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Monday, February 26, 2024

There’s nothing like Switzerland. Maciej Wierzyński’s column

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In my free time from listening to and reading about the international significance of Joe Biden’s trip to Poland and his sudden and unexpected appearance in Kiev, I read about Switzerland. Why specifically about Switzerland? Because one of my sons, two granddaughters and a daughter-in-law live happily there. They lead carefree lives filled with worries of a different kind than those that haunt us every day.

A long time ago, and it was in an era when we took pride in the fact that finally the news from our country was considered worthy of being placed on the front page of important world newspapers, I expressed hope that – perhaps – I would live to see such a happy time when I would read about Poland texts only in travel sectionwho marvel at the beauties of our landscapes, and not a word about politics. Switzerland reached this state a long time ago, they inform about it almost exclusively in travel section, and about us and our neighbors they still write on the front pages. The question automatically arises: who has it better? us or them? So when those front pages fill up with reports from Ukraineand by the way they write about Biden and his meeting with the Bucharest Nine, I read about Switzerland to regain my balance.

A very long time ago, the hero of Isaac Babel’s stories, Benia Krzyk, explained that mistakes happen even to God. He lamented the injustice of God’s decisions, giving the example of the fate of the Jews: “was it not a mistake on the part of God to settle the Jews in Russiato suffer like hell? And what would be wrong with Jews living in Switzerland, surrounded by first-class lakes, mountainous air and French people themselves. and I immediately see that it will not be easy, and practically speaking it is impossible.

The book I’m reading came out about 10 years ago, it’s titled “You Can Be Rich, or How the Swiss Got Their Success”, despite the passage of time remains relevant. The author is German, Wolfgang Koydl, correspondent of the Bavarian newspaper “Suddeutsche Zeitung” in many capitals of the world, including Zurich. This is the manifesto of a democrat opposed to centralization. In this respect, Koydel’s arguments could appeal to the critics of the President, who is convinced that what the nation needs can be seen better from Nowogrodzka Street. For Koydel, Switzerland owes much of its success to the independence of the cantons from the centralist tendencies of the Berne leadership.

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Here it is worth noting that with us, you either support the Union with all your heart, or, like the President’s people, you fool the nation that it is the source of all evil. And it’s best to take money from the EU (after all, we are entitled to it) and let them not ask what we do with this money. Father Rydzyk and his supporters threatened that Brussels was the new Moscow and the EU was the new Comecon. Koydl in our national understanding is close to the symmetrists. In his book we will find a lot of criticism of the EU bureaucracy and the detachment of the elites from the sovereign, but these examples – as I understand – are shown in order to remove them before the Swiss take advantage of all the benefits of the future United Europe. They are currently in the Schengen areabut they have their own currency.

Koydl is simply a rational man who knows that there are no perfect solutions to any matter. Even if one is much better, it’s always worth thinking about what damage it can cause. Moreover, what is great at one time may be impractical, stupid, harmful, and dangerous at another time and in another historical era. According to Koydl: “The Swiss do not want to fix the world. (…) the ideas that are supposed to lead to this seem suspicious to them. World improvers must have a great plan right away (…) small things like human nature disturb them.”

Although even the Swiss have some sins on their conscience in this regard, because they have produced several secular and spiritual improvers (here the names are mentioned: Rousseau, Calvin), but in general “the Swiss consider besserwissers arrogant and impertinent.”

Opinions expressed in columns for tvn24.pl are not the editorial position.


Maciej Wierzyński – TV journalist, columnist. After the introduction of martial law, he was released from TVP. In 1984 he emigrated to the USA. He was a scholarship holder at Stanford University and Penn State University. He founded the first multi-hour Polish-language Polvision channel on cable television “Group W” in the USA. In the years 1992-2000 he was the head of the Polish Section of the Voice of America in Washington. Since 2000, editor-in-chief of the New York “Nowy Dziennik”. Since 2005, he has been associated with TVN24.

Main photo source: TVN24

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