Did Geert Wilders deserve to be acquitted over ‘free speech’?


by Sunny
23rd June, 2011 at 5:46 pm    

Reuters reports:

Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of inciting hatred of Muslims in a court ruling on Thursday that may strengthen his political influence and exacerbate tensions over immigration policy.

The case was seen by some as a test of free speech in a country which has a long tradition of tolerance and blunt talk, but where opposition to immigration, particularly from Muslim or predominantly Muslim countries, is on the rise.

But its a fallacy that Geert Wilders is just a critic of Islam as a religious doctrine – he frequently makes a jump from criticising Islam to demanding discrimination against Muslims. The idea that Geert Wilders believes in free speech is also a fallacy.

Both myths keep getting perpetuated by a media that pays no attention to what Geert Wilders says nor make any attempt to pay proper attention to the issue.

In a completely under-reported speech by Geert Wilders a few years ago, he laid out a “ten point plan to save the west”. These were the ten points:

1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.
2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.
3. Stop mass immigration by people from Muslim countries. We have to end Al-Hijra. 4. Encourage voluntary repatriation.
5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.
6. We need an European First Amendment to strengthen free speech.
7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.
8. We need a binding pledge of allegiance in all Western countries.
9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.
10. Get rid of the current weak leaders. We have the privilege of living in a democracy. Let’s use that privilege and exchange cowards for heroes. We need more Churchills and less Chamberlains.

Only a fool would call those demands the hallmark of an advocate of free speech.

Saying that, I think Muslim organisations in the Netherlands are making a mistake by making this about discrimination, when they should point to these speeches and make it an issue about free speech.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Did Geert Wilders deserve to be acquitted over 'free speech'? http://bit.ly/mGapgy


  2. Lauren G

    Fascist acquitted thanks to the free speech he doesn't believe in, irony twitches in its grave http://goo.gl/wnnYy


  3. anthony

    RT @geeohareeFascist acquitted thanks to the free speech he doesn't believe in, irony twitches in its grave http://goo.gl/wnnYy


  4. Fenrir

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Did Geert Wilders deserve to be acquitted over 'free speech'? http://bit.ly/mGapgy ««Yes, absolutely.




  1. LibertyPhile — on 23rd June, 2011 at 6:27 pm  

    The only proposals which are really anti-democratic are:

    1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.

    … except that this might be OK depending on what is meant by “humanism”. And he is talking about the Netherlands where they might go in for written constitutions

    2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.

    The rest are all reasonable even if you don’t agree with them. Typical political exhortation. Except for last sentence of 9. See 2 above.

    Regarding 7 and 8 don’t US citizens swear an allegiance?

  2. chairwoman — on 23rd June, 2011 at 7:11 pm  

    We either have free speech or we don’t.

    Free speech means we listen to a lot of crap that we’d rather not hear, but it teaches us how to make choices.

    Hopefully the correct ones.

  3. Don — on 23rd June, 2011 at 10:00 pm  

    We either have free speech or we don’t.

    Not really. We have free-ish speech within imprecise and shifting boundaries. The law would probably be down on me if I were to assert of an opponent that his mother, under pretence of keeping a bawdy house, was a receiver of stolen goods. Unless I could show good evidence.

    Nor do we have the freedom to incite violence. ‘We’, by which I assume you mean we in the UK, have a degree of freedom of speech. Some of us think it is too little, some think too much. Mostly we think it is too little for us, too much for them. But there are limits.

    Freedom of speech is not an all or nothing proposition. In his case I agree with the judgement, but that’s subjective.

  4. Boyo — on 23rd June, 2011 at 10:31 pm  

    On the whole, while one may disagree with his views, only the denial of Islam as a religion and the respect it deserves strikes me as being beyond the parameters of “free speech”.

    Demanding that people assimilate is no different to what the French expect and I’m sure the Pope would be right behind an end to relativism and an explicit endorsement of the Judeo-Christian heritage.

    I believe in an end to religious schools, and it wasn’t so long ago that mosques were discouraged in the UK – the Regents Park one I believe was only granted for a church in Cairo.

    You have a point in seeing an antipathy to Muslims behind his hatred of Islam, but your argument is basically wrong.

  5. Don — on 23rd June, 2011 at 10:39 pm  

    ‘Judeo-Christian’

    Surely one of the most bull-shit ever neologisms.

  6. douglas clark — on 23rd June, 2011 at 11:15 pm  

    Boyo @ 4,

    Sorry if I am reading this wrong but I am just not happy with this:

    only the denial of Islam as a religion and the respect it deserves strikes me as being beyond the parameters of “free speech”.

    Why should any religion expect, or indeed demand, respect? Why should it be given it?

    I am for mutual tolerance, I am not for anyone assuming that because they are big and bad then they deserve respect.

  7. Don — on 23rd June, 2011 at 11:26 pm  

    Douglas,

    I think the point is that only islam should be nudged out out the privilege zone. Everyone else gets to keep their thing, but muslims go home. This is not humanism or liberalism, this is clearing the ground for the next step.

    State approved beliefs.

  8. Boyo — on 24th June, 2011 at 7:14 am  

    @6 , yes @7 is my point.

    The key thing is also (and I’m no expert, I’ve not even read the Koran like Tony Blair!) for me – if people can hold beliefs without imposing them upon others, even if I disagree with them then that’s basically ok.

    I think it is a common PP fallacy to believe Islam is “no different” from any other religion because it plainly is, having a tendency to create a kind of cultural border between its followers and the host community, and this is the source of much friction and Wilders starting point, however I believe this “border” is not inevitable and can be eroded if there is sufficient will on both sides. I think the UK is a good example of effort in this respect, although I do think it has been somewhat one-sided with respect to how representative organisations (as opposed to individuals) have behaved – be they the MCB, MAB or whomever, and this matters.

    I don’t know what you mean by Judeo-Christian bullshit Don.

  9. Wibble — on 24th June, 2011 at 9:40 am  

    Nice attempt to appear “reasonable” by LibertyPhile. “LibertyPhile”: nice generic name, like “Centre for Social Cohesion”.

    “5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.”

    They have dual nationality – so what makes them “foreigners”? Perhaps point 7 gives a partial answer?

    “7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.”

    Boyo: expecting folks to assimilate and only making “non-Western minorities” do so seem to by legal contract are two different things.

    “9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.”

    Yes, Saudi Arabia should be used as a model of how to behave.

    “10. Get rid of the current weak leaders. We have the privilege of living in a democracy. Let’s use that privilege and exchange cowards for heroes. We need more Churchills and less Chamberlains.”

    Ha ha ha.

    Don: “Surely one of the most bull-shit ever neologisms.”

    Ha ha ha – nice one.

  10. Optimist — on 24th June, 2011 at 2:39 pm  

    chairwoman -

    The idea that ‘We either have free speech or we don’t.’ is nothing new. It was also strongly put forward in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany when people were arguing about how to respond to the rise of Hitler’s Nazis. It returned in the 1970s, when the National Front was sending its thugs to march through places like Lewisham and Southall.

    Some people had argued that however reprehensible the fascists are, they should be defeated through debate, just like any other opinion or political current. In reality fascism is not a political current like any other and should not be treated as such. Fascists are dedicated to destroying every vestige of democracy and moreover, fascists do not seek out public platforms in order to test the strength of their ideas. What they seek is the veneer of respectability that such platforms provide – a veneer they desperately need in the aftermath of the Second World War and Hitler’s Holocaust.

    We have the great advantage of learning from history and we know that in Italy in the early 1920s Benito Mussolini organised armed squads of war veterans to terrorise the workers’ movement by breaking up meetings and murdering trade unionists.

    But thuggery on the streets was only one aspect of Mussolini’s strategy. The other was to court respectability by posing as a legitimate political party and contesting elections. After he seized power in 1922 the fine words about democracy disappeared as the fascists abolished press freedom, suspended all democratic rights and went about expunging every trace of opposition, protest or criticism, from their new “corporate state”.

    Just ten years later in Germany the same pattern repeated itself. The mainstream parties of Germany’s post-war Weimar republic – conservative, liberal and social democrat – all united to condemn Hitler’s Nazis, but insisted that they had to be challenged only through constitutional means.

    Once in power, Hitler threw into the concentration camps those very same people who had once defended his rights to “free speech”.

  11. Refresh — on 24th June, 2011 at 3:06 pm  

    Don,

    ‘Judeo-Christian’

    Surely one of the most bull-shit ever neologisms.’

    Couldn’t agree more, I first heard it from the mouth of Norman Tebbit. A political construct designed to create an ‘us & them’, and the subsequent justification of all that follows.

    Note that during the same period one M Thatcher made a massive push against the BBC (and media in general) to force them to stop reporting so much on the world beyond our borders. That was the start of dumbing down of our knowledge of the world beyond. A prime example of course was the sudden switch in Panorama’s output. I don’t believe I’ve watched it since.

    If you make your citizens ignorant of the world then they will believe whatever you want them to believe and anything the government does abroad can be explained in its own spin. Very much like the citizens of the US.

    Just one but obvious example is why so many people have come to believe that it is the Palestinians who are occupying Israeli lands.

    So Gert Wilders, the Eugene Terrablanche of the moment, has inherited this legacy, and with a willing partner in the Lords, Baroness Cox, he is able to have Westminster act on his ideology. And she is the one who switched to UKIP as Tories weren’t agressive enough in their opposition to all things Europe, except the bigotry.

    Yes it will be ‘State approved beliefs’ and culture and values. And we will all lose.

  12. Boyo — on 24th June, 2011 at 3:48 pm  

    “In reality fascism is not a political current like any other and should not be treated as such. Fascists are dedicated to destroying every vestige of democracy and moreover, fascists do not seek out public platforms in order to test the strength of their ideas.”

    Weird you use this in ref to Wilders though when you have basically described your bog-standard Islamist. Selective myopia?

    “Just one but obvious example is why so many people have come to believe that it is the Palestinians who are occupying Israeli lands.”

    ??? Just cos you say it does not make it so.

    I still don’t get the “bullshit” thing – are you saying that Western society is not shaped by Judeo-Christianity? That’s absurd, like saying Jordan has not been shaped by Islam or China by Confucianism.

  13. Boyo — on 24th June, 2011 at 3:58 pm  

    BTW, if it’s the “Judeo” thing, I blame a lack of biblical ed: the OT may have contradicted much of Jesus (the Jew) teaching, but it provided the cornerstone of Christianity for around 9/10ths of Western history AD.

  14. Refresh — on 24th June, 2011 at 4:19 pm  

    I think you will find the correct terminology is Abrahamaic.

    Judeo-Christian is a politically loaded and very recent term.

  15. Optimist — on 24th June, 2011 at 4:50 pm  

    Boyo-

    Only Islamists are opposed to fascists ??
    thats very weird

  16. kevin — on 24th June, 2011 at 4:51 pm  

    I think you will find the correct terminology is Abrahamaic.

    Judeo-Christian is a politically loaded and very recent term.

    Perhaps it’s become popular because it’s a bit easier to pronounce?

  17. Optimist — on 24th June, 2011 at 5:37 pm  

    Boyo-

    Even the Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen thinks that Geert Wilders is a fascist !!

    “Rob Riemen is the founder of the prestigious Nexus Institute which organises symposia each year where leading thinkers like Jürgen Habermass and Francis Fukoyama examine the major issues of our time.”

    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/wilders-a-fascist

  18. Ravi Naik — on 24th June, 2011 at 6:06 pm  

    I still don’t get the “bullshit” thing – are you saying that Western society is not shaped by Judeo-Christianity?

    That is a simplistic statement, which makes Geert’s suggestion to ‘lay it down in the constitution’ even sillier.

    Europe and western civilization has been shaped by so many different things, that to pick one single aspect is just plain ignorance. In fact, Islam brought modern mathematics and science to the West from the East, which allowed the advances of the last 300 years. Europe has also been shaped by its colonies in all cultural forms.

    The link in #17 has an interesting observation:

    Many people associate fascism with the racism, glorification of violence and political dictatorship of the Nazis. But, Riemen adds, you shouldn’t compare Wilders with the final form taken by fascism. “Compare him with the way it began, in the 1920s and 1930s. Then you can see the one-on-one parallels.

    Indeed, and this is what scares me about Wilders.

  19. LibertyPhile — on 24th June, 2011 at 6:23 pm  

    @Wibble

    “5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.”

    They have dual nationality – so what makes them “foreigners”?

    [Reply] Perhaps they deserve to loose their British nationality, which they were given in the first place.

    “7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.”

    Boyo: expecting folks to assimilate and only making “non-Western minorities” do so seem to by legal contract are two different things.

    [Reply] Western minorities wouldn’t need to assimilate as by definition they are already assimilated i.e. Western.

    “9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. …. ”

    Yes, Saudi Arabia should be used as a model of how to behave.

    [Reply] So tell me, what do you think of Saudi Arabia, the country at the heart of Islam, home of its most holy places where millions flock? If it isn’t doing right what are Muslims in other parts of the world saying/doing about it?

    And, are you aware of the persecution of Christians and restrictions on worship in places like Aceh Province (Indonesia), Pakistan, Egypt ….. They are the right model, are they?

  20. LibertyPhile — on 24th June, 2011 at 6:36 pm  
  21. Don — on 24th June, 2011 at 8:03 pm  

    Boyo,

    The term Judeo-Christian is an American political coinage and not ever really intended to be an analysis of how western values developed. When it was first coined in the 19th century it was with the entirely laudable aim of tackling widespread anti-semitism by refering to the fact that Chrisianity is an off-shoot of Judaism. So, at that point, not bullshit. Although historically quesionable, given that christianity from more or less from the start spent a lot of energy in emphasing how ‘other’ the Jew was.

    However, meanings shift and the term re-emerged in the 1970′s with a very different significance. It is this usage which I called a neologism, not entirely accurately but I think the clear change in use jusifies the description. In the face of liberalising, secularist reformers (and hippies), those who feared that traditions and values were threatened ramped up the rhetoric. Saying you stand for traditions and values is pretty bald and ‘Judeo-Christian’ became the modifier of choice. It came to be the rallying cry (or ‘dog whistle’ if you prefer) of conservatism.

    (Simply saying ‘Christian values’ had two disadvantages. First it excluded jewish conservatives and second the values of the NT alone are, upon examination, pretty damn hippy. The OT is needed for the legalism, the condemnation and the whole vengeful smitey aspect.)

    From being a term intended to promote inclusiveness of a persecuted minority (Yay!) it became a term which was intended to exclude – the liberal, the secularist, the hippy. It was the term used if you wanted school prayer and the Ten Commandments on the court house lawn, if you opposed gay rights or a woman’s right to choose. It is a tall order to cite JC if you support the death penalty or oppose gun laws but Judeo-Christian values will work. Because nobody really knows what they are.

    More recently (post 9/11) it is also used to exclude Muslims as well as the original targets. As a term it actually has legal force in the US, for example in the matter of chaplaincies.

    Another problem is that there are no exclusively Judeo-Christian values. Doing the right thing, being just and a good neighbour are distinctively motivated in the Abrahamic religions but the actual concept of what constitutes justice and the right thing to do can be arrived at from any number of traditions.

    In short, when I hear the expression used I generally expect it to be used in support of conservative, illiberal, coercive and exclusivist values. Since these values are pretty common in Islam as well it would make more sense to refer to Abrahmic values. However, that would make excluding muslims more problematic and might also cause people to ask whether as a society we should hold as our original moral lodestone a man who is venerated for his willingness to gut his own child in order to demonstrate his abject obedience to divine command.

  22. Boyo — on 24th June, 2011 at 10:55 pm  

    Phew. I think there have been a few misunderstandings here. But first let me start with Wilders – I think that many of us misunderstand the Dutch plain-speaking thing. You know that way they love to demonstrate how right they are, well I think he is somewhat consistent with that.

    I think it is nonsense to say he’s a fascist, though I don’t know who this prof is who calls him one. We forget how different the Netherlands is to the UK, how it got it’s dope-smoking, whore-mongering rep: as Van Gogh was being knifed to death, his plaintive “can’t we talk about this?” actually embodied a very clear set of values, values that are being confronted by a form of Islam.

    Wilders doesn’t like this and he is saying so loudly. He is in the mould of Pym Forteyn, a gay right-winger who was bumped off by a crazy lefty, who presumably also considered him a form of fascist. It’s so lazy and decadent.

    Wilders films are shit and his statements provocative, and frankly ridiculous, but I do think some of you miss the point that he is deliberately pressing your buttons.

    Wilders sees himself as the boy with his finger in the proverbial dyke, and I believe your criticism of him is motivated by (the largely correct) assumption that Islam will remain a minority belief in Europe and therefore is fundamentally “not worth worrying about”.

    However Wilders believes that minority though it may be it is reshaping the nation he lives in and its values. There may be some truth in this. The question we should be asking ourselves as progressives is to what extent does it matter and what is worth fighting for?

    Certainly I think there is an element of racism in the toleration of homophobia, sexism, superstition and totalitarianism among one sector of our community which would be condemned in another.

    I don’t actually think this is where Wilders is coming from, but where are you?

  23. Refresh — on 24th June, 2011 at 11:17 pm  

    No misunderstanding.

  24. douglas clark — on 25th June, 2011 at 8:22 am  

    Boyo,

    I think this whole ‘religion’ thing is overblown. Most people in the UK don’t attend religious buildings despite claiming to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever. Most people are unhappy with the tail – the vicars, the rabbis and the mullahs – wagging the social dog that is the society you live in.

    Most of us are uncomfortable with the likes of Frank Field and Nadine Dorries basically imposing their beliefs on what is a pluralist society. And that applies in spades to the likes of MPAC, etc.

    It is certainly the case that at a superficial level people like them can push buttons and get Pavlovian responses. For many abortion, for example, is an unattractive thought. Some men may find the notion of dipping the chocky starfish a bit off. And so on and so forth. What is deeply unattractive about the religious manipulators within our society is that they find our weakest spots and build on that. The Reverend Iain Paisley and Enoch Powell are examples of playing to prejudice in a fairly successful way.

    Didn’t make them right. Just meant they too could claim to ‘speak for the silent majority’ or some such tosh. It is a politicians trick, and the Dutch appear to have fallen for it with Wilders.

    Who, really, wants to further incorporate religion into law? I’d suggest it is a fringe belief exercised by people who are mutually incompatible.

    Frankly this is not a Christian country, but neither is it every likely to become a Muslim one either.

    A plague on the lot of them!

  25. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2011 at 2:55 pm  

    Geert Wilders has been campaigning against Poles and Eastern Europeans. He accuses them of “crime, drunkenness and taking Dutch jobs”.

    I am guessing for some it must be another misunderstanding.

  26. Don — on 25th June, 2011 at 3:58 pm  

    Paywall, Ravi. And I’m not putting a penny in Murdoch’s pocket if I can help it.

  27. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2011 at 4:45 pm  

    Apologies Don. Here’s another link.

  28. Boyo — on 25th June, 2011 at 4:54 pm  

    @25… it’s boring to have to justify thinking outside an ideological straightjacket but whatever he says does not mean that his comments are not worthy of analysis. Naturally Eastern Europeans are taking Dutch jobs – from a Marxist perspective the expansion of the EC to the East was precisely to undermine the bargaining power of the working class, but hey, he’s a “fascist” so why bother thinking… it’s almost as simplistic as your earlier claim Ravi that the West owes its advances to Islam, a tired old trope if ever there was one. There’ll be street lamps in Cordoba next…

    As I made clear earlier I don’t agree with much of what Wilders says, but to dismiss him as a “fascist” is lazy (and comforting) as it is with the EDL. Both are symbols not of the past but symptoms of the present. Both are as peripheral as the islamists they rail against, but raise equally relevant questions about the shape our society is in and may be in the future – as in Northern Ireland, it is actually these extremists who will end up creating the future in their image because the “moderate” majority, be they “progressives” or “ordinary Muslims” either refuse to take them seriously or is simply complacent.

  29. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2011 at 4:56 pm  

    Wilders sees himself as the boy with his finger in the proverbial dyke, and I believe your criticism of him is motivated by (the largely correct) assumption that Islam will remain a minority belief in Europe and therefore is fundamentally “not worth worrying about”. However Wilders believes that minority though it may be it is reshaping the nation he lives in and its values.

    Let me ask you a simple question, Boyo. How’s banning a religion and demonising minorities upholding Western liberal democracies and their values?

  30. jamal — on 25th June, 2011 at 5:49 pm  

    i am surprised he didn’t get done under hate speech laws. I can’t help but think if the words islam and muslim where swapped for judaism and jews he would be in a striped suit eating slop behind bars right now.

  31. Trofim — on 25th June, 2011 at 6:16 pm  

    http://www.nndb.com/people/615/000135210/

    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
    Houari Boumedienne, then President of Algeria in 1974.

    So if Wilders quotes Boumedienne, will he be guilty of hate speech, demonising minorities, fomenting hatred or what exactly? More interestingly was Boumedienne engaging in hate speech? He appeared to be making a prediction, possibly making a threat.

  32. Boyo — on 25th June, 2011 at 8:02 pm  

    @29, i asked the same thing @4. At what point did I suggest it was?

  33. Na Camshronach — on 26th June, 2011 at 5:32 am  

    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
    Houari Boumedienne, then President of Algeria in 1974.”

    I would be interested if Sunny could reflect on this quote, At the moment even though I have been on the progressive side of political life my entire adult life, the more I look at things around particularly islam and Muslims the more I find my self aligning with
    Those on the Right. I’ve seen vids with muslim clerics crowing about how they are colonizing Europe, I hear non-western minorities bemoaning the racism of Europeans, yet only Western countries seem to be accepting and giving the privilege of settling to their families to immigrants. I don’t see India accepting millions of Chinese immigrants or china accepting millions of Africans. I do see the gulf Arab states bring in millions of foreign workers but none or very few are granted citizenship or allowed to bring their families to settle. These are some of the issues that concern Wilders and those like him.

  34. Trofim — on 26th June, 2011 at 7:00 am  

    With regard to the reports that Wilders and his party have been turning their attention to Poles and other Eastern Europeans, I note that two articles have been linked to, in which journalists, who are clearly not impartial, make these assertions. But there it ends – assertions. Is there any actual evidence to back up these journalistic assertions?

    From the Economist article:

    “In recent provincial elections, his party turned on the Netherlands’s biggish Polish community, accusing them of crime, drunkenness and taking Dutch jobs. Similar sentiments were soon heard from both the ruling liberal VVD party and the opposition Labour Party”.

    So it’s not just Wilders and his party, then.

    “His party’s agenda is broad, if eclectic, and while it comes wrapped in liberal pieties it also includes elements of social conservatism and foreign-policy isolationism. This appears to have earned it wide popular support — in polls the party remains second only to Mr Rutte’s VVD”.

    “Wide popular support”? Dear me. One should never pander to ideas which have wide popular support – it smacks of, well, democracy.

    “In polls, 60% of people said they wanted to see Mr Wilders acquitted”.

    That sounds like wide popular support.

  35. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2011 at 9:58 am  

    So if Wilders quotes Boumedienne, will he be guilty of hate speech, demonising minorities, fomenting hatred or what exactly? More interestingly was Boumedienne engaging in hate speech? ?

    Yes.

  36. Trofim — on 26th June, 2011 at 10:00 am  

    Have I engaged in hate speech by quoting Boumedienne? Have I fomented discord? Should steps be taken to prevent anyone from quoting him?
    More importantly, let’s try a scientific approach: is there any evidence that his prediction is being fulfilled? If so, is anyone allowed to say so? If there is evidence, doesn’t someone have a moral obligation to point this out, or should society be dishonest for the sake of a quiet life? Who is the policeman? Who polices the speech police? How does one qualify to be a speech policeman? And so on, and so forth. All this and more, infinitely more, is what arises when you attempt to gag the expressions of opinion, no matter that opinion may be to someone or other.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2011 at 10:18 am  

    “Wide popular support”? Dear me. One should never pander to ideas which have wide popular support – it smacks of, well, democracy.

    A country has every right to limit its imigration and have a more isolated foreign policy. It has no right to demonise its imigrants or use them as scapegoats for its social ills – regardless of how popular these ideas are. A real democracy does not just pander to the tyranny of the majority, but protects the rights of minorities. We choose our leaders based on the majority, but they are bound to protect the rights of everyone.

    Demonising a particular ethnic or religious group is not a new phenomenon as Boyo keeps saying, but rather a well-known social condition that has been with us for ages.

    There are 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which includes the former mayor of Rotterdam, and Geert Wilders wants to make their religion illegal.

    How’s that not fascist?

  38. Trofim — on 26th June, 2011 at 10:34 am  

    “There are 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which includes the former mayor of Rotterdam, and Geert Wilders wants to make their religion illegal.

    How’s that not fascist?”

    It’s ludicrous, unfair, unjust, highly impracticable – impossible, in fact, but not necessarily fascist. Banning things is simply a characteristic of authoritarian regimes – the USSR, for instance.

    (The last sentence of my post 36, should have read: no matter how unpalatable that opinion may be to someone or other.

  39. Refresh — on 26th June, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

    Trofim,

    Why should you be worried that it gets labelled as fascist? If you get what you want.

    Perhaps your efforts are better spent ‘reclaiming’ the word.

  40. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2011 at 2:13 pm  

    There are 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which includes the former mayor of Rotterdam

    Correction, Ahmed Aboutaleb is still the mayor of Rotterdam.

    More importantly, let’s try a scientific approach: is there any evidence that his prediction is being fulfilled? If so, is anyone allowed to say so? If there is evidence, doesn’t someone have a moral obligation to point this out, or should society be dishonest for the sake of a quiet life?

    If there is scientific evidence, then by all means it should be pointed out. Nothing should be sacred. If white supremacists want to prove that non-whites are genetically inferior, by all means they should use science to prove it – and I wish them good luck. But these studies should be peer-reviewed, and the experimental process must be transparent.

    But if there isn’t evidence, then who is being dishonest? If Geert Wilders quotes Boumedienne to make a point about how Muslims are the enemy within and therefore are poisoning Dutch society, and he has no evidence to back it up, then he is engaging in hate speech – and he is demonising thousands of people. I hope this is clear enough for you.

  41. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2011 at 2:54 pm  

    Trofim @ 31,

    I’d like everyone to reflect on this:

    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
    Houari Boumedienne, then President of Algeria in 1974.

    So if Wilders quotes Boumedienne, will he be guilty of hate speech, demonising minorities, fomenting hatred or what exactly? More interestingly was Boumedienne engaging in hate speech? He appeared to be making a prediction, possibly making a threat.

    ————————-

    Boumedienne was very good at polemic and shit at geography. Unless, of course, he had a genuine nightmare about the head hunters of Borneo.

  42. Don — on 26th June, 2011 at 3:27 pm  

    “In polls, 60% of people said they wanted to see Mr Wilders acquitted”.

    That sounds like wide popular support.

    Wanting an acquittal does not mean supporting Wilders’ position. I think that the decision to acquit was right and I certainly don’t support Wilders. I suspect that more than 60% of commentors here think the acquittal was the right result, this site has generally opposed bringing the legal hammer down on obnoxious groups whether HuT or BNP.

    Bearing in mind that the prosecution wanted to drop the case but were unable to do so, 60% seems quite a low figure.

    I’m not saying Wilders does not have significant support, but do you really think that free speech advocates automatically agree with every statement which they defend on free speech grounds?

  43. Trofim — on 26th June, 2011 at 5:35 pm  

    “I’m not saying Wilders does not have significant support, but do you really think that free speech advocates automatically agree with every statement which they defend on free speech grounds?”

    No. I meant support for his acquittal, and therefore the principal of free speech.

  44. Boyo — on 26th June, 2011 at 7:17 pm  

    Re free speech, I think that’s a red herring. There sure ain’t free speech in the UK – just ask your average “fascist”, be he religious or racist – and our libel laws hammer the rest on the head. May well be the same thing applies in the Netherlands.

    But as I said, I think this is a red herring as far as the heart of the matter goes. It seems to me that a certain section of the elite class sought to silence Wilders in the same kind of vein as the “racist” brush used to tar anyone who questioned immigration policy. This was never about free speech, this was always about a certain class trying to eliminate an obstacle to their vision of how the world should be (or indeed one which was pointing out it hadn’t quite turned out as planned). Arguably it was about hauling the boy who claimed the emperor had no clothes up before a court and trying him for treason.

    This does not mean I agree with Wilders (yawn) but the whole business does stink.

  45. Don — on 26th June, 2011 at 7:40 pm  

    Trofim,

    I must have misread your post. The first three times you use the phrase wide popular support @#34 it referred to Wilders’ policies. The fourth time it meant for freedom of speech. That change must have slipped past me.

  46. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2011 at 11:20 am  

    Arguably it was about hauling the boy who claimed the emperor had no clothes up before a court and trying him for treason.

    Geert Wilders’s party is sustaining the Dutch government. And he wants to make a religion practiced by 1.2 million people in his country illegal. While I wouldn’t want him prosecuted for his speech, I can’t see why any reasonable person would paint him as David against a Goliath.

  47. Trofim — on 27th June, 2011 at 11:23 am  

    Don @ 45:
    Laziness, but because after a few posts, I wake up to the realization, yet again, that this is PP, there are standard accepted opinions here, nothing is going to change anybody’s mind, and besides, there are raspberries and gooseberries to pick, vegetable patches to hoe, pictures to be painted and life in general has to take precedence, yet, at the same time, even though this is a virtual world, it would nevertheless, be rude to ignore others. So my customary punctiliousness at this point is starting to seem less important.

    But I must point out that in that post I didn’t, strictly speaking, from a linguistic point of view USE this phrase – I CITED it.

  48. nobodyshero — on 27th June, 2011 at 11:55 am  
  49. Optimist — on 27th June, 2011 at 12:09 pm  
  50. vimothy — on 27th June, 2011 at 1:47 pm  

    It seems to me that the real story is the criminalisation of Wilder’s point of view. So, yes, he did deserve to be acquitted.

  51. vimothy — on 27th June, 2011 at 1:55 pm  

    Boyo @ 44 is basically correct.

  52. Optimist — on 27th June, 2011 at 3:18 pm  

    1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.
    2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.

    “Due to his own original special nature, the Jew cannot possess a religious institution, if for no other reason because he lacks idealism in any form, and hence belief in a hereafter is absolutely foreign to him. And a religion in the Aryan sense cannot be imagined which lacks the conviction of survival after death in some form. Indeed, the Talmud is not a book to prepare a man for the hereafter, but only for a practical and profitable life in this world.”
    -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    3. Stop mass immigration by people from Muslim countries. We have to end Al-Hijra.
    4. Encourage voluntary repatriation.
    5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’

    “The black-haired Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end, satanically glaring at and spying on the unsuspicious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood and removing her from the bosom of her own people. The Jew uses every possible means to undermine the racial foundations of a subjugated people. (Book 1 Chap 11) …the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”
    -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    6. We need an European First Amendment to strengthen free speech.
    7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.
    8. We need a binding pledge of allegiance in all Western countries.
    9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.

    “The internal expurgation of the Jewish spirit is not possible in any platonic way. For the Jewish spirit as the product of the Jewish person. Unless we expel the Jewish people. Unless we expel the Jewish people soon, they will have judaized our people within a very short time.”
    -Adolf Hitler from a speech at Nuremberg, January 13, 1923

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
    -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

  53. Boyo — on 27th June, 2011 at 9:38 pm  

    “I can’t see why any reasonable person would paint him as David against a Goliath.”

    That’s one way to look at it. Another is that his very success sufficiently unsettled them that they decided to take this step.

  54. Boyo — on 27th June, 2011 at 9:45 pm  

    It’s funny how explaining Wilders appears to become defending him to some people. The same thing happens with Israel – how many times have I been called a “Zionist” simply because I’ve not parroted the party line.

    Oooh, juxtapose Mein Kampf with Wilders – you’ve convinced me, he’s a Nazi! The accent was a giveaway all along.

  55. Trofim — on 27th June, 2011 at 10:50 pm  

    Optimist @ 52:
    Only the uninitiated will fail to see the parallels. But people in the know, as I can see you are, will see them immediately. (Nudge, nudge – wink, wink).


    1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.
    2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.
    3. Stop mass immigration by people from Muslim countries. We have to end Al-Hijra. 4. Encourage voluntary repatriation.

    In order to replace the washer we now need to dismantle the tap assembly. There are numerous styles, shapes and types of taps but the basics remain the same for most taps in use today. You need to remove the tap handle and decorative surround in order to expose the inner working parts.


    5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.
    6. We need an European First Amendment to strengthen free speech.
    7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.

    As this part of the tap you are removing is the decorative or finished part of the tap, care is needed not to damage the surface. It’s usually fitted on either a splined or offset pin. The outer decorative case of the tap can also be screwed to the main assembly but is usually only finger tight. However, if it is tight do not use tools with a serrated face such as Vice Grips or pipe wrenches.


    8. We need a binding pledge of allegiance in all Western countries.
    9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.
    10. Get rid of the current weak leaders. We have the privilege of living in a democracy. Let’s use that privilege and exchange cowards for heroes. We need more Churchills and less Chamberlains.

    When this cover is removed, the internal workings of the tap can be seen. This part of the tap is known as the head gear. Holding the tap firmly to prevent it turning on the basin, sink or bath, use an adjustable spanner to undo the head gear by turning anti-clockwise.

  56. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 9:20 am  

    Trofim -

    The uninitiated will NOT fail see the parallels.

    But for the crazed islamophobes its another matter, because they usually also blind!!

  57. Trofim — on 28th June, 2011 at 9:26 am  

    Islamophobe? Is that another name for someone who doesn’t think Islam is the best thing since sliced bread? Are we allowed to think it?

  58. Ravi Naik — on 28th June, 2011 at 9:33 am  

    That’s one way to look at it. Another is that his very success sufficiently unsettled them that they decided to take this step.

    Who’s them?

  59. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 10:01 am  

    Trofin -

    I am an atheist and I don’t think any religion ‘is the best thing since sliced bread’. But to let someone like Geert Wilders demonise a whole people would be a great historical mistake and no less than the one made in Germany in the 20’s and 30’s.

    I accept that not all the quotes from Mein Kampf fit one on one – but that’s only because of laziness on my part. If I spend some more time searching I am sure, as philosopher Rob Riemen suggests, much closer one on one fit would be found. But that’s not so important either as its quite clear that general drift of Wilders ideas is not that much different from the Mein Kampf!!

  60. Refresh — on 28th June, 2011 at 10:33 am  

    Trofim,

    On this topic (and perhaps others) that has been your most positive contribution.

    ‘….since sliced bread’ – come on be a man. Stop mincing words.

  61. Boyo — on 28th June, 2011 at 4:37 pm  

    @58 KILLER ANTS or the Dutch elite who pressed forward with the conviction.

    “its quite clear that general drift of Wilders ideas is not that much different from the Mein Kampf!!”

    It is true that his demonisation of all Muslims and wish to ban the religion etc is consistent with Hitler, which is why I do not agree with him, but is it any worse than the political editor of the New Statesman referring to non-believers as “cattle” and “kuffar”? Of course, worse is said at the ELM and various churches all the time, but I don’t see you calling the MAB and MCB Nazi parties, even though they boycott Holocaust Memorial Day, the disingenuous cnuts.

    What’s your problem? Why is it unacceptable for a white person to be as bigoted as a brown person? Isn’t it about time for some equal opportunity loathing?

  62. Optimist — on 28th June, 2011 at 5:17 pm  

    Boyo @61 -

    Its disingenuous to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day by anyone, and its equally criminal to deny the holocaust, whether its by likes of Nick Griffin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    But to lump together MAB and MCB with Geert Wilders ‘Freedom Party’ is equally disingenuous.

    On the qusetion of Mehdi Hassan and ‘cattle’, I would have to study his reamrks properly before I can comment, as I was not aware of that before.

  63. Boyo — on 28th June, 2011 at 10:31 pm  

    Oh, I was being a bit provocative, although certainly Wilders Freedom Party looks moderate next to the MAB, the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Let’s be clear about this, does anyone doubt that it is only our electoral system that keeps out a Wilders-style party from the UK? So what kind of democracy is that, exactly? Probably the same kind that imposed mass immigration on the UK without consulting its citizens.

    Wilders is regarded as a “fascist”, and some of his statements point to that, but, as with the EDL, there is absolutely no balanced analysis of why he has risen to prominence. At least with Hitler we could point to: WW1, the Treaty of Versailles, the Wall Street Crash, etc. It was not the unique racism of the German people. But if you read these comments, one could be forgiven for thinking that Wilders had popped up, as it were, for no reason.

    There is no real freedom of speech in Europe and little democracy (indeed probably a bit more in the Netherlands than the UK). It’s worth pondering that when considering the phenomenon of Wilders who, it is true, is not a very nice man (and a very bad film maker) but certainly more of a symptom, IMHO, than a cause.

  64. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2011 at 12:07 am  

    Let’s be clear about this, does anyone doubt that it is only our electoral system that keeps out a Wilders-style party from the UK?

    Are you serious? What about the BNP? This is a party that wants to exclude not only Islam, but non-whites as well. So I have no idea what you are talking about.

    So what kind of democracy is that, exactly?

    So now a democracy is measured by how many Geert Wilders-style political parties a country has?

    Wilders is regarded as a “fascist”, and some of his statements point to that

    And yet…

  65. Boyo — on 29th June, 2011 at 6:48 am  

    So much for subtlety!

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