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Jozef GOLUCHOWSKI (1797-1858)


Philosopher and conservative political thinker. B. April 11 or 14, 1797, Łšczki Kucharskie (near Tarnów). 1823-24 lectured at the Vilnius University; in 1824 became honorary member of the Society of the Friends of Science (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk). Gołuchowski, influenced by Schelling, is regarded as one of the founders of the so-called nationalistic philosophy. His works include Rozbiór kwestii włoœciańskiej w Polsce i Rossyi w r. 1850 ("An Analysis of the Peasant Question in Poland and Russia in 1850", 1851); Dumania nad najważniejszymi zagadnieniami człowieka, poprzedzone historycznym rozwinięciem głównych systematów filozoficznych od Kanta do najnowszych czasów ("Reflections on the Most Important Problems of Man, Preceded by a Historical Elaboration of the Main Philosophical Theorems from Kant to Recent Times", 2 vol., 1861); Filozofia i życie ("Philosophy and Life", published posthumously 1903). D. Nov. 22, 1858, Garbacz (near Sandomierz).


   We know that in recent times so-called socialism and communism raise their heads very high, and no longer confine themselves to the intellectual field, but engage in an active struggle on the battlefield. It would be hard to try to distinguish between the various types of these new sciences, which are meant to save humankind. Suffice it to say that the general tendency of these motley systems is as follows: the right of individual property should be undermined and collective ownership introduced, and each individual man should have a share in the fruit of this common property according to diverse rules, formulated variously depending on which system is found the most appealing by the formulator. Common ownership and distribution of property are the main principles, which are invoked by and inform all types of socialism and communism. The more consistent advocates of these systems propose abolishing the family; that is, untying the marital bond, etc. [...]

   At the outset, only to make access to human hearts easier, socialism and communism make friends with the Christian religion and solemnly pledge acceptance of its sacred precepts. However, once they sink their claws deeply into human hearts, they discard the mask and evict religion from the human mind. Why? Because the Christian religion is spiritual through and through, because it transcends the boundaries of this world; because it imposes strong checks on our appetites, because it keeps all our carnal lusts on a leash; because it teaches to suffer; because it submits human reason and will to the guidance of a personal God, whom it reveals; because although it loves the pauper and often severely rebukes the rich man, it recognizes and respects differences between people; because instead of indulging the flesh, it teaches us to torment it so as to enhance moral strength. The new gospel of communism and socialism, on the other hand, preaches the emancipation of the flesh, and since according to it there is no life beyond this one and therefore the whole spiritual aspect is lost, self-indulgence constitutes for it the highest aim in life. It preaches freedom, conceived in such a way that no one should be subject to any coercion, that everybody should follow his urges, do only what he likes, and take from society as much as he needs. The love of the general good is to be an infallible regulator, which will unfailingly keep everyone in decent bounds and effectively motivate them to work.

   A personal God and religion is to be supplanted by a fanatical adulation of some blind generality, some impersonal abstraction, i.e. this general good and one's own interest absorbed by it. This empty box which abstraction fills with anything - it is to be the only religion, since this new gospel concluded that the essence of every religion is nothing other than submitting our personality and our own interest to some higher corporation. All the rest can be dispensed with. The absorption of the individual by the generality is, then, the highest destiny of man. But since such is the end of the individual, nothing prevents this individual from extracting and using for his own pleasure any part of the general good he fancies, as long as he remains an individual, because nothing more is due to him. To facilitate self-indulgence this new gospel eliminates various bonds which have hitherto restricted human beings; many of its apostles would abolish marriage, claiming that in the existing arrangement marriage is either financial speculation without love, or a humiliating slavery once love evaporates. For this reason they grant everybody the freedom to enter into such relationships as they fancy and remain in them as long as they find it enjoyable. The new gospel disbands the family, claiming that the of whole society is a family bound by mutual love; it undoes the bond between children and parents, and removes the energy of maternal love, protecting the baby's cradle day and night; it replaces the elemental education of the child with a general love of strangers assigned to this task, a love the thinness of which is apparent to every eye. The family then must be disbanded, for succession must not be allowed. Otherwise many parents would accumulate property and pass it on to their children, which would allow some to become too wealthy and in a position to oppress others. [...]

Although it must be said in fairness that not all in socialism and communism is bad [...], nevertheless the whole principle is fundamentally false. All of [their advocates], in spite of the differences in the systems they profess and despite all of the ferocious arguments between them, agree that they adore materialism, and in materialism alone they see human happiness and try to make man happy with material means alone, waging a fierce war against the spirituality of the Christian religion for its disdain for carnal pleasures and for its imposing too tight constraints on all sensual urges. Such a principle must inevitably issue in atheism or at least something closely resembling atheism; and once we arrive at that destination, all human strivings must be focused on this earth and our mortal existence here. If one is devoted fully to the emancipation of the flesh and sets it as one's principal aim, then one must lose sight of the spirit and its needs reaching to infinity. One does not care for immortality and everything it entails. Perhaps one would not draw all of the consequences inherent in this system, but they are there and will come to the surface once this teaching begins to ferment in the head or to be put into practice. One can turn a blind eye on many contradictions, but this will make them no less contradictory. Socialism and communism assault the Christian religion for its condemnation of the flesh in favor of the spirit and for repressing the natural urges of the flesh instead of satisfying them. Yet they do not see that in order for socialism and communism to be put into practice and bring only beneficial results, in my opinion they would first have to raise themselves to the highest level of spirituality and then lift people to that level. Paradise on earth could be established only if all people reached the pinnacle of morality. Among saints communism would be most proper, given that the communion of the saints - communio sanctorum - is a dogma of our religion. However, secular communism does not want to now anything about sainthood; moreover, what morality can one expect from a doctrine whose premise and ultimate goal is an unequivocal and loudly professed materialism?

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