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Anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, rampant nationalism and Catholic fundamentalism — these are the features of the new Polish Minister of Education and Science. Meet Przemysław Czarnek, PhD.
Czarnek has a history in politics and in academia. He is a lawyer, a doctor of law, and in 2019 he was elected an MP for Law and Justice, the currently ruling right-wing hardliners in Poland. A couple of months ago he received a medal for “especially meritorious service to the university” from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin despite protests from numerous scientists. At the beginning of September 2020, he became a university professor at the Catholic University of Lublin, despite difficulties in identifying any scientific achievements since his habilitation five year ago. Most likely, the sudden boost in his academic career was granted to him so that he could now be elevated to become the minister of education. And it is all thanks to his ostensibly loyal attitude to the party and its chairman, Jarosław Kaczyński.
Yet his scientific achievements are pretty much non-existent. Czarnek does not appear in the international SCOPUS database, which collects citations from international scientific journals, Google Scholar finds exactly three citations from his habilitation work with the extremely innovative title “Freedom of Economy”. His record as a sitting parliamentarian is also very poor — five interpellations, none of them even remotely related to education; he never participated in the work of any parliamentary working group or commission dealing with this topic, plus there are virtually no statements that would in any way demonstrate any interest in education whatsoever. 
One would think he might have other features that make him the perfect fit for that position. Yet, they remain a mystery. However, Czarnek does have a public record — one of intellectual hooliganism typical of Catholic intergists. 
During the 2020 Polish presidential election campaign Czarnek stated in a live television broadcast that “we] should stop listening to this nonsense about human rights, or any equality. These people [LGBT] are not equal to normal people.” That, as you might imagine, elevated him to the heroic pantheon of anti-political-correctness warriors and made him even more famous. And he was pretty popular with conservative extremists even before. His history of displaying aggressive xenophobia and homophobia is rather considerable. 

In 2018 Czarnek was not really a recognizable figure. At the beginning of that year he took part in a political show broadcast by the Polish National Television (TVP, specifically their local channel for Lublin), a live programme full of anti-Semitic slurs. To his credit, back then he did not express any specifically anti-Semitic sentiments, but it is worth noting that he never opposed any of the hair-raisng statements uttered by other guests on the show. A few months later, during the summer, he submitted a notification of a crime to the local prosecution, allegedly committed by the head of the Ukrainian Society in Lublin – Grzegorz Kuprianowicz. Kuprianowicz has a PhD degree in history and in his academic capacity he discussed murders of Ukrainians by Polish partisan units in the region in 1944. These murders are an undisputed historical fact; in historiography the massacre goes by the name of the Saharyń Crime. In March 1944 Polish partisan troops killed between 300 and 800 civilians of Ukrainian background. 
According to Czarnek, the statements the historian made, which were nothing but pure descriptions of the events from 70 years ago, were a “provocation” and “an insult to the Polish nation.” By the way, it is worth pointing out that at the time, he referred to the infamous amended provisions of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, which caused an international scandal at the beginning of 2018.
In September 2018 he posted a video on Facebook and YouTube where he called for action “against deviations, deviations and degenerations.” He argued that “promoting” something other than heterosexual marriage was anti-constitutional.
Fast forward to 2020. On June 13, 2020, again, on Polish national TV, he said the following: 
“Let’s protect the family against this kind of corruption, depravity, absolutely immoral behaviour. Let’s defend ourselves against LGBT ideology and stop listening to this idiocy about some human rights or some equality. These people are not equal to normal people and let’s finally end this discussion. ” 

These words caused a major scandal, and he was temporarily withdrawn and banned from appearing in the media. But not for long. In August he went on a political discussion on a private TV channel, Polsat, and made the following comment: 
“There is no doubt that all this LGBT ideology arising from neo-Marxism comes from the same root as German Nazi National Socialism, which is responsible for all the evils of World War II, the destruction of Warsaw and the murder of insurgents. The root is the same.”

Just think about it for a moment. A person who confuses Marxism with Nazism and thinks that civic liberties for the LGBT community are a product of the III Reich and that gay people are equally responsible with Hitler for the destruction of Warsaw during the uprising in 1944 – this person is to become the minister of education.
It is tempting to say that history repeats itself as a farce, but this really is unprecedented. It must be the most grotesque ministerial appointment since the establishment of the modern Polish state in 1918.
Photo: Czarnek is a fan of the president Duda (source: Czarnek’s Twitter)
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