Friday, June 24, 2011

Wilders' "Hurtful" Speech in the Wall Street Journal

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published Geert Wilders’ reflections on his victory in court. Mr. Wilders’ thesis was a robust defense of “hurtful speech”.

A number of people sent us the link to the essay but the whole of it is behind their subscription firewall…and a subscription we have not got. Yeah, I could’ve “taken the borry” of someone else’s password, but I’d like to see them stay in business, soo…*

Imagine my surprise when I googled it this morning (hoping it had aged out) only to find the WSJ was giving out a “FREE PASS”…I don’t know if it will work for others, but I got to read the whole thing via this search string: Wilders: In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech WSJ. Access also permits you to view the comments.

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In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech

I was tried for a thought crime despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament.


By GEERT WILDERS

Yesterday was a beautiful day for freedom of speech in the Netherlands. An Amsterdam court acquitted me of all charges of hate speech after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years. The Dutch people learned that political debate has not been stifled in their country. They learned they are still allowed to speak critically about Islam, and that resistance against Islamization is not a crime.

I was brought to trial despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament. I was not prosecuted for anything I did, but for what I said. My view on Islam is that it is not so much a religion as a totalitarian political ideology with religious elements. While there are many moderate Muslims, Islam’s political ideology is radical and has global ambitions. I expressed these views in newspaper interviews, op-ed articles, and in my 2008 documentary, “Fitna.”

I was dragged to court by leftist and Islamic organizations that were bent not only on silencing me but on stifling public debate.

Mr. Wilders then quotes chapter and verse of the penal code which permitted his enemies to attempt this, and he then explains his motive [my emphasis and my bullet points -D]:

I was dragged to court for

  • statements that I made as a politician and,
  • which were meant to stimulate public debate in a country where public debate has stagnated for decades.
  • Dutch political parties see themselves as guardians of a sterile status quo.
  • I want our problems to be discussed.
  • I believe that politicians have a public trust to further debates about important issues.
  • I firmly believe that every public debate holds the prospect of enlightenment.

Hmmm…unfortunately, when one’s interlocutor is a progressive, the debate rules regarding civility are often sacrificed on “the ends justify the means” bloody altar, as anyone who has left an encounter covered with spittle can tell you. Not every public debate is worth the time it takes to argue with someone who long ago foreclosed on further thought in favor of how he "feels".

Wilders cites the reasons his persecution was permitted:

My views represent those of a growing number of Dutch voters, who have flocked to the Party for Freedom, or PVV. The PVV is the fastest-growing party in the country, expanding from one seat in the 150-seat House of Representatives in 2004, to nine seats in 2006 and 24 seats in 2010. My party’s views, however, are so uncommon in the Netherlands that they are considered blasphemous by powerful elites who fear and resent discussion.

Not only do they “fear and resent” discussion, such enemies will do all in their power to pre-empt and prevent any such dialogue in the first place.

That’s why I was taken to court, even though the public prosecutor saw no reason to prosecute me…

[…]

The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world where a court can force the public prosecutor to prosecute someone.

Here in the U.S., the boundaries between law enforcement, prosecution, judicial oversight (and even civic ruling bodies) are beginning to crumble…

We saw that clearly in Dearborn, when a man was arrested and prosecuted pre-emptively, before he’d actually done anything. At the time (in April of this year), Patterico said:

…Pastor Jones is in jail tonight. As you might recall from previous posts, he wished to protest outside a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. The city attempted to impose a “peace bond” on him charging him for anticipated security expenses. As I have stated in a prior post, that is flat-out unconstitutional, because it would vary according to how controversial the speech would be and thus would be a content-based restriction. So they went to a jury trial and then this happened--

… a Dearborn jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

[…]

Prosecutors asked Judge Mark Somers for $45,000 bond. Somers then set bond at $1 each for the two pastors

They refused to pay. And Somers ordered them remanded to jail…

And there you have the perfect storm of police, prosecutors, citizen juries, and judges all aligned and willing to violate citizen rights based on their own judgment regarding what might - possibly, perhaps, maybe - could happen. In everyday rhetoric that’s called “mind reading”. When various bureaucracies of the state coordinate such efforts, we're living in a Kafkaesque world.

According our laws (as currently written) there were violations along each step of the way to this travesty. Meanwhile, Muslims in Dearborn could believe they'd “won” when all that was really proved beyond a reasonable doubt is the sad fact their neighbors believe them to be a priori nutcases who can’t control themselves. Maybe they can get CAIR or the ACLU to sue the jury?

Mr. Wilders mentions some of his fellow-warriors in Europe:

Though I am obviously relieved by yesterday’s decision, my thoughts go to people such as Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, Austrian human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and others who have recently been convicted for criticizing Islam. They have not been as fortunate. In far too many Western countries, it is still impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam.

Include America in that list. We’re a bigger place and we’re louder and lawfare goes on under the radar all over the place. And the MSM is utterly without testicular fortitude, as a commenter on the WSJ thread pointed out:

When a Muslim assassin almost succeeded in murdering cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in January of 2010, CBS News sent a reporter to interview him after police arrived at his home and saved him (and his granddaughter) from the Somali national hoping to get retribution for Westergaard’s 2005 cartoon of “Muhammad with a Bomb in his Turban”.

Here is their video report on the aftermath of the attack. Watch how courageously one of the largest broadcast news organizations on the planet showed their solidarity with Mr. Westergaard when he offered to show them (and their cameras) a copy of the infamous cartoon:


The commenter continues:
… in the fall of 2005, when rioting broke out in various Muslim communities around the world over Westergaard’s sacrilege, most of the major news media in Europe stood with Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and published the cartoon. Here in the United States, the world’s last remaining super-power, not one of our major broadcast media showed the cartoon as part of their coverage (and I looked for it at each one of the big 3). They didn’t even offer an explanation for why they weren’t showing it, they just silently ignored it…

Neither commenter nor the MSM anchorette mentions the long, long gap between publication of the cartoons and the "outrage" demos many months later. In fact, when ordinary Muslims yawned and turned the page, some Danish imam had to take the cartoons(along with additional stuff he made up) and go on an Outrage Tour in order to manufacture all that deadly drama. That irresponsible human being got his fellow Muslims killed, but hey, it was all in a good cause.

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It's doubtful our politicans are any better than the ones Mr. Wilders has had to stand against. "Sterile debate" in spades. A commenter, Hesperado, mentioned the other day that he couldn’t find a conservative pol who consistently fought back against Islam, anti-Semitism, and fascist thought (that’s a paraphrase of his idea). The only one I could think of at the time was our own former Congressman whose views on Islam got him booted out of office after many years of honorable service. We got a Soros-sponsored Obamabot in his place.

Remember the fellow in New Jersey guy who was fired from his state job for burning the Koran on his day off and in another state [he was at Ground Zero on 9/11/10 when he set fire to a few pages]. To add insult to injury, his own Governor Christie weighed in with a “guilty” verdict. So much for free speech in New Jersey.

The guy got his job back, but it cost New Jersey plenty to settle, and I don’t doubt that Christie’s attack was partly to blame for the terms of the settlement:

“The ACLU filed suit on Fenton’s behalf, and the deal was brokered before the case went to trial. The state also agreed to reimburse the ACLU for a $25,000 legal tab.” (That is in addition to the “$25,000 for pain and suffering” to be paid to the transit worker, Derek Fenton, and to the back pay that Fenton would be getting.)

Way to go, Governor Christie, you enriched the ACLU but at least you pleased your large Muslim constituency. [Considering this source, the numbers are probably overblown, but that’s an outdated interview so reality has probably caught up with the rhetoric]. At least the governor proved he’s not interested in running for higher office. It’s good to have that clear.

Contrary to our commenter’s remark (and my assent), there may be some younger politicians coming up through the ranks after all. I mean freshman Congressmen who are willing to say it all. We know Congressman Allen West’s constituency has a large Jewish contingent, so that base is covered. And he’s outspoken against Sharia law, so he’s solid there. Since he’s a black man, I don’t think we need to check him on his anti-Nazi creds. Lt. Col. West has had a head start on preparing his credentials regarding these issues; as time goes on, others will step forward.

In the final analysis, as Geert Wilders points out, the strength of our community depends on the freedom we feel to “enter our convictions in the open lists to win or lose” (he was quoting Judge Learned Hand, a true judicial philosopher whose stint on the Supreme Court gave him a powerful podium for free speech ).

Thus does Dutch leader and politician Wilders make his own plea for a European Free Speech Amendment.

He also vows to continue to speak.


*Yes, I know they’re part of the MSM, and I know they have warts galore, but we need a national press and each of us has to choose at least one. Lists of the Journal’s sins are off-topic. They published Wilder’s essay for heaven’s sake.

26 comments:

Greg said...

Copy and paste the title of the article into Google and then hit the result. This will bypass the firewall.

sameer said...

Why no news feed today :(

Hesperado said...

Sagunto,

Wilders wrote:

"My party’s views, however, are so uncommon in the Netherlands..."

Was this a rhetorical slip on his part, or is he substantiating my view that anti-Islam is, in fact, a minority view among people in general in the Netherlands?

Dymphna said...

@ Greg--

Yes, that is what I suggested. In fact, I gave the whole search string so ppl could just cut and paste.

----------------------
@ sameer

There is never a newsfeed when the Baron is gone. His 'feed' mechanism is computer programmer-friendly but beyond my pay grade.

So each time you don't see a newsfeed, check out the post titles of the previous few days and you'll see his notice re being away.

IOW, No Baron = No Newsfeed.

I just make sure the light is on when he's gone...

He got back last night and voila, newsfeed is there waiting for your perusal.

Nick said...

When one reads a transcript of words which have been uttered from a speaker's mouth, one inevitably misses all the characteristics of speech, and one misses too seeing the speaker's 'body language'.

It is possible that Wilders was making the point that there are a lot of people who support his party. Yet his party's views are so (pause) uncommon (voice dripping with sarcasm, followed by another pause) that the elite treat them as blasphemous.

So it is possible (perhaps) to treat it as presenting proof beforehand that the view of 'the powerful elite' is just not true.

Another interpretation is also possible: The 'powerful elites' Wilders mentions see themselves as way above, and fundamentally different from, 'the common man'.

Look at the way Wilders has been described as a 'populist', which is not supposed to be a good thing at all. Because he thinks what the common man thinks, there's something wrong with Wilders, apparently.

Yet, he says that the views of his party are 'uncommon'. Perhaps Wilders is playing a little game here. As well as showing that the views of the 'powerful elite' are false, he's not saying that his own views are 'common' because he's heard all this 'populist' nonsense before, & is now simply returning serve. It's not a bad return either. What are his opponents going to say: Wilders is wrong, lots of people in Holland share the views of the PVV?

So I think that Wilders might have been extracting the urine of his opponents there: two for the price of one, as well ...

Nick said...

btw: 'borry' - is that an Irish dialect there? Because the verb 'to borrow' is also expressed in that way in Scotland. As in: Ah borried it. (I borrowed it.)

Actually you would be more likely to say something like: Ah got a shottie o it. (Literally, I got a shot of it.)

Some useless trivia for you there, lol ...

Dymphna said...

Hesperado--

What th'??

Now you're going to twist a sentence explaining to WSJ readers - who don't follow Dutch politics - so you can talk about what YOU think may be below the radar in the Netherlands?

For heaven's sake, man. You have a blog, your very own place to write expansively about your points of view without being hindered by Blogger's word limit.

We get emails complaining about the MEGO-land of some of our comment threads.

We should have intervened earlier with the reminder "If you need to say more, leave a link to your own blog."

Your long comments are really posts waiting to be pasted together. Please do that -- on your own blog. If you leave a link here, then interested readeers can then go over to your place and read to their hearts' content.

Keep it short here, though.

Nick said...

And if you were departing on a short business trip, and were indicating to someone you knew that they had your permission to use something of yours while you were away, you might say something like: Aye, tik a shottie o't.

If the item in question was something which could be uplifted from your home and you wanted to remind the other party that you expected them to return it in a timely fashion, you might add: Mind an gies't back like.

Nick said...

What's a WSJ reader btw? That one's got me stumped.

Nick said...

What I'd like to know is whether Geert got lucky this weekend? I hope he got a good drink in, had a right good meal, relaxed after all the stress of this trial, then spends the weekend with his wife in a mutually satisfying manner.

On the other hand I hope that his persecutors go home in a rage, start shouting at everybody, the dog turns on them & bites them, their wife throws their supper in the bin, then they open a bottle of whisky in anger, get far too drunk & pee the bed.

Dymphna said...

@ Nick--

to "take the borry of" is just one of those Southernisms. Yes, "to borrow". It's fun to use idioms when they're obvious.

Here's one an old man explained to me: "I'll be there God willing and the creek don't rise" is still in common use.

Since I only ever heard people say it (never having read this expression), it appeared to be idiomatic grammar, i.e., "don't" where "doesn't" should be.

The creeks and streams and rivers around here can and do cause flash flooding...however, seeing it written gave this expression new meaning:

"I'll be there God willing and the Creek don't rise."

IOW, if the Indians don't get me first.

[BTW our land, which sits on a plateau near a spring-fed creek, is full of (mostly broken) Indian artifacts from 3,000+ years ago - relics from the Eastern Woodland tribes, most of whom lived in settlements.]

Dymphna said...

WSJ = Wall Street Journal.

In addition, there is

WaPo (Washington Post)
NYT (New York Times)

I'm sure there are others. Ppl have dubbed our local, whose full title is The Charlottesville Daily Progress The Regress. With good reason.

Hesperado said...

Dymphna,

I did keep it short here. I posted one comment above, of 41 words.

Nick, meanwhile, posted a response to me of 262 words; then proceeded in addition to post more comments adding up to another 239 words.

Hesperado said...

As for overly long comments, people who don't like them can scroll past them and only zero in on the pleasantly bite-sized ones (and/or the ones that conform to their own precious opinions).

Nick said...

@Hesperado,
Oh dearie me. It's quarter past. I'm late for my six o'clock spanking!

Nick said...

@Dymphna,
Wow, that's pretty crazy about where you live there. It made me think straight away of a song by Billy Joe Shaver - here's Jimmy Dale Gilmore singing it at a concert celebrating Billy Joe's birthday.

It also made me flash back to my old mum reading a book called 'Hanta Yo' by Ruth Beebe Hill years go, which she said was the best book she ever read. She's spoken about it many times since.

Apparently the author had written the story, then translated it into the Lakota (I think) dialect, then translated it back into English.

Nick said...

And what do Muslims see whenever they look back through their history? - sand and sodomy.

Dymphna said...

@ Nick--

I disagree re the history of Islam. It is both varied and amazing. However, due to their tribally internecine totalitarian supremacist ideology, they were only ever able to borrow from creative cultures. And what they borrowed usually emphasized military technology stripped of its context.

Thus they infiltrated the West riding under the rails of the Communist train (islam is nothing if not opportunistic). Meanwhile our post-post-post Enlightenment boat, steered by a group riven w/envy and ideology, ran aground in shallow waters.

Now we're an easy target.

We blame Islam but the fault is in our own suicidal policies.

sameer said...

@ Dymphna:
Glad that Baron is back !!
I am addicted to GOV newsfeed. It is the first thing I read every morning.
Keep up the good work in spreading awareness about Islam.
I was so naive 3 months ago, thinking that Islam was a religion like any other hijacked by a few extremists. But thanks to GOV and Jihad Watch, I did some research on my own and read all the articles on GOV.
Thanks again and God bless !!

Dymphna said...

@hesperado --

Dymphna,

I did keep it short here. I posted one comment above, of 41 words.


You'd have made a good Jesuit, sir. You omitted your vast previous record to focus on an aberration. Disingenuous at best.

That unpleasant squat on a previously celebratory thread was the tipping point, sir. "Wilders Walks" was going fine for a very long time until this:

I must disagree with the tenor and purport of everyone here.

That one was breath-taking. Do you grasp how arrogant this might have appeared to others? No one is going to tackle it head on because they'll be drowned in a sea of counter-arguments.

However, they know it's safe to email me with a variant of the observation, "see why I don't want to comment anymore?"

In fact, you didn't even wait for a response to your insult but immediately followed it with your own rhetorical question, as if you were mind-reading what ppl would ask you based on your criticism of their "obfuscation".

It seems you still don't get it. You say:

As for overly long comments, people who don't like them can scroll past them and only zero in on the pleasantly bite-sized ones (and/or the ones that conform to their own precious opinions).

Again...you overstep the bounds of propriety and don't seem to notice.

Why should ppl have to scroll and scroll past bumf to get to the short trenchant comments that they're willing to respond to?

Why shouldn't they want to respond to short, trenchant observations?

Why wouldn't they prefer to focus on those folks whose ideas are consonant with theirs?

As for the gratuitous insults about their "precious" opinions, well, you're just making my point. Thank you.

Did you not originally come on this thread to ask Sagunto (who wasn't here) to agree with your judgment about Wilders' words?

No analysis. Just a nit to pick over some syntax.

Again:

1. You have a blog.

2. That blog would be the ideal place to post your ideas.

2. Your comments here have become too numerous and too long.

3. If you'll write your posts on your own blog and leave a links to them here,

4. We'll even promote them for you.

5. You may leave as many links as you like, in every single thread where they wouldn't be OT.

6. OT links and comments can be left in the Newsfeed, which is the proper receptacle for those.

-----------------

When I'm up to it my task is to judge when the comment threads are going awry. Often I am simply too fatigued to do so, despite the email complaints we get.

This is push-comes-to-shove time. IOW, my dislike of making waves has been trumped by my greater dislike of rec'ing unhappy emails from our commenters, readers, and contributors - those who share their talents and resources with this community.

In the post here Wilders used Learned Hand's notions of community:

the strength of our community depends on the freedom we feel to “enter our convictions in the open lists to win or lose”...

In your response to having a limit set, you insult those in this community who see brevity as the soul of wit.

In fact, comment threads are most successful when those answering do so as briefly as possible. It may be the nature of reading from computer screens, but that's the common wisdom you'll get from smart bloggers who've been at it a long time.

The REALLY smart ones don't bother with the upkeep of a comments section. Too much work is how they put it.

Please, for your own sake, stop digging now.

Nick said...

@sameer,
Glad you've happened upon GoV; what I always take away from a 'News Feed' is the thought: what if all these stories appeared in the national press today?

And each and every one of those stories is more interesting, and more legitimate news, than the source of Cheryl Cole's latest income stream, or whether she's on speaking terms again with Chelsea's left back.

If the press ran all of these stories, every day, as they happened, and then followed up on them in order to unearth the stories behind the stories ... what would happen?

Sagunto said...

Hesperado -

Sorry to arrive a bit late at the party. You asked (with reference to the thread mentioned by Dymphna):

"Was this a rhetorical slip on his part, or is he substantiating my view that anti-Islam is, in fact, a minority view among people in general in the Netherlands?"

The answer is simple, so I'll keep it short: Wilders is referring to the political establishment here, not the general public. How could he, with that many Dutch voters from all walks of life behind his party?

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Baron Bodissey said...

sameer --

Thank you. I'm glad you find the news feed useful.

That's the kind of feedback that makes the job worth doing. The news feed is a lot of work; it's good to know my efforts are not in vain.

Nick said...

@Baron,

Your efforts are definitely appreciated, and in my humble opinion, extremely important.

I can hardly believe how the world has changed in my life; who'd ever heard of Islam when I left school? Who cared?

Astonishing to see that the people elected to run the free world kowtow to it & are hell-bent on forcing every able-bodied person in the whole of Western civilisation to drop their breeks and bend over. What's worse they want us all to smile.

sameer said...

@ Baron: You are doing a very nobel job Sir. There are millions of people who are still not aware of who the real enemy is. They think it is a few islamic extremists who are a problem, thereby assuming that if a few terrorist leaders like Osama, etc are killed, the problem will be solved and Islam will no longer be a threat.
But thanks to GOV and Jihad Watch, it starting to get clear to many that the real enemy is ISLAM. It has no place in the western society. Islam does not seek co-existence, but total submission.

Baron, Dymphna, Robert Spenser, Pamela Gellar, Anders Gravers are names I was not even aware of 3 months ago. I am fortunate to witness the resistence growing stronger against Islam and in my own little way I try and educate myself more about this evil ideology and spread awareness to people in my circle, who still are under a trance that islam is a religion of peace.

@ Nick: The day will come soon when the events in GOV newsfeed will also be beamed out of the current PC MC media circus too. All that is needed is politicians like Geert Wilders and Anders Gravers to get into power ... then hopefully all countries in Europe will be follow suit.

I wish and pray that US also is freed soon from the cluches of "Pious Imam Barrack Hussain Obama" ... the worst President in US history by far.

God Bless !!

Nick said...

The thing is, the events one reads about on websites such as this are actual events. They happened. And if one does a search of Google's news archives, one finds many more examples of the same sort of thing.

The examples we now have of Islamic brutality towards non-Muslims, of acts of terrorism and misogyny, go beyond mere anecdotal evidence and must now be considered as hard data.

The content of Islamic texts can also now be studied by anyone who wants to do so. Gone are the days when one had to rely on 'expert' opinion on such matters.

Consequently it is possible for one to question the assertion that Islam is a 'peaceful' religion and that it has been 'hijacked' by a few 'extremists'.

And that assertion does not appear to be supported by the facts.