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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The dilemma of Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders going off the deep end

There's no coming back from being in bed with a hard-core, no-bones-about-it neo-fascist party. You can't do that as a credible adult in the 21st Century and say you didn't really know how bad fascism is.

Amazingly, Marxists and other contemporary communists get away with it, and they shouldn't. As ideologies in theory and practice, both  are political manifestations of pure evil. Suppression of the free exchange of ideas and the repression of any individual or groups that conflict with the will of the rulers are inherent features of these totalitarian movements. Though they use the language of liberty and justice, they do so only as empty words to manipulate the gullible; and as tools to reach the power they plan to clutch without ever intending to release it.

That's why among many, there were high hopes for what was represented by Geert Wilders' Dutch Party for Freedom. Despite being characterized as "far-right" by the media, his platform that favored women's rights, including pro-choice policies as well as gay rights and free speech, were actually reflective of classic liberalism. The "far-right" appellation came from a culturally relativist media that was enraged by Wilders' extreme criticisms of Islam. But were those criticisms justified?

Ancient kings claimed divine power so their authority could not be challenged by the inferior reasoning of mortal men. Similarly, in our time political Islam, with its Imams and leaders claiming divine authority as the temporal interpreters of Allah and Mohammed, brooks no real dissent. And woe to those who would dare try. In the Netherlands, Theo Van Gogh tried and he was stabbed to death on the street. Ayyan Hirsi Ali tried, and has spent the life under threat of death, with the unending need for security precautions.

There are critics of Catholicism who are just as harsh as those who criticize Islam. But Catholicism's critics do not have to live in constant fear of being murdered, while Islam's do not enjoy that privilege.

So while it seems Willders has not changed his Party for Freedom's platforms, his willingness to form an alliance with France's crypto-fascist National Front has plunged him into an abyss from which he will probably never emerge.  The National Front's current leader, Marine Le Pen, has tried to rehabilitate the image of the party she inherited from its founder, her Nazi-sympathising father, Jean-Marie.  But the National Front remains what it is, a genuinely far-right party, using thoughtless demonization of all Muslims and fervent opposition to gay marriage as a means to achieving their ends.

Wilders is first and foremost a politician, and seeing the increased popularity of Europe's far-right political parties, he must have seen an opportunity worth exploiting by allying with them for the upcoming European parliamentary elections.  Even if he does achieve a temporary measure of success by that alliance, the irrevocable long-term damage it will inflict on his and his party's credibility show that he is someone who lacks the wisdom to lead a nation.

The one silver lining to this sad development is the rift this has caused between Wilders' party and Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party and its firebrand leader Nigel Farage. Despite uninformed claims by Wilders that UKIP would join the alliance of the far-right, Farage has made it abundantly clear the Dutchman is talking out of his hat.

Farage has made it plain that he would have nothing to do with any multi-party union that involved the National Front, leading Marine Le Pen to lash out at him this week, like a spurned lover.

I can't say that I know Farage, but did meet him briefly and chatted with him while we were ordering drinks at the bar at an event where he spoke. It was a speech in which his firm commitment to human rights, liberty and individual freedom was passionately and abundantly clear.  His rejection of any cooperation with France's National Front, despite the immediate political gain that could come with it, reiterate Farage's commitment to those principles.

It is a very sad development for the Netherlands and Europe that Geert Wilders capitulation to expediency shows he lacks that same wisdom.

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