We have previously discussed the increasing criminalization of speech. Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders has been the focused of another of these past cases, which I have criticized as undermining free speech values. Now Wilders has been convicted of hate speech and inciting racial discrimination for espousing his far right views. One does not have to agree with Wilders — and many vehemently condemn his views — to see the implications of the criminalization of speech in Europe.
Wilders has advocated outlawing the Koran in the Netherlands, like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. He also referred to Mohammed as “the devil.” However, past prosecutions have resulted in acquittal. Now, however, he has been found guilty though Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker. It could be, which is precisely the problem. The clear message is that certain political views are now criminal with the intent to chill such speech. It is likely that a wider array of speech is likely to be similarly chilled as people try to avoid any criminal charge.
Wilders have many critics, which is not surprising for a politicians. Some 6,500 official complaints were filed after Wilders led a party rally during a local election campaign in The Hague in March 2014, asking whether there should be “more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.” The crowd chanted “fewer, fewer.” The sentiments are expressed are not significantly different from rallies during this presidential election, including Trump rallies. Many objected to the language of campaign but no one was seriously arguing that it should be charged as a crime. Like Donald Trump, Wilders clarifies his comments that he was speaking of a subset of criminal actors not all Moroccans. However, Steenhuis said “It doesn’t matter that Wilders gave another message afterwards. The message that evening from the podium, via the media, was loud and proud and did its work . . . The group was collectively dismissed as inferior to other Dutch people.”
The case, which has taken 20 months to reach a verdict, comes three months before Dutch general elections and Wilders’ PVV is currently leading in some polls.
Michiel Pestman, lawyer for some of the complainants who helped bring the case, said: “There is a debate in the Netherlands about whether this has given Wilders free publicity, but he has to pay his lawyers. It’s a unique decision. This is the first time that a court has said that minorities need special protection and even a politician should be very careful about what he says.”
The thousands of people who filed complaints should direct their actions to defeating Wilder in the court of public opinion — not seek to silence someone with whom they disagree through the criminal justice system. Lucien Nix, a solicitor for the council of Moroccan mosques in Holland is quoted as saying “The Netherlands can take a deep breath of relief. Moroccan Dutch people have felt robbed of their dignity and a heightened sense of discrimination. We have waited for this for a long time.” Nix is describing a true Faustian bargain. In exchange for silencing one person who Nix finds offensive, the Dutch just lost a significant level of protection for free speech.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).
This is the latest example of how free speech is now deemed an existential threat rather than a inviolate right in Western Civilization.
What do you think?
115 thoughts on “Conservative Dutch Politician Geert Wilders Convicted For Hate Speech”
But only a year ago in the same country:
So, is this just luck of the draw as to what judge was presiding? Or has the anti-free-speech crowd gained that much ground in such a short time there? Surely it’s not just the sort of bending-over-backwards-to-show-we-aren’t-bigots syndrome? Or is there some specific legal point that is relevant?
Hey Squeek – where have you been? Caring for the passel of kittens no doubt. At any rate I miss your comments, music videos and original artwork. Just sayin’ =)
Of possible interest……
Another good book about the effects of radical Islam is by author Bruce Bawer who left the U.S. because as a gay man he felt the Religious Right “moral” majority as espoused by Falwell & Robertson was threatening. He moved to Amsterdam because he loved the city and the famed Dutch tolerance. What he found, however, was very different (he subsequently wound moving to Denmark- ironic given the furor over the cartoons). While I found his first book “Stealing Jesus” about Christian fundamentalism to be interesting it didn’t really touch me personally, but his book “While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within”, published the same year as Hirsi Ali’s “Infidel”, as Michelle Obama might say “shook me to the core” I love Olde Europe and had no idea of the insidious forces of Islamification until I read these books.
Bawer is “odd man out” in many gay circles because like Milo he is a openly gay Conservative.
The Democrts haven’t been this pissed off since the Republicans freed their slaves!
Yes, ‘inciting discrimination’ was one of the two out of six accusations that led to the conviction. The other one was ‘insulting a group’. The ‘hate speech’ accusation was dismissed.
Does everyone live by the same sword? Because if calling Mohammad the “Devil”, which was rude, is punishable with a criminal conviction, then would every single imam in Germany who calls the West the Devil, or their ways evil, or makes anti-semitic speech going to prison, or at least getting convicted? Or what about their condemnation of European women as impure? And don’t get me started on the Lutheran/Catholic argument.
Boy, they’d better start expanding their prison system.
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. It is blowing in from the Muslim territories. Free Europe is done. Radio Free Europe quit trying years ago. We should have just let Hitler stay in power.
The term “far right” to describe Geert Wilders is simply more Leftist BS.
This entire “Left Wing”–“Right Wing” paradigm is pure BS. It’s a phony “choice,” like heads I win, tails you lose. They might as well ask, “Which side are you on? The Nazis (a centralized brutalitarian government controlled by powerful Elite corporations) or the Communists (a centralized brutalitarian government controlled by powerful Elite corporations)? That’s it, take your brand of authoritarian government.
A more apt term to describe Geert Wilders, and those who believe as he does, is to call him a Civilizationalist. A good portion of the civilized world actually wants Civilizationalism, not Leftism/Rightism. That is, in fact, why Trump defeated Clinton. Trump and his team cleverly marketed Trump as a Civilizationalist out to repel the Barbarians at the Gates. It was a clever marketing campaign, and, of course, Clinton made it easy for them, given her clear-cut Leftist agenda or the even more obviously Leftist Sanders.
Of course, given Trump’s recent picks for his administration, featuring more of the same Elite Establishment representatives, intelligent people can readily see that there will be little change at all from Elite corporation control. So Trump is already well on his way to earning the appellation, “The Orange Messiah.” Once that becomes apparent to those who voted for him, they will again be demanding a Civilizationalist candidate, instead of a “Leftist” from the Dempublicans or a “Rightist” from the Republicrats.
But time is running out. And if the World continues on its current path, there will be no more Geert Wilders speaking the truth anymore. There will only be the phony “Left/Right” “choice” for the hoi polloi.
Ralph – I am stealing your apt term, “brutalitarian.” 🙂
If one is forbidden to speak out on issues which are controversial, then who is to decide whether or not comments on any issue can be described as hate speech? It would seem to depend on the political climate, public opinion, and the context within which it occurred.
I’m sure the Dutch people hated the Germans for their cruel occupation of the Netherlands during WWII. Was saying that hate speech? How would Russians feel toward the Nazi troops who pillaged, raped and murdered 20 million Russians? If a white European feels his nation is being victimized by a group of violent, immoral, intolerant parasites who threaten the basic principles of democracy, a rule of law and the cultural traditions of their home country, hate would be justified, and no one should interfere with any patriot who dares speak out on it.
I always found it interesting that it was the conservative American Enterprise Institute who sponsored Ayaan Hirsi Ali in coming to the US after a fatwah was issued against her in Holland. Where were all the Liberals and feminists?
Autumn, Great comment and video clip. I have been a fan of this brave woman since reading, Infidel, many years back.
I have a difficult time taking feminists seriously because they seldom, if ever criticize Muslims for their treatment of women.
Thanks Nick! “Infidel” was such an amazing story I read it twice! And I have enjoyed listening to her on YouTube over the years.
I admire Ms Ali.
And to answer your question, Leftists believe the existential threat to women is Republicans, not those who actually stone women or force female genital mutilation upon them. No, it’s racist if you show the slightest bit of concern about the people who murder gays and beat women for standing next to a man they are not married to.
Makes perfect sense, right?
KarenS, you are right, however, I would differentiate between Progressive Lefties and Liberal Lefties =) Because the former do not think all Republicans are evil – indeed we are insistent on pointing out where they might be spot on. The whole dichotomy of R & D is nonsense and we are very much despised by the Liberal SJWs. Especially after this election when we refused to vote for HRC.
“Trump saw the shambles that is the Republican party and chose to be a Republican because the Democratic way had too much stability in the area of morality and ethics.”
“far right views”
That phrase was always a deliberately misleading one, since those with racist/nationalist views were usually either centre-right or a bit to the left of that, hence the name “National Socialist“. I would suggest that it would be better not to muddle Mr. Wilders up with such people, especially as he is not calling for anyone to be killed.
The case of Geert Wilders illustrates very well why we need free speech, he is addressing a real problem that the people of Europe face. If the climate of political correctness had not smothered debate for so long, we might not have gotten ourselves into this big mess with growing division and violent attacks.
I challenge islam because Islam incites violence against me, as such it is in breach of European laws:
“Incitement and Religion”
Until mosques are closed and Islamic preachers are arrested on these grounds, we will not have equality before the law in Europe.
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