This coming March, the Netherlands will vote for who they wish to be their next Prime Minister. No matter which poll you look at, there are two clear frontrunners in this election: the current Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, and PVV Leader, Geert Wilders. Wilders has become wildly popular, and in a recent poll, it was revealed that if the election was held today, his party would win. Now what makes this election interesting is that Geert stood trial for hate speech in October of last year.
But Wilders is no stranger to being associated with radicalism. Geert split from the right-of-centre Liberals in 2004 to begin his career as the outspoken leader against the so-called Islamification of the Netherlands. By making controversial comments, Wilders has lead this party to the forefront of Dutch politics, giving him untold media attention. Wilders has released an 11-point manifesto that outlines his plan for the Netherlands. While some of the points on his list are very rational, others are quite… inflammatory.
Most notable in this 11-point platform are points 1 and 2.
The first is to “de-Islamize the Netherlands.” In practice, this would mean a complete halt on asylum seekers and immigrants from Muslim countries, the closing of asylum centres, the banning of Muslim veils in public functions, criminals with dual nationality stripped of their Dutch citizenship and deported, and more.
It’s safe to say that this is radical and an invasion of personal freedom – which this Journal will not support.
However, his second point is relatively agreeable. Under the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Netherlands would aim to “reclaim its independence”, and thus leave the European Union.
While this Journal will not support populist, anti-free trade policies, it will still cherish the sovereignty of nations. The European Union, a bloated, transnational bureaucracy, strips nations from making decisions for themselves. For this reason, any country that wishes to leave the European Union should be supported. Conditionally, however, countries that leave should seek to establish (or keep) free trade agreements with the Union, or at least with other European countries.
Populism, especially racial populism, is a dangerous brew. And Geert Wilders is no different. Readers of this journal are welcome to draw their own conclusions, but this Journal will neither endorse nor condemn Wilders outright.