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Plato’s Legacy

2021.06.18

Zbigniew Stawrowski

In the modern world of politics, different ideological currents compete with each other for our souls and minds.

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The Republican Foundation came into being in October 2009. The official inauguration of the activities of the Foundation took place at the 1st Republican Congress in Warsaw on 14 October 2009.

Idea

The Foundation is co-developed by people engaged in building the common good of all citizens in their daily lives, above all through personal responsibility, the upbringing of their own families and through conscientiousness in their professional work, simultaneously convinced that engaging oneself in public life to the greatest degree is a natural attitude and challenge for every citizen of the Republic. People involved in the work of the Foundation are united by the attitude of civic engagement in public affairs and common goals: the shaping of Polish and European legal institutions in the spirit of the primacy of the common good above private interests, increasing the sovereignty of the Polish state, both in the internal and external dimension, the shaping of Polish and European institutions of public life in a spirit consistent with the Christian conception of the person, especially in the realm of the protection of human life from natural conception to natural death.

The evident weakness of the Polish state and institutions of public life is a result of the weakness of Polish public life. For many reasons, among the most important being: the radical uprooting of tradition associated with the period of the communist dictatorship, the supremacy of the state appropriating areas traditionally filled by the voluntary associations of citizens and the relative poverty of Poles – the process of rebuilding civic institutions is still in its infancy.

Institutions of civic life – associations in which Poles organize, foundations that accumulate financial resources and carry out projects – are still few in number and weak. Poles, achieving increasingly greater professional successes, understand the necessity of caring for the education of their children, they are very generous financially towards charitable and religious purposes, at the same time they are very passive in public matters. Their involvement in this area is usually limited to participation in elections and family complaining about “politics”.

In consequence, a significant share of social activities struggle with three fundamental problems. The first of these is the problem of “haphazardness”, resulting in ineffectiveness and a lack of continuity of action of citizens striving to accomplish definite changes in the public sphere. The second problem is the ostentatiousness of non-governmental organizations, of which many in fact serve to fulfill the ambitions and activities of one person, whose personal life circumstances are directly tied to the condition of “the organization.” The third problem is the funding sources for non-governmental organizations – and so in practice their dependency on public funds or one sponsor, often treating the non-governmental organization as a tool for achieving private goals, for example for lobbying.

The improvement of this state of affairs requires radical change in Polish public life – setting in motion the process of creating strong civic institutions, which is possible above all because Poland possesses a superb tradition in this area. In the First and Second Polish Republic alike, as well as in the periods of national captivity, voluntary associations of free citizens existed and successfully achieved their goals.

Taking into consideration the current state of affairs, the Republican Foundation strives to be an effective civic institution:

  • carrying out activities based on short and long-term operational plans,
  • functioning with the support of collegial institutions, allowing for the simultaneous engagement of a large number of people in the activities of the organization,
  • financing the costs of activities thanks to the support of a large group of donors, ensuring that day-to-day operations don’t consume a disproportionately large amount of resources relative to actually implemented activities.