Wilders and Fascism

Submitted by hadrian on Sat, 03/15/2014 - 00:00

And of course it happens again. Elections are due in a few days and the media are filled with mentions of the escapades of and around Wilders. A few days ago a Fouad Sidali, a politician for the Labour Party, compared Wilders to Hitler. A harsh comparison in any case and it was quickly repealed. Within the day Wilders responded by saying that: "One should be able to say anything as long as it does not call for violence. However, clear and sickening comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis I will no longer tolerate." I wonder if, when he wrote that, he understood the inherent idiocy of his statement. Freedom of expression means the ability to say things that may seem or are inconsiderate. As long as someone does not deliberately harm people any form of expression is allowed. However, the most telling problem is the reaction by Wilders to this statement. A statement such as this is the perfect opportunity for any politician to explain why ey is not a Fascist. Instead, Wilders stated that Fouad Sidali, who has lived in the Netherlands for almost his entire life and speaks Dutch as a native speaker, should return to Morocco. Given Fouad's history I would say that he is as Dutch as any of us. When someone says something hurtful the best way to defend against it is not, as Wilders does, to return the insult but to explain why it is slander. The way in which Wilders returned the insult only adds weight to the slander. Shame on you both!

Now, Wilders refuses to allow any comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis so I will refrain from doing so. Instead, I will go through the 2012 party programme and point out some clearly Fascist remarks. The fact that the Nazi party was a particularly totalitarian form of fascism does not make the comparison of Wilders' party and remarks to fascism a comparison to Nazism or Hitler. This is a common logical fallacy known as a non sequitur. A simple example of a non sequitur would be:

  1. All cows make milk.
  2. My pet goat Judy makes milk.
  3. Judy is a cow.

Before continuing I ought to clearly define what Fascism means. Wikipedia has: "a form of radical authoritarian nationalism." The Oxford English Dictionary has: "a person having Fascist sympathies or convictions; (loosely) a person of right-wing authoritarian views" and "a person who advocates a particular viewpoint or practice in a manner perceived as intolerant or authoritarian." I think these are good points of departure for a definition. I shall clearly define Fascism as a radical nationalism to the exclusion of any person not considered part of that nation. Moreover, a philosophy with strong tendencies towards authoritarianism.

In going through the party programme I won't elaborate on every point, only a few of the most telling examples:

  • No suffrage for non-Dutch people. -- Wilders refuses to define who is Dutch and, given his statements that Sidali should go 'back' to Morocco I think we can safely assume he means ethnic Dutch people.
  • Registration of nationality for all misdemeanors, this includes 'Antillean'. -- Why is such registration necessary? It seems merely to be a way for Wilders to get some skewed statistics in order to help his future programmes.
  • When one part of a group misbehaves the entire group should be punished. -- This is the clearest authoritarian comment in the entire programme. Most importantly, group is not defined and could mean anything from a small group on the street to an entire ethnic group. As such, this is one of the most clearly fascist remarks in the entire programme.
  • Islam is no religion but a totalitarian ideology. -- There are many ways to attack this. The entire document consistently makes Islam into 'the other' group that invades our entire lives. Nationalism is defined as the ethnic Dutch people against the invading Muslim Hordes. The two most important groups are Morrocan-Dutch and Turkish-Dutch citizens who were invited to the Netherlands as guest labourers. Most immigrants nowadays come here for two reasons, for the greater freedom of religion and expression or for economic reasons. This idea that we are invaded belies the reality of the situation. Genghis Khan has long since rotted away in his grave.
  • Islamic schools will close. -- I agree partly with this. If and only if it also includes other non-secular schools. Religion and education should be strictly separated from each other. It is not the right or duty of any school to impose any religion onto the children at that school. To have freedom of religion we need freedom from religion!

I have thus selected a very small set of party ideals that show clear ethnic nationalist and authoritarian bias. If anyone is to read the party programme I advise you to remain skeptical when Wilders talks about the redesign of the Dutch political system. It is mostly designed to eliminate limitations on the coalitions by reducing a second critical examination in the senate. Moreover, he does not define to what amount referenda ought to be instituted and that point is, as such, completely void of any meaning. Moreover, the section about 'security' seems based completely on the American judicial system not taking into account that the United States have the highest amount of incarcerated population.

In conclusion, based only on the party programme and a quick definition of Fascism, I can state that the PVV are a Fascist party. They are consistently nationalistic to the exclusion of other cultures, especially the Islamic cultures. Furthermore, no attempts are made to even differentiate the many different Islamic cultures there are even within the Netherlands. All Muslims are heaped together as one big 'other'. Moreover, the party clearly want to work towards a more authoritarian judiciary where no attempts are made to reintegrate and help the criminal population to be better citizens. I'm not saying we should let murderers freely roam the streets. Instead we should, for every criminal, ascertain why they act that way and try to help them improve themselves. It seems that many people don't really want to try and understand the 'other' because it's easier to condemn. When someone comes to you and says 'you're an asshole' it's easier to say 'so are you' than to ask why ey thinks that. Only the latter course of action, the moral high ground, can lead to a better world.