Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published Geert Wilders’ reflections on his victory in court. Mr. Wilders’ thesis was a robust defense of “hurtful speech”.
A number of people sent us the link to the essay but the whole of it is behind their subscription firewall…and a subscription we have not got. Yeah, I could’ve “taken the borry” of someone else’s password, but I’d like to see them stay in business, soo…*
Imagine my surprise when I googled it this morning (hoping it had aged out) only to find the WSJ was giving out a “FREE PASS”…I don’t know if it will work for others, but I got to read the whole thing via this search string: Wilders: In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech WSJ. Access also permits you to view the comments.
In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech
I was tried for a thought crime despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament.
By GEERT WILDERS
Yesterday was a beautiful day for freedom of speech in the Netherlands. An Amsterdam court acquitted me of all charges of hate speech after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years. The Dutch people learned that political debate has not been stifled in their country. They learned they are still allowed to speak critically about Islam, and that resistance against Islamization is not a crime.
I was brought to trial despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament. I was not prosecuted for anything I did, but for what I said. My view on Islam is that it is not so much a religion as a totalitarian political ideology with religious elements. While there are many moderate Muslims, Islam’s political ideology is radical and has global ambitions. I expressed these views in newspaper interviews, op-ed articles, and in my 2008 documentary, “Fitna.”
I was dragged to court by leftist and Islamic organizations that were bent not only on silencing me but on stifling public debate.
Mr. Wilders then quotes chapter and verse of the penal code which permitted his enemies to attempt this, and he then explains his motive [my emphasis and my bullet points -D]:
I was dragged to court for
- statements that I made as a politician and,
- which were meant to stimulate public debate in a country where public debate has stagnated for decades.
- Dutch political parties see themselves as guardians of a sterile status quo.
- I want our problems to be discussed.
- I believe that politicians have a public trust to further debates about important issues.
- I firmly believe that every public debate holds the prospect of enlightenment.
Hmmm…unfortunately, when one’s interlocutor is a progressive, the debate rules regarding civility are often sacrificed on “the ends justify the means” bloody altar, as anyone who has left an encounter covered with spittle can tell you. Not every public debate is worth the time it takes to argue with someone who long ago foreclosed on further thought in favor of how he “feels”.
Wilders cites the reasons his persecution was permitted:
My views represent those of a growing number of Dutch voters, who have flocked to the Party for Freedom, or PVV. The PVV is the fastest-growing party in the country, expanding from one seat in the 150-seat House of Representatives in 2004, to nine seats in 2006 and 24 seats in 2010. My party’s views, however, are so uncommon in the Netherlands that they are considered blasphemous by powerful elites who fear and resent discussion.
Not only do they “fear and resent” discussion, such enemies will do all in their power to pre-empt and prevent any such dialogue in the first place.
That’s why I was taken to court, even though the public prosecutor saw no reason to prosecute me…
The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world where a court can force the public prosecutor to prosecute someone.
Here in the U.S., the boundaries between law enforcement, prosecution, judicial oversight (and even civic ruling bodies) are beginning to crumble…
We saw that clearly in Dearborn, when a man was arrested and prosecuted pre-emptively, before he’d actually done anything. At the time (in April of this year), Patterico said:
…Pastor Jones is in jail tonight. As you might recall from previous posts, he wished to protest outside a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. The city attempted to impose a “peace bond” on him charging him for anticipated security expenses. As I have stated in a prior post, that is flat-out unconstitutional, because it would vary according to how controversial the speech would be and thus would be a content-based restriction. So they went to a jury trial and then this happened–
… a Dearborn jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
Prosecutors asked Judge Mark Somers for $45,000 bond. Somers then set bond at $1 each for the two pastors
They refused to pay. And Somers ordered them remanded to jail…
And there you have the perfect storm of police, prosecutors, citizen juries, and judges all aligned and willing to violate citizen rights based on their own judgment regarding what might – possibly, perhaps, maybe – could happen. In everyday rhetoric that’s called “mind reading”. When various bureaucracies of the state coordinate such efforts, we’re living in a Kafkaesque world.
According our laws (as currently written) there were violations along each step of the way to this travesty. Meanwhile, Muslims in Dearborn could believe they’d “won” when all that was really proved beyond a reasonable doubt is the sad fact their neighbors believe them to be a priori nutcases who can’t control themselves. Maybe they can get CAIR or the ACLU to sue the jury?
Mr. Wilders mentions some of his fellow-warriors in Europe:
Though I am obviously relieved by yesterday’s decision, my thoughts go to people such as Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, Austrian human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and others who have recently been convicted for criticizing Islam. They have not been as fortunate. In far too many Western countries, it is still impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam.
Include America in that list. We’re a bigger place and we’re louder and lawfare goes on under the radar all over the place. And the MSM is utterly without testicular fortitude, as a commenter on the WSJ thread pointed out:
When a Muslim assassin almost succeeded in murdering cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in January of 2010, CBS News sent a reporter to interview him after police arrived at his home and saved him (and his granddaughter) from the Somali national hoping to get retribution for Westergaard’s 2005 cartoon of “Muhammad with a Bomb in his Turban”.
Here is their video report on the aftermath of the attack. Watch how courageously one of the largest broadcast news organizations on the planet showed their solidarity with Mr. Westergaard when he offered to show them (and their cameras) a copy of the infamous cartoon:
The commenter continues:
… in the fall of 2005, when rioting broke out in various Muslim communities around the world over Westergaard’s sacrilege, most of the major news media in Europe stood with Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and published the cartoon. Here in the United States, the world’s last remaining super-power, not one of our major broadcast media showed the cartoon as part of their coverage (and I looked for it at each one of the big 3). They didn’t even offer an explanation for why they weren’t showing it, they just silently ignored it…
Neither commenter nor the MSM anchorette mentions the long, long gap between publication of the cartoons and the “outrage” demos many months later. In fact, when ordinary Muslims yawned and turned the page, some Danish imam had to take the cartoons(along with additional stuff he made up) and go on an Outrage Tour in order to manufacture all that deadly drama. That irresponsible human being got his fellow Muslims killed, but hey, it was all in a good cause.
It’s doubtful our politicans are any better than the ones Mr. Wilders has had to stand against. “Sterile debate” in spades. A commenter, Hesperado, mentioned the other day that he couldn’t find a conservative pol who consistently fought back against Islam, anti-Semitism, and fascist thought (that’s a paraphrase of his idea). The only one I could think of at the time was our own former Congressman whose views on Islam got him booted out of office after many years of honorable service. We got a Soros-sponsored Obamabot in his place.
Remember the fellow in New Jersey guy who was fired from his state job for burning the Koran on his day off and in another state [he was at Ground Zero on 9/11/10 when he set fire to a few pages]. To add insult to injury, his own Governor Christie weighed in with a “guilty” verdict. So much for free speech in New Jersey.
The guy got his job back, but it cost New Jersey plenty to settle, and I don’t doubt that Christie’s attack was partly to blame for the terms of the settlement:
“The ACLU filed suit on Fenton’s behalf, and the deal was brokered before the case went to trial. The state also agreed to reimburse the ACLU for a $25,000 legal tab.” (That is in addition to the “$25,000 for pain and suffering” to be paid to the transit worker, Derek Fenton, and to the back pay that Fenton would be getting.)
Way to go, Governor Christie, you enriched the ACLU but at least you pleased your large Muslim constituency. [Considering this source, the numbers are probably overblown, but that’s an outdated interview so reality has probably caught up with the rhetoric]. At least the governor proved he’s not interested in running for higher office. It’s good to have that clear.
Contrary to our commenter’s remark (and my assent), there may be some younger politicians coming up through the ranks after all. I mean freshman Congressmen who are willing to say it all. We know Congressman Allen West’s constituency has a large Jewish contingent, so that base is covered. And he’s outspoken against Sharia law, so he’s solid there. Since he’s a black man, I don’t think we need to check him on his anti-Nazi creds. Lt. Col. West has had a head start on preparing his credentials regarding these issues; as time goes on, others will step forward.
In the final analysis, as Geert Wilders points out, the strength of our community depends on the freedom we feel to “enter our convictions in the open lists to win or lose” (he was quoting Judge Learned Hand, a true judicial philosopher whose stint on the Supreme Court gave him a powerful podium for free speech ).
Thus does Dutch leader and politician Wilders make his own plea for a European Free Speech Amendment.
He also vows to continue to speak.
*Yes, I know they’re part of the MSM, and I know they have warts galore, but we need a national press and each of us has to choose at least one. Lists of the Journal’s sins are off-topic. They published Wilder’s essay for heaven’s sake.