Dutch elections: All animals are free, but some are more free than others

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It was a dark day in Dutch history this past wednesday. The extremist anti-Islam party, that is cynically called “Party for Freedom” (PVV in Dutch), led by Geert Wilders of Fitna-fame, more than doubled its number of seats at the general elections.

A critical analysis of Geert Wilders was aired on Dutch TV recently (Zembla; mostly in Dutch), which made minced beef of the arguments for his political stance, and warned for the dangers of his ideology. His analysis of what the Koran sais (e.g. in Fitna) is extremely shaky, and in some instances even diametrically opposed to what is actually meant in context (where have we heard that before…?). His appeal is based on fear mongering and scapegoating, while ‘dehumanizing’ the humanity of people with a different faith than his own. It’s entirely reprehensible.

As if that’s not enough, they flat out deny the existence of human induced climate change.

Some background to balance the ranting:

Far from being a two-party system, the Dutch political landscape is more fragmented than it’s ever been. A majority coalition needs at least three, and in many cases four parties. The historic ‘political middle’ has been decimated (via RNW):

150 is the number of seats in the Dutch Parliament

The parties represented in this graphic with the number of seats between brackets are:

PvdA (Dutch Labour Party)
PVV (Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party)
VVD (centre-right liberals)
CDA (Christian Democrats)
SGP (Protestant party)
GroenLinks (GreenLeft)
SP (Socialist Party)
Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals)
D66 (Democrats 66)
ChristenUnie (Christian Union)
Trots op Nederland (Proud of the Netherlands)

See also English coverage at RNW in the Guardian, the BBC and elsewhere.

En mijn Nederlandse blog post over o.a. het nep-skepticisme van Richard de MosĀ van de PVV.

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12 Responses to “Dutch elections: All animals are free, but some are more free than others”

  1. DLM Says:

    Your ‘political (left-leaning) middle’ has been decimated, because it has failed to address the concerns of the electorate. In times of trouble, people naturally turn away from squishy feckless liberalism. You are lamenting the workings of democracy.

  2. MapleLeaf Says:

    Democracy also voted in Bush.

    Anyhow, you seem to be missing the point DLM. Would you feel the same way if PVV were anti-semitic? Going by your post once could infer that you support political parties such as PVV who are ant-islam. Bigotry is unacceptable, period. That is one of Bart’s major problems with them, and I hope with all posting here. Pity you did not preface your neocon rant by distancing yourself from the PVV’s unfortunate position on Islam.

    Don’t worry Bart. Could it be that it was a protest vote at unhappiness with the government? Even the Americans eventually saw the err of their ways with Bush et al., took them two terms though.

  3. DLM Says:

    Maple, Maple

    You are missing the point; democracy is what it is. If those in power are perceived to be ineffectual, they are voted out. They don’t get the boot just because the other party has skillfully and cynically played on the fears and ignorance of the same electorate that gave them their shot at governing. When your crowd is in power, the learned people have chosen wisely. When your crowd is kicked out, the people have somehow been tricked by greedy bigoted reactionary charlatans. Right, Maple?

    As for your attempt to brand me as a bigot because I did not comment on Wilders politics, I don’t have time to familiarize myself with every second-rate politician in every minor country in the world. He may be a bigot, but that’s not my problem. Whatever minced beef he is selling, he must be on to something, or he would not have gotten so many votes in such an enlightened country as the Netherlands. My guess is that Islamic immigrants are perceived as a big problem to many folks there. Do they have a right to vote for someone who claims he will actually do something about it? Would it be so terrible if Islamic immigration, or all immigration, were reduced? Do the Dutch have a reciprocal right to immigrate into Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, or Iran, to take advantage of the low cost of energy, and the wonderful climate of religious freedom and social justice? Enlighten me.

    The Taliban recently hanged a 7 year old boy for allegedly spying for the Afghan government. Have you seen the video of a 16 year old girl being stoned to death in Iran, for having a boyfriend from the wrong Islamic sect? Islamic jihadists in various countries routinely strap bombs to women and children, and send them out to blow up infidels and Moslems alike. I was two blocks away in the southern Philippines, when the Moro National Liberation Front threw hand grenades into a movie theater killing 30 men, women, and children. It’s routine there. All of the perpetrators of these atrocities justify their actions by citing the Koran. Must be that they just don’t understand the context. Can you help straighten them out?

  4. Bart Says:

    DLM,

    In times of trouble, people indeed often move from more moderate positions to elect more extreme voices in office. It has more to do with fear than with their concerns not having been met though, I think.

    I’m lamenting that so many people voted for such a reprehensible party. The fact that the Taliban commits those atrocities you describe doesn’t make Geert Wilders any less reprehensible than he is.

  5. MapleLeaf Says:

    Bart,

    Do we really have to entertain DLM’s juvenile tone and gross generalizations about religion and ethnicity?

    DLM,

    I think it best we don’t get into politics. You do not know my history or background, nor do I know yours. For the record, I do not support bigotry, nor do I support extremists or jihadist groups such as the Taliban– one can strongly condemn the disgraceful actions of some extremists within a group without having characterizing the whole group (Islam) as extremists.

    I find your position troubling. Even when offered an opportunity to clarify your position on Wilders, you instead of condemning his position, you elect to justify his position.

    Anyhow, no one gets the last word on these debates, but in this case I will defer to you to have the last say on this particular topic. Have a nice weekend DLM.

  6. GFW Says:

    “In times of trouble, people indeed often move from more moderate positions to elect more extreme voices in office. It has more to do with fear than with their concerns not having been met though, I think.”

    This is much more than Bart’s (or my) personal opinion. There is a significant body of sociological research that supports this.

  7. DLM Says:

    Some examples GFW?

  8. Eli Rabett Says:

    So, it looks like the Netherlands is going vegetarian. Eli intends to run next time as the Party for the Carrots.

  9. Marcel Kincaid Says:

    quishy feckless liberalism

    What about the real sort of liberalism?

    Or to put it another way — that sort of characterization is bad faith rhetoric.

  10. B.Wolf Says:

    Bart,

    your explanation of the Dutch political arena is far from complete. I agree, Geert Wilders overemphasizes the Islam as a hugh danger for democracy in Holland . But not telling the reasons behind his electoral victory helps to establish a certain image about politics in Holland which is inaccurate. This is more condemnable since your blog is in English, and most vsitors know too little about Dutch politics.

    Most voters for Wilders PVV are concerned about what is called Moroccan street terror in Dutch cities: intimidating and attacking homosexuals, Jews, Dutch girls with modern clothes etcetera. Almost 1.5 million Dutch people really demand action on that matter, which has been denied by left wing politicians for decades now. And now you are painting a picture of Wilders that is so colored by your own political pre-occupation on this matter. The devil is not so black as he is painted.

  11. Bart Says:

    B Wolf,

    There is no excuse for the behavior of groups of young thugs terrorizing their neighborhood.
    There is no excuse to blame a whole religion or the millions of followers of a religion for said behavior of relatively few.

    For both may be explanations, but no excuse.

  12. The Wilders Round-Up, July 6th 2010 « Defend Geert Wilders Says:

    [...] My view on climate change – Dutch elections: All animals are free, but some are more free thanĀ others [...]

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