Leszek Kolakowski, socialist and Christian

Leszek Kolakowski, socialist and Christian.  Kolakowski was a polish intellectual who died in 2009.  He is most well-known for his critical analysis of Marxism, but he was hardly a Western liberal.  His political position, and only his political position, could be compared to that of Bernie Sanders.  In other words, he was a democratic socialist.  When Poland was a satellite of the Soviet Union, Kolakowski was effectively exiled, spending the next forty years at prestigious universities in the West.  Even, or especially in exile, he was a leading thinker of the Solidarity movement.

In the later decades of his life, Kolakowski became less interested in politics, and more in religion.  It is his religious views that I focus on.  If he had a thesis, it would be that without absolute values to guide us, we shall remain lost.  Nihilism, politics, “spirituality,” and trivial pursuits will prevail.  Absolute values are found only in God. 

The five basic values of Christianity

The core truths of Christianity are that God exists and we are wretched. By wretched Kolakowski doesn’t mean miserable all the time, or without happiness.  He means that we must die, we know we must die, and while we live we are perpetually vulnerable to events beyond our control.

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