Dariusz Rohnka


Polemical foul play

Jeff Nyquist replied with his No Substitute to Common Sense to my previous polemic entitled Same Old Nationalism, where I expressed serious concern regarding the substantial change of tone and shift in meaning in his recent writings. I wrote as an attentive reader of his texts but also as a translator and publisher of dozens of his articles; as a political ally and a friend who perceived that some of the paths he had taken were leading him astray. In return a bucketful of swill was thrown on my head; I received in response a load of gibberish, which is not only untrue but also dishonest. No, Jeff, we will not conduct a debate in such fashion!

Jeff Nyquist maintains: he never stated that Ukraine is a sovereign state; he never made an “irrefutable dogma out of the idea that Saakashvili is opposed to Moscow”; he never said that “soviet strategy was in ‘tatters’”. It is true, he never used those words verbatim, but the tone of his statements left a decisive impression in reader’s mind. For instance, in the interview published on this website in November 2009, he was quite unequivocal:

The peace and prosperity mediated by American power is also coming to an end. What happens next will depend on the people of Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France (among others). Poland is a front line state in the struggle against Russian power, and everything that happens in Poland today is decisive for Europe. The Russians face serious problems at home, and their strategy of neutralizing the United States is simply a preliminary step to subjugating Europe. If the countries of Europe show their resolve, Russia will be placed in a hopeless situation. Here Poland can set the tone for the rest of Europe. It is my hope that Europe (in the days to come) will recover its moral courage, its internal vitality, and its faith.

And a little later:

… the events of 2008 indicate that Victor Yushchenko in Ukraine and Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia appear to be authentic anti-communists. In the case of Poland’s President Kaczyński, I am told that he is working to purge the communists from Polish national life.

In trying to create an apocryphal version of his views, Nyquist is attempting to conceal the impression he inevitably made with his previous pronouncements but in doing so he steps firmly on a winding path leading to political spin. Instead of bravely and truthfully admitting to some haste, with which he afforded significance to Eastern European “leaders”, with which he gave them import they could not possibly possess and a historic mission, which they do not intend to fulfil – he decided to accuse me:

And please, do not mischaracterize my earlier statements. I never put forward an almost irrefutable dogma about Saakashvili or Yushchenko. As noted above, I clearly pointed to facts suggestive of Saakashvili’s collaboration with Moscow. Also, and more important, I never said the Soviet strategy was “in tatters.” I said that the strategy suffered setbacks…

Having said that, Nyquist moves on to a direct attack on me personally, using to that end the victims of the recent plane crash:

As for the Polish leaders who died in the recent plane crash near Smolensk, they have been killed in a way that establishes their anti-Communist credentials with grim finality. Or will you say they were all KGB agents?

This is the irresponsible way Jeff Nyquist, burdened with an “open mind”, decided to argue. At the same time, he warns of an attitude that makes “facts subordinate to theory”. Perhaps we ought to ask, therefore, how in the context of his methodology, will Nyquist support his statement that the “Polish leaders” had been “killed” near Smolensk and how does that murder “establish their anticommunist credentials”. Perhaps it would be worth our while to ask but I will resist the urge this time. I have lost interest in the Nyquistian way of thinking.

Jeff Nyquist can show not a single FACT to support the assumption that victims of that plane crash were murdered by soviet secret services. He is blatantly incorrect in asserting that their death establishes their anticommunist credentials. People who died in that crash were not flying to fight soviet Russia, and surely did not expect the tragic fate that met them. It is irrelevant who Jeff Nyquist actually had in mind – representatives of the “Katyń families” or the pilots, the generals, i.e. ex-soldiers of the communist “polish people’s army” or members of the repainted post-communist parties, be it the ruling citizen’s platform or the presidential law and justice, or even the traitor to traditions of Polish II Republic, Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish Government in Exile who surrendered the insignia of the legitimate Polish state into the hands of the communist rulers of the “polish people’s republic” in 1990, or the heroine of Solidarity in 1980, Anna Walentynowicz – death of all these people does not confirm anything apart from the fact that they were victims of a plane crash.

Despite the alleged political blindness, which Jeff Nyquist seems to be accusing me of, I do not intend to say that they were all KGB agents”. Not just because I do not know anything about it but also due to the more important consideration, that the question of being or not being an agent always seemed to me of secondary importance for the reasons best formulated by Józef Mackiewicz:

It is irrelevant whether someone acts as ‘agent provocateur’ or from his own deep convictions. What is important is whether his actions are beneficial to the Soviets and the international Communism, regardless of his conscious motives. It is not unknown for a person to act in good faith, for his own idealistic reasons far removed from any ‘provocation’, and still be more useful to the Soviets due to his effectiveness… This is not a paradox. This is political reality.

Naturally, the above could not interest Jeff Nyquist, just as the rest of Józef Mackiewicz’s writings available in English, which he studiously and deliberately ignores. He is much more interested in debating views he had never heard, at least not from me, but which in a fit of polemical foul play, he would like to find in my text, implicitly accusing me of lack of criticism towards Golitsyn’s methodology. He writes – I hope I am free to assume – in the context of my alleged views, as follows:

However, to blithely assert that whole governments and named presidents are agents of the KGB, then we bring discredit to ourselves by pretending to know more than we actually know.

Thus spoke Jeff Nyquist. He spoke thus despite the fact that I have never referred to the views of the author of New Lies for Old in my article, that I have not said one word about any KGB agents and I don’t presume that Nyquist knows my articles written in Polish. What a pity he doesn’t. If he did he would have read the first, as far as I know, review of Golitsyn’s The Perestroika Deception, where in 1996 I wrote:

There are lots of question marks over details in Golitsyn’s analysis. One can question his tendency to interpret almost every event as beneficial to the Communists. He probably overestimates the capabilities of their special forces. It is hardly plausible that all representatives of all non-Communist groups were controlled by the Communists. It seems to me that the reality we are dealing with is less tightly controlled than Golitsyn was ready to admit.

Even if Jeff Nyquist had had the opportunity to acquaint himself with the above paragraph, I doubt he would be persuaded not to step onto the shaky ground of debating views I have never expressed. He seems to prefer it that way, be it for ease or pleasure. However, it’s not the sybaritic side of his nature that motivates him, it’s rather his reluctance to give ground with regards to his assumed historical correctness. And thus, burdened with his “open mind”, Nyquist retains exclusive right to pronounce drivel such as: “The Kremlin’s strategists are human. They are not gods”, and similar truths of Nyquistian gospel. He says all this, lest we forget, when “America is target Number One. […] America could be struck down tomorrow…”, when his American Fatherland would expect from Nyquist-nationalist something more (perhaps humility?). But instead it will get a grandiosely phrased little hope that, as if ex Oriente lux, deliverance from soviet thraldom can come from the “anti-Communists” like Saakashvili and Yushchenko.

Life sometimes brings sad surprises. The U-turn in Jeff Nyquist’s views is one of them. But the manner, in which he decided to conduct this debate I found even more depressing. So what I’m going to say, I say with heavy heart.

Due to the unacceptable method of discussion adopted by Jeff Nyquist, and also due to the fact that he refused to publish my text on his website, although he was asked twice, his articles will no longer be published in The Underground. No Substitute for Common Sense is the last of Nyquist’s texts that we will make available to Polish readers. As the owner or administrator of at least two websites he has enough options to publish his views, even more controversial than those he published here, so our decision should not inconvenience him or diminish the popularisation of his writings.

The only thing that remains is to take my leave. So, farewell, Jeff. Farewell, my ex-friend!



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9 Comments “Polemical foul play”

  1. 1 Jason

    Dariusz,

    Would it be possible to get this translated into english?

    Thanks!

    Jason

  2. 2 michał

    Jason,

    It will be translated. Translations take time if they are to be done properly. Naturally, some people prefer google translate with comical results.

    Generally speaking, if something is easily translateable with the use of an automatic translator, then it is hardly worth reading and most probably was not worth writing in the first place.

  3. 3 Jason

    A few years ago I had lunch with a fellow who spoke Russian, and had been taught his Russian by a professional linguist. This teacher of his claimed to have been present when Khrushchev famously exclaimed “We will bury you!”. However, according to this teacher, the translation of this famous statement was (and is) wrong.

    In the American South, a man might say “I buried my wife last year”. This does not mean the man dug a hole for his own wife and covered her with earth, it means simply that he out lived her. What Khrushchev said was “We will outlive you”. It seems that in general, Slavic languages do not translate well with English.

    This situation is most unfortunate. Having read Jeff’s writings for over 10 years, exchanging numerous e-mails with him as well as a few phone conversations, I believe him to be a decent and honorable man who is only trying to extract the truth from lies, and make sense of the insensible.

    I believe the same is also true of Michal, et al., here at The Under Ground. It takes men of strong heads and strong wills to even consider (much less try to understand) a thesis such as what we are discussing here. Take those (very necessary) traits and combine them with a language barrier, and you might just wind up with something as palatable as cake with shards of glass baked in.

    I fear that humanity at large is on the throes of a major convulsion, prefaced by the deconstruction of the United States and the permanent subjugation of Europe. This will result in a very catastrophic contraction in freedoms on a global scale.

    Gentlemen, we need to do better than this. We would sooner eat shards of glass than bend to Soviet scum.

  4. 4 michał

    I don’t know, Jason. I’m not convinced by this. But first things first. There are many versions of Khrushchev’s dictum but he seems to have said: “My vas zakopayem”, which means literally that we will dig a hole in the ground and bury you. “We will outlive you” looks like putting a spin on it. It’s as if I called someone a son of a bitch and then maintained that all I meant was to call him a puppy. Well, a puppy happens to be a son of bitch. And yes, if you bury someone you have outlived him. But it’s not what was said.

    Your example from the American South is quite ironic because the literal translation of that phrase would be used in Polish to mean exactly the same: a husband outliving his wife.

    So your general observation that Slavonic languages do not translate well into English is hard to understand. Besides, if something as esoteric as “Alice in Wonderland” or Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” can be translated congenially into Polish than I think the prose of Mr Nyquist could too. In other words, I salute this valiant attempt but I don’t think much was lost in traslation here.

    Having said all that, I’m glad you think him a decent and honourable man. We thought so too.

  5. 5 HL Shancken

    Jan Sejna wrote a book titled We Will Bury You. Do you think he was referring to a statement made by someone other than Krushchev? Do you think Jan Sejna had difficulty translating Russian into English?

    The people who run this site are obviousy intelligent, and they make every effort to make sure we know that. They are allso drama queens who waste their time engaging in sophistry and making enemies.

    I spoke to Jeff Nyquist for the first time about six years ago, after I discovered the Soviet deception thanks to the short piece he wrote that I stumbled upon while researching what at the time I believed to be the biggest evil on the face of the earth: Islam. What took me five minutes to read changed everything I thought I knew about the world. He was nice enough to have an hour-long conversation on the phone with a neophyte like me then, and he has been nice enough to take a few calls from me since then. I try not to bother him because he’s a very busy man, and the last thing I would do is bog him down in semantics or word games or petty debates, or sophistry. I won’t go into details, I won’t do a line item critique or rebuttal of what the owners of this site have said about Nyquist because that is tedium defined. I will just say that it appears as if they are purposely mischaracterizing what Jeff (and for that matter, they have mistaken my own words here at times, too) has said.

    I wouldn’t put words in Jeff’s mouth, but I have to think it’s crossed his mind that “with friends like these belligerent Poles, who needs enemies?” And who needs Darius and Michal?

  6. 6 HL Shancken

    By the way, have you in Poland seen the video (taken by a man who was himself murdered within days of his posting it online) of the shooting of the survivors of the plane crash in Russia? Far be it from me to speculate, but I’d say the proof that the plane was taken down by the Russians is pretty persuasive.

  7. 7 michał

    No, I think Jason had a point, suggesting the POSSIBILITY that things can get lost in translation, I just don’t believe he was right in this case. Let me give you an example: Polish and Russian are both Slavonic languages, which are very close to each other but this closesness can cause difficulties when coupled with superficial knowledge. The same word, for instance, that means a “chair” in Russian, denotes a “table” in Polish. A similarly sounding word means “to forget” in Polish but “to remember” in Russian. This is why one should only trust decent translations and never, ever rely on automatic translators (like I won’t say who does).

    If I said to you that your exposé of Yushchenko and Saakashvili, which was quoted on this website, was an “effort to make sure we know you are intelligent”, would you take kindly to that? Should I say to you that since there is a clear disagreement between the position you described then and position represented by Nyquist on this website (but not before!), the fact that you are refusing to engage to get to the bottom of this difference means that you are a “spineless namby pamby” (forgive me, I’m just trying to invent the opposite to a “drama queen”) you would probably be offended – and with some justification. But I won’t say that because I have respect for your NOT TRYING to find the reasons for your glaring difference with Nyquist.

    But at the same time I firmly reject your name calling (although feel free to continue, I have been called worse) because what for you is “tedium defined and sophistry” is fundamental to my mind. It’s not a problem, we’re not the first people to differ that way. What was fundamental to Socrates, was sophistry and tedium to his accusers (toute proportion gardée). I’m obviously not comparing you to his accusers and even less so would I compare myself to Socrates.

    So if we have mistaken your words, kindly point that out. But if it’s only tedium then why mention it?

  8. 8 Jason

    Michael,

    Thank you for conceding my point, since that is what really mattered. It was anecdotal and I suppose any number of other incidents could have been used to illustrate my point (Hillary Clinton with the overload button thing comes to mind). Being an American, living in America and speaking only English, obviously I am unqualified to debate what Khrushchev actually said or what he “really” meant.

    Our Ben Franklin said “We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately”. This sums up how I feel about the very small group of people who are discussing Golitsyn and the coming “convergence” or “normalization” or whatever soviet scum wants to call it. Though, I doubt they would hang anyone as that is far too humane for them. I often refer to it as the coming “convulsion”.

    I thought the discussion in the previous thread about “nationalism” vs. “patriotism” was intriguing. I think Americans in general have a different notion of the two than say Poles (Slavs having inhabited this area since before Christ) or the Chinese (even longer than that). While we revere our people and our Founders (most of us anyway), Ronald Regan said that “America is less of a place and more of an idea” – which is to say that I don’t think we have the same attachment to our land that some other peoples might. If America ceased to exist in its present geographical location, but our Constitution (as it was intended) was implemented somewhere else then that would be America and that is where I would go.

  9. 9 michał

    Jason,

    Franklin was talking about the importance of unity in political parties. “Parties” could be difined variously, so if you’re after the national unity it still applies. But in an intellectual discourse only one thing matters – truth. Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas, as Aristotle was supposed to say (although he almost certainly didn’t). Reputations count for nothing in intellectual discourse, friendships are irrelevant, the only thing that matters is truth. Shancken, Ricardo, you and others seem to be saying that we should go easy on Nyquist because he’s such a nice bloke. Forgive me, but this is hard to accept, this is exactly what commies would do: he’s done a lot for the cause so let’s not debunk his myth. Nonsense! Do me a favour: if I speak nonsense in your view please do tell me because what other way do I have of getting back to the straight and narrow?!

    Nyquist expressed a very clear view about the “revolutions ’89” and then suddenly abandoned it. WHY? It is a legitimate question. It is very important to ask how he got to his new conclusions, whereas he seems bound on saying that he never changed his mind… Again, should it so happen in the future that I will appear to change my mind, please do not hesitate to point it out to me. Only a cow does not change its mind but I would like to make sure that I have very good reasons for it. Nyquist appears to have none.

    So, no, this small group that you are referring to, has only one chance to survive. It is not false “unity” but absolute adherence to principles. Only this way we can survive against the bleating of sheep – not by bleating in unison (just on a different note).

    The subject of “patriotism”, which is tied to the idea, is very painful to me personally. I think this is the greatest problem of all, much worse than nationalism. This divorce from love of the land and attachment to the idea is what paves the way for mindless nationalism. Let’s avoid personal statements and let’s look at Germany, as an example. Germans started this split and created the separate notions of Heimat, the closer “patria”, the land of my fathers, and Vaterland, the idea, the all-encompassing idea of Germany, which superceded the particularisms of smaller Heimats. The void created by the idea detached from all reality must be filled by something and nationalism steps in with gusto.

    I just don’t think it’s healthy.

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