According to H. Neuman, Geert Wilders is a free man!
[And according to new reports, he's gonna keep on walking, right into a candystore]
A few readers have emailed with further stories, plus a reminder or two:
Mark Steyn, on NRO, says in part:
“On the edge of legal acceptability,” eh? As for the latter part - “the broad context of a political and social debate” - the genius “jurists” are effectively conceding what I said when this racket got going - that the Dutch state was attempting to criminalize the political platform of a popular opposition party. That’s the sort of thing free societies should leave to Mubarak & Co, and even then, you can only get away with it for a while before people draw the obvious conclusion.
Nevertheless, as in all these cases, the process is the punishment. The intent is to make it more and more difficult for apostates of the multiculti state to broaden the terms of political discourse. Very few Europeans would have had the stomach to go through what Wilders did - and the British Government’s refusal to permit a Dutch Member of Parliament to land at Heathrow testifies to how easily the craven squishes of the broader political culture fall into line.
And at the end the awkward fact remains: Geert Wilders lives under 24-hour armed guard because of explicit death threats made against him by the killer of Theo van Gogh and by other Muslims. Yet he’s the one who gets puts on trial.
That’s the Netherlands, 2011.
The Netherlands has been like that centuries before 2011. Our favorite Dutch historian, Arthur Legger, has been outing the Dutch elites for years. He has suggested repeatedly that we return to the truth of what the Dutch really did -- or tried to do - to Spinoza. They might have succeeded but Spinoza had the last laugh: he died before they could kill him.
Legger says (in 2008) that his friends from other countries were asking what was going on:
How is it possible that so many Dutch politicians favour censorship and lawsuits, and that leading men of opinion openly and repeatedly compare Wilders to Goebbels and Hitler? How is this possible with your tradition of Spinoza?”
“How” indeed. As Mr. Legger has said reiterated to those willing to listen [my emphasis below - D], Dutch freedoms are limited to those the state considers ‘safe’:
The public comparison of a well known individual with Hitler, Mussolini or Mussert (leading Dutch Nazi collaborator) and the removing of the social safety net belongs to an ingrained Dutch tradition, well known to the Dutch. If you’re judged too harmful to the Dutch State, Culture and/or its Business (and these three are highly intertwined), the ruthless reflex sets in and it’s game over - including, sometimes, death. Recently the world was able to witness this flaw in our character: Pim Fortuyn, “fascist” adversary of the Left and winner of the elections, was murdered in 2002; Theo van Gogh, “racist” mocker of muslims, jews and the Left, was murdered in 2004; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “heretic” critic of the Left and of islam, was effectively banished in 2006.
As I remember the story, she realized that her university studies in the Netherlands hadn’t included any knowledge of Dutch history, of what the state authorities do to people like her. That is, they simply leave the miscreants alone and unprotected and ignorant of Dutch history:
Tellingly, all four of them, if you include Wilders, used ‘Spinoza’ as their buzz word - it was his Enlightenment ideals against those of the attackers of western freedom. Fortuyn, Hirsi Ali and Wilders mainly opposed orthodox islam, Van Gogh mainly wrote against the naive fool who hands his freedom over out of laziness and decadence.
…state terrorism [is] sanctioned by Dutch mentality: ‘if you stick out your head too often, we’ll chop it off’. Also, the Dutch Constitution’s Article 7 on the Freedom of Expression was not written with John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty in mind. Mill preached total freedom of speech because “even a raving madman might say something sound”. In Holland this position is only defended by some philosophers of the University of Amsterdam. Philosophy professor Pieter Pekelharing (University of Amsterdam) is a bit of a loner when he states that: “Geert Wilders is an intolerant fool who nevertheless has every right to say stupid things. Also, we cannot rule out the remote possibility that he is right on the dangers of Islam” (The Volkskrant, 15 March 2008).
Indeed. The “remote possibility” that Wilders may be right is surely staring this man in the face every time he visits a Moroccan enclave after dark. Oops. You mean he doesn’t do that? If Mr. Wilders says “stupid things” then surely the tolerant wise man, Professor Pieter Pekelharing, is brave enough to visit a no-go zone and prove Wilders’ assessments of the dangers of Islam-in-your-face is just talk?
Back to the politically incorrect and inconvenient truth about Dutch history from Mr. Legger:
Mill’s ideas on liberty were never fully incorporated into the Dutch rule of law because the reshuffling of power that took place in 1848, and which in the following decades led to our present parliamentary system, was mainly intended to check and balance a despotic and incompetent king - and had very little to do with a democratic revolution. The constitution handed power exclusively to a very small group of high-brow, male ‘haves’, who were allowed to vote and sit in Parliament because they paid a high amount of taxes (and where of good social standing).
The “solution of 1848” decidedly did two things: the King’s power was curbed and the growing unrest of the elite (“we pay taxes, but we have no say”) was eased. Whatever happened later on - the first political parties after the 1880s, men’s general vote in 1917, women’s vote in 1919, and so on- was never the intention. On the contrary the constitution was intended to curb freedom, and we are now stuck with it, mentally and legally.
The will could be found to free ourselves if the faculties of Reason and Discernment hadn’t atrophied over the years. In the West we have come to love these “curbs” on freedom. Kiss your shackles.
One has only to look at the treatment of poor Gregorius Nekshot to know the Dutch fear of those who stick their necks out…so to speak. In fact, this man’s nom de plume is brilliant:
…With “Gregorius” he refers to Pope Gregory IX, who instituted the Papal Inquisition, and “Nekschot” means literally “shot in the neck,” a method used, according to the cartoonist, by “fascists and communists to get rid of their opponents.”
By coincidence Nekshot appeared with Mark Steyn when they both received the Sappho Prize in Denmark. The former wore a burka to the event since he is still at risk from the Islamothugs in Europe.
But never mind. Mr. Nekshot is so obviously dangerous that it took ten policemen to haul him away for hours and hours of “questioning”. Maybe they thought his cartoonist’s pen was loaded? Maybe they’ve watched too many SWAT-team movies?
Europe News has a post up about Wilders’ appearance after the decision:
A short while [after his acquittal], Mr Wilders emerged to speak to a throng of more than 50 journalists, many from foreign news organisations. Mr Wilders was visibly relieved. He is a tall man, but he stood even taller as he spoke of his victory.
“I am very pleased and happy. Its not just a victory for me, but for freedom of expression in Holland …. A great burden has been lifted off me.
He concluded his remarks with the Dutch equivalent of “I’m as happy as a kid in a candy store.”
This report also includes some plans his enemies - known as “the injured parties” - have to drag this through the EU. They’ve gone as far as they can in the Netherlands, but we’ll have to see what the Euroweenies can create out of these spurious charges. They have lots of money and too much time on their hands.
Mr. Wilders will continue to need support in this ongoing lawfare war. Given the deep pockets of those determined to destroy him, that means practical support like funding from those of us who stand behind him.
But meanwhile, back in Holland, even as Mr. Wilders savors his victory Arthur Legger nudges us about the reality of Dutch democracy:
…our heritage is not Spinoza and his professed freedom. Our heritage is Providence, propaganda and social control: the one who deviates will not go unpunished.
Let's take it from the top, one more time:
According to H. Neuman, Geert Wilders is a free man!
Acquittal for Wilders
The court of Amsterdam has Geert Wilders acquitted on all charges.
The court acquitted Wilders of group-insults. According to the court it was sufficiently shown that Wilders statements were addressing islam as a religion, not to individual muslims nor as a group.
The court also acquitted Wilders of inciting hatred or discrimination.He made his statements as politician. Some of his statements were,according to the court, course and on the edge of what is legally allowed, but not punishable.
The court specifically talked about the movie Fitna. The movie has,according to the court, offensive, shocking passages, but the PVV leader remained within the boundaries of the law. Therefore, also full acquittal also on this charge. [my emphasis - D]
Is everybody happy or what??
As the prosecutor himself said back in May, Geert Wilders did not incite hatred.
So the judges, perhaps, had no choice? I wonder what scared them off?