Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Geert Wilders speech in New York

September 25. My thoughts on this speech follow excerpts from Wilders' text:
...I am a lawmaker, and not a movie maker. But I felt I had the moral duty to educate about Islam. The duty to make clear that the Quran stands at the heart of what some people call terrorism but is in reality jihad. I wanted to show that the problems of Islam are at the core of Islam, and do not belong to its fringes.

Now, from the day the plan for my movie was made public, it caused quite a stir, in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. First, there was a political storm, with government leaders, across the continent in sheer panic. The Netherlands was put under a heightened terror alert, because of possible attacks or a revolt by our Muslim population. The Dutch branch of the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir declared that the Netherlands was due for an attack. Internationally, there was a series of incidents. The Taliban threatened to organize additional attacks against Dutch troops in Afghanistan, and a website linked to Al Qaeda published the message that I ought to be killed, while various muftis in the Middle East stated that I would be responsible for all the bloodshed after the screening of the movie. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the Dutch flag was burned on several occasions. Dolls representing me were also burned. The Indonesian President announced that I will never be admitted into Indonesia again, while the UN Secretary General and the European Union issued cowardly statements in the same vein as those made by the Dutch Government. I could go on and on. It was an absolute disgrace, a sell-out.

A plethora of legal troubles also followed, and have not ended yet. Currently the state of Jordan is litigating against me. Only last week there were renewed security agency reports about a heightened terror alert for the Netherlands because of Fitna.

Now, I would like to say a few things about Israel. Because, very soon, we will get together in its capitol. The best way for a politician in Europe to loose votes is to say something positive about Israel. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I, however, will continue to speak up for Israel. I see defending Israel as a matter of principle. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

Samuel Huntington writes it so aptly: “Islam has bloody borders”. Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.

Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. Therefore, it is not that the West has a stake in Israel. It is Israel.
[...]
This is the most painful thing to see: the betrayal by our elites. At this moment in Europe’s history, our elites are supposed to lead us. To stand up for centuries of civilization. To defend our heritage. To honour our eternal Judeo-Christian values that made Europe what it is today. But there are very few signs of hope to be seen at the governmental level. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, Berlusconi; in private, they probably know how grave the situation is. But when the little red light goes on, they stare into the camera and tell us that Islam is a religion of peace, and we should all try to get along nicely and sing Kumbaya. They willingly participate in, what President Reagan so aptly called: “the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”

If there is hope in Europe, it comes from the people, not from the elites. Change can only come from a grass-roots level. It has to come from the citizens themselves. Yet these patriots will have to take on the entire political, legal and media establishment.

Over the past years there have been some small, but encouraging, signs of a rebirth of the original European spirit. Maybe the elites turn their backs on freedom, the public does not. In my country, the Netherlands, 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat to our national identity. I don’t think the public opinion in Holland is very different from other European countries.

Patriotic parties that oppose jihad are growing, against all odds. My own party debuted two years ago, with five percent of the vote. Now it stands at ten percent in the polls. The same is true of all smililary-minded parties in Europe. They are fighting the liberal establishment, and are gaining footholds on the political arena, one voter at the time.

Now, for the first time, these patriotic parties will come together and exchange experiences. It may be the start of something big. Something that might change the map of Europe for decades to come. It might also be Europe’s last chance.

This December a conference will take place in Jerusalem. Thanks to Professor Aryeh Eldad, a member of Knesset, we will be able to watch Fitna in the Knesset building and discuss the jihad. We are organizing this event in Israel to emphasize the fact that we are all in the same boat together, and that Israel is part of our common heritage. Those attending will be a select audience. No racist organizations will be allowed. And we will only admit parties that are solidly democratic.

This conference will be the start of an Alliance of European patriots. This Alliance will serve as the backbone for all organizations and political parties that oppose jihad and Islamization. For this Alliance I seek your support.


How "bad" is the situation? I went to Google News and entered: "Geert Wilders" "Hudson Institute" "New York" . This returned only three hits for the last month (the speech was given Sept. 25; you get one more hit if you omit "Hudson Institute"). And these hits are for a couple of Israeli news bulletins and a Quebec blog. Clearly, the Western Establishment believes there is absolutely nothing to Wilders' arguments, or they are scared stiff of them.

This situation should not demoralize people however. I would take it as a sign of an impending paradigm shift. Reality, however much of it Wilders grasps - and surely the answer is some, however much one might disagree with some of his characterizations of the European scene - cannot be denied forever. The world Orwell imagined cannot really come to pass, no more in this worldly world than the Kingdom Christ imagined, or the Umma Mohammed imagined. Things will break open sooner or later and people will have to face up to the need for new paradigms and forms of transcendence, if they are to avoid great violence.

I'm glad Wilders recognizes that the renewal of Judeo-Christian nation-state values can only happen with parties that are not founded on racial hate. But inevitably the opposition to a large Islamic presence in Europe will have racial aspects to it. Islam is not a race, but most Muslims in Europe will not see themselves, nor will they be seen, as of the same race as what Wilders awkwardly calls the "indigenous" Europeans. We cannot run from such questions whether in righteous and imperialistic "anti-racism", or in worship of an atavistic tribalism as Europe's last and only "hope".

We must find a way to talk about reality, e.g. of national cultures which are not tribal entities (the national should be defined as that which transcends the tribal by entering, in its own particular way and tradition, into open conversation with the universal) but as the guarantors of a strict, uncompromising defense of human freedom, of the individual, and of what must be restrained if the free-thinking individual, and the kind of family which can produce them, is to be reproduced in future. In short, individual freedom must be defended against claims that "human rights" or "freedom" can allow for deference to the anti-liberal claims of certain tribal and religious forms of the sacred. There is and can be no right for the free individual to buy into relative unfreedom.

The many who fantasize about the more compact "communitarian" societies of the past must be given endless kicks in the mental butt, or most of them will end up starving or killing in post-scientific, post-liberal, waste lands.

There will be, must be, many more than one way to make the future of free individuals; but today it can only begin by flooding the world with new forms of reason and faith to dissipate the fear that makes a Wilders speech unreportable. Those who would shut such people up in the name of "human rights" must be faced with a higher reason, and love for the human and the human's foundation in the sacred. For in any vicious conflict, that love is what will ultimately be key to motivating and organizing the more creative and winning side.

Without it Europe will be defenseless. There is no such thing as a successful tribe of nihilists. And presently, that's a rough approximation of what both the unsuccessful EU political class, and the more resentful and truly doomed forms of opposition to it, are.

19 comments:

Dag said...

I think one would be hard-pressed to find an intellectual who has any genuine emotional or even professional attachment to Reason. Most are just like th e great unwashed proles they hate so much: they live their lives and have their experiences privately, regardless of their public posing. Reason is a paint job.

Offer people something they want, or they'll go to the opposition, even if that opposition is done up in full homoerotic SS drag.

truepeers said...

What is a private experience? It is something wholly dependent for its meaning on the publicly available array of representations. Did something just happen to me? How can I know it was something and not nothing unless I can communicate to you what just happened? Does my cat "know" the wind is blowing? Not like we know... How can I know anything without being dependent on a shared community of consciousness. What is consciousness - that which we can represent to/with others. The public always comes first, then the private. Let us not reduce this profound fact to publicly uncreative posing.

Reason is not exactly a paint job, just because it cannot reduce the eternal mysteries of desire, and representation thereof, to some pure system of logic. Reason is our attempt to get as much useful mileage out of what is inherently mysterious, at bottom, as we can. So some get less mileage than others before giving in to their consuming desires. But it is unnecessarily cynical to call them painters just because the scary paradoxes of desire are at the heart of everything. It has never been anything but a question of how many layers of the onion we can peel before the tears make us stop.

What do people want? What do women want? Desire is paradoxical at core, i.e. not fully explainable by reason. We can reason about it, up to a point. But at the end of the day, who really knows where the market is going tomorrow? What we will want tomorrow or the next day will be revealed to us through yet unimaginable events that bring new possibilities and representations into being. When all we can see is a world of bad choices, a world where people can no longer act in good faith and hope, where the market activity comes to a halt, a world where nothing can capture our imaginations long enough to defer our tendency to go at each other's throats, that's when we need people to act in unprecedented ways, to perform the yet untold possibilities of our God-given human freedom. Because no one is really satisfied for long with just killing the other. It's obviously a dead end, which is why warriors get replaced with more meaningful tragedies. Did Hitler get any happier and saner as the reports from the death camps rolled in? Quite the opposite, of course. Sanity came to German when events unfolded to allow new paradigms of representation to come into circulation. (Sanity, in short, required the furthering, re-presentation, or renewing of fundamental human paradoxes.)

Human culture is the deferral of violence, i.e. the re-presentation of desire.

So we all want a share in events. But if we cannot act - or more likely, inspire/help others act - in truly creative ways, facing up, seeing, and acting-representing what has not been done-represented before, then we are not serving the cause of freedom.

Most of us will never be in a position where our actions have world historical importance. Tough. But we all share in preparing, or not, the possibility for those few who do find themselves with the possibility of becoming something of world historical importance. Do we help prepare our culture for the unexpected? Do we, say, draw attention to those who break the mold - e.g. the Ayann Hirsi Alis - or do we stuff our faces with Avi Lewis nihilism, or whatever flavor of the same old same old we prefer?

truepeers said...

In other words, desire is not mere animal appetite. What we desire is what is sacred, that which supplements appetite and gives it shared meaning. And how does the shared sacred come into being, if not in public acts-becoming-representations? Private desire is wholly dependent on the public.

Our cave men forebears did not have porn they could carry into their little corners of the cave and get off to, UNTIL they first learned to imagine and draw Female Beauty on the shared cave wall. And as we can see from the early cave paintings, they were much better at desiring and sacralizing animals before they learned to paint people.

truepeers said...

To clarify a point above:

"which is why warriors get replaced with more meaningful tragedies"

-and so the real hands-at-knecks fighting is not necessarily a dead end, as I too simply labeled it above; and so the warriors anticipate this by acting in events by trying to add value, trying to shape, by their valorous actions, the meaning that will transcend the event, not that this is ever predictable in some logical way. They act in anticipation of the possibility that they will be remembered in a tragedy. But not everyone is in a position to so act, even if they want to; yet everyone can help create the market desire for it.

truepeers said...

Having said that, the market desire in our nuclear age is not going to be for proving valour in a total war, which would become pointless in a world without people. THe market in which we can play a role will have to anticipate that value will be added by those who can help gain positions for the cause of freedom, while obviating the need for total war. OUr soldiers will not be allowed to fight until the objective is created in such a way as to allow for surgical strikes on the die-hard holdouts to joining the modern world. Apocalyptic thinking is going to be more and more discounted in future. OUr job is to help imagine and create the possibilities for those surgical strikes.

truepeers said...

Which is why showing Fitna in the Knesset is a good thing, to return this discussion to Geert Wilders.

Nicolas Krebs said...

Geert Wilders said in NY
"A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now."

Do you trust him?

truepeers said...

Do I trust him?

Well, I hardly expect anyone to know exactly how many Muslims there are in Europe. But I read a lot about Europe, have many little facts and stories in my head, and then look for people who can make sense of it. I don't think there's anything shocking about what Wilders says, in the sense that it's not original. Like most politicians he picks up on ideas that are being widely expressed. But no one can know the future with any certainty... Demographics however have a lot to do with history's centre of gravity.

As a general rule, I certainly trust a person who can make a coherent argument, even if I think it's wrong, more than I trust people who drive my blogs and try to sow doubt without offering any coherent argument.

Nicolas Krebs said...

"I hardly expect anyone to know exactly how many Muslims there are in Europe."

According to Geert Wilders there is currently 54 million Muslims in Europe, that is 7.3% of total population.

So, do you expect a grow of muslim population in Europe from 7% to 25% in 12 years, and do you thrust a claim of such grow?

Dag said...

Wilders is being reasonable and cautious, I suspect, in hi presentation of Muslim population growth. Cities like Malmo, Sweden, are becoming daily increasingly close to becoming Muslim majority cities in Europe, while probably many rural villages in Sweden have no Muslims at all. Latvia, as I understand it, has a tiny Muslim population, while France is over ten percent Muslim. Some areas of Britain are "no-go zones" for non-Muslims, while others likely wouldn't attract a Muslim for the promise of Paradise. So, your point might be that Wilders didn't count every Muslim and non-Muslim and didn't come up with a by the square inch analysis. He could have said that in a few years Malmo will be 100 percent Muslim. He didn't. Not yet, anyway. If he does, I could believe it to be true.

truepeers said...

nicholas,

Maybe you have a point. But the Muslim population is young and fertile, and the European nations are aging and relatively infertile. The wildcard no one knows is what immigration policies and border controls will be.

Anyway, i am hardly in a position to judge the numbers. If you care to offer links to serious analyses, that's fine. But as far as I am concerned, whether it is 12 years or 30 is not important to the kind of arguments Wilders is offering. And you cannot seriously contest those arguments by nitpicking the figures. The current trend is clear enough. Sure history is not linear, no trend lasts forever. But if you have to make bets today, you have to assume Europe is going to become more Muslim in the near future, unless there is a radical change of heart about immigration and "multiculturalism", but also in the spiritual lives of nihilistic Europeans. I see far too many European elites who clearly have no deep sense of purpose or commitment to their national cultures and the liberal Western civilization that really depends not on "multiculturalism" but on self-ruling democratic nations of free individuals with a common national political culture in a global economy.

Nicolas Krebs said...

"Wilders is being reasonable and cautious, I suspect, in hi presentation of Muslim population growth." (Dag)

A claim of four folding by 12 years is not what I call "reasonable and cautious".

"Cities like Malmo, Sweden, are becoming daily increasingly close to becoming Muslim majority cities in Europe, while probably many rural villages in Sweden have no Muslims at all."

According to Geert Wilders himself, there is only 25% Muslims in Malmö, and 3% in whole Sweden according to swedish statistics.

"Latvia, as I understand it, has a tiny Muslim population,"

As I know, there is no Muslim at all in Latvia.

"while France is over ten percent Muslim.

You seem misinformed.

"Some areas of Britain are "no-go zones" for non-Muslims, while others likely wouldn't attract a Muslim for the promise of Paradise."

Thank you auntie Thatcher.

"So, your point might be that Wilders didn't count every Muslim and non-Muslim and didn't come up with a by the square inch analysis."

No. I point that Geert Wilders made a silly statement.

"He could have said that in a few years Malmo will be 100 percent Muslim."

He could have said that in a few years there will be 500,000 Muslims in Malmö.

"He didn't. Not yet, anyway. If he does, I could believe it to be true."

If Geert Wilders have said the sky is green, you would have "believe it to be true"?

"nicholas,

Maybe you have a point." (truepeers)

Maybe?

"But the Muslim population is young and fertile, and the European nations are aging and relatively infertile. The wildcard no one knows is what immigration policies and border controls will be."

Can it be suffient to a four folding in 12 years? I don't think so. Remember that "It's the Demography, Stupid".

"Anyway, i am hardly in a position to judge the numbers."

You are not able to calculate? You have no Grade 12 Math degree?

"If you care to offer links to serious analyses, that's fine. But as far as I am concerned, whether it is 12 years or 30 is not important to the kind of arguments Wilders is offering."

What do you mean?

"And you cannot seriously contest those arguments by nitpicking the figures"

The argument that Europe will be 25% Muslim in 2020 is silly. I can seriously contest this argument.

"The current trend is clear enough. Sure history is not linear, no trend lasts forever. But if you have to make bets today, you have to assume Europe is going to become more Muslim in the near future"

So what?

"I see far too many European elites who clearly have no deep sense of purpose or commitment to their national cultures and the liberal Western civilization that really depends not on "multiculturalism" but on self-ruling democratic nations of free individuals with a common national political culture in a global economy."

This sentence does not make sense to me.

truepeers said...

nicholas,

frankly, you're not adding much to the conversation about the future of Europe. You are bitching about Wilders' use of stats but you are not seriously engaging his vision of the future of Europe, whether the Europe he envisions is more or less likely in 10, 20, or 50 years. You may have a point on the little matter about which you bitch, the timeline, but that doesn't mean you score any serious point against Wilders' vision of Europe's future at some point in time.

Now I know futurism is a bit of a mug's game, but still, given current trends, where do you see Europe going?

The point we would make is that Europe has, today, already become a place where different populations live more or less isolated from each other, living under what are, de facto, different laws. We see endless signs of the conflict that flows from this, from incompatible understandings of what should be sacred, from the thugs patrolling neighborhood boundaries - they burn cars in France, EVERY night - and we see no signs of how this conflict can or will be transcended. We don't see much leadership trying to find realistic solutions, other than local leaders turning, out of their own weakness or anti-democratic snobbery, to big brother, to the imperial agenda of the EU, which like any top-down empire can only keep a game of brokerage politics among the elites of each identity group going for so long. Empires are parasitic on the peoples they rule and do not provide the means for the creative renewal of the cultures they rule. A culture needs to be self-ruling for true renewal to happen; and renewal is always necessary sooner or later because human resentments erode any order and bring on violence when and where the freedom necessary for cultural renewal or expansion (of the choices available to individuals in maintaining, defending, and growing their stakes in the system) is lacking.

We don't see how free, self-ruling societies can exist where there is no common law applying universally, equally, disinterestedly to all people as free individuals and not as people bound, whether they like it or not, to identity groups and to those who come to dominate them, locally or regionally. So we see things getting worse before they get better. That's more or less what Wilders says. Why is it wrong?

Nicolas Krebs said...

"Why is it wrong?"

"It's the Demography, Stupid". The Muslim population in Europe can not increase from 7% to 25% in 12 years with current birthrate.

truepeers said...

So Mark Steyn is right but Wilders is wrong?

You know nicholas, I'm thinking I might have to dismiss you as a troll.

As I've said, maybe Wilders' 12 years is too short (though it depends on immigration), but that doesn't mean his argument, as a whole, is wrong. One error does not necessarily unravel a whole argument. Can't you see that, or are you trolling?

Nicolas Krebs said...

"So Mark Steyn is right but Wilders is wrong?"

(In my opinion) Mark Steyn is wrong too when he claim that "the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025" and that "CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020".

"You know nicholas, I'm thinking I might have to dismiss you as a troll."

This is your website, not mine, do as you want.

"maybe Wilders' 12 years is too short"

How would you react if it were not 12 years, 24 or 36, but never? Would you put shame on Europeans for not becoming Muslim?

"but that doesn't mean his argument, as a whole, is wrong. One error does not necessarily unravel a whole argument."

Indeed.

truepeers said...

Would I shame Europeans for not becoming Muslims, just because they failed to live up to Wilders' prediction?

Of course not. If Europeans' turn around their fertility decline, it will be a great achievement. I imagine it will require a fundamental reworking of their intellectual and spiritual lives, that they may fully recognize their debt to past generations to continue on. But if it happens, maybe some credit will be due people like WIlders and Steyn: it is precisely by making their dire predictions that they increase the likelihood that they will be proven wrong. That's how things work in free societies.

Nicolas Krebs said...

"Of course not." (truepeers)

Good.

"if it happens, maybe some credit will be due people like WIlders and Steyn"

(In my opinion) the alarmist fear-monger morons Geert Wilders and Mark Steyn do not deserve credit. French fertility rate is 2.0/woman without their help (on the contrary, they condemn the french welfare).

truepeers said...

Well, I know France has the highest fertility in Europe, or Western Europe, but I didn't think it was quite 2.0 yet. And then there is the question of native "french" fertility vs. recent immigrant french fertility: what is being measured?

Anyway, to what degree is the welfare state the cause for the fertility decline, and not, say, birth control, wealth and consumer society, and religious-spiritual confusion?

I don't think one can know; but from my own Canadian experience I think the welfare state must play a part, more or less. The more dependent we become, the more we are used to others making fundamental decisions for us, the less we are capable to do the very hard work of living well, of doing and being good. Finding the will and the knowledge and making the sacrifices to live your life for other people is not at all easy to do. It requires a lot of experience in living. And it is not just about you - you need other people to need you to do it. For example, while I think we definitely needed to go down the road of women's liberation, it is undeniable that women today are far less likely to need and want to live with men, en famille. So we all face a spiritual crisis: can people learn to need each other, and children, again, even though they don't, in some sense, "need" each other, because the welfare state will (until it goes bankrupt) take care of them to some extent if they are alone...?