Tag Archives: Owsiak

Polish Lie #01: Our Money is Moral

DISCLAIMER. The reason behind POLISH LIES is to give food for thought. Not fuel for flamewars. (When you’ll throw down the gauntlet, I may, reluctantly, pick it up.) Other members of this blog may not share my understanding of what POLISH LIES are. This episode says about Poles for we’re in Poland. But it could be written about many other nations of liars.

I am probably one of the few in Poland who never donated anymuch to Owsiak’ Orchestra.


Well, I could argue it’s not Owsiak with his levee en masse to cover some gaps in the health system. I pay taxes for the system, why should I pay more? Paying through another channel is through the nose. The similar logic (which, a steadfast dog hater, I only heard of) – would be in use by dog owners. They say one of the reasons they don’t collect their pets’ droppings is that they (humans) pay the relevant tax. The money should include remuneration for cleaning persons to go and remove doggie deeds done dirt cheap.

I could argue that since I see canine feces many a time within the Polish landscape, spoiling my joy about receding snows for instance, there’s something faulty in the system. The dog tax needs be higher, probably. Likewise, I could argue: if there is not enough money for ambulances or medical equipment, it’s not Owsiak to gather up volunteers but it’s time our healthcare taxes went higher.

I could argue I refuse the widow’s mite idea. It’s my strong belief that it’s not every penny that counts. It’s pound that counts. Better make it a tenner. Or a thousand, while at it. To donate peanuts is beneath my common sense of effectiveness. To donate lots is beyond my common sense of fairness.

Furthermore I could argue that (throughout 15 years) not helping Owsiak had become a Polish stigma, overt or covert, a local variety of the scarlet letter, only that A would not stand for adulterer but for anti-social. Intentionally or not, people with no red stickers of charity upon them get odiumised. (Yes, there is a problem with the red colour, definitely. I read my Crane, so am not ashamed I don’t have wounds, of a too open heart.)

I could argue that whenever any system tells me to do any thing – I’m likely to oppose. And so on.


Instead I say:

I would be either in the sticks, or in another place where going out was not required on Owsiak Sundays since 1993. (No, I’m not a churchgoer, sorry.) I wasn’t going out – and no Owsiak delegate ever knocked on my door. Simple.

No. Not simple at all.

For I am also one of the few in Poland who will refrain from donating that 1% off my tax to any charity. And I will be one — even when handling the thing should get user-friendlier, friendlier, friendliest. The arguments are similar:

= It’s a mite, too little to matter.
= If charity organisations do some of state’s work for the state, I take it as a sign to pay more taxes, not to be charitable.

Yeah, I know what some say. Due to the state’s red tape, inertia, stupidity, inadequacies – those charity orgs are more efficient. Well, I could buy that, but react from the other side: remove as much of the state as possible. I’m going to pay Owsiak if he replaces some ministers, not when he accompanies them. If there is 1% of efficiently spent taxes and 99% of taxes spent less efficiently – my primary concern is about 99. (Know your place, number 1.)

Generally, I don’t care. And can tell you why. I don’t care because I found out I can’t follow these:

STEP 1. Show some heart (or equivalent) to your card. Throw away a heartless (or equivalentless) card.

With or Without You

STEP 2 Minimum. Never spend money on anything that anyhow did any harm to anyone.
Example: Never take aspirin from Bayer.
Example: Never listen to Marilyn Monroe (singing about her best friends).

STEP 3 Optimum. Never make evil grow richer.
Example: Don’t go to Rwanda, for a biz trip or pleasure. Wait, that’s easy. Yugoslavia may be harder? Never buy anything “made in China”. Never visit Russia. Or Japan. Or USA. Or UK. Or Australia. Anywhere, practically. Poland? — If you’re already there, repent (see below).

STEP 4. Liquidate all your investments and put all in an ethical fund.

STEP 5. But why should you have any free investment money available? If you have more than the poorest man on Earth, there is no ethical balance. Sell all your belongings, give them to the poorer — and turn Buddhist. Better yet, kill yourself.


People usually stop at Step 1. (Been there, done that.) They donate money not to make the world better but to make themselves look better, outwardly or in conscience. They throw small coins to jingle in charity boxes and they feel better. They throw dimes to Gypsy beggars and they feel better. They let some boy earn a bit when he attacks their fancy cars’ windshields with a sponge or a mop and they feel better. Cheap tricks to bypass their conscience.


[If I am to be a hypocrite, I am going to be a forthright one, visor up, John Blunt, point blank, straight up, up yours, Sunday moralisers. How about you?]




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I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon!

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