Weekend sermons

The weekend allows people to preach their sermons.

(1) Ramsey Nasr, the Poet Laureate of Holland – though that function has not the same standing in Holland as it has in the UK, has a long article in NRC Handelsblad. His points are:

  • Holland is a country without norms
  • Holland blames others while it should become more critical of itself
  • Holland is isolating itself, and other nations are starting to dislike it
  • The TV show on cannibalism was a nadir in bad taste
  • Dutch people are selfcentered and cheap
  • The founding ancestors of the Dutch nation have become strangers to the current Dutch
  • If Holland behaves like this then it should not complain that it becomes a cultural wasteland
  • A crucial improvement is a Prime Minister with norms and values.

Perhaps he wants new elections ?

This discussion of Nasr’s article comes with an entertaining parody by the Flying Panthers of 2005, of a musical band with cheerleaders marching through a typical Dutch village, singing about the threat to Dutch society. Eventually the threat materialises and the scare-crow explodes.

(2) Bill Gates contacted Dutch TV (6 minutes interview in English) that he is worried about the rumours that the Dutch government would reduce development co-operation, from 0.7% of GDP to a much lower figure. The wealthy Dutch shouldn’t neglect the poorest on this planet.

(3) Caroline de Gruyter, Brussels correspondent, reports that Holland has lost most of its political credit in the EU. (“De firma Nederland staat te kijk” – “The firm Holland has a PR problem”.) The main point is that Holland follows a nationalistic policy that apparently is dominated by Geert Wilders, the unofficial partner in the minority government. De Gruyter cites various sources, all anonymous, who confess their astonishment about the Dutch volte face.

She quotes The Guardian: “If the Netherlands has traditionally been a europhile country, that has changed sharply since it voted down the European constitution in 2005. Wilders’ strength on the right is currently mirrored on the hard left by the Socialist party which is riding high in the polls and is fiercely hostile to the EU. Between the two of them – Wilders’ Freedom party and the socialists – the anti-European stream musters 55% in the opinion polls.” (March 13) Unfortunately, it is 55 of 150 seats or 33% (De Hond). De Gruyter doesn’t correct this, but I suppose that she still is a decent journalist in general (and De Hond may not be reliable).

Also The Guardian speculates on new elections: “The euro crisis could yet bring down another eurozone government – even in a country as prosperous and successful as the Netherlands.”

(4) My own sermon: The turning point came with 9/11 when many Dutch people got the impression that immigration might be related to violence, whence Pim Fortuyn soared in the opinion polls. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

PM 1. The Book Sections this weekend mentioned (a) Tessel Pollmann’s book that shows that Holland in 1937 had real nazi’s with 4% of the vote in parliament. (b) Senator Sybe Schaap’s book that uses a philosophical angle to discuss current resentment in Dutch society. Schaap is of the same party as prime minister Mark Rutte, and reportedly Rutte asked him to delay the publication till the negotiation on the new budget cuts were completed – but Schaap declined.

PM 2. After the weekend, columnist Frits Abrahams wonders whether Ramsey Nasr will relocate to another country. Tabulating the options, Abrahams finds Holland still the best place to be. He neglects the possibility that people get settled in a place and that frequently severe wars are required to induce them to leave. I, on my part, take all these arguments on Holland with a grain of salt, since so much depends upon opinion and hear-say. Instead, there is an empirical case of censorship of science in Holland, and the argument for a boycott thus is convincing.

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