The appalling decision to try Wilders, the Freedom Party’s head and the Dutch Parliament’s only internationally famous member, for “incitement to hatred and discrimination” against Islam is indeed an assault on free speech. But no one who has followed events in the Netherlands over the last decade can have been terribly surprised by it. Far from coming out of the blue, this is the predictable next step in a long, shameful process of accommodating Islam—and of increasingly aggressive attempts to silence Islam’s critics—on the part of the Dutch establishment.
What a different road the Netherlands might have taken if Pim Fortuyn had lived!
Pim Fortuyn. Remember him? He nearly became the Dutch Prime Minister, but was gunned down for speaking about the threat sharia law represented to the Netherlands nine days before the election.
For his supporters, Fortuyn represented a solitary voice of courage and an embodiment of hope for freedom’s preservation in the land of the dikes and windmills. But for the Dutch political class and its allies in the media and academia—variously blinded by multiculturalism, loath to be labeled racists, or terrified of offending Muslims—Fortuyn himself was the threat. They painted him as a dangerous racist, a new Mussolini out to tyrannize a defenseless minority. The result: on May 6, 2002, nine days before the election, Fortuyn was gunned down by a far-left activist taken in by the propaganda.
That’s not like what happened to Theo van Gogh (great grand-nephew to Vincent, cinematographer). He was murdered. But it is like what happened to artist Chris Ripke, who agreed with van Gogh’s sentiments. Collins quotes Mark Steyn:
In the Netherlands even the most innocuous statement can get you into trouble. To express his disgust at Theo van Gogh’s murder, the artist Chris Ripke put up a mural outside his studio showing an angel and the words “Thou shalt not kill”. But the cops thought this was somehow a dig at the local mosque and so came round, destroyed the mural, arrested the TV news crew filming it, and wiped their tape. The Dutch have determined to commit societal euthanasia, and dislike fellows pointing out it might not be as painless as they’ve assumed.
But Pim Fortuyn died years ago, and Amsterdam is a long ways away. Should we care?
Um, yes. This form of censorship is quite a bit closer than you may think. Steyn had some difficulties himself in Canada last year, you see…
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.
Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.
Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.
“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.
Oh gee – What’s the word for that? It’s on the tip of my tongue…
And anyway, that was in Canada, and a one time thing, right? Uh,,, no.
Eric Blair tips us off in a comment on that “other” site to an fine example of the freedoms one can enjoy in Canada.
Or not enjoy, as the case may be.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ontario, the largest labor union representing staff members at the province’s universities, plans to introduce a resolution at its conference next month to ban Israeli academics from teaching, speaking, or doing research at Ontario universities if they do not first condemn Israeli actions in Gaza.
Wow. Really, Canada?
But, again, that’s just far away Canada. Doesn’t make a pattern, right?
Oh, have you heard what our President has asked the GOP (and us) to do lately? Or, as the case may be, not do?
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
Darn! What is that word??? Means the government is telling you to not say something… 10 letters… starts with “C”…
H/T to Hot Air for the last link.