The Poland Delusion (A thinking person’s guide to A-Polandism)

The Poland Delusion (A thinking person’s guide to A-Polandism, according to the wisdom of Richard Dawkins)

Every now and then a survey is done which ascertains how a myth, superstition, or an amusing piece of folklore has become embedded into the cultural consciousness to the point that it is being taught in schools as fact by well meaning teachers, or in homes by well meaning but woefully ignorant parents. A recent survey has exposed another, almost tragic example of this occasional hiccup in our educational growth. There is an alarming percentage of Americans, who because of cultural influences or because of poor research by public school teachers, believe that Poland is a real country that actually exists. We can offer them some grace in this matter as it seems that there have also been, since at least the 1980’s, school textbooks which list Poland as a real nation, even labeling it on the maps within. Before these mistakes can do any damage, our educational system needs to look at the facts.polish parade 1_edited-2

The vast majority of intelligent, college educated people have never claimed to either be Polish and speak Polish or to have had any experiences in Poland. Tens of thousands of Americans travel abroad every year, and the vast majority of College Educated adults have done so, but few if any ever claim to have been to Poland, even for a lay-over. If Poland actually was a real country in the middle of Europe, then it seems that far more American travelers would claim to have been there at some point, as they do with Italy, England, or even Germany. Amusingly, the Poland myth doesn’t even attempt to explain this away by allotting Poland a small amount of land which could be easy to missed on a globe, like some real nations actually occupy. Instead it asserts that Poland is as large or better than France or Germany, yet more central to the map of Europe. How do so many travelers keep missing this apparently very large, central European nation if it does exist? The obvious reason is that it does not exist. The small numbers claiming to have been there are comparable to those who claim to have seen Elvis since 1977. The reason their numbers are small is apparent.

There are people who sincerely believe themselves to be Polish, and some who sincerely believe that they have been to “Poland.” But there are others who believe in Big Foot or UFO’s or Santa Clause. Dorothy sincerely believed she had been to OZ, but it was all just a dream. This tiny population might be sincere, but they are still only dreaming.

Everyone knows where blond people who speak a “strange” language come from. They come from Germany. People only believe in Poland and the allegedly “Polish” people because they are ignorant of the people and culture of Germany. If we as a nation did a better job at understanding the German peoples and not simply putting them into the box of “engineers and Nazis,” the Poland myth would certainly fade from our cultural consciousness overnight. You may ask, what about the existence of the Polish language? There are people who speak Klingon- this doesn’t mean Star Trek is real. Likewise, even if “Polish” has become a real language (However Germanic it may actually be), it doesn’t prove the existence of this mythical Poland. One may as well assert that “Spanglish” proves that Texas it its own nation.

The origin of this mythical kingdom is uncertain, but the point where it started to burrow into our western consciousness seems to be around World war II. History textbooks have, for some time, listed Hitler’s first aggressive military move to be against “Poland,” but this is a simple misusage of language which, when taken out of the geographic and historical context, can lead to this simple misunderstanding. It is true that historical evidence suggests Hitler moved troops into what he called “Poland,” but obviously this was code for a real place in Germany. That we do not know why he used this language does not thereby force us to conclude that either he or anyone else believed Poland was a real place. To use this fact to defend the existence of the alleged mythical “pole-land” is merely positing a “Poland of the gaps.”

Someday historians will discover what Hitler meant when he referred to “Poland.” We must have faith that they will learn that he used this language, knowing that Poland was not a real separate country, but in fact a part of Germany itself. Therefore, Poland almost certainly doesn’t exist.

Historical facts tell us that it was the insistence of a fringe minority claiming to be “Polish” and refusing to acknowledge that they were in fact German that forced Hitler to move against them with military force. The historical record is clear about this; Hitler sent troops into what he called “Poland” to protect German citizens. Yet, if Poland was a separate nation, how would this protect Germans? Clearly he was moving troops into a part of Germany where these alleged Poles were threatening secession-refusing to acknowledge themselves as German but instead citizens of Poland- which could lead to civil war. This makes sense of Hitler’s moving troops into “Poland” to protect Germans, as it would protect all Germans from civil war.

Furthermore, we see how dangerous these self-proclaimed Polish persons can be. Those claiming to be Polish are not only living a fantasy, but they are a danger to their society and a threat to peace. In our history we can see that it was these “Polish,” and those foolish enough to believe their fairytales about Poland, who caused the beginning of military aggression in Europe, leading to WWII. When German troops entered the areas where these groups of “Poles” lived, the Poles attacked the German Military (Albeit on horseback), forcing those troops to retaliate. It was not, as is commonly believed, the Nazis who struck first, but those calling themselves “Polish.” The escalation of the war was a result of such nations as England and France siding politically with those “Poles” in an attempt to justify moving against Hitler and the Nazis. While this helped those governments to convince their own people of the justness of this war, and in retrospect may have been a lie worth telling, it is still not rooted in truth. The kingdom of Poland never actually existed.

We could easily call certain neighborhoods in Chicago “Pole-Land” because of the high population of people calling themselves “Poles,” just as we refer to solider Field “bear’s territory.” However, even though we all collectively call that group of men “The Bears,” or even “Monsters of the midway,” no one is calling animal control or hiding their children. We know that the names, even though broadly used, do not change the fact that those “bears” are in fact merely men.

I have had friends who believed they were Polish, but this is only because their parents taught them to believe this. If they had not been raised in a “Polish” home, they would never have assumed themselves to be Polish. They would have concluded, as anyone would simply by looking at them, that they were in fact German.

It is not uncommon for parents in these “Polish homes” to continue the tradition by claiming that certain relatives are in Poland. By proposing this magical far away land of Poles, they perhaps hope to ease the blow of losing a loved one because they have moved or died. “Grandma isn’t with us anymore,” a well meaning mother tells her children, “She has gone to be with Great Uncle Charlie in Poland.” Or, “Grandma can’t come see you on your birthday anymore, little Billy. She’s too far away. She’s in Poland.” Where the truth is, they have moved to a retirement community in Arizona, or a cemetery in the next county.

Perhaps you have seen pictures of friends and loved ones in Poland. These pictures are all taken at various Poland-themed tourist spots in Germany, just as all pictures taken in front of Cinderella’s Castle in her “Magic Kingdom” are taken in Florida at a Disney park, and all pictures with Santa in his workshop are taken at the mall. German tourist areas put up a façade of Polandism, but are no more real places with sovereign governments than Mickey Mouse and his Magic Kingdom. Only children and simpletons will mistake The Magic Kingdom as a real kingdom ruled by a talking mouse, and only the ignorant will truly believe they have been to The nation of Poland. It is just as likely that they know better, but make this jest at the expense of their family and friends.

There do remain those who truly believe in the existence of Poland. The main reason people will try and argue for the existence of Poland is, they believe it to be a real place. As evidence, they will argue that they have been to Poland, but the only reason they believe they have been to Poland is that they believed it to be a real place. It is a classic example of circular reasoning- arguing in a circle. If they did not believe Poland was a real place, they would not assert that they had been there, yet, if they knew they had not Really been to Poland, they would not believe it was a real place.

It is in America that the dark side of the Poland Myth has reared its ugly head. The “Polish” in America arrogantly assert the supposed truthfulness of their claim- that they are Polish and that Poland exists. They close-mindedly criticize anyone who does not believe their worldview as “wrong” or “ignorant,” as if they hold a monopoly on truth, all the while flaunting their ethnocentric attitudes with businesses that shove their agenda into the face of the public like “polish” deli’s or shops. Furthermore, they continue to push their pro-Poland agenda on the rest of the nation, demanding maps and textbooks be printed with Poland listed as if it were real, and manipulating the government to use American money and time on things such as Polish holidays and decorations, such as Pulaski day, or statues of Pulaski in public parks, or Polish flags in parades.

The pro-Poland organizations in America have little to offer when questioned. When faced with a lack of faith in this mythical kingdom across the sea, they demand we provide proof for the non-existence of Poland. Of course this is like demanding proof for the non-existence of Big Foot- it is hard to fulfill. However, any thinking person can see the truth: we don’t need to disprove the existence of Poland. It is the self-proclaimed Polish that need to come up with extraordinary evidence for their extraordinary claims- evidence better than maps. Anyone with access to a library may find a map of Poland, but of course in that same library they will find maps of Narnia, Middle earth, and the Hundred Acre Wood. Extraordinary claims require better proof than drawings of imaginary places.

The alleged existence of Poland cannot be tested by science, as there would be nothing recognizably “Polish” about the air, soil, or trees of that supposed kingdom. As it is empirically unverifiable, it is also unfalsifiable, and concurrently cannot be accepted as a theory by scientific minded people. The existence of Poland, therefore, becomes a debate, not of fact, but of feelings and cultural word usage. The simple fact is, there is no evidence for the existence of Poland.

In this modern, scientific age, there is no reason to believe in some magical far away kingdom of “Poles” with their own funny language, culture and even sovereign government anymore than there is reason to believe in Santa’s North Pole workshop. We’ve learned enough to stop believing in Santa’s North Pole-land, and it’s time we did the same with the other pole-land.

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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