convention, which is allegedly designed to protect women from aggression, in particular domestic violence. The nightmare of Stanley Kowalski's wife beating habits will transcend the fictional A Street Car Named Desire to afflict the anti-hero's ancestral homeland.

Now for some facts. About a week ago the ruling Law and Justice Party's junior coalition partner, Poland in Solidarity (Solidarna Polska — SP), suddenly proposed to commence a review process to consider withdrawing Poland from the Istanbul Convention. The proposal carries some weight because SP's leader, Zbigniew Ziobro, happens to be the Minister of Justice. However, his senior coalition partners are both surprised and rather tepid about the idea. It is by no means certain that the proposed motion will survive its reading in the parliament. Without the support of the rest of the coalition, Ziobro clearly lacks the votes. From this point of view alone, the hysteria stoked by the New York Times is unwarranted.

Suppose that Warsaw does reject the treaty. What then? As far as violence against women, Poland has consistently scored as the least offending nation in the European Union. Blame it on the country's long tradition of chivalry and its Catholicism. Once a kid learns to get down on his knees before the Virgin Mary, he usually does not have problems with women in position of authority. Even less is he inclined to hit women. At least until recently, everyone was taught to be ladies and gentlemen.

Why do Polish conservatives and libertarians not like the Istanbul Convention? For the very same reasons their American counterparts can't stand it. It strives to substitute natural rights with positive rights. Human rights expert Aaron Rhodes differentiates between natural rights that transcend politics, on one hand, and social and economic "rights," which are entitlements implemented through politics, on the other hand. The Istanbul Convention is an egregious example of the latter.

The entitlements enshrined in the Convention originate straight from gender and feminist studies in American universities. The document vows to struggle against the patriarchate and male domination. In this cultural Marxist manifesto, sex conflict substitutes for the old class struggle.

Its stultifying language celebrates "gender" as an alleged choice and a "human right" and gives short shrift to nature, relegating biological sex to insignificance. Thus, the document is an ideological and propaganda statement of radicals who, having failed to push their fantasies through democratically in the American system, take them abroad at the expense of U.S. taxpayers to inflict them on the international community through the United Nations and other outfits and NGOs.

The Convention further violates basic traditions of Western legal systems, starting with the Roman law. Namely, it rejects equality before law. It privileges women by singling them out as sole victims; it ignores the facts that men can also be victims of domestic battery. Don't transgendered folks also get beaten up at home sometimes? What about same sex couples? A few years ago I read an ad on a New York subway admonishing lesbians to seek help against their abusive partners. The Istanbul folks must drive limos to work for they missed that one. They also had to be asleep in their law classes: equality before law is the cornerstone of our civilization.

At the same time, in a convoluted way, its champions claim that the Convention introduces equality of men and women before law. Perhaps it is a sound postulate for Muslim countries, but equality before law already exists in Poland.

There is a golden rule that one should not create laws to duplicate already existing laws. Where does it say in the Polish legal system that anyone is permitted to beat a fellow human being? There is no such thing, and, similarly, nothing like this exists in American law. Why did we feel compelled to create such duplicate laws in the US? Many Poles believe they don't need them in their country.

Further, the Convention assumes guilt without proof. An accusation of violence against women suffices. Next, this paves the way to dispense with the right of the accused to a hearing and any other participation in the legal process, making it possible to sentence him without any possibility of defense.

This sounds eerily creepy to anyone familiar with the battles of Education Secretary Betsy de Vos against the rape crisis kangaroo courts in U.S. universities. The leftist administration and professoriate essentially stole the process from our legal establishment. Nothing like that could stand for a second in an American court of law. Is anyone surprised the Poles don't want to turn their legal system into a farce? Never mind they have had to deal with leftover post-Communist judges and their clones. Now it is the gender legal brigade to mess things up even more.

Last but not least, there is this little problem of freedom of speech. The Convention vows to erase "stereotypical male and female roles," i.e., I suppose traditional roles. So, upon their erasure, will a woman not have a choice to be a mother and wife maintaining the household and raising the children anymore? And who decides what stereotypes are and what they should be replaced with? A gender politburo at an American university in a secret session? What if someone would like to argue for an alternative? Will that be verboten? The Convention clearly is a ticket to setting up Orwellian thought crime tribunals.

Take a deep breath. It would be good for Poland to get out of the Istanbul Convention. However, the moderate populist Law and Justice government is not like its tough Hungarian counterpart. The Polish party is mostly bark, and little bite. I'll be surprised if they really follow through with abandoning the treaty.

Thank God that the United States never signed this instrument. The New York Times still can't get over it. But it always can kick Poland with impunity.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports – More Here.

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In this cultural Marxist manifesto, sex conflict substitutes for the old class struggle.
istanbul convention, poland
Thursday, 30 July 2020 10:37 AM
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