Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
hmm. You skipped right over totalitarianism.

1. Not Muslims, Islam. Yes, this line of reasoning is incoherent. Wilders claims he respects people who profess devotion to Islamic doctrines --their profession being exactly why such people identify themselves and are identified by others as Muslims. At the same time, he  impugns and condemns Islamic doctrines, in effect arguing that doctrine does not dictate the profession and identity of a Muslim. Perhaps many Dutch recognized a truth in Wilders's hypocrisy, that is their own indifference to religious profession, their association "by name only" to some church or temple, organization and dogma. Association denotes conceptual and political fealty. Wilders abuses both meanings in order to discriminate Muslim residents, while rejecting discourse rendered in explicit race and ethnic idioms.

It seems to me, doing so allows other people to  demand that any  Muslim "by name" conform in appearances and conduct with secularism so-called (material and political rewards of normative ecumenical membership notwithstanding). To dramatize the ignomy of overt religious profession --and to avoid examining historic and modern Dutch principles of religious freedom-- Wilders et al. promulate fictions of Muslim devotion Islamic doctrines  "Sharia law" and "Islamic Nationalism" juxtaposed to "civil law" and Dutch nationalism civic pride.

I'm pretty sure, I've not mentioned anything new to ET readers. What commenters do tend to gloss is racism -- an ideology of race, inculcation of race detection, events attributed to race politics, statistical descriptions of race, public discrimination by race, etc. Wilders avoids the language of racism, the familiar pejoratives of color, poverty, and violence that accompanies "hate" crime among "brown people," women, and homosexuals --lumpen groups of alterity. He sticks to his high road of Enlightened political philosophy that so-called left-of-center and liberal critics are loathe to repudiate yet struggle to justify, given the habitual language and image repertoire of conformity at their disposal.

The list of Wilders's policy proposals are galling for reasons you don't really identify. "Protests dominated by people with an immigrant background:" This is an example of glossing racism, blatant not subtle criteria which justify punative responses to non-conformity. What do these people with immigrant backgrounds protest? And why would such protest be so offensive to warrant police action?

2. Sticking a name to Wilders' ideology. Perhaps Wilders hostility toward semitic "races" is as complex as you suspect. Today, common understanding of anti-semitism is hostility toward Jews validated by (i) a racist classification of people specifically who profess Judaism; and (ii) inferior "semite" race traits. Yet the great, hideous pseudo-scientific dilemma that's plagued racist scholars for more than 200 years is of course how to isolate "Jewish" phenotype and language within semitic . The historical contradiction has always been elevating Judeo-Christian superiority while denegrating semitic inferiority. Yes, Wilders expresses this dichotomy, too. His antipathy  toward Islamic doctrine passes the "parallel" test of anti-semitism through his Zionist rhetoric --unconditional support of Isreali nationalism, "repatriation" of Moslem residents-- to purge the Netherlands of foreign culture.

Now comes a glib conclusion to Wilders's philosophical appeal in buckets of nearly content-free, Nazi iconography. You can cope with the "Eurabia" imagery, as it captures Wilders' racist phobia with a kind of stereotypical accuracy one can fondle. Daintily.

Look how you exclude "socialists" from his equations of cultural hegemony and liberalism threatened by totalitarian Islamic doctrine, hmmm.

"It is the socialists who are responsible for mass immigration, Islamisation [BWAH!] and the general decay of our cities and societies. It is the socialists who are responsible for the fact that cities such as Rotterdam, Marseille and Malmö seem to be situated in Eurabia rather than in Europe."

Labeling or branding Wilders' "ideology" won't excuse critical examination of the conflicting visions of socialism that he manipulates or meaningful recourse to equal protection for Muslim immigrants. Does Wilders's celebrity (or notoriety) really turn on a tacit agreement that the practical limits of liberalism --"lifestyle liberties" dvx calls it-- do not extend beyond symbolic expression?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Mar 22nd, 2010 at 04:43:51 PM EST
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