CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

How Low Can You Go? (The Dutch Disease)

Mar 13, 2008

Holland is part of what is known as the Low Countries (because of being near or under sea level). But Holland is not just low geographically. It is very low morally as well. Indeed, it has been in such a moral freefall over the past few decades that one wonders whether it can sink any further into the abyss.

Indeed, you have to hand it to the Dutch. When it comes to moral decadence, political correctness, and sheer madness, they have to be a world leader. Holland is already famous – or infamous – for its legal euthanasia, same-sex marriage, red-light districts, marijuana cafes, and so on.

It is arguably one of the most progressive – that is, regressive – nations on earth. Bear in mind however that much of this decadence and debauchery takes place in the cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, etc. – and most rural Hollanders are also appalled at their urban cousins.

But it seems every year some new outrage is pulled in urban Holland. Consider the latest case of insanity. Authorities in Amsterdam have decided that public sex – both hetero and homo – is quite alright in one of the city’s major parks. People in Vondelpark – which has 10 million visitors a year – can now openly and unashamedly have sex in the public park. But one new restriction has been implemented: dogs must be kept on leashes.

There you have it folks. Human passion can run amok, but canines must be restricted. Now am I missing something here? Or am I just a bit slow on the uptake? Animal passions must be curtailed, but humans, engaging in animal passions, can run wild.

Just what is wrong with those Dutchies anyhow? Have they lost the plot altogether? Part of the reason I am concerned is I used to ride my bike through Vondelpark when I lived in Amsterdam. It used to be a nice family-friendly area. But now the Amsterdam elites have decided to turn it into a big public red-light district, much like the rest of the city.

At least in the past, families could steer clear of the well-known red-light districts. But now they can’t even go to the park. And if city authorities have their way, all public parks will soon be turned into open sewers. The pornification of Amsterdam will then be about complete, and families may be forced to leave the city altogether to experience some sanity, and safe parklands.

Of course Holland has long been known as a place of tolerance. Now that can be a good thing, and it helped Jews who sought shelter there from the Nazis. But it can also be a bad thing, when we somehow think that anything and everything must be tolerated.

Dorothy Sayers once warned, “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in HELL it is called Despair… the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

Or as GK Chesterton remarked, “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

The truth is, a lot of open minds need to be closed for repairs. Running to excess in most things is usually an indication that our moral braking system has worn down to nothing and is in urgent need of replacement.

The celebrated American conservative William F. Buckley, who passed away last week, once said that “civilization is about curbing appetites”. Quite right. But in much of the Western world today we are on about indulging appetites, without limit. Self-indulgence, narcissism, and a total lack of self-control are now the defining hallmarks of most modern Western societies.

Another thing Buckley is noted for saying (about his national magazine) was that it “stands athwart history yelling Stop.” The Low Countries have just gotten lower, but the rest of the West is not far behind. Now is a very good time indeed to be yelling Stop, before it is simply too late.

Indeed, no society can long last if it seeks to only celebrate unrestrained passion and lust. Without some boundaries, some self-control, and some acknowledgement of limits, we are simply headed for anarchy and nihilism.

There are plenty of passions that are running out of control today. We eat way too much. We consume way too much. We indulge in addictive and harmful behaviours way too much. And we of course have OD’ed on all things sexual.

As Will and Ariel Durant said in The Lessons of History, “The sex drive in the young is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.” That is exactly what we see happening all around us today. And Holland seems to be leading the way.

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13 Responses to How Low Can You Go? (The Dutch Disease)

  • As many have heard stated before, tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society.

    Tolerance, that is, for everything except considering anything to be wrong or bad. Therefore this notion in practice reduces to a tolerance for evil bounded only by power and a coercive intolerance for good.

    And yes, good and evil are objective and knowable.

    As for the dogs being on a leash Bill, this is perfectly logical given the insane context you described. The social engineers don’t want the neighborhood canines running loose and putting a chill on the new services provided in the park. I can imagine with grim humor the policy meeting when someone said “Yeah, but what about the dogs?”

    Shane Coley

  • Oh big deal, it’s just consensual sex. Stop being so uptight about two consenting people engaging in intimacy. Primitive mind you have.
    Carlos Mendez

  • So sad, isn’t it?

    The Dutch were global explorers, renowned reformers, great engineers, and stubborn resisters of the sea at their doorsteps.

    But now…

    John Angelico

  • Thanks Carlos

    Most parents are concerned about the wellbeing of their children and the integrity of society, and thus worry about having to confront public exhibitions of sex. Thus I take it you are not a parent.

    Moreover, public sex romps and intimacy are a contradiction in terms.

    And what do you mean by primitive mind? If that means wanting to keep sex special, to not turn all of society into one big red light district, an to protect families and children, then I think we should all be primitive minded.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The irony is that it doesn’t matter whether homosexuality is practiced in a country that tolerates it or not; the consequences are the same. In a Dutch study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, homosexuals were much more likely to experience major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Females with any homosexual contact within the previous 12 months were more often diagnosed with major depression, social phobia or alcohol dependence. Holland is extremely accepting of homosexuality, and so it’s hard to attribute this to social factors. Disordered parental relations are the most common causative factor. (Sandfort, T. G. M., de Graaf, R., Bijl, R. V., & Schnabel, P. (2001). Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders: Findings from the Netherlands mental health survey and incidence study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(1), 85-91.)
    John Mckenna

  • I recently heard Mark Styne on a podcast from Shire Network News mention how the Muslim presence in Amsterdam and the rise in ‘gay bashing’ is likely to spell the end of that city’s ‘gay culture’. It’s hard to imagine the Muslim community of Holland being very tolerant of public sex.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Carlos, are you for real or just being “tongue in cheek”? I don’t give a damn about whether the two participants have consented. The issue is that public decency requires some respect to the sensibilities of other users of the park. I imagine most users of the park don’t consent to having their children witness sexual acts in public. One of the definitions of “intimacy” is “private; closely personal”. Having sex publicly in a park is hardly what I would call “intimate”, maybe “public pornography” would have been a better description.

    You calling “primitive” anyone who opposes exposing children to adult sex says a lot about you. I would hate to imagine any one asking you to mind their children!

    The dutchies already have a reputation for being a crazy perverted lot. This new example only proves the point further.

    Frank Norros

  • I always thought that a fruit of the spirit was “self control.’
    Are the Dutch now saying that human beings are unable to possess the fruits?
    Jim Sturla

  • You’ve got it way wrong Carlo.

    How intimate is it when you’ve got a whole park watching you? That’s not intimacy, but pornography and exhibitionism!

    George Kokonis

  • My Dutch colleague, Dr Herm Zandman, writes: “Joost Vondel was a famous (and clean) Dutch author. He would resent having his name put to a park that goes now to such excesses. Thank you for sharing. Thank God I’m a country boy!”
    Greg Brien

  • Carlos,

    I can only see that you are one of many humans who display a ‘primitive mind’. Has anyone noticed how animals take better care of their young than some (a growing number) of humans in our world. Sex and procreation go hand in hand. As soon as you degrade sex, you start to devalue life. How many examples would you like Carlos?????

    Teresa Binder

  • Carlos,

    With all due respect.. kindly put brain into gear before engaging clutch of mouth.

    Jonathan Ngan

  • Bill, Despite the low the Dutch have reached it can still get worse. The trends are there. I thought a year or two ago that there were signs of recovery, but I was wrong. I have long a contact with the Dutch and Holland, and follow what’s happening on satellite TV and Dutch websites. I think that one of the biggest problems is the entrenched dominant political class who drive the decay on one side, and on the other the indifference and lack of resoluteness. You may be interested in the comments I make on my (conservative) website under the Dutch Report. I have recently retired and am now developing the site. I have only found your site recently. Congratulations on the wealth the information and professional comment.
    Gerard Wilson

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