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Everyone is entitled of an opinion. I don't agree with some of Bolkestein's rhetoric, while I can support him entirely in many of his initiatives as a fee-thinking liberal (legalization of drugs, the Right to Die, and others) and even when I disagree, I find his writings thought-worthy. So there's that, and everyone can agree to disagree or whatever.

But on an opinion of the role of Bolkestein in the public debate in the Netherlands during the nineties, I expect people to do the homework that goes with that period. What I can do is try to provide a starter kit.

I suggest everyone read from Bolkestein this from 1991 which was the taboo-breaking start of mentioning the difficulties of integration in the Netherlands, this from 1993 on asylum seekers, and a fierce critque on Bolkestein and these epistles in 1995 can be found here. Finish with the indictment of the Dutch multiculturalism of Paul Scheffer here in 2000. The essay of Paul Scheffer, a prominent member of Labour (!), did not only vindicate Bolkenstein's writings, it effectively buried the halfhearted attempt on Dutch multiculturalism. Wim Kok, the former prime-minster, has vindicated Bolkestein's role in his book, "Met Kok", and relevant excerpts are found on-line here.

Yes, everything is in Dutch. That's just the way the cookie crumbles if you want to have an opinion on a Dutch politician.

Since those days, 9/11 and the rise of Pim Fortuyn. Scheffer remains today a well-respected authority and writer on the integration of immigrants in the Netherlands, and wrote The Unsettled Land.

Of course everyone is free to disagree with Bolkestein - except that reality has long caught up with his precautionary words in the nineties. If Bolkenstein was a demagogue then, a new word seriously needs to be invented for Wilders.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:29:55 PM EST

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