Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wilders and Nationalism

George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures is one of the better observers of international affairs currently writing. Here for RealClearWorld, he comments on the recent Dutch election and the larger phenomenon of nationalism stalking Europe (and America).

As COTTonLINE noted two days ago, Geert Wilders' performance in that election has been spun as a loss, perhaps an exaggeration. Friedman agrees:
Geert Wilders, the nationalist candidate for prime minister of the Netherlands, lost the election on March 15. This has brought comfort to those who opposed him and his views on immigration and immigrants. (snip) The fact that his party is now the second largest in the Netherlands, rather than an irrelevancy, should be a mark of how greatly the Netherlands – and Euro-American civilization – has changed, and an indication that this change is not temporary.

Alarming from my point of view is the inability of his enemies to grasp why Wilders has risen, and their tendency to dismiss his followers as simply racists.

Nationalism was the centerpiece of the rise of liberal democracies because liberal democracy was built around the liberation of nations. Liberals in Europe and America did not deny that, but they simply could not grasp that the nation cannot exist unless the people feel a common bond that makes them distinct. Their claim was that it was legitimate to have a nation, but not legitimate to love it inordinately, to love it more than other nations, to value the things that made it different, and above all, to insist that the differences be preserved, not diluted.

The nationalism issue has become a football in a growing class struggle between those who praise tolerance but do not face the pain of being tolerant, and those who see tolerance as the abandonment of all they learned as a child.
Good stuff, he has grasped a significant part of the truth. It 's worth reading Friedman's whole column.