The agreed-upon new Dutch government have included an increased penalty for “spreading hatred” and banning anti-democratic parties and organizations in the agreements for their coming four year rule. This is a very dangerous development, in line with Britain’s intentions of locking up people for simply viewing “far-right propaganda” online.
Oh, and the word “Islam” is not mentioned a single time in the Dutch government’s plans.
The general election of last March left the already ruling VVD (of Prime Minister Mark Rutte) the biggest party, although suffering huge losses compared to four years ago. Geert Wilders’ PVV became the second biggest of the country, but the VVD (and many others) had already ruled out the possibility of working together with them in a coalition government. After months of negotiations, we are now heading towards a four party coalition of VVD (supposedly right-leaning, but on paper only), CDA (Christian democrats), D66 (very middle-of-the-road, but in an incredibly destructive way – partly responsible for killing the referendum law, which was once their brainchild) and Christian Union (Christian democrats, but even more left-leaning than CDA).
As in Germany and France, right-wing and nationalist challengers are on the rise and the establishment takes some serious blows, but for now they remain in the saddle. They are making serious business of securing their positions, trying to curtail the biggest threat to their power: the free flow of information.
While the proposed banning of “anti-democratic” institutions appears aimed primarily at radical Islamism, that aim is not specified. Essentially, any Western attempts at modernizing our system of government could just as easily be targeted under such laws. This is problematic, as the system we have now isn’t really “democracy” (the rule of the people). The political class have amassed such power that our influence over their decisions and policymaking has become close to zero. The broad stroaks are clear: more immigration, more foreign cultures (Islam), more EU, and less emphasis on Western culture and achievements. The people may come close to taking back a little power to decide for themselves, but those are more often than not quickly terminated, as with the Dutch referendum law (which was a dud to begin with, as we’ve had two referendums and both times the results were ignored because they were not in keeping with the establishment agenda).
But the oligarchy we basically have now, euphemistically called parliamentary democracy, was meant to protect us from pure democracy, which would leave us in majority rule dictatorship. Enter the well-known analogy of two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner. Either way, democracy has a legitimacy issue: either the majority decides, which is unfair. Or the political class decides not to what the majority decides, which is also unfair, or at the very least it is not democracy.
So it seems we have more than enough reasons to study democracy and possible alternatives. The free, unlimited access to information and the possibility of government – citizen interaction online have the potential of radically innovating our system of government. But our current government is shutting down the debate on such developments, as they could be considered “anti-democratic”. I’m sorry for those who believe democracy is the pinnacle of human evolution, but it is just not what it is cracked up to be. Protecting democracy against savages who would tear it down to implement a theocracy is good, but this law is going to have side effects that could stifle and impede our progress altogether. Don’t take away the savages’ goal, target the savages.
“Spreading hate” is an often used term in The Netherlands, akin to hate speech in English. While this one could be applied to radical Islamists, it appears more directly aimed at the rise of the right. The lack of definition for the term “hate” has made this an establishment-favorite for lashing out at anything that counters their agenda. Opposing the EU? Divise and hateful. Opposing immigration? Racist and hateful. Opposing Islam? Islamophobic, racist again, and hateful.
Anything that stands in the way of the globalist, so-called progressive agenda can be squeezed in under the hate speech umbrella and that is exactly what’s happening. This is not the brave, do-gooder government protecting victims or minorities, it is the establishment protecting itself from its challengers. From the people who have had enough. Laws like this are governments giving themselves power to censor arguments against their agenda, to silence outlets they don’t like, to unfairly advantage those outlets that support them enough. This is the institutionalizing of the incestuous unity of the political establishment and the media establishment. This is what governments are already doing through Facebook and Twitter, but now they will do it in court.
Britain wants to start using anti-terrorism legislation to combat the rise of the right, giving them the power to lock people up for up to fifteen years for viewing “far right propaganda” online. Nobody knows what “far right propaganda is, exactly. It could easily include my blog (although I passionately disagree with the label and its implications). Anything that will become too big, too dangerous, too influential could – and will – be lumped in.
British police openly intensified their war on people being mean about Islam following the endless string of Islamic terror attacks in the West of the past two years. In the past five years, 2,500 people in London alone have been arrested for “offensive” posts on social media, a 37% increase compared to the years before that.
We are not imagining living in a police state anymore. We are not theorizing about how democratic, constitutional countries turn into dictatorships. We are living it. These phenomena are fairly limited for now, but the establishment is laying the groundwork for an almost unstoppable attack on anything they deem unworthy, offensive or undermining. All these words are subjective for a reason. They are meant to sound inconspicuous now, so that the people can easily be soothed into thinking they only apply to “the bad guys”, but they are defined broadly enough to take down any website, any TV station, any political party they see fit in order to protect their power and ideology.
Remember that Belgium banned a peaceful and democratic political party in 2004 (Vlaams Blok or Flemish Block, which was subsequently redubbed Vlaams Belang or Flemish Interest). The Spanish government took down pro-Catalan independence websites just this month with the silent approval from the EU. The Dutch government has twice ignored the will of the people as declared by legal referendum, and subsequently killed the referendum law altogether. High-ranking European officials have openly advocated for making Britain bleed for wanting to leave the EU.
You are not free to think what you want. You are not free to read what you want. You are not free to write what you want, say what you want. You may vote, but you will not be represented. You will be intimidated, censored and shamed. That is not because you are wrong. It is because they fear us. They fear us and they will not go down without a fight. But go down they will.