The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has issued a report on ‘questions relating to racism and intolerance’ in The Netherlands. The report notes ‘a xenophobic, fear-fuelling rhetoric’ and a ‘divisive discourse’ which it blames on Geert Wilders’ Party For Freedom (PVV) and Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy (FvD). The EU’s recommendations include making integration a ‘two-way process’, ‘hate crime’ style legislation, actively monitoring the internet for ‘hate speech’ and introducing sanctions against Members of Parliament who use ‘hate speech’.
The mentioning of Wilders and Baudet is no surprise, but mainstream politicians are mentioned as well, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte for writing:
We feel a growing discomfort when people abuse our freedom to mess up things here, while they have come to our country for that freedom […] I understand very well that people think: if you reject our country so fundamentally, I prefer you to leave. I also have that feeling. Be normal or go away.
If the above should seem like common sense to you, that’s because it is. But to the ECRI, this is ‘hostile and xenophobic’.
Dutch blog Geenstijl points out:
ECRI offers as an example of this xenophobic and islamophobic climate, the Muhammed cartoon contest organized by Geert Wilders. Hidden somewhere in a foot note it is mentioned that the contest was canceled over serious death threats. Nowhere in the foot notes is it mentioned who were behind those death threats.GeenStijl
Alarmingly, the ECRI’s recommendations amount to the muzzling of both Parliamentarians and members of the press to avoid negative coverage of immigrants and immigration, as well as a heavy reliance on ‘hate speech’ regulations and introducing ‘hate crime’-style legislation which would increase punishment for crimes based on (supposed) motive.
‘Hate speech’ in general is a deliberately vague term that is used by the powers that be to suppress the message of political opponents, distorting the political discourse and manipulate public opinion. Enshrining it into law in any way is a wildly dangerous course of action that would give totalitarian governments democratic justification for their authoritarianism. Binding the people’s representatives and news media by prescribing a specific desired outcome for them to cater to in societal discussions is paralyzing for democracy, and totalitarian in itself.