Maybe there’s a connection between Andrew McCarthy’s excellent NRO piece today about the forever-threat of Obamacare and the Corner post by Mark Steyn late last night about the Wilders win yesterday in Holland.
Geert Wilders’ triumph in two important local elections in that seaswamp of a country, where parties sprout like tulips, seems to predict a bigger victory for his Freedom party in June. As Mark pointed out, the Dutch politician, who campaigns against immigration abuses and a government policy of giving comfort to Muslim extremists and Islamic “street terrorists,” is often painted by the Euromedia as a right-wing lunatic. This Guardian piece actually treats him relatively gently.
Although Wilders is the parliamentary leader of Holland’s Freedom party, he’s been charged with criminal Islamophobia at home and scorned abroad. The U.K. prevented him from entering the country for eight months in 2009 because the government feared his anti-Islamic thoughts, once spoken, would inspire violence. (He had been invited to discuss Fitna, a short film he made about the implications of dramatic demographic change in the Netherlands’s biggest cities, where, according to the Telegraph, Mohammed is now the most popular boys’ name, Hans down.) But Wilders’s populist, anti-Islamic, and Euro-skeptic views represent ideas that will eventually be heard and debated – one way or another.
There may also be a McCarthy-type lesson for us in this about the eventual rejection of leftist policies imposed by an entrenched minority against the wishes of an increasingly restive majority. Wilders:
“The leftist elite still believes in multiculturalism, coddling criminals, a European super-state and high taxes,” Wilders told cheering supporters at a rally in Almere. “But the rest of the Netherlands thinks differently. That silent majority now has a voice,” he said [in an earlier edition of the Guardian].
Neither the EU nor Islamification are subject to much public debate in Europe these days, the former because governments know nobody really wants the EU and its vast and expensive apparatus, and the latter because while genteel Europeans tend to use bulleted lists in Power Point as a debate tool, fanatics just use the bullets.
So the threat of violence surrounds this issue. Anti-Islamic speech can have deadly consequences. The need for that speech is the result of leftist policies once imposed and now increasingly rejected.
Wilders is a roll-back politician. As he points out, far more than in the U.S., Europe has a silenced middle-class, and beneath the predictably off-target press-roar about fascism and all that, a Freedom party victory will bring issues affecting that muted middle to the surface. It would be pleasant to see these roll-backs settled by voters silently dropping a ballot into a box.
But roll-backs usually create noisy mayhem because discovering that the latest idea is a bad idea and tossing it out is a messy business that can have unpredictable consequences. The Left knows this; the Lisbon treaty and Obama’s “up or down” vote on health-care are of a piece. Take away a government hand-out and you take a brick to the head. Every time a civil servant is asked the skip a pay rise or work an extra hour in the interests of civic solvency, the result is violence. Ask a Greek or a Parisian. Murders, beatings and persecution as a result of condemning Islamic violence are commonplace. The leftist-European social net Obama and the Democrats favor is a cloak of intractability. It covers Europe from Amsterdam to Athens, but it’s more than wide enough to span the Atlantic.