Interview with Wilders

Scott B. writes:

I’ve been catching up on a stack of interviews that I downloaded. This one with Geert Wilders is one of the most impressive interviews I’ve ever seen—especially the last quarter.

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Ed H. writes:

I admire Wilders as man of courage, but is anyone else as skeptical as I am about his recommendations for dealing with Islam in the West?

He suggests that Muslims can remain in the West, but need to give up the Koran. Is this even remotely possible? Is adherence to the Koran a mere choice that can be changed at will? Wilders says that Muslims can have their culture, but not the basic teachings that created that culture. Again, is this at all realistic? Wilders assumes that Muslims can assimilate to our culture. But in order to assimilate, they would have to give up their religion, and their culture that is the product of that religion.

This leads to larger questions. Are our cultural personalities—as well as our racial personalities, which are closely connected with our cultural personalities—within our free will? As a general rule, no. Sure, we may curb certain aspects of our daily behavior, often with great effort, or concealment, but can we change its fundamental structure? Generally, no. Such alteration may happen with some individuals, but not with an entire population. Entire populations, entire cultures, do not change themselves—and certainly they don’t change themselves by an act of choice.

In reality, we do not see such a principle of choice operating at even the simplest level. For example, is clothing a “free choice”? People generally dress according to the dictates of their culture. The same is true of all aspects of life. People’s spoken language, their body language, their gestures, their facial expressions, are all expressions of their culture which they acquire, not through an act of choice, but simply by growing up in and being a member of that culture. People don’t have a choice in these matters, except in the case of relatively rare individuals who deliberately seek to acculturate themselves to a different culture.

Considering these things, how can coexistence with Islam not end in complete disaster for ourselves? Wilders is not engaging reality. The only answer is separation and quarantine.

Daniel O. writes:

I am not surprised that Geert Wilders, who is a big fan of Lady Gaga [LA replies: Oh, no], believes that Muslims can freely change their beliefs and culture. I think that he principally believes that a person can give up his faith in Muhammad as easy as his fancy for Lady Gaga or Bach, but that it is the use of violence within Islam which prevents this from happening on a large scale. In other words, Wilders adheres to the liberal notion that we are all consumers in a vast cultural market place.

Therefore, while Wilders has great courage to criticize Islam—something which most liberals would not even dare—his mindset shows traces of cultural relativism. Of course, Wilders is not a full-fledged cultural relativist, since he argues that Islam is morally inferior to the liberal cultural market place he calls Western civilization. Nonetheless, he is a cultural relativist in the sense that he believes that culture does not fundamentally matter. Yet it does (fundamentally, not absolutely), especially when there are religious elements in play.

Westerners will never understand their current plight—decadence, Islamization—nor find a solution to this problem so long as they do not change their mindset. A mindset that is not able to discriminate between the cultural garbage of Lady Gaga and the beauty of Bach will not save us from Muhammad’s votaries.

LA replies:

I’ve often acknowledged that Wilders is a liberal—yet a most unusual liberal, who stands against liberalism on this most vital question of Islam. I would say to Wilders’s conservative critics: It doesn’t matter that he’s not a full-blown conservative. We’re not looking to him for the solutions to all the problems of the West. We’re not looking to him as a conservative philosopher-king. We’re looking to him as the world’s most important foe of Islamization. That’s enough for one man.

So for example, Wilders supports homosexual “marriage.” But from conservatives’ point of view, especially American conservatives, this doesn’t have any practical significance, it doesn’t lessen Wilders’ value, since he’s not pushing homosexual marriage. The message he’s spreading to the world is the danger of Islam and the need for the West to stop Islamic immigration. That’s what matters to us.

If Wilders were mixing his anti-Islam message with a pro-homosexual marriage message, that would be a problem. But he doesn’t do that. He also doesn’t engage in the craven gesture of, say, a David Horowitz, who always used to preface (and perhaps still prefaces) his conservative messages with the assurance that he’s really a good person because he supports homosexual rights.

However, I am distressed to find out that he is a fan of that entertainer, whose very name makes me gag.

Daniel O. replies:
What do you mean exactly by ‘not pushing homosexual marriage’? Pushing it on an international level? That would of course be true, because Wilders is not pushing homosexual marriage in his American or Canadian interviews. Nevertheless, he is doing so in Dutch politics. For instance, he wants to fire all public officials in the Netherlands (including Christians) who refuse to marry homosexuals, even in the autonomous Dutch oversees territories where the population does not want homosexual marriage. It is my guess that he does so for the same reasons why he wants to ban ritual slaughter (including by Jews): to discourage the exercise of Islam both in public and in private, but in such a way that even the parties on the Left will support him (and vice versa, since it is politics)—which means doing it in a non-discriminatory way.

Nonetheless, my point is not that Wilders is not a conservative philosopher-king (we all know he is not); my point is that his mindset is flawed, that—therefore—his approach to our current cultural crisis is wrong, and that—consequently and most importantly—he will not succeed. Wilders is trying, perhaps with his best intentions, to eat soup with a fork; and he deserves credit for trying so hard. But one has to understand that a spoon is required, and follow-up by actually using that spoon. Analysing what Wilders does wrong is essential to those potential conservative philosopher-kings who might be willing to use a spoon.

LA replies:

I am extremely troubled to hear this.

The link you provided leads to a Twitter message by Wilders which says this:

Iedere ambtenaar dient iedereen te trouwen: heterosexueel of homosexueel. PVV-fractie wil via wetswijziging af van weigerambtenaar.

Can you translate it?

There seems to be nothing in English on Wilders in relation to this topic. I googled Wilders and “homosexual marriage” and “gay marriage” and came up with nothing. Do you know of anything? If not, have you got an informative Dutch article that clearly states his positions and actions on this issue that you could translate for us, or at least the key passages?

September 20

Daniel O. replies:

It translates as:

“Every public officiant should marry everybody: heterosexual or homosexual. PVV-parliamentary caucus wants a law to get rid of refusing public officiants.”

In the Netherlands, there is political debate on whether a small group of Christian (and perhaps a couple of Muslim) public officiants should personally be required to marry homosexuals, although in every municipality there are other public officiants who are willing to marry homosexuals. Even to some liberals, therefore, it is a non-issue. According to this 2011 video, the PVV [Wilders’s Freedom Party] has supported a leftist motion to such a law created difficulty [?] in the then-government he supported, because the Christian Democratic party tried to prevent such a law from coming into being. Thus, homosexual marriage appears to be an important issue to Wilders, since he risked a conflict with the government coalition he supported. This means that Geert Wilders is either principally and radically for homosexual marriage (willing to treat Christians as collateral damage, as he does with Jews in the case of ritual slaughter), or that he uses it as a strategy to make it less interesting for Muslims to become public officiants and to encourage the Dutch oversees territories (the Dutch Antilles) to leave the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

While Wilders is a staunch opponent of Islam, he is damaging the very institutions and persons the West need to resist the Islamic plight. It might gain him some popularity now, but it will not help him or us in the long run. So, I would add to my analogy that Wilders is turning the spoon into a fork, and still wants to eat soup with it.

LA replies:

All along, my view has been something like this: “Yes, Wilders supports homosexual marriage, but only in the sense that it’s a conventional position supported by all Dutch liberals. To find out that Wilders actively seeks to force Christian officials to perform marriage ceremonies for homosexuals on pain of loss of their jobs—in short, that Wilders backs a homosexualist tyranny—fundamentally alters my view of him. He’s still a great leader of anti-Islamization and I support him in that role. But I can no longer support him as a person.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 19, 2012 11:51 AM | Send

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