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.