The following is an interview with Vladimir Palko, originally published in German by the website FreieWelt.net. Mr. Palko was Minister of Interior affairs of the Slovak Republic from 2002 to 2006.
Q. In your book “The Lions Are Approaching” you write that Communism has triumphed in Europe – in the form of the EU. Can you please explain this affirmation?
A. This depends on how you define Communism. The main branch of Communism throughout the 20th century was the one promoted by Lenin and the Soviet Union, characterised on the one hand by total state control over the economy and on the other hand by a repressive political system controlled by the Communist Party. Definitively, this branch of Communism is dead.
However, you can have a wider understanding of “Communism”. As one can read in their Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels saw themselves as Communists. And besides affirming the necessity to change the economic system, they also called for a transformation of the family. Some decades later, the Italian thinker Gramsci understood that for the destruction of society and the victory of the Communist Revolution to take place, it is first necessary to engineer profound cultural changes. In the West, these changes came about in the 1960s, and they had much in common with Soviet Communism. In my book I try to point out some of these links.
In the sense of this wider concept of Communism – yes, the EU clearly serves as a tool to promote this ideology in Europe and even world-wide. The same can also be said of the UN and – to a certain degree – of the United States.
In your book you repeatedly refer to “revolutionaries”. Where do they come from, where are they now, and what do they want to achieve?
I write of an “Anthropological Revolution” – maybe this is a happy coincidence, given that last year Christiane Taubira, the French politician who has drafted the law on same-sex “marriage”, has used exactly the same expression. She said that that law was the expression of an anthropological revolution. It is not at all bad when revolutionaries like Mrs. Taubira and anti-revolutionaries like myself use the same expression to describe what is going on.
The purpose of this revolution is the total subversion of social ethics. What for millennia were considered the worst abominations are first tolerated, and then promoted as new “human rights” or even as a modern type of “sacrament”. I think of abortion, same-sex “marriage”, Euthanasia … and it took only one or two generations to get it all done.
Who are the revolutionaries? During the Russian Revolution, the revolutionaries were members of a well-organized and armed Bolshevikh Party. Today, the revolutionaries occupy key places in media, academia, the arts, the law courts, and of course in leftist political movements. The Bolshevik Revolution collapsed in Russia in 1989. But in the same year, the western branch of cultural Communism has won its victory – albeit not under the name of Communism, which was forever compromised.
You were born in Czechoslovakia, a country that for many decades was part of the Soviet empire. Please explain how this experience has formed you.
I was born in a Christian Family which I would describe as average, i.e. not very religious. I first came into conflict with the Regime when I was twenty years old. Later I became acquainted with well-known Catholic dissidents like Ján Čarnogurský and František Mikloško. I participated in the Candlelight Manifestation (in Bratislava) on 25 March 1988, the first such demonstration in the Eastern bloc. On that day, it became clear to me that communism would break down, and that I would be member of a Christian democratic party. However, I assumed that it was going to happen ten years later – in actual fact it only took one more year.
Maybe life under Communist rule has provided us with some experiences that we can now pass on: in the first place the insight that a political system that is based on lies is not as stable as it might seem. In the early 1980s Communism looked as if it were going to last for another thousand years. Later we understood that it was much weaker. Should the West accept the currant ideological lies, it too will be weakened.
Secondly, what we are currently seeing in the West is a subtle persecution of all those who do not agree with the Revolution – just as it happened in the East under Communism. In the 1950s in our country there were violent persecutions. Later, during the last twenty years of Communist rule, the death penalty or life sentences were not used any more. The opposition was marginalized: whoever did not agree to Communism had to expect discriminations. This is the type of prosecution we can nowadays observe also in the West, albeit on a somewhat lower level of intensity. This marginalization found its visible expression in the political liquidation of Rocco Buttiglione in the European Parliament ten years ago.
The zeal of today’s revolutionaries reminds of the zeal of the young Communists in the 1950s. The Communists never admitted that they were persecuting their opponents. They said: there is full religious freedom – but in certain positions it is necessary to hold a scientific worldview. Of course it was for the Communists, and not for science, to decide which worldview was “scientific”. The revolutionaries of today say that in Europe everybody enjoys religious freedom, as long as he respects human rights. However, it is the revolutionaries who decide what “human rights” are.
One has the impression that in this fight for Europe’s soul sexuality is the main battlefield. Do you also see it that way – and if so, why is that so?
In a narrow sense, yes. Issues like abortion, gender, and homosexuality all have to do with sex. However, it also is linked to a change in the relationship between the sexes. Jokingly, or half-seriously, I might say that the struggle of the classes has been replaced by the struggle of the sexes.
In a wider sense, the Anthropological Revolution negates the existence of the human soul. In the same vein, it also negates the human sense for transcendence, i.e. for something that lies beyond our existence on this Earth. In that regard, we could describe the Revolution as “naturalistic” [i.e. opposed to the super-natural]. Note how much attention is directed at the pollution of the natural environment – but at the same time the possibility of a pollution of the human soul is completely negated. This “naturalistic” principle means that the sense of human existence is misunderstood, including in phases where the human person is not in a position to himself take control over his physical life – for example when he is still in his mother’s womb or when he is old and sick.
In the widest sense, this is about the negation or acknowledgment of the deepest truths concerning man’s final destiny. The truth is that man should fulfil his duty heroically, including those he has not chosen for himself. And that he should accept that this may imply suffering and sacrifices.
Which role does the abortion issue play in this struggle?
Abortion is a decisive link between the contemporary revolution in the West and Soviet-style Communism. The first country in the World to legalize abortion was the Soviet Union; Lenin and the Communist feminist Alexandra Kollontai took care of this. Thirty years later, this practice proliferated to the Communist satellite-states, which also included my country. The West caught up in the 1970s – the US following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Decision, and Western Europe as a consequence of elections that brought left-wing parties into power.
The possibility to have abortion has remained unchanged – except in Poland, where a law was adopted to restrict it. However, in Russia and other post-Communist countries there is no zeal to export the idea of “abortion on demand” to the rest of the world. On the other hand, such a missionary zeal is clearly discernible in the US, the United Nations, and the EU. This year, European pro-life organizations have collected more than a million signatures for the European Citizens’ Initiative ONE OF US, requesting the EU to cease funding abortion around the world, but the European Commission under President Barroso, in one of the last decisions of its tenure, has simply turned down this petition. It seems that the idea of “abortion on demand” has changed its domicile: it has moved from Moscow to New York, Washington, and Brussels.
In my home country, the fight against abortion was part of the fight against Communism. In the 1980s the Churches organized petitions against a further liberalization of abortion. This was very different from what happened in the West in the 1970s, when fighting for a “right to abortion” was part of a successful strategy of French and Italian Communists to weaken the power of the conservative Right.
Abortion is the same brutal practice in the East as in the West – but in the West it is today more than it ever was in the East: it is a holy sacrament. The Canadian pro-life activist Linda Gibbons has spent more than ten years in jail – her crime was to pray silently in front of an abortion clinic. Just for comparison: the same amount of time was spent in jail by Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the murderer of nearly 300 innocent people at Lockerbie in 1998. This pro-abortion legislation is a clear sign of fanatism.
Why did conservatives and Christians not offer any resistance against Europe’s disavowal of its Christian heritage?
It depends on which Christians you are speaking of. Let us speak of some Christian politicians. You know, the taste of a political position is sweet, and no one is in a hurry to let go of it quickly. This applies also to Christian politicians. Many of them play a game that might be called “throwing your colleagues under the bus”. They see that the wind is blowing against Christianity, and so they arrange themselves with the spirit of the time. They want to look “more humane” and “less rigorous” than their somewhat more loyal colleagues. It begins with a signature under a bad law and ends with the full acceptance of an anti-Christian agenda. The newest example is Jean-Claude Juncker, who as Prime Minister played a key role in legalizing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex “marriage” in Luxembourg.
Certainly there are many Christian politicians who have remained true to their faith. However, we usually do not know their names and biographies, because they are not appointed to be ministers or presidents. Such positions are reserved for those who are ready to accept all possible compromises. Giulio Andreotti for example had the choice to sign the abortion law or to lose his post as Prime Minister. He decided to sign and remained a key player in politics for another thirty years. Herman Van Rompuy voted to legalize abortion in Belgium, and went on to be Prime Minister of Belgium, and then the first permanent President of the Council of the EU. These are fantastic careers, are they not?
There is however a difficulty in defining who is, and who is not, a Christian. There are many pro-forma “Christians” who in fact are on the opposite side. Andrew Cuomo, the “Catholic” Governor of New York supported legislation on same-sex “marriage” and did not even understand that registrars might have objections of conscience. This meant that many of those registrars lost their jobs. This means that here the problem was not atheist revolutionaries, but a Catholic politician.
Thus in a certain sense there is a “civil war” within Christianity, which becomes apparent even inside the Catholic Church. When I read the intermediary report of this year’s Bishops’ Synod, I said to myself: a Social Democrat politician might have said this twenty years ago, a Christian Democrat ten years ago, and now I am hearing this from Catholic Bishops? This is what – using a term coined by Gramsci – might be called a highly successful march through the institutions!
You write that “the Revolution” sees Christianity as its principal adversary. How does this manifest itself? What do Christians have to expect in the coming years?
Seen from a philosophical perspective, this clash is inevitable. The Revolution teaches that man will find his happiness simply by following his wishes and desires. Christianity teaches that man must also fight against his own weaknesses. These two worldviews are irreconcilable. Christians – but also many non-Christians – will experience a form of persecution without bloodshed. In my book I have described the techniques of this persecution, and provided some examples for it. Fundamentally, this persecution has to do with the fact that the Revolution does not accept that people should follow their consciences. Using biblical language, the Revolution is “a jealous God”.
What will come to replace Christianity?
It will not be completely extinguished, because it is deeply rooted in the West. It will again survive, but of course in conflict with its adversaries. And it must be added that Christians will form new Coalitions that seem still unlikely today. After 1948, Christians were the first victims of Communism. In 1989, Communism was vanquished by a coalition of Christians and ex-Communists.
What should Christians do in order to prepare for the coming challenge?
My book ends with various recommendations. They should view the situation as it is, be humble and do repentance. They should fight for truth and be prepared to suffer a martyrdom of marginalization. They should be in contact with each other and build a new culture. They should not accept any compromise regarding their faith, but should be ready to work also with persons who have different opinions. And they should not forget the words of John Paul II: Do not be afraid!