So about Polish elections.
Almost everyone familiar with the endless discussions on HBD/Hajnal Line would be familiar with this basic electoral map of Poland.
Basically, the parts in the former German Empire tend to vote for liberal/progressive parties, while the parts belonging to the former Russian and Austrian Empires tend to vote for conservative parties.
But one specific thing about Polish history is that the majority of the people in the western areas are descendants of people resettled from the east, in areas that now belong to Belarus and the Ukraine. This goes against Hajnal fundamentalism because to those people the more eastwards you are, the more “backwards” you are supposed to be.
(1) This suggests that the impact of being “derooted” from one’s soil is much more significant than Hajnal considerations, at least as they pertain to Eastern Europe.
So we might expect western Poland, relative to the east, to be:
- More urbanized
- More sexually liberal
- More crime
All of this happens to be correct.
Remind one of anything? Recent discussions in the comments here should give one a clue. The Donbass with respect to the Ukraine – which also has a far higher share of transplants, and which is more derooted from a real historical identity.
(2) Is this purported West/East division even valid at all, even just within Poland?
The Hajnal fundamentalist would say yes. But as I covered in this post, historical “Poland-East” (later Russian) actually had comparable if not higher human capital than “Poland-West” (19C Austria/Prussia) through to at least the late 18th century.
So it would not automatically mean that they would adopt political positions more frequently associated with more “backwards” people.
And it is also worth noting that Belorussia is more atheist than the Ukraine, and significantly more socially liberal than either Russia or the Ukraine (e.g. support for gay marriage ~20%, vs. <10% in the latter). So there’s no reason to think that Poles living in the areas of what is now Belarus would have been “imprinted” with a penchant for conservative politics anyway.
It’s probably well past time time to retire the Hajnal concept as something that explains anything about Eastern Europe. And if it can’t explain EE, one must begin to question its usefulness as pertains to other regions as well. IMO most likely there’s nothing particularly Hajnal – as opposed to deeper HBD differences that were remarked upon by Tacitus, and even earlier by the Greeks – about personality differences between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean either.