The Dutch, mugged by reality, toughen up on radical Islam
By Theodore Dalrymple, NRO
For American, the WOT and our attitudes are defined as pre and post 911. In the Netherlands, the brutal murder of Theo van Gogh was a defining moment. And over the years, it's been fascinating to watch Europe's most liberal experiment slowly turn the tide on it's out of control liberalism and risky immigration policies.
Before the assassination of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, the Dutch were apt to give you the impression that they had cracked the secret of life and knew without doubt how it ought to be lived. They viewed other, less enlightened societies — which meant all the rest — with a kind of complacent pity, tempered by the certainty that eventually even the most benighted of them would follow where the Netherlands led.
All that has changed. Whatever other effects the two murders have had, they have rendered the Dutch and their society much more interesting than when Holland was merely the land that permitted everything. The era of complacency is over; that of anxiety and doubt has well and truly begun. For the first time in several decades, liberal consensus is not enough; real thought has become necessary in Holland.
Several questions now haunt the country. Was its previous tolerance mere indifference, blindness, or, even worse, cowardice? How tolerant ought it to be towards those who want to destroy the institutional basis of the tolerance that they themselves have enjoyed but think mere weakness and decadence? Are there incompatible cultures, and if so was it wise to have encouraged mass immigration from a deeply alien land merely to ease a temporary labor shortage? In short, will the Netherlands reap the whirlwind it has sown?
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