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You pose almost as much answers as questions. Let me respond briefly to just a few of these thoughts.

Starting:

The list of Wilders's policy proposals are galling for reasons you don't really identify. "Protests dominated by people with an immigrant background:" This is an example of glossing racism, blatant not subtle criteria which justify punative responses to non-conformity. What do these people with immigrant backgrounds protest? And why would such protest be so offensive to warrant police action?

Excuse my brevity. I'd have to delve into specifics, starting with the specifics of the event that triggered Wilders into proposing kneecapping people. The next step could lead into elucidating the background of the particular city, and the comparable situations (social factors, neighbourhood, etc) existing throughout the rest of the Netherlands. In other words, it would involve some serious research time. Let me therefore just state that IMO kneecapping anyone who's involved in protests is a far too excessive measure to even be proposed as a conceivable option.

Also:

Labeling or branding Wilders' "ideology" won't excuse critical examination of the conflicting visions of socialism that he manipulates or meaningful recourse to equal protection for Muslim immigrants.

Astute. The first is a point that I don't see discussed much while it is essential. I still am, and long have been, in the camp of Dutch politicians who remarked on the failure of immigrant integration since the ninenties, including (controversial) people such as Frits Bolkenstein and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (but only during her days she could unblinkingly defend secularism, that is, prior to her stay at the AEI). I disagree that failed policies on immigration integration can solely be blamed on the "left" as Wilders is wont to argue. This conveniently leaves out Dutch christian party/parties, CDA and its predecessors, who were a governing party from 1918 until 1994. However, neither should this mean that I feel the parties on the right (VVD, Wilders) who've been most critical have the right answers.

Wilders has a following of a projected 24 - 26 seats (about 15% of the electorate and approximately the same amount the Pim Fortuyn party won during 2002 elections) partly because of the legacy of 30-40 years of immigration integration policies which were a mix of (post-colonial?) naivety and indifference. In this, Wilders is a useful idiot: because his movement is forcing the hand of other parties to address immigration integration effectively in the light of their own ideological framework.

Does Wilders's celebrity (or notoriety) really turn on a tacit agreement that the practical limits of liberalism --"lifestyle liberties" dvx calls it-- do not extend beyond symbolic expression?

Ponderous stuff. Wil have to chew on it.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 at 05:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this, Wilders is a useful idiot: because his movement is forcing the hand of other parties to address immigration integration effectively in the light of their own ideological framework.

That's the optimistic view. The pessimistic one is that he is another radical to move the Overton Window, who could get the large parties to absorb some elements and assumptions in the framing of issues into their ideologies.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 at 07:45:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My vision is not at all optimistic.

Of course to a degree what you describe is happening, too. VVD is already doing it. CDA, as always, is conflicted, struggling with their own morality and populist clamour. But: I don't see much of it in other parties.

The one development is healthy, the other one is unhealthy. The latter may brings us to the ugly road: Wilders building a coalition with those parties that have shifted enough, and we'll have to sit thruogh prime-minister Wilders to let the Dutch painfully find out it's another great political illusion. The difficult route is to have the left parties attempting to solve a 40 years old immigration problem with Wilders in opposition breathing incessantly in their necks whilst continuing to polarize Dutch society, which he seems to do just fine.

From my perspective, both scenarios ain't fun.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 at 08:34:51 AM EST
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