Within The Netherlands Amsterdam has been infamous for the weak protection of property rights. Bikes and cars be stolen without the police being willing to investigate the matter. I am speaking from experience here. Real estate, such as houses and apartments, is prey to a violent and arrogant squatter movement, who may take over empty buidings counting on the protection and assistance from the city government, and the public utilities for supply of power and water. This has been so since the late 1960ies.
Movements for property rights
Since the Fortuyn populist revolt in 2001 there is a counter-movement, seeking to bring back the protection of property. Fortuyn was bankrolled by big real estate owners, who sought the protection of their property rights and the destruction of the squatter movement. The leadership of rightwing parties in parliament saw in this a part of the agenda of the populist movement that they could implement without touching the multicultural ideology. They were hoping to isolate the populist movement from its financial base and they felt they needed to give something to their respective conservative bases to ease the grass roots pressure on the party leadership. And so the Balkenende cabinet wrote and passed a anti-squatter bill. This bill is going to take effect on 1 October 2010.
The bitter-enders of the left
The left did not give up so easily. Last June the national council of Public Prosecutors announced that they would not enforce the new anti-squatter law (Dutch). Law or no law, Naboth could go to Hell. Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin insisted that the law would be enforced. Whatever that is worth.
But the left is not finished in its quest to replace the rule of law with the rule of whim of bureaucrats. And the the whim of its favoured violent special interest groups such as squatters, animal rights activists and such 1.). Which in the past furnished them with the assassin of Pim Fortuyn, when they needed one. To show their disdain for property rights the Labour Party (PvdA) dominated City Council is confiscating privately owned apartments (HT KV) whose owners are living in a first home elsewhere. Distributing the apartments to their own needy clients at a nominal controlled rent. A typical apartment with a monthly mortgage payment of 1,000 Euro will be rented out for a maximum rent of 548 Euros. So the owners will not be able to make good their investment. In addition the clients of the City Council may run down or damage the property of the owner, with uncertain recourse for the owner through the overloaded courts.
This is not at all new. In book 6 - Democracies and Oligarchies - of The Politics and The Constitution of Athens 2.) Aristotle remarks on phenomena which tend to bring democracies down:
The demagogues of our own day often get property confiscated in the law-courts in order to please the people.The Rule of Law is a good thing
Kleinverzet introduces his article by remarking that
all and sundry on the Dutch left are decrying Geert Wilders as a potential threat to Justice and Rule of Law.In the context of the lack of protection of property rights invoking the Rule of Law by the left is indeed totally unappropriate. The Rule of Law is a convenient stick to batter Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV). The left has never shown respect for the Rule of Law when it fettered their unrestrained rule.
By contrast, it is the effort of the supporters of the populist PVV and its forerunner, which put the nation back on the track of the rule of law. The efforts to enshrine and protect private property are part of that quest.
1.) This blog featured articles on the collusion between the Dutch establishment and violent radical leftist groups and how this was a fertile breeding ground for the assassin of Pim Fortuyn. E.g. connections to Fortuyn's assassin.
2.) Aristotle's Politics and the Constitution of Athens may be purchased from Amazon here.