So the far right Dutch version of a Trump/Willy Wonka impersonator Geert Wilders seems to be getting a boost in popularity after he is convicted of using “hate speech” at a rally in which he started a chant for “fewer Moroccan immigrants”. This is obviously a very contentious issue and a serious problem… but I don’t see how anyone could have thought that convicting him of “hate speech” would be productive. It seemed to have the exact opposite effect with the election only 3 months away. As if the Dutch weren’t already mocked for the silliness of their language without their rigid speech laws.
" …Wilders appears to have benefitted from the trial. His Party for Freedom, known by the Dutch acronym PVV, currently leads in polls ahead of a general election in March, thanks in part to a surge in support during his trial… “A lot of people mentioned that they’re really getting angry that he is being accused and judged only for what he said,” another Dutch pollster, Peter Kanne, told The New York Times."
I agree. Whatever you think about Wilders (he is way too extreme for me, BTW) it is an utter disgrace that he is being persecuted in the Dutch courts purely because of an opinion or statement!
And of course it is likely to backfire. If his opponents have to use the law to silence him, then many thoughtful members of the public will really question whether there are compelling counter-arguments?
One of the admirable and truly great things about America, is the constitutional protection of freedom of speech.
(Mind you, the concept seems to be under attack even there like never before! DEBUNKED: Why 'Hate Speech' Doesn't Exist! - YouTube )
The history of the design of hate speech laws shows that, in part, they are there to silence conservative viewpoints.
A key outcome is that conservative viewpoints have a lower level of acceptance in most public forums.
This forum is a good example.
If I was to liken Hillary Clinton or Merkel to a female version of Willy Wonka, there would be a reaction to it.
But the opposite doesn’t occur.
The end result is – hate speech laws, when poorly implemented, and implemented mostly by the left as a political tool to silence opposition – will often add to divisiveness, not take away from it.
We need plain speech. And we shouldn’t label that as something it isn’t.
It’s like an overheated pressure cooker. If you try to keep the lid on, you’ll delay the explosion, but it’ll be ten times as messy when it eventually happens!
Guys like Wilders would never have happened if the political mainstream had been competent, reasonable, and if they had had a fair regard for legitimate concerns about things like mass-scale immigration, zero-assimilation style of multiculturalism, cultural double standards about women’s rights, etc.
I agree with this. On one hand you have people on the far left saying that there are zero problems with Fundamentalist Islam and zero problems with unchecked Immigration at all and anyone who says otherwise is a racist. On the other, you have the far right attributing all the problems facing their country attributed to the religion of Islam or Immigrants and the only possible solution is complete expulsion and “making (insert country) great again”.
Neither one of these view points is productive. I am endlessly frustrated at the inability of large swath’s of the general population to understand nuance and accept the fact that there just aren’t easy answers to these issues.