Speech of the President during the award ceremony of Roger Scruton


Dear Mr. Speaker,
Dear Madam President,
Ladies and gentlemen, Ministers,
but above all, Dear Professor, our distinguished guest,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am delighted that I could today honour Mr. Professor with the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on a day that has a special dimension in the Republic today. Exactly 30 years ago, the first semi-free elections to the Sejm, the free elections to the Senate were held in Poland, but first and foremost - by breaking the current communist regime - the march of Poles to freedom took place.

I am saying this because in 1979, the Professor wrote an essay - obviously in Great Britain - which was entitled "What is conservatism?". Professor - an outstanding British philosopher and certainly one of the world's greatest thinkers - he presented there his prescription on how the policy should be implemented and what we aspire to.

You wrote about the necessity of moving away from ideology towards an idea understood as something that arises from the life and history of the nation, society and the state. In short: I think that it is best to sum it up to what is also my great idea, which accompanies me in my service for the Republic, for Poles - that politics is a rational concern for the common good.

That's when - in 1980, throughout the 1980s and in effect in 1989 - the Poles showed that they wanted to be free. They showed it as a society, as a nation, breaking communist ideology - against ideology, in words and in deeds, with the idea of freedom and true democracy.

I have no doubt that the views voiced by you, Professor, also contributed to the increase of courage in Polish society to do so. It was not the victory of the politicians of the then anti-communist opposition, it was a great victory for Polish society - people who defeated communism with the help of an election card.

Today we live in a completely different Poland than that - thanks to this courage, thanks to this great service of the idea of freedom and democracy. Today, Professor, Poland is different from the United Kingdom in 1979. And certainly the essence of concepts that we use today is also different.

Conservatism, liberalism, solidarity and socialism, surely mean something else for us now - but one thing is certainly permanent: that honest politics is about serving people, to listen to people, to listen to the needs of society, because that is real democracy. It is based on a sensible concern for the common good, or concern for an idea that - as I said earlier - grows out of the life and history of the nation, society and the state.

And this message, Professor, remains unchanged - also for us Poles. And for that we are hugely grateful.

Wystąpienie Prezydenta podczas uroczystości wręczenia odznaczenia Rogerowi Scrutonowi

Szanowny Panie Marszałku Sejmu,
Szanowna Pani Marszałek Senatu,
Szanowni Państwo Ministrowie,
ale przede wszystkim Wielce Szanowny Panie Profesorze – nasz dostojny gościu,
Wielce Szanowni Państwo!

Ogromnie się cieszę, że mogłem dzisiaj odznaczyć Pana Profesora Krzyżem Wielkim Orderu Zasługi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w dniu, który ma dzisiaj w Rzeczypospolitej swój szczególny wymiar. Dokładnie 30 lat temu w Polsce odbyły się pierwsze półwolne wybory do Sejmu, wolne wybory do Senatu, ale przede wszystkim rozpoczął się – poprzez przełamanie dotychczasowego reżimu komunistycznego – marsz Polaków do wolności.

Mówię o tym, dlatego że w 1979 roku Pan Profesor napisał esej – oczywiście w Wielkiej Brytanii – który nosił tytuł „Czym jest konserwatyzm?”. Pan Profesor – wybitny brytyjski filozof i z całą pewnością jeden z największych na świecie myślicieli – przedstawił tam swoją receptę na to, w jaki sposób powinna być realizowana polityka i do czego dążymy.

Pisał Pan Profesor o konieczności odejścia od ideologii na rzecz idei rozumianej jako coś, co wyrasta z życia i historii narodu, społeczeństwa i państwa. Mówiąc krótko: myślę, że najlepiej można to podsumować tym, co jest także moją wielką ideą, która towarzyszy mi w realizacji mojej służby dla Rzeczypospolitej, dla Polaków – że polityka to rozumna troska o dobro wspólne.

Wtedy właśnie – w 1980 roku, przez całe lata 80. i w efekcie w 1989 roku – Polacy pokazali, że chcą być wolni. Pokazali to jako społeczeństwo, jako naród, przełamując komunistyczną ideologię – przeciw ideologii, na ustach i w czynie z ideą wolności i prawdziwej demokracji.

Nie mam żadnych wątpliwości, że właśnie idee głoszone przez Pana Profesora także przyczyniły się do wzrostu odwagi w polskim społeczeństwie, aby to uczynić. Nie było to zwycięstwo polityków ówczesnej opozycji antykomunistycznej, to było wielkie zwycięstwo polskiego społeczeństwa – ludzi, którzy pokonali komunizm przy pomocy kartki wyborczej.

Dzisiaj żyjemy w zupełnie innej Polsce niż tamta – właśnie dzięki tej odwadze, dzięki temu wielkiemu służeniu idei wolności i demokracji. Dzisiaj, Panie Profesorze, Polska jest inna niż Wielka Brytania tamtego 1979 roku. I z całą pewnością inna jest też istota pojęć, którymi dziś się posługujemy.

Co innego na pewno znaczą dla nas konserwatyzm, liberalizm, solidarność i socjalizm – ale jedno jest z pewnością trwałe: że uczciwa polityka polega na służeniu ludziom, słuchaniu ludzi, polega na tym, by wsłuchiwać się w potrzeby społeczeństwa, bo to jest prawdziwa demokracja. Polega właśnie na rozumnej trosce o dobro wspólne, czyli trosce o ideę, która – jak wcześniej powiedziałem – wyrasta z życia i historii narodu, społeczeństwa i państwa.

I to przesłanie, Panie Profesorze, pozostaje niezmienne – także dla nas, Polaków. I ogromnie za nie dziękujemy.

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Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland

Tuesday 4th June exactly 30 years on from the date when democracy began to be restored in Poland, Sir Roger has been given a state honour by President Andrzej Duda: “Recognising outstanding merits in the activity for the support of democratic transformation in Poland as well as for developing Polish and British scientific and academic cooperation: the grand cordon of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland has been bestowed on the citizen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Sir Roger Scruton.”

President Duda's speech in which he refers to Roger's writing and in which he talks about politics being 'for the common good' can be found on You Tube. A translation of the speech can be read here. 

Roger's acceptance speech in Polish and English can be found at 13.10 - 16.10. 

On Wednesday 5th June Roger is guest speaker at the:

4th Summit of Speakers of Central and Eastern European Parliaments. 

Opening of the session, commencement of the 1st panel

The fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe – fostering common historical memory

  • The significance of communism in the awareness of nations.
  • What is the Central European community of experiences from the time of the Autumn of Nations?
  • How can freedom and sovereignty of nations be implemented in the modern world?
  • Cooperation between the states of the region as a guarantee of development and security

​                        Part I

                        Speech by Sir Roger Scruton - this will be livestreamed and you can watch here. 

                        (Keynote Speaker)

​                         Speeches by the Heads of Delegations 

 

​                        Part II

​                         Speeches by Special Guests 

  

12:40              Opening of the exhibition “1989 – Nations’ Freedom Year – Triumph of Free Speech”

                        (1st floor, building C–D)

                   

 

13:45​               Opening of the 2nd panel

The approach of Central and Eastern Europe to the challenges of modern times

  • The impact of globalisation, information civilisation, national identity inertia, the new geopolitical situation on the future of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Ways to ensure security in the region.
  • The importance of the region for Europe and the world in the context of the EU crisis.
  • How to strengthen regional unity and the richness of diversity in Central and Eastern Europe divided by various borders?
  • The success of Central and Eastern Europe in a changing world.

 

                         Speeches by the Heads of Delegations 

14:45               Closing of the session

 

Reports of the events of the last two days can be found below:

ThefirstNews article 

DailyMail report

 

Post Truth

Post-Truth

Roger Scruton

For as long as there have been politicians they have lied, fabricated, and deceived. However commentators are beginning to tell us that something has changed in the last few years. It is not that politicians have ceased to tell lies or to pretend that the facts are other than they are. It is rather that they have begun to speak as though there is no such distinction as that between facts and fabrications. We live in a post-truth world – such is the mantra. Two books entitled Post Truth have just appeared, explaining the matter, one by Matthew d’Ancona and one by Evan Davis. For Matthew d’Ancona the post-truth culture explains much that troubles him in public life, not least the election of President Trump and the Brexit vote. Evan Davis, writing about what he calls ‘Peak Bullshit’, concurs. Somehow the boundaries between true and false, sense and nonsense, opinion and reality, thought and bullshit have been erased, and no-one really knows how to reinstate them.

Roger Scruton is a friend, not a foe, of Islam - Spectator Blog April 19

Spectator Blogs - Ed Husain

I am not a right-winger. I am ashamed to say that I discovered Sir Roger Scruton only four years ago when an argument in a Washington DC think-tank led to a search for contemporary philosophers who took a long view of civilisation, history, ideas, and implications of philosophy.

Delingpole: Sir Roger Scruton Just Won a Landmark Victory in the Culture Wars

James Delingpole for Breitbart on 25th April. 

Conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has won a spectacular victory against the New Statesman – the left-wing magazine which interviewed him and then tried to smear him as a racist, bigot and anti-Semite.

Read the full article here BREITBART.

The Mail on Sunday - 28th April 19.

I was fired for things I didn't say and don't believe, says Sir Roger Scruton as he warns of an 'atmosphere of intimidation' growing in Britain

By SIR ROGER SCRUTON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 01:06, 28 April 2019 | UPDATED: 01:23, 28 April 2019

Two weeks ago I was sacked from my unpaid position as chair of a government commission devoted to beauty in building. Given the atmosphere of intimidation that is growing in our country, I have to say that my sacking was no surprise. It is unusual, to say the least, for a believing conservative to be appointed to a position of responsibility by a Tory government. The main aim of the Tories in office is to get through to the next election without being noticed.

News from Scrutopia - 2 May 19

Click here to read the latest newsletter from Roger. 

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2019 Events

Wed 31st Jul - Fri 9th Aug - 2019 Scrutopia Summer School

Thur 29th Aug - Sun 1st Sept - Scrutopia Alumni Meeting 

Thurs 10th Oct - University of Buckingham London Programmes - Masters in Philosophy