I had NO idea who Geert Wilders was until I read this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Having his own party liberates Mr. Wilders to speak his mind. As he sees it, the West suffers from an excess of toleration for those who do not share its tradition of tolerance. “We believe that — ‘we’ means the political elite — that all cultures are equal,” he says. “I believe this is the biggest disease today facing Europe. . . . We should wake up and tell ourselves: You’re not a xenophobe, you’re not a racist, you’re not a crazy guy if you say, ‘My culture is better than yours.’ A culture based on Christianity, Judaism, humanism is better. Look at how we treat women, look at how we treat apostates, look at how we go with the separation of church and state. I can give you 500 examples why our culture is better.”
I agree completely with the assessment that Western culture is better, not because it is Western, but because the values we hold give greater deference to individual liberty. The moral relativists that tend to dominate European politics are the ones culpable for the failed policies that have led to appeasement rather than assimilation of Islamic immigrants.
I think Geert Wilders has a rational vision of what it means to not assimilate immigrants:
…because if you don’t define your own culture as the best, dominant one, and you allow through immigration people from those countries to come in, at the end of the day you will lose your own identity and your own culture, and your society will change. And our freedom will change — all the freedoms we have will change.”
Mr. Wilders is selling the hard truth, and relentlessly. I have to give him kudos for such unyielding obstinacy. However, the op-ed rightly takes issue with the extreme nature in which he proposes to handle the Muslim issue in The Netherlands:
“You have to give up this stupid, fascist book” — the Quran. “This is what you have to do. You have to give up that book.”
I concur with the op-ed that it runs against the grain of the Western values Geert holds so highly above all others to insist that people abandon a particular belief, regardless of its merits. I can’t condone such a weighty requirement for a people. In the West we should all be free to believe anything. It is our actions that constitute crimes.
Nonetheless, I still admire Mr. Wilders for at least partially filling the vacuum of moral absolutism and relentlessly espousing policies that affirm Western culture and Western identity. It is sorely needed in Europe.