Jamie told me my titles need to be more in tune with the subject of the post, less esoteric, punchier, but in this case I’m going slightly off piste as the subject of the post is really about those discussions you can have face to face that you simply cannot have in text on a place like this.
It’s driven by a lunchtime conversation with two Poles where at the end of a lengthy debate about racism I was being somewhat provocative and definitely way beyond the boundaries of text based communication. The different reactions were quite noticeable with one engaging in what is a very theoretical debate with gusto and the other closing up like a barnacle clinging to rock on a stormy day.
The gist of the discussion, troll – call it what you like, was to wonder whether the relatively few years (historically speaking) that Poland suffered under communism were actually a reasonable price to pay for the removal of extreme Jewish influence in the country and the expansion of Poland’s borders to include more prime, well developed (albeit with German taste) real estate to the West and North. If Poland were a person and if that person had been asked in 1939 –
“Look, we can promise you the following – ethnically cleanse the country leaving everything owned and managed by 99.9% white Polish Catholics, give you stability and security for the foreseeable future thereafter, membership of the EU, NATO and all that good stuff, inward investment you never dreamt of, borders like this [shows map of present day Poland] and all of this with zero blame apportioned to you whatsoever, in fact most people will sympathise with you. The only price you pay (beyond the usual ravages of war) is 45 years or so of communism, although I might add that communism itself might well bring opportunities to many, although definitely not all. Dirt cheap apartments and businesses when it all ends, for example.”
What would that person have said – if in private, behind closed doors, with nobody listening and no way for the answer to be brought up as evidence later on? Is the angel or the devil going to win that one?
Like I said, these are things that can only be discussed face to face because then the other people can see how this is an intellectual exercise, a little brain-jogging and not the rantings of a crazed bigot, racist, unfeeling swine. To have the same discussion in here one would need an list of footnotes as long as your arm: the author does not condone war or ethnic cleansing of any kind, the author does not think communism was a good thing, the author etc etc blah bloody blah….because nobody really KNOWS the author so they’ll all jump straight into the basket of wrong conclusions.
I wonder if there will come a time when you can have deeper discussions online without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time positioning yourself?
Bring on the flames!