Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Geert Wilders: Free at Last?

In The Netherlands, a European country least likely to generate good news, Geert Wilders, the outspoken Dutch politician who was on trial for “hate speech,” was acquitted of having committed the alleged crime. We are patiently waiting for such news to emanate from other least likely European countries that are also beset by masses of non-integrating Muslims and the incremental Islamazation: Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, whose crime rates have skyrocketed because immigrant Muslims do not feel obliged to adapt to the countries they invaded or recognize any morality but their own, which is primitive, bestial, and immune from reason.

The Netherlands, like those other besieged-within-their-own-walls countries, established immigration policies that were both expedient and high-sounding. These policies facilitated the importation of cheap labor and the “honor” of being non-discriminatory and open to all comers. These countries were proud to be the templates of multiculturalism and the pioneers of democratic social experiments. Their policies indiscriminately embraced its nascent and then determined conquerors: Muslims. Muslims came, paradoxically, from countries where Islam was the rule and the culture, to countries that were nominally freer. No one asked them why they chose to leave a country in which they would be culturally comfortable, and move to a country whose culture could not accommodate anything that Islam stood for, in practice and in theory, unless its intellectual and political leaders believed they could mix oil and water and produce a everlasting culture palatable to and enjoyable by all.

Perhaps the Dutch policymakers (and their counterparts in the rest of Europe) thought that these people came to their country to escape poverty and persecution. What they are grudgingly conceding now is that Muslims as a rule bring their poverty and persecution with them. They are recognizing that Muslims are not the starry-eyed newcomers it was once assumed they were, “yearning to be free,” but rather the numerous and ever-growing vanguard of an ideology of conquest. They are beginning to acknowledge that Muslims came to their country with malice aforethought, with no intention of adopting or adapting to the moral and political values of their host countries, except to exploit the various welfare programs and multiculturalism – that is, to cash in on the irrational policies of those countries.

Pamela Geller on her Atlas Shrugs site listed the charges against Wilders:

1. Intentionally offending Muslims
2. Inciting hatred against Muslims
3. Inciting discrimination against Muslims
4. Inciting hatred of non-western immigrants

There are many things wrong with the notion of hate speech. But first there is this reportage from the BBC on Wilders’ acquittal.

Amsterdam judge Marcel van Oosten accepted the Freedom Party leader's statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslim believers. They were, the judge ruled, "acceptable within the context of public debate".

It is believed the plaintiffs may attempt to make their case before a European court or the UN. Their lawyer, Ties Prakken, was quoted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as saying they were "deeply disappointed" and believed the right of minorities to be protected against hate speech had been violated.


But suppose Wilders’ statements were not made in the “context of public debate.” Suppose they were private statements uttered by Wilders as a private citizen in a private argument or debate, not intended to be made “public,” but which were reported by eavesdroppers or informants to the authorities. What then? Would the Dutch courts have the moral authority to charge Wilders with “hate speech” or a “hate crime”? Probably. One thing that has been overlooked in the justifiable jubilation over Wilders’ acquittal is that the policy of rights, including the right of free speech, remains and is treated as a privilege granted by the government. The court simply conceded defeat on its own terms, not on any universal premise. It is interesting to note that the government’s prosecutors advised the court not to pursue the trial; one suspects that they knew that the government had no grounds for persecuting Wilders, that they believed the distinction between private and public speech was invalid, superficial and immaterial.

Wilders has repeatedly stated that his statements about Islam were not directed against Muslims, that he was criticizing an ideology, and not the individuals who subscribe to it, i.e., Muslims. He has compared Islam to Nazism and its chief document, the Koran, to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Certainly Nazis and Muslims are not exempt from criticism to the extent that they, as individuals, subscribe to evil ideologies, and deserve all the criticism they have earned. Ideas do not float in the air and somehow infect and incriminate the helpless, hapless, and blameless minds of such individuals. Religious and political convictions are a matter of conscious, volitional choice.

But suppose one did make statements intended to offend Muslims. Where is the crime? Where is the initiation of force? What should be the rational response of the allegedly offended person? Why should an intention be treated as a crime? Or hatred, or prejudice?

Suppose one did attempt to incite with words hatred against Muslims? The speaker already hates Muslims, and whether in private or in public, speaks to persuade others to hate Muslims. How can speech be construed as assault? Is it aggravated assault, with one’s words treated as a deadly and physically harming weapon? Or simple battery, with one’s words physically harming an individual? Where is the physical contact between the speaker and the alleged victim? There is none.

How can “hateful” words lead to “discrimination”? Discrimination against another person because of his race, gender or religion does not entail the initiation of force. It is a private decision to not hire or associate with persons who meet those criteria. Discrimination may or may not be a rational decision, but to enforce non-discrimination requires the employment of legislative or literal force.

In the case of Muslims, it is particularly ironic that their “defenders” should exploit the “self-esteem” racket concocted by Western sociologists to silence their critics, when Islam commands an abject and total surrender of the self to a ghost. Such submission does not entail or cause “esteem” of any kind. However, they seek to be "protected" against mockery and/or moral condemnation that such submission has earned them.

“Hate speech” is not the equivalent of slander or libel. Slander and libel must make claims of fact about a person before the person can sue the perpetrator of those claims and attempt to prove that they are not facts.

Feelings obviously can be hurt, but a hurt feeling is not an actionable offense that justifies retaliatory force, private or governmental. Unlike a black eye or a broken arm, a hurt feeling cannot be demonstrable in court as evidence of assault. Unlike a physical injury, feelings can be faked. But lawsuits, criminal or civil, have been the weapons used by Muslims to silence the critics of Islam and Muslims, and they are successful only in those countries whose non-objective law has been further corrupted and co-opted by multiculturalism and political correctness in word and deed.

So, while Geert Wilders, a courageous and passionate man, has been exonerated of having committed what the Dutch court has recognized is a non-crime, he has not truly been acquitted of “hate speech.” He has not been freed from the clutches of non-objective law, which still has the power to define, enforce and punish the “crime” of speaking one’s mind. His acquittal is a qualified victory for freedom of speech. In The Netherlands, as well as elsewhere, and as with the status of property rights, it remains a freedom treated as a grant and dispensation originating in government, not in the individual, a grant that may be withdrawn at any time.

Wilders is not “free at last.” He is merely on probation. He will not be free until his right to speak is recognized as an inalienable right, inalienable from his existence as an individual.

5 comments:

Randy said...

I was just wondering where you had been this past month. Glad to see you back and posting yet another great article. Thanks, Ed.

Edward Cline said...

Randy (and others): I have begun work on a new detective novel set in 1929 San Francisco, and come what may in the way of current events, that project has first claim on my time and energies. But the Wilders verdict deserved a comment. I'll be posting here intermittently, but not as frequently.

Randy said...

Oh, that is truly wonderful, Ed. I look forward to reading it. Aren't blogs great? I get to directly communicate with my favorite authors. and find out wonderful news like this. :)

Ryan said...

Unfortunately Geert Wilders is not a true advocate of freedom of speech and advocates that the Koran be banned as hate speech. He says this not because hate speech laws are inconsistent in not banning the Koran, but because he really does think it is speech worthy of being banned itself.

Damien said...

Edward Cline,

I personal hope this ruling sets a precedent over in the Netherlands. I'm glad they did not convict him for hate speech. People should not be discouraged from speaking the truth, no matter how unpleasant it maybe, especially now.