A STATE AND A CONSCIENCE

If a state is to really serve its citizens, it must have a conscience. It should not be bluntly ruthless. Nor should it be subdued by any political party, religious sect or raging fanatics. The only true soul and conscience of a state can be and is the law.

Not any religion, if we want to avoid the threats of fundamentalism or inquisition-type pressures. Not any ideology, if we want to avoid the distortions brought about by changing ideologies, starting from Fascism and Nazism, to Stalinism or to the contemporary nationalist populisms in the form realized by Viktor Orbán in Hungary or Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland.

That is why the careful, well-thought-out, conciliatory establishing of the law is so important. The law should not be established in the conditions of a coup d’état, just because some deputy-dictator has a sick whim. The foundations of the law should not be changed in the mode of a Bolshevik revolution, even if such a revolution uses slogans about the independence of the nation. If the nation is tired of the judicial system or angry with its low effectiveness or its lack of transparency, then the nation should make the effort to reform it, but in doing so it should work together with the environment of judges and with all the representatives of the democratically elected political parties. A reform is an effort to search for the optimum solution. The subordinating of judges to politicians and to a minister means turning the system upside down, which in the Free World is called exactly a coup d’état. Only idiots may treat seriously the arguments about the need for limiting the independence of the courts because the judges were born or worked in the period of the Polish People’s Republic, i.e. at the time of the communist rule in Poland. And we should also remember that if the nation does not understand the principle of the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as the foundation of democracy, then it is high time it was taught about it and it is high time it wanted to learn about that principle itself. Then it will become a rational participant in democracy.

In order for the democracy to be alive, to be practised and to serve the citizens, the independence of the judicial system is crucial and fundamental. Starting from the ordinary courts and the conditions of appointing judges, to the complete guarantees of the independence of the Supreme Court in all its tasks and activities.

The law does not only mean well-established regulations. The law also means the correct functioning of the courts and the independence of the actions of judges. The essence of the law as the conscience of the nation is the independence of the judicial system. The complete independence of the Supreme Court.

If the political party Law and Justice (Polish: PiS) does what it set out in the “Act on the National Council of the Judiciary” and what it announced that it would be included in the “Act on the Supreme Court”, then it will mean that the said party will destroy the wise connection between the state and its conscience, i.e. between the state and the law. And a country without a conscience in the form of the law is a country of the state of emergency.

A country of the state of emergency is a country in which a citizen is not protected against the errors and the oppression of the state. A country of the state of emergency is a country in which the solutions are imposed and the democracy is limited, just to mention, for instance, the restrictions on the independence of the activity of civil organizations, which PiS demonstrated also last Wednesday, which we may call Black Wednesday for the Polish democracy. A country of the state of emergency means the monopoly of authority, the threat of the lack of elections or the threat of the election results being rigged. A country of the state of emergency is a country not fitting the democratic European family which respects the basic common values not because it is forced to, but out of its own free will.

There is only one way out: universal civil disobedience and solidarity in that disagreement, protest, fight.

Michał Boni
13 July 2017
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