Ryszard Legutko

Ryszard Antoni Legutko (Polish pronunciation: [ˈrɨʂart anˈtɔɲi lɛˈɡutkɔ]), born 24 December 1949, is a Polish philosopher and politician, and professor of philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, specializing in ancient philosophy and political theory.[1]

Ryszard Legutko
Ryszard Legutko (2020)
Co-chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists
Head of the Polish Law and Justice Delegation to the European Parliament
Assumed office
11 December 2011
Serving alongsideHans-Olaf Henkel
Hermann Tertsch
Raffaele Fitto
Roberts Zīle
Helga Stevens
Geoffrey Van Orden
Jan Zahradil (until 2014)
Derk Jan Eppink (until 2014)
Minister of National Education
In office
13 August 2007  16 November 2007
PresidentLech Kaczyński
Prime MinisterJarosław Kaczyński
Preceded byRoman Giertych
Succeeded byKatarzyna Hall
Member of the European Parliament
for Lesser Poland and Świętokrzyskie
Assumed office
1 July 2014
Member of the European Parliament
for Lower Silesian and Opole
In office
14 July 2009  2 July 2014
Personal details
Born (1949-12-24) 24 December 1949 (age 71)
Kraków, Poland
Political partyLaw and Justice
Alma materJagiellonian University
OccupationPolitician, philosopher


Under communism he was one of the editors of the samizdat quarterly "Arka". After the collapse of the communist regime he co-founded the Centre for Political Thought, which combines research, teaching, seminars and conferences and is also a publishing house.[2] He has translated and written commentaries to Plato's Phaedo (1995), Euthyphro (1998) and Apology (2003). He is the author of several books: Plato’s Critique of Democracy (1990), Toleration (1997), A Treatise on Liberty (2007) and An Essay on the Polish Soul (2008), Socrates (2013).

In 2005 he was elected to a seat in the Polish Senate (representing the Law and Justice Party), where he became Deputy Speaker. In 2007 he was Poland's Education Minister, and in 2007–9 Secretary of State in the Chancellery of President Lech Kaczyński. He is currently a member of the European Parliament, where he sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, a head of the Polish Law and Justice Delegation to the European Parliament and a Co-chairman of the Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group.[3]

Sued in 2010 for violation of personal rights by calling students who demanded removal of Christian symbols from a public school "unruly brats spoiled by their parents", he asked for a dismissal of the case based on his immunity as a member of European Parliament. In 2011 the court denied that request.[4] Plaintiffs are represented by an attorney on a pro-bono basis under the Precedential Cases Program of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.[5] He lost this case.[6]

He is a fellow of Collegium Invisibile as a professor of philosophy.[7]


Legutko said in 2014 that same-sex marriage is an "unnecessary, destructive experiment."[8] He has argued that "homophobia" is "a stick with which you beat people who dare to raise any kind of objection" and "a totally fictitious problem" and claimed that "Christians are the group that have been most discriminated against".[8] He has described dressing as priests and nuns in gay pride demonstrations as "aggressive, anti-Christian and shocking".[9]

Lecture at Middlebury College

The Alexander Hamilton Forum at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, invited Legutko to give a lecture on his book The Demon in Democracy on 17 April 2019.[10] In response, an online protest letter by Middlebury College students and faculty urged the college to cancel the invitation, citing Legutko's views on homosexuality, race, and religion. Keegan Callanan, director of the Alexander Hamilton Forum, urged those who were critical of Legutko's views to attend the lecture and debate him.[11] Student activists planned to hold "a celebration of queer identity" outside the lecture venue, with placards, pamphlets, music and a dance party.[10] An organizer of the protest said there was strictly no attempt to stop Legutko from speaking.[10][12] Hours before the lecture was scheduled to take place, college administration cancelled it, saying they did not have the staff capacity to ensure the security and safety of both the lecture and the protest event. The Alexander Hamilton Forum said that it would invite him again in the future, and a Middlebury spokesperson indicated the college was open to that.[13] The nine students and professor of a political science class then had him give his lecture to their class, with about 36 additional students attending.[14]



  • Legutko, Ryszard (1990). Plato’s Critique of Democracy.
  • (1993). Nie lubię tolerancji : szkice i felietony [I Don't Like Tolerance: Sketches and Columns].
  • (1997). Toleration.
  • (2007). A Treatise on Liberty.
  • (2008). An Essay on the Polish Soul.
  • (2013). Socrates.
  • (2016). The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies [Polish title: "Triumf Człowieka Pospolitego" ("Triumph of the Common Man")]. ISBN 1-59403863-5.[15][16]
  • (2020). Why I Am Not a Liberal.
  • (2021). The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols.

Essays and reporting

  • Legutko, Ryszard (January–February 2016). "Letter from Warsaw". Quadrant. 60 (1–2): 70–72.


  1. "Institute of Philosophy". Jagiellonian University. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  2. "Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej (Center for Political Thought)". Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  3. "Ryszard Legutko elected the ECR co-chairman". ECR Group - European Conservatives and Reformists Group. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  4. Wróć aw Legutko odpowie przed s dem za smarkczy, Gazeta Wrocławska.
  5. Pro Bono, NS adwokaci.
  6. "Legutko musi przeprosić za 'rozwydrzonych smarkaczy'". archive.is. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  7. "List of Fellows". CI. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  8. Duffy, Nick (7 July 2017). "Homophobe elected to lead Conservatives in European Parliament". PinkNews. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  9. Syal, Rajeev (17 February 2011). "Gay rights critic fights to lead David Cameron's allies in Europe". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  10. Board, Riley (16 April 2019). "College braces for right-wing speaker accused of homophobia". The Middlebury Campus. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  11. Walsh, Molly (16 April 2019). "Middlebury College bristles over planned forum featuring Polish conservative". Seven Days. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  12. Walsh, Molly (17 April 2019). "Middlebury College cancels forum featuring conservative Polish leader". Seven Days. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  13. Jaschik, Scott (18 April 2019). "Another speaker unable to appear at Middlebury". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  14. The Editorial Board (19 April 2019). "Opinion | Cowardice and Courage at Middlebury". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  15. Pipes, Daniel (14 July 2019). "The demon in liberalism". Washington Times. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  16. "TRIUMF CZŁOWIEKA POSPOLITEGO nowa książka prof. Legutko" [Triumph of the Common Man: Professor Legutko's new book]. WPolityce.pl (in Polish). 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.