May 7, 2002


Dutch Election in Limbo After Politician's Murder (REUTERS, May 7, 2002)
"Our white hope in dark days,'' read the message on one wreath, underscoring Fortuyn's appeal to the xenophobic right.

One supporter, 75-year-old pensioner Koos Bosch, told Reuters: "He was the new messiah. They crucified the old one and shot the new one.''

I honestly don't know enough about Pim Fortuyn to know just how dangerous a man he was, but I do know this, the kind of cult-of-personality, messianic racialism that he represented is a cancer upon the body politic. From what European commentators are saying, he may not have been the same kind of exterminationist racist that Hitler was, but the appeal to racism was undeniably an integral part of his message, no matter how he couched it. Such a man by his very nature foments hatred and violence in a society and we can not be surprised that he was swallowed by the tiger he sought to ride.

I don't know that it's a good thing he's dead, but I do know that there's something incredibly creepy about the way we're all of a sudden treating the European far-Right like victims, rather than victimizers. What's most disturbing is that far too many conservatives seem to want to turn Le Pen and Fortuyn into nothing more than popular versions of Pat Buchanan. This seems to me to diminish conservatism and to elevate fundamentally despicable men to a status they don't deserve.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2002 8:46 AM
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