The President of the EU Commission José Barroso states:
“I regard Holland already for years as a guiding country, as the political thermometer of Europe. You saw that in the tolerance of softdrugs, the gay marriage, the debate on euthanasia, but also in the rise of the new right-wing extremism of Pim Fortuyn. Holland with its deep-rooted democratic tradition has shaken off political correctness earlier than other countries. Therefor I am alert on what is happening in Holland, that often forecasts the trend in the rest of Europe.” (Interview with de Volkskrant September 22, V10)
(1) Fortuyn wasn’t quite right-wing. We already had Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Jörg Haider in Austria and Umberto Bossi in Italy. What happened is that 9/11 caused a mood swing all over the world, and Fortuyn with his own agenda took advantage of the surf. When outsiders misread what is happening in Holland does not make it a good thermometer. (Even apart from that correlation isn’t cause.)
(2) The tolerance for softdrugs is much of a disaster. Personal possession of a small quantity is tolerated but coffee shops cannot legally buy from suppliers. This causes an underground criminal and violent economy. It is an inane approach that blocks the real solution of bringing drugs into the law all over the world. Blast Holland instead of sending your youngsters to Amsterdam to have their high.
(3) One kind of political correctness merely replaces another kind. It may be doubted whether it is possible to shake off political correctness per se. The criterion lies rather in the respect shown for differing opinions.
(4) It must be hoped that the censorship of science that now lasts in Holland for 23 years does not cause a trend in Europe. That nice journalist of de Volkskrant who had the interview with Barroso doesn’t report about the censorship of science by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau either. Perhaps Barroso has indeed taken Holland as a guide here, and Europe now gets the same treatment from Brussels ? What secrets are lurking there that we do not hear about ? Well, no need for paranoia, but it is a useful observation that the EU doesn’t have an Economic Supreme Court of itself (that might co-ordinate the national ESCs) – and check out the scientific conditions in the appendix of DRGTPE.
(5) Boycotting a EU country that censors science would be a good trend though. Start with Holland.