Why the Netherlands is not fit to be part of Europe.
The following article highlights the extremely worrying developments in Europe regarding freedom of speech. It provides some context for the Geert Wilders trial that is presently under way in the Netherlands. After reading this, I wasn't so sure about certain victory for GW anymore...
Americans think of Europeans as essentially like themselves. They believe European societies are like their own—rooted in the rule of law, freedom of religion, democratic government, market competition, and an unfettered press. In recent years, however, Europeans have given up an essential liberty: freedom of speech.
It is true that in the United States prevailing orthodoxies on some questions are ruthlessly enforced but it is still legal to say just about anything. Not so in much of Europe. In the last decade or so countries we think of as fellow democracies—France, Germany, Switzerland and others—have passed laws that limit free speech for the same crude ideological reasons that drove the brief, unsuccessful vogue of campus speech codes in the United States.
Today in Europe there are laws as bad as anything George Orwell could have imagined. In some countries courts have ruled that the facts are irrelevant, and that certain things must not be said whether they are true or false. In others, a defendant in court who tries to explain or defend a forbidden view will be charged on the spot with a fresh offense. Even his lawyer can be fined or go to jail for trying to mount a defense. In one case a judge ordered that a bookseller’s entire stock—innocent as well as offending titles—be burned!
Just as Eastern Europe is emerging from it, Western Europe has entered the thought-crime era, in a return to the mentality that launched the Inquisition and the wars of religion. It is a tyranny of the left practiced by the very people who profess shock at the tactics of Joseph McCarthy, an exercise of raw power in the service of pure ideology. The desire not merely to debate one’s opponents but to disgrace them, muzzle them, fine them, jail them is utterly contrary to the spirit of civilized discourse. It is profoundly disturbing to find this ugly sentiment codified into law in some of the countries we think of as pillars of Western Civilization. At the same time, these laws cannot help but draw attention to the very ideas they forbid. Truth does not generally require the help of censors.
There are two subjects about which Europeans can no longer speak freely. One is race and the other is Nazi Germany. “Anti-racism” laws generally take the form of forbidding the expression of opinions that might stir up “hatred” against any racial or ethnic group. In some countries, it is now risky to say that genetic differences explain why blacks have, on average, lower IQs than whites or to say that non-white immigration should be prevented so as to preserve a white majority. There are probably parts of every issue of American Renaissance that could be banned in some European country, and we have an obvious interest in opposing censorship of this kind.
Far more prosecutions have taken place, however, in connection with what is called “Holocaust revisionism” or “Holocaust denial.” This appears to cover any skepticism about the generally-accepted view that the Nazis had a plan to exterminate Jews and managed to kill some six million, mostly by gassing. There is considerable variety in the laws that forbid disagreement on this matter, but the Jewish Holocaust has become the one historical event on which people in France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Poland, Austria, Lithuania (and Israel) can be legally compelled to agree. It is still legal to dissent from Holocaust orthodoxy in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Britain, Ireland, and Croatia, but there is powerful pressure in some of these countries to join the censors. Third Reich Jewish polices are of no special interest to AR, but it is outrageous that any point of view on any question be forbidden.
In the United States there is widespread complacency over this blatant thought control practiced by our closest allies. This complacency proves the utter lack of integrity of those who make principled free-speech claims for Communists, pornographers, rap “artists,” and flag-burners, but who will not lift a finger to stop the persecution of “racists” and “Nazis.” Liberals get dewy-eyed over the First Amendment only when it suits them, and are quietly delighted to see their opponents dragged off to jail because of their opinions. Indeed, several thousand Europeans are arrested every year who, if they were leftists, would be lionized as “prisoners of conscience.” Indifference, even joy, over their fate is the contemptible sentiment that prevails across the political spectrum even in America.
Read more here.