In my back yard – and in many others – there is an ongoing battle with Dutch elm disease. These little varmints (elm bark beetles) are destroying plenty of elm trees. But that is not what I am talking about here, although it makes for a good analogy.
I am talking about various ideological varmints which have been doing a great job of destroying Dutch society recently. But let me point out at the outset that Dutchophiles need not get upset with me here. I love Holland and Dutch people, and I in fact lived there for five years.
But I am greatly concerned about those who have been working overtime to destroy the nation. And all those who love the Netherlands should not mind having these truths pointed out. Indeed, most of these problems occur in the big cities, and most rural Dutch are quite aghast at where their nation has been heading for the past few decades.
As I have documented previously, Holland has lots of big problems with prostitution, drugs, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and so on. But as I have also written about, some of these problems are beginning to be dealt with head on. So there is certainly hope for Holland. See my article here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/06/23/wilders-holland-and-hope/
But here I want to mention three news items which have just appeared, showing us that Holland still has a long way to go. All these issues appeared in the media in the past few days, so let me discuss each one in turn. First, there was this very concerning report about more crackdowns on religious freedom.
The story opens as follows: “MPs voted on Tuesday afternoon for a change in the law to prevent civil servants refusing to conduct gay marriages. It is thought to be the first time the government has been defeated in an important parliamentary vote.
“Under current legislation, registrars can refuse to carry out a gay wedding if they are opposed on religious grounds. The cabinet has argued that as long as gay couples can get married in every local authority area, opt-outs should be allowed.
“But opposition MPs say this is institutionalised discrimination and want a change in the law. Although the anti-Islam PVV is sympathetic to this position, the party had been expected to vote against it because of its alliance with the minority cabinet.”
So it looks like Christians, Jews, Muslim and other religious and cultural groups will be forced to go against their own conscience in this area. So much for tolerance, which Holland so strongly prides itself in. So much for religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and genuine diversity. It seems instead that everyone must become subservient to the militant homosexual lobby.
The second issue has to do with ongoing concerns being raised by a Dutch politician. A European correspondent writing for an American website begins his article with this title: “Netherlands Sliding into the Abyss”. Bruce Bawer discusses a new book by Geert Wilders:
“In a new interview in the Dutch magazine Panorama, Geert Wilders talks about a variety of things, including his forthcoming book about Islam, which will be published in the U.S. in April. In it, he says, he’ll document the fact that ‘Islam is a dangerous ideology’ and that ‘Muhammed really is one of the big bad guys’ of history, whose negative influence continues to be felt today. Yes, Wilders acknowledges, there are genuinely moderate people who call themselves Muslims, and if they want to call themselves Muslims that’s fine with him – but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.”
The lack of real integration, and the huge problems with crime in the Islamic communities there, are just some of the problems the nation faces. Says Bawer: “It’s hard to believe that in the year 2011 there exist Dutchmen – outside of the perennially clueless cultural elite, that is – who are still able to believe that things aren’t ‘really so bad.’ But, alas, there are. There are.
“To be sure, thanks largely to pressure from Wilders and his Freedom Party, the last few years have seen reforms in Dutch immigration and integration policies. But has it been too little, too late? For the unfortunate fact is that one set of indicators after another continues to head south. Take a new report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and produced by Risbo, a research institute at Erasmus University. It shows that of males in the Netherlands’ ‘Moroccan community’ between the ages of 12 and 24, no fewer than 38.7 percent have come to the attention of the police at least once during the last five years in connection with some offense – mostly violent crimes and thefts.
“The winner in this dubious sweepstakes is the historic city of Den Bosch, about fifty miles south of Amsterdam. In Den Bosch, just under half of young Moroccan males between 12 and 24 – 47.7 percent, to be exact – have police records. (That’s up from 45 percent last year.) In a long list of other cities – Zeist, Gouda, Veenendaal, Amersfoort, Maassluis, Oosterhout, Schiedam, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Ede, Leiden, and The Hague – the figure also topped 40 percent. In every municipality that was studied, incidentally, the scores for Moroccan youths far outstripped those for ethnic Dutch kids, among whom an average of 13 percent of boys in the same age cohort had come in for similar police attention during the same period.”
He concludes, “After the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, the hounding of Ayaan Hirsi Ali out of the country, and the prosecution of Wilders – all because they dared to express their opinions about Islam – and given the increasingly out-of-this-world statistics such as those included in the Risbo report, one wonders exactly what it would take to persuade the Dutch media that it’s time, at long last, to permit a truly wide-open, no-holds-barred discussion of Islam in the Netherlands. One fears that by the time some of the media moguls realize it’s time to let ‘er rip, it’ll already be much too late.”
The third item is somewhat different, and it is not unique to Holland, but has to do with the radical environmentalists and their grandiose plans which often turn out to cause more harm than good. Here is how one news item covers the story:
“For centuries, the Netherlands has harnessed wind power, using windmills to drain water from low-lying marsh and turn it into arable land. Now however, Holland is falling out of love with its iconic technology. When the Netherlands built its first sea-based wind turbines in 2006, they were seen as symbols of a greener future.
“Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country’s best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity. The 36 turbines – each one the height of a 30-storey building – produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.
“But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour – some 4.5 billion euros last year.
“The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment. It will start billing consumers and companies in January 2013 and simultaneously launch a system under which investors will be able to apply to participate in renewable energy projects.
“But the new billing system will reap only a third of what was previously available to the industry in subsidies – the government forecasts 1.5 billion euros every year – while the pricing scale of the investment plan makes it more likely that interested parties will choose less expensive technologies than wind. The outlook for Dutch wind projects seems bleak.”
As mentioned, plenty of other nations are also having second thoughts on these wind turbines. Whether it is too late to redeem the situation remains to be seen. But this story, along with the other two, shows us that modern-day Holland is a real mixed bag.
It has bought into all sorts of reckless radical social experimentation, and some of that now is being repudiated or at least resisted. Whether the Dutch will have the courage to fully take on the activists and reclaim their nation is a moot point. But I hope things begin to turn around real soon.