One of the most worrying and totalitarian aspects of the Geert Wilders show trial occurred last Friday. Friday, on day five of the trial the Public Prosecutor (OM) advised the judges to drop the hate speech, racism and discrimination charges against Wilders. Which is nice for Wilders. But what about other Dutch citizens who want to use the Freedom of Speech? The trial is relevant for all citizens. A verdict that Geert Wilders' criticism of Islam is protected by the Free Speech provision would support all those who want to speak the truth about Islam and the Multi-Cultural society. For instance, Geert Wilders' defense, Moszkowicz, had argued that what he had said about Islam was the truth and could therefore not be the subject of legal proceedings against him.
Prosecution: EMOTIONS are fundamental
The reaction of the Prosecutors (OM) was in essence that speaking the truth, does not protects speech from the scutiny of the courts. Ferdy at Kleinverzet sums up the argument of the Prosecution (OM) as follows:
the prosecutor argues that truth is irrelevant. What's relevant is the emotion the speaker generates. Does the speaker generate a hate emotion? Does the speaker divide society in two groups and does he warn against a dangerous conflict between those groups? The [thought] crime depends also on how tense the situation in society is.Truth is no defense
Truth is no defense. What is relevant is the judgement by the judges on the EMOTIONS speech may generate. This gives judges enormous leeway to prosecute and punish people who critizise Islam or any other ideology. This means that ideological debates are very difficult, because critics of an idea must always take into account the possibility that a judge may punish them for "Hate Speech" on the flimsiest of all grounds, namely on his perception of immaterial EMOTIONS of sections of the public.
Under such circumstances political debate is highly circumscribed by a narrow elite of 1,600 judges. The parliamentary democracy we have in The Netherlands is just for show, it is a legal olichargy that decides what is debated and what not.
Geert Wilders and Galileo
Today Geert Wilders defense attacked the idea that truth is no defense. He compared Geert Wilders to Galileo, who in the 17th century famously argued that the earth revolves around the sun. This earned him censure from the Roman Catholic Church who muzzled him. After Galileo's death however it became an accepted fact that the sun is the centre piece of the solar system. The church lost a lot of respect by attempting to smother ideas which helped to advance our knowledge of the natural world.
Persuation versus pure will
In the political world free debate is even more essential than in science. Politics avoids the use of violence. It is through persuation that thorny issues must be resolved. Persuation is impossible if certain truth are not permeitted out in the open. If the legal system impedes the free exchange of ideas in the political arena, politics becomes a matter of pure will. The political and legal elite attempt to make the public conform to its ideology and worldview by the use of force, the force of the police and the prisons.
Examples of the use of force
This is not theoretical. Last week a webmaster was convicted for publishing "Hate speech" made by a commenter on a forum that he owned: www.misdefinitie.nl (Dutch). Gregorius Nekschot, a Dutch cartoonist was arrested by a force of ten policemen, who impounded his PC and other possessions he needed for his work and then left him to wait on a verdict for two years. The verdict left him off the hook. For now. Others were convicted as well.
It is great that Mr. Wilders defense, Mr. Moszkowicz, is making a point of principle against the judges and the Public Prosecutor (OM). Mr. Wilders has always insited that he wants to effect his platform , without the use of violence. For him to defend Freedom of Speech (FOS) makes eminent sense, persuation is the only path open for him. Even if the judges deny the point in the verdict on Wilders, it helps that attention is asked for this essential part of the Freedoms which define te West. It is the duty of all patriots to defend the West, its abstract Freedoms and its concrete societies, in this case the Dutch nation.