It is an argument that we have seen well refuted in Canada over the last year's debate on the Human Rights Commissions. I won't go into it in any detail now. However, one passage jumped out at me:
The Court of Appeal has considered that the contested views of Wilders (also as shown in his movie Fitna) constitute a criminal offence according to Dutch law as seen in connection with each other, both because of their contents and the method of presentation. This method of presentation is characterized by biased, strongly generalizing phrasings with a radical meaning, ongoing reiteration and an increasing intensity, as a result of which hate is created. According to the Court of Appeal most statements are insulting as well since these statements substantially harm the religious esteem of the Islamic worshippers. According to the Court of Appeal Wilders has indeed insulted the Islamic worshippers themselves by affecting the symbols of the Islamic belief as well.Provided that it is proportionate! In other words, freedom of speech must be balanced against hate speech. This is the given assumption of the court without any serious consideration of just what it is that is being hated. The object of Wilders' hate cannot be considered for the court would not dare to "insult" Muslims by passing any serious judgment on Islam. Otherwise, how could it outlaw religious insults? Of course, I'm sure one can still insult Christianity in the Netherlands, but we are not really talking about anything but arbitrary justice on behalf of those deemed legitimate victims, when we talk about the legal concept of "proportionality".
Secondly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether a possible criminal prosecution or conviction would be admissible according to the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court based thereon, which considers the freedom of expression of paramount importance. The Court of Appeal has concluded that the initiation of a criminal prosecution and a possible conviction later on as well, provided that it is proportionate[my emphasis], does not necessarily conflict with the freedom of expression of Wilders, since statements which create hate and grief made by politicians, taking their special responsibility into consideration, are not permitted according to European standards either.
As was noted in yesterday's post on the concept of "proportionality" applied to Israel, the concept as a ruling legal principle is mindless: we should be disproportionate in our critique or war on certain evils, like Islamist movements that foment war not on behalf of any realistic vision/reality of a state or national interest, i.e. on behalf of an orderly world, but rather in the cause of an apocalpytic ideology that calls for child martyrs to keep its genocidal flame alive.
In Wilders' somewhat different situation, the Dutch court seems to value the "proportionate" because the court refuses to make any judgments on the good and evil in religion and culture. We have no right to "insult" others too much, whatever they believe, or do, but especially if they are not part of some dominant or established religion/culture. Thus Wilders' has some right to the protection of his freedom of speech; on the other hand, he can't hate Islam too much. At a certain point his hatred is a provocation. (By the way, the court is implying that as a member of the Dutch parliament Wilders' provocation is not actually in the cause of proposing duly-constituted or legitimate legislation on immigration and related matters - Wilders is simply written off as violent - in an age when the Dutch parliament has given up much of its sovereignty to European law.) The Court of Appeal doesn't seem to be arguing for Wilders' prosecution for disturbing the peace, or uttering threats, but only because his expression of political-religious resentment is not proportionate to his right to free speech. And it doesn't really matter why. Wilders might believe the Koran is an evil book, but such value judgments have no relevance to a court in a neo-feudal culture. The court chooses, when it decides to hear a case, to single out one man of hate from the rest of us haters, including the many whose hate is encouraged by a certain popular, intuitive, reading of the Koran.
One may conclude that the cult of "proportionality" is the ascendancy of arbitrary justice: whomever offends the empire's favorites of the day will suffer. Today Wilders, but maybe tomorrow some Muslim. That is how the Dutch-EU elites apparently plan to keep the peace: making it too scary to open your mouth. But as to any rational discussion that would distinguish good and evil: it just got a lot weaker in the Netherlands. But you can't build much of a peaceful order without free debate. You can have unpeaceful debate, in recognition of a shared interest worth fighting about, or you can forego recognition of a shared national interest and live with the consequences when one or another group decides to break from the empire. So, in reality, I'm guessing the Dutch will not keep the peace very successfully, not nearly as well as would a society where people had no right not to be insulted because of their religious beliefs.
So, let me insult where I deem it appropriate: the Dutch elite are fools; their multiculti religion is self-righteous and a dangerous delusion. It will rule and end as horribly as every other Gnostic ideology ever put in power. We should all insult them for it.
Here is the statement by Wilders' Freedom Party:
Court decision an all-out assault on freedom of speech
woensdag 21 januari 2009
The Freedom Party (PVV) is shocked by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal's decision to prosecute Geert Wilders for his statements and opinions. Geert Wilders considers this ruling an all-out assault on freedom of speech.
Geert Wilders: "Apparently this is The Netherlands today. If you speak out you might be prosecuted. To participate in public debate has become a dangerous activity."
"If I have to appear in court, not only I will be prosecuted, but also hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens who reject the Islamisation of the West. In Dutch Parliament only the Party for Freedom is willing to speak up for the preservation of our culture and our many freedoms."
The Freedom Party leader now faces legal proceedings that will probably take years to conclude and will also involve enormous legal fees.
"We depend on small donations. The Freedom Party is the only party in Parliament that does not accept any government funding. This court decision jeopardizes the very existence of the Freedom Party. We simply cannot afford the enormous legal expenses."
"This is a black day for freedom."
See Fitna here
Sign the Petition and pledge to boycott Dutch goods!
UPDATE: I regret the title of this post: "foolish" was not nearly strong enough. It is a shame that good minds have to waste time on the utter nonsense of the Dutch court's decision. Ezra Levant has an excellent line by line analysis of the court's mindless hypocrisy, its obvious politicization of the law, which Ezra rightly identifies as little more than a suicide note for the Dutch nation which now issues fatwas against its members. When a high court in what was once a leading Western democracy can descend to this self-righteous evil it is surely a wake up call that we must renew our self-ruling nations now or embrace the coming violence.
Mark Steyn also explores the suicide theme:
The Dutch, like the Canadians, think they can maintain social peace by shriveling the bounds of public discourse and bringing what little remains under state regulation. But one notices that the coercive urge, which comes so naturally to Euro-progressives, only goes in one direction. The Swedish Chancellor of Justice shuts down the investigation into the Grand Mosque of Stockholm for selling tapes urging believers to kill "the brothers of pigs and apes" (ie, Jews) because that's simply "the everyday climate in the rhetoric". The masked men marching through the streets of London with placards threatening to rain down another 9/11 on the infidels are protected by a phalanx of Metropolitan Police officers. The PC nellies of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, happy to hound the last neo-Nazi in Saskatchewan posting to the Internet from his mum's basement, won't go anywhere near Abou Hammaad Sulaiman Dameus al-Hayitia, the big-time Montreal imam whose book says infidels are "evil people", Jews "spread corruption and chaos", and homosexuals should be "exterminated".
Instead, the state's response to explicit Islamic intimidation is to punish those foolish enough to point out that intimidation. You don't have to be as intemperate as Minheer Wilders can sometimes be: In the Netherlands even the most innocuous statement can get you into trouble. To express his disgust at Theo van Gogh's murder, the artist Chris Ripke put up a mural outside his studio showing an angel and the words "Thou shalt not kill". But the cops thought this was somehow a dig at the local mosque and so came round, destroyed the mural, arrested the TV news crew filming it, and wiped their tape. The Dutch have determined to commit societal euthanasia, and dislike fellows pointing out it might not be as painless as they've assumed.