The mayor of Amsterdam, former GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema, has said she will refuse to uphold The Netherlands’ recently passed burqa ban. For added context: mayors in The Netherlands are not elected, while the burqa ban was initiated in and passed by the people’s representatives in parliament and the senate.
Left-wing bulwark Amsterdam has a tendency to ignore or go against the democratic process. A lowpoint came in 2017 when Amsterdam’s ‘wethouder’ (alderman) Kajsa Ollongren suggested the city should secede in case Geert Wilders should win the national election. Wilders didn’t, but it is staggering that the powers that be so brazenly mow down any sign of push-back to their agenda. Kajsa Ollongren is now the country’s Minister of the Interior (and one of the west’s most dangerous politicians).
Generally speaking the left has become so accustomed to being in power and in neutralizing opposition that they openly advocate ignoring elections and the will of the people’s representative body of government. The same attitude towards the will of the people can be found in the USA’s ‘sanctuary cities’ – a euphemistic term for the undermining of the nation’s already lax immigration laws.
Interestingly there is little protest against the refusal of government agencies to enact the laws it is supposed to stand for. While I applaud legislation at the lowest level possible, it should be noted that cities and agencies refusing to uphold democratically established legislation almost always have a left-wing bias. Would there be as little protest against an American mayor refusing to allow abortions or allowing the sale of fully automatic firearms? I, for one, would genuinely like to see a conservative politician apply something similar on a local level to test the acceptability of local governments cherry-picking the regulations they feel comfortable enough with to uphold.
At the core of the issue is that it only takes the refusal by one city to uphold one nationally valid law to undermine the entire system. After all: if one mayor can decide not to respect that one law, why should any other mayor respect any other law? Once this becomes acceptable, federal (for the US) or national (for The Netherlands) level legislation is basically pointless. It is one of many areas in which the right has been too forthright about following the rules of the game. They should have immediately pushed this phenomenon to an absurd limit, forcing the left to take a stand against its own behavior. It hasn’t and it has created a left which only follows the rules when it suits them, and as they dominate the cultural institutions they get away with it fairly easily. The right only has itself to blame for allowing this to happen.
The Dutch government has issued a statement declaring Amsterdam enjoys no special status allowing them to ignore national legislation on this subject. It will be interesting to see how this develops.