Since our last issue, in which I had the satisfaction to announce our partnership with Racjonalista, the Polish Rationalist online magazine, Mariusz Agnosiewicz, its editor in chief, and I have posted over twenty-five articles from the current and back issues of the American Rationalist. We will continue to put them online, several per week on the average. At present, my main goal is to offer representative articles by our senior writers, as well as to present their biographies. Of course, some articles will not go online, if only to encourage some of our readers to support us financially by subscribing to the print version of AR.
Those not yet savvy in the art of web surfing should not find it difficult to navigate the new website, which includes two major sections: Polish and English. Although designed in the same way, they are not parallel in content. The Polish section is now very well developed, with over 1000 articles and commentaries. The English section offers its own selection of articles, mainly from the American Rationalist, but also from other sources.
Needless to say, the Polish editor and his staff, particularly computer scientist Micha³ Przech, have done impressive work to launch such an advanced website in such a short time. I would like to express my appreciation for their competence, dedication, and hard, day-to-day toil. (Once, when I emailed Mariusz an AR piece at 6 p.m., I found that it was posted within an hour, which means by 3 a.m. in Poland, Central European Time. As I learned later, Mariusz was working till 4 a.m. on that day, apparently not an unusual occurrence in his work schedule.)
As we continue to develop our partnership and to extend the sphere of influence of rationalism in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, I intend to publish some of the best that Polish (and European) rationalism has to offer. Outstanding and unique among European freethinkers is Mr. Agnosiewicz, a young Polish student of law who has published over 340 articles and written another 500 pages awaiting publication. He calls his intellectual project „rozprawianie siê z religi±" (disposing of religion).
Only three years ago, Mariusz, fired by his passion to fight superstition and irrationality in a depressingly Catholicized Poland, started an e-magazine that has now grown to be Poland's by far leading outlet for independent, rationalist thought and commentary. He has accomplished this, though, at a great personal and professional sacrifice, unrecognized and ignored by the so-called „free" and „democratic" media and institutions in Poland. It seems that the Polish government has exchanged abject bondage to Communism for another bondage, only slightly less abject, to Vaticanism; to its pathetic pontiff with a fourth-century mind; and to the Bush-led military junta in Washington, a threat to democracy not only in the United States but in the world at large.
What will this Polish-American partnership mean to you and me in the long run? I don't know. But I do know that although the American Rationalist is "America's longest continuously published rationalist journal," it has probably never had a circulation of more than six thousand. At the time I took over the editorship, the number of subscribers reached a dangerous low of about eight hundred. But I was determined to keep AR alive, even if I had to buy a hundred subscriptions myself — just to ensure the journal's continuity. Since then, the circulation has climbed to about three thousand. Good .. but not good enough.
So when I got that March 4 letter from Mariusz, I soon realized the potential of our American-Polish partnership. Perhaps it was what the Italians call „Fortuna" — the endless play of the unexpected and uncontrollable in human life — that gave me an opportunity to try to bring AR to a wider audience.
And so I wish our Polish partners and us well.
To be published in the upcoming, July/August issue of the American Rationalist ©.
(Last change: 06-10-2003)