Friday, January 29, 2010

The Soviet Netherlands

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As most readers already know, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders has gone on trial in Amsterdam for “inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims” with his film Fitna and other criticism of the Islamization of his country. The move against him is plainly political, and is an attempt by the existing power structure in the Netherlands to stem the rapid depletion of its own popularity and legitimacy.

Along with the person of Mr. Wilders, the sitting Dutch government has attempted to demonize his party, the Partij Voor de Vrijheid (PVV) by commissioning a blatantly fixed “scientific” study of the PVV, whose release was timed to coincide with the Wilders trial.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated two articles about the report, and follows them with his own notes.

First, from De Telegraaf:

PVV is the “new radical right”

The PVV does not derive from the traditional extreme right. Nothing but right-wing elements may be found in the views of the party of Geert Wilders. The concepts of the PVV about Islamization and non-Western immigrants seem to have a discriminatory character. The organization of the party is not democratic, but authoritarian.

That is what is stated in a report by the IVA Research and Consultancy on radicalization and polarization in the Netherlands. The report was written by four researchers: Hans Moors [see also “Jammin’ the Jahiliyya”], Lenke Balogh, Jaap van Donselaar and Bob de Graaff.[1]

They describe the PVV as being the “new radical right”: a party with a “national democratic” ideology, but without roots in the traditional extreme right.

A preference for “one’s own” [a term invented by the extreme leftwing researcher Donselaar], a dislike of the “foreign”, and a tendency for the authoritarian [because the PVV has no membership], which comes forth from the views of the PVV, belong to national-democratic ideas, the researchers write. As an example of the aversion for the “foreign”, the researchers mention alleged [sic] Islamization and non-Western immigrants.

They assert that “hard statements on these issues” come close to discrimination. Those are about “the exclusion of rights, criminalization, and social divisiveness”. The researchers thereby note that the court must still rule on allegations of discrimination.

On the internet the PVV seems to function as a magnet for the extreme right, the researchers conclude on the basis of extreme right wing web forums. But this is less true of neo-Nazi websites.

In a comment Wilders speaks of “a scandalous report, in which is much nonsense is said, such as equating defending national interests with the radical right”. But most of all he is not amused by the statement that under criminal law the statements of the PVV, according to the researchers, might have “a discriminatory character”. Wilders designates this as a “downright and extremely harmful” way of influencing the court case that is still pending against him.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Guusje ter Horst (PvdA, Socialists), the sponsor of the study, has also made herself guilty by sending the report to parliament without distancing herself from it in the accompanying letter. Wilders calls this “vicious”. Ter Horst said earlier that she has not interfered the content of the research, and also that it was not a study that was focused solely on the PVV.

Het Vrije Volk responded to the same report in with the following article:
- - - - - - - - -
The PVV is the “new radical right”!

by Filantroop

They finally came out with it: the PVV, according to researchers, is the “new radical right”, and has a “national-democratic ideology, but without roots in traditional extreme right”.

There is only one problem: choosing words for a political party is not at all scientific, but only an opinion-based way of defining it. And, in this particular case, the researchers did not find connections in history, because the PVV does not have any similarities with former fascist or National Socialist parties, despite being repeatedly smeared with them. No NSB, no National Front, no NSNAP nor NSDAP whatsoever.

But, because historic links between the PVV and those parties simply do not exist, the desperate researchers grabbed for a different terminology to outline the essence of the PVV in a negative way: the new radical right.

Yes, that the party is relatively new and is predominantly right-wing seems obvious. One does not need months of research to discover that. That the party is national-democratic might well be true. The PVV is a democratic party. And the past has never shown that the PVV rejects parliamentary democracy.

The PVV is a Dutch party, thus a national party. A party that is supposed to promote the interests of the country where said party is based. Usually we call that serving the national interest. National-democratic should therefore be considered an honorable mention. This in contrast with parties that represent the interests of many foreign countries and people from elsewhere.

The salient is word is “radical”. Because when is something or someone radical? To oblige every Dutch citizen to place a taximeter in his own car [to pay a tax per kilometer to the government] one might call radical. To commit the Dutch people to handing over their country to the EU juggernaut one might designate treasonous radicalism. And to have ten policemen seize a cartoonist from his bed [Nekschot] is something found only under radical regimes.

It therefore is only a semantic excuse to stick a label on the PVV so as to impute to that party a malicious striving.

But a bit further on a not entirely unknown word arises. It was once devised by Jaap van Donselaar of “Monitoring Racism and Extremism”, and concerns the term “one’s own”. One who is a little familiar with the jargon will immediately think of the word “ethnic character” [or völkisch] that was in common use with the old and new National Socialists. But apparently the researchers have not been able to catch the PVV on a “Blut und Boden” theory, and therefore, out of lack of ideas, came up with the word “one’s own”. Thanks to expertologist Jaap van Donselaar.

In conclusion, it is not scientific to invent designations for a party when there are no historical links that might justify them scientifically. It is merely an arbitrary conjunction of terms which together must arouse dissuasion.

But there is something else entirely that demands attention. A minister (Ter Horst) and member of a party (PvdA, Socialists) — who, as may well prove true in the polls, stands to lose substantial political influence, and is also under constant criticism by the PVV — has commissioned this “scientific” study of the PVV. Since when do authorities order investigations, at the taxpayers’ expense, into political competitors?

Well, such is the actual “authoritarian” the researchers mistakenly referred to in trying to taint the PVV with some dictatorial taint. For indeed the PVV has no power other than words, both inside and outside parliament, and also cannot just order an investigation into its competition, at the expense of the taxpayers.

We have partisan interests and political profit lying in wait for the research, which makes initiating this paper at least suspicious. But with this there is no question of a lack of historical roots. Historically seen, there is a lot in it to associate with authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, where the rulers disabled political competitors by means of “scientific” research, certificates of insanity, show trials, repression, and murder. […] Those leaders were fervent supporters of an overarching, controlling government and radical opponents of any political competition.

But for Minister Guusje ter Horst there looms an insurmountable problem, because it is impossible for her to simply ban the PVV as a political party. […] The probability of successfully forbidding the PVV can be ruled out. So, nothing but demonization remains. With the ongoing legal case against Wilders there at best may be a few sentences that can be put to a criminal judgment, but it will be impossible to ban the PVV along with it. Moreover, the number of followers of the PVV has grown significantly, while the PvdA is helplessly watching its own electorate drain away. Thus a ban could lead to a prohibitive popular anger.

What else can Minister Guusje ter Horst in all her desperation do, but command a few researchers to call the PVV the “new radical right”?

VH adds these notes:

More information about the report continues to emerge, such as the fact that the pdf of the final report was saved on December 16, 2009, at 2:58 pm, while the minister still maintained to the parliament and the press that the researchers were working on the final version, which would be ready in early January. That she obviously postponed sending the report to parliament, and only now published it — in between the first and second court sessions of the Wilders Trial — makes it all the more peculiar.

The researcher Hans Moors[1] stated to the newspaper NRC Handelsblad that “new radical right” is synonymous with “extreme right-wing”.

[1] Moors also wrote, “The debate on ‘the multicultural drama’ has continued as a still uneasy argument about the relationship between integration, participation, equality and multicultural policies, strengthening of the discourse and [on the other hand] the neo-nationalist [sic], or rather populist reflex for tackling it the hard way,” and “All the publicity about troublemakers and radical Muslims leads to prejudice and discrimination.”


Professor L said...

As a physicist, can you express surprise when I say I'm beginning to prefer the designation 'Natural Philosopher' as opposed to 'Scientist'. This is outright embarrassing - science is built on falsifiability and repeatability. You have a theory and you try and prove it wrong (falsifiability - seriously, it's the easiest way of actually proving something!). And you need to be able to repeat said proof time and again.

This contains neither element, since it deals with a purely subjective subject (opinions, as opposed to observable facts, which the physical sciences always deal with), and thus will change on the basis of one's view.

However, I believe that the label 'extreme/radical right wing' is quite accurate, in a Burkean sense. They stand for limited government, Christian morality, low taxes, etc.

Pity they think right-wing means totalitarian to these fools (a proper Tory is anything but!).

Henrik R Clausen said...

In Neuropa, freedom of speech is 'Extreme Right'...