July 16, 2005


Tolerating a Time Bomb (LEON de WINTER, 7/16/05, N Y Times)

FOR centuries the Netherlands has been considered the most tolerant and liberal nation in the world. This attitude is a byproduct of a disciplined civic society, confident enough to provide space for those with different ideas. It produced the country in which Descartes found refuge, a center of freedom of thought and of a free press in Europe.

That Netherlands no longer exists.

The murder last year of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, whose killer was convicted this week, and the assassination of the politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 marked the end of the Holland of Erasmus and Spinoza.

To the contrary, it's the apotheosis of said Holland. After all, by what right does one not tolerate such actions in a truly tolerant society?

Multiculturalism has fanned the flames of Islamic extremism (Kenan Malik, 7/16/05, Times of London)

Muslims have been in Britain in large numbers since the 1950s. Only recently has fanaticism taken hold. The first generation of immigrants faced greater hardships and more intense racism than today’s Muslims do. Yet most thought of themselves as British and were proud to be here.

While that first generation often put up with racism, the second generation — my generation — challenged it head on, often leading to fierce confrontations with the police and other authorities. But however fierce those confrontations, we recognised that to fight racism we needed to find a common set of values, hopes and aspirations that united whites and non-whites, Muslims and non- Muslims, and not to separate ourselves from the rest of society.

It has been only over the past decade that radical Islam has found a hearing in Britain. Why? Partly because, in this post-ideological age, the idea that we can change society through politics has taken a battering. And partly because the idea that we should aspire to a common identity and a set of values has been eroded in the name of multiculturalism.

Over the past week, much has been said about the strength of London as a multicultural city. What makes London great, Ken Livingstone pointed out, was what the bombers most fear — a city full of people from across the globe, free to pursue their own lives. I agree, and that’s why I choose to live in this city. Multiculturalism as a lived experience enriches our lives. But multiculturalism as a political ideology has helped to create a tribal Britain with no political or moral centre.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2005 12:31 PM

Another open borders success story.

Posted by: carter at July 16, 2005 3:00 PM

not borders, culture.

Posted by: oj at July 16, 2005 3:22 PM

Yes, a culture unwilling to defend itself against immigration and multiculturalism. Kind of like ours.

Posted by: carter at July 16, 2005 6:22 PM

Despite its size, the Netherlands managed to acquire a small empire of foreign territory. That took enterprise to achieve. While it has been very tolerant, don't put it past the Dutch to be able to solve their domestic Muslim problem.

The recent Islamofascist murders of Van Gogh and Fortuyn in Holland stunned Dutch society. As the saying goes: beware the anger of a patient man.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at July 16, 2005 6:53 PM

carter -- I think it was here that I read that 25% of all American children born have foreign mothers.

The immigrants -- at least the Latino Christians -- are more American in spirit than the third or fourth generation native sons. You despise the very people who are maintaining what you (undeservedly?) inherited.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 17, 2005 5:13 AM


Posted by: oj at July 17, 2005 12:19 PM


If you have a culture, as we do, immigration can be unlimited.

Posted by: oj at July 17, 2005 12:20 PM