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Will the Sun Shine Again in the Netherlands?

Geert Wilders finally gets his chance.

The coming of spring is pretty much the same everywhere, but it is especially glorious in the Netherlands. The winters are cold and clammy, the sky almost constantly gray; most winters, in most Dutch cities, there is little if any snow, but the air always feels damp, the sun rarely if ever shows itself, and the rain can seem never-ending. Then, at around this time of year, it all changes, quite suddenly and quite gloriously: the rains cease, the sun not only emerges but shines with such intensity that you can feel the warmth in your bones; as if on cue, the café owners all put their sidewalk tables out again and the householders fill their window boxes with tulips. Looking around you, you’re reminded what an extraordinarily beautiful country it is.

So there was something especially moving about a statement Geert Wilders made at a historic press conference last week. Just under six months had passed since the November 22 elections in which his Freedom Party (PVV) won 37 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, making it the nation’s largest party for the first time since its founding in 2006. The results represented a spectacular upset for the ruling coalition of four parties, all of which experienced losses, as well as for the Dutch political establishment generally. Since that establishment has long considered Wilders a dangerous extremist, and since some of the fifteen parties that are represented in the lower house still want nothing to do with him, the question of how exactly his party’s success could be translated into the formation of a viable government representing the will of the Dutch electorate was not an easy one.

Indeed, it has taken many months of proposals, counter-proposals, and elaborate negotiations for the the PVV and three other parties — the VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy), the NSC (New Social Contract), and the BBB (Farmer-Citizen Movement) — to work out detailed plans for a coalition government whose goals have been spelled out in a newly released 26-page document. Announcing this agreement at his press conference, Wilders promised to institute “the strictest asylum policy ever,” to lower taxes (including taxes on gasoline), to reduce development aid, to address the housing crisis, to take a “tougher approach to terror,” and to “work toward deporting criminal refugees.” In short, the coalition government will “set a new course for our country” under the motto “hope, courage, and pride,” and will seek to make Dutchmen “proud of this country again, of our beautiful Netherlands.” In short, as Wilders put it, “the Netherlands will become safer and the sun will shine again.” The sun will shine again! Yes, it was political rhetoric, but as a great admirer of Wilders and a lover of the Netherlands — especially of Netherlands in the spring — I found it moving.
The new government will be an unusual one. Half of its members will be non-politicians — business people and other experts in various fields. Neither Wilders nor any of the other party leaders will become prime minister. It’s not a bad idea. In parliamentary democracies, cabinets tend to consist exclusively of members of parliament who belong to the ruling party or parties; as a result, important ministries like finance or defense can end up in the hands of callow young people with no background whatsoever in these areas. (Of course, if the wrong person is in charge, the same thing can happen in the U.S., where a buffoon like Pete Buttigieg is named Secretary of Transportation simply because he fulfills certain identity criteria that have nothing to do with the duties of the job.) And of course in any system where career politicians run government departments, sensible decision-making can easily take a back seat to political considerations.

Needless to say, the Netherlands’ legacy media has no interest in giving Wilders’s coalition a chance. In the view of the editors of NRC, a leading newspaper, the Netherlands was now “joining a sad European trend” whereby “right-wing radical parties … are coming to power by sharpening their sharpest edges.” Responding to Wilders’s use of the word “pride,” NRC lamented that it seemed “to refer mainly to a Netherlands that is anxiously turning inwards, no longer wanting to look beyond the dikes.” Wilders, NRC charged, was leading the Netherlands full-speed into a “climate crisis” and was putting “the ‘ordinary’ Dutchman” ahead of “asylum seekers, Muslims, nature, Europe, the cultural sector” — a patently unacceptable choice.

Sound familiar? The problem for NRC, obviously, is that Wilders’s program is, to all intents and purposes, a Dutch variation on Trumpism — favoring natives over illegal immigrants, national sovereignty over subordination to international organizations (the UN) or superstates (the EU), the voting power of “deplorables” over the tyranny of a small unelected elite, and common-sense environmentalism over radical climate ideology.

To sensible people, every bit of it makes sense: but to NRC it’s “raw right-wing conservatism.” NRC does admit that this “is what a majority of voters who voted for these parties apparently want.” But NRC, like many mainstream media in the U.S., isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of actually allowing the electorate to choose its own country’s leaders and chart its own country’s path.

The Dutch media are particularly uneasy about the coalition’s possible actions on immigration, especially of the Islamic variety. Wilders, of course, has for years been his country’s most prominent voice on the subject — a role formerly occupied by, in succession, Pim Fortuyn (who was murdered in 2002), Theo van Gogh (who was murdered in 2004), and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who left for the U.S. in 2006). Owing to his frank talk about Islam, Wilders has lived for years in a bulletproof house, is driven to work in an armored car, has the most secure office in the Dutch Parliament (believe me, I’ve been there), and goes nowhere without a full-time cohort of six bodyguards. In other words, he’s told the truth and fought the good fight at great personal sacrifice. (This is the man about whom the editors of NRC have the audacity to say: “Wilders has not cared about his voters for years.”)

To be sure, some of Wilders’s plans don’t sound as sweeping as one might wish: during last year’s campaign, his proposals included banning mosques and madrassas and even the Koran. (For my part, I’d send every household in the Netherlands a booklet containing all the most incendiary passages in the Koran.) But given that he’s working under the constraints that go along with being part of a coalition, the bullet points in the agreement with regard to Islam, immigration, and integration seem like a reasonable start: freezing decisions on asylum cases; deporting people without valid residence permits; ending the current practice, in the allocation of public housing, of prioritizing refugees with temporary residence permits over native-born Dutch citizens; tightening border controls; imposing stricter policies for admitting refugees, which includes an end to the practice of rewarding refugees who’ve discarded their identity documents; tightening “family reunification” policies; shortening the appeals process for refugee applications; making it possible to deport criminal aliens quickly; taking stricter action against asylum seekers in “reception centers” who commit acts of violence against women, gays, or Christians; punishing those who’ve failed to comply with deportation orders; and taking a more aggressive approach to integration, which, the coalition agreement specifies, means, among other things, requiring a higher level of competency in Dutch and extensive education about the Holocaust.

Is this new start for the Netherlands too little, too late? Perhaps. But if Wilders’s coalition can put its program into effect, and carry it out with enough force and (yes) toughness, it could make a positive difference. It could encourage politicians in other Western countries who share Wilders’s determination to preserve their own countries’ freedom, tradition, and values — and who recognize the rampant ongoing Islamization of Western Europe as a cataclysmic threat to these things — to amp up their own efforts.

In any event, when one turns from Wilders’s program to (for instance) the British government’s approach to Islamic perfidy — as exemplified by its long-term whitewashing of Muslim rape gangs, its hands-off approach to even the most violent participants at pro-Hamas rallies, and its brutal attempts to silence (or even destroy) critics of Islam like Tommy Robinson — what decent, liberty-loving individual could do other than to cheer the ambitions of Wilders and his coalition partners?
Better, after all, to go down fighting than to yield power to a merciless enemy all the while hoping desperately and pathetically for mercy.

Read this article on the website of The American Spectator.

Ayaan Hirshi Ali – Geert Wilders: Hope in The Netherlands

Currently, the terrorist threat in the Netherlands is substantial. And, as I recently wrote, the threat is an overwhelmingly Islamist one, in spite of European governments’ rhetorical attempts to lump jihadists in with disaffected teenage boys who enjoy frog memes. At present, Dutch jihadists (an appalling phrase which probably seems unremarkable to the average jaded European) have been mobilized by the recent turmoil in Gaza.

In the small but densely populated Netherlands, where taboos against sensitive topics are difficult to maintain, Islamism is impossible to ignore. As it happens, the Netherlands is a perfect example of a country which was warned against excessive immigration by academics, journalists, and politicians who were predictably labelled “far right.” The Dutch centrists didn’t listen, and the Netherlands is now addled with the predictable ills of a nation burdened with millions of poorly integrated Muslim migrants.

But people are waking up. Geert Wilders, who won the Dutch elections six months ago and will establish a coalition government with right and centre-right parties like the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), was one of those early opponents. Wilders founded the Party for Freedom (PVV) in 2006 and proceeded to stir up international attention with his film Fitna (2008, meaning “division among people”). The film exposed what is already out in the open: The underpinnings of Islamic violence, misogyny, antisemitism, intolerance of apostates, etc.

Wilders drew attention to Quranic verses such as:
Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment.

…which speaks for itself. Very few European elites were prepared to listen, however: In the ensuing controversy,

Wilders was banned from entering Australia and the UK, even after having been invited by a House of Lords peer, Lord Pearson.

Now, after years of institutional Salafist growth in the Netherlands and other destructive outcomes of Dutch pandering to the EU consensus on issues like climate change, Wilders can no longer feasibly be described as “divisive” or “extreme.” Democracy reveals where people are united as well as divided. At present, the Dutch are relatively united under their opposition to yet more immigration. According to a recent poll, the majority of Dutch voters, including those leaning Left, want to limit the number of asylum seekers.

The poll also shows that Dutch people strongly prefer importing migrants who come to work (“labor migrants”) from Europe rather than further afield. Wilders’ leading policy reflects the desires of the population, desires which respond to the predictable difficulties of integration. It also reminds us that the PVV, now almost 20 years old, was not “extreme” when it warned of the outcomes of rampant immigration, a warning which mainstream liberal media outlets like the NPO (the Dutch public broadcasting system) have long branded as paranoid fearmongering or outright hate.

The very same media outlets secretly love Geert Wilders (almost as much as SNL loved Trump while pretending to hate him). They love him because he gives them the opportunity to scold and demonize the Right: His politically unconventional, often crude manner of speaking offends liberal pieties and provides a reliable source of outrage. The NPO employed a similar tactic to that of America’s CNN when it claimed that Wilders “scores high on the untruthfulness scale” (whatever that is), claiming honesty (and, by extension, truth) is whatever toes their political line.

The NPO and other pillars of Western “consensus” media still insist on calling Wilders “far-right.” Take this recent example from Politico, whose sub-headline reads: “Far-right radical seen as last chance to avoid EU pollution rules.” What this article gets right is that Wilders is indeed “everything European centrists loathe:” Honest and angry about the gruesome reality of immigration into Europe; unpalatable to pearl-clutching diversitarians; unapologetic in representing primary industry workers who have been despised by EU bureaucrats for decades. As Ed West incisively discussed back in 2010, it is a dirty but prevalent media tactic to brand Wilders far right:

Wilders simply believes that becoming a minority in one’s major cities because everyone is too embarrassed to offend anyone by raising the issue is taking northern European shyness a bit far.

Fourteen years later, they’re still at it.

What Wilders’ electoral victory tells us is that his main enemies are not ordinary people, but the Blob: The Netherlands’ diversitarian and increasingly commercialized mainstream media. The media’s relationship with big corporations is important: As elsewhere in the West, a constant stream of migrants from the developing world guarantees cheap labor and quick fixes to labor shortages. When you next encounter the claim that Wilders is divisive, ask yourself what “divisive” is supposed to mean. Wilders reflects the Dutch majority view on immigration; his promise to establish four nuclear power plants answers the people’s cries for greater energy independence. When Wilders stood with the Dutch farmers during the 2022-23 protests that forced the nation to reconsider its highly punishing emission cuts, he was standing for the nation’s primary industrial backbone.

I will devote a separate piece to the mainstream media’s distorted representation of popular ideas as dangerous populist ideas. For now, I should acknowledge that many, including critics of Islam and immigration, find Wilders’ style a bit too much. Wilders certainly is more brusque than his polite precursor Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated by a lone wolf Leftist in 2002. But he exists because mainstream politicians have failed to do their jobs in representing the will of the people and defending them from harm. If you don’t like the Farages, Trumps, and Wilderses of the world, then demand that mainstream Consensus Men actually protect their own people. Strong political rhetoric and intolerance of the establishment are symptoms, not causes, of the real problem.

Read this article on the website of Restoration Bulletin.

Geert Wilders: Strong support for Israel

Geert Wilders: ‘‘Just had a great conversation by phone with Israeli PM Netanyahu , I expressed my strong support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

The decision of the ICC prosecutor is ridiculous and wrong, it’s a crime NOT te defend its people against the forces of hate and terror.’’