"It is a sure certainty for me: if two thirds of all Netherlanders tomorrow would want to introduce Sharia, then this possibility must exist. Could you block this legally? It would also be a scandal to say 'this isn't allowed! [...] The majority counts. That is the essence of democracy."So, contrary to popular belief, our constitution *is* a suicide pact. Apparently it matters not a damn that Article 1 of our constitution (the non-discrimination article) would be the very first victim of sharia law. Our constitution is a defenseless thing, that is unable to fight against those that use it to obliterate it.
Some two months ago I wrote about the political establishments pre-occupation with the immigrant vote after reading an op-ed aptly titled 'He who wins the fight over the migrant vote conquers the city'. Given the re-aligment of the major parties interests I predicted that the islamization of the Netherlands seemed to be truely about to start. So maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. But I am. Surprised and upset.
This is what goes for an astute political and legal mind in the Netherlands. Contrast this to Australian PM John Howard
"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, andor Australias Treasurer Peter Costello
would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country,
which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option"
"There are countries that apply religious or Sharia law; Saudi Arabia and IranIn the mean time the PvdA (Labour) have rather disingeniously challenged Donner about his views. Geert Wilders wanted to know (NL) of the minister if he'd been 'fully conscious' when he made that remark, but the minister bravely stands by his statements. Wilders is threatening with a motion of no-confidence if minister Donner does not back down from his statement.
come to mind. If a person wants to live under Sharia law, these are countries
where they may feel at ease, but not Australia."
Minister Donner is wrong, of course. Democracy is NOT the highest value we in the Netherlands (or the West) try to uphold. And it would be a good thing if world leaders stop pretending that democracy is the ultimate virtue of civil society (2). Democracy is not the end, it is the means with which we try to uphold all those values and virtues that we traditionally and historically have made our own: Individualism, responsibillity, enterprise, freedom of consciounce, etc. In short: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Democracy is not necessarily needed to uphold these values. Academically, a benevolent dictatorship can be envisioned, that is equally dedicated to these values. And would such a benevolent dictatorship (3) be fundamentally bad, because it is not a democracy? And a democracy that votes itself out of existence, is that a fundamentally good system?
At the end of the day, what matters is identity, history, rule of law and fundamental respect for human dignity. Not just for ourselves, but also for those around us. Even if we do not articularly agree with them or like them. It has taken the Netherlands centuries of alternating periods of hardship and wealth to become one of the most prosperous nations on Earth. We accomplished that because of the values we share, the virtues we aspire to. Democracy and the rule of law have governed these lands for ages. The Akte van Verlatinghe (1581), the Dutch declaration of independence from the Spanish Habsburgs, stood model for the the US Declaration of Indepence. If one were to use democracy to put and end to that 425-year-old tradition one would have a fight on ones hand, democracy be damned. And rightly so, for in the end there are things vastly more important than mere democracy. Democracy without Rule of Law and separation of powers is just another dictatorship: that of the majority.
Democray is the means to an end. It just so happens that in this imperfect world democracy is still) the system that provides the best guarantees that those freedoms and virtues we live are actually upheld. That our own minister of Justice, praised allround for his dedication to and knowledge of the Law of the Just State, fails to recognize this and is putting democracy above all
the freedoms and virtues we consider ours in a way that an ideology using legal means could put and end to those vitues and freedoms and even democracy itself is worrying.
It bears witness to a fundamental lack of understanding of both Islam and Sharia law. My bet is that minister Donner would never have made these statements if the discussion were to be about introducing the Neuremberg laws if two-thirds of the country so wished. That he *is* willing to entertain the thought of introducing stoning, punitive amputations, beheadings, discriminatory dhimmi laws and all that other goodness contained in Sharia law is a strong hint Donner does not know what he is talking about. Islam is not a Arabic equivalent of protestantism. It is the Arab equivalent to all the totalitarian doctrines our tragic continent gave birth to.
Donner has stated he is not in favor of introduction of Sharia law in the Dutch system and I have no reason to not believe him. But inadvertantly he has given a signal to more dedicated members in Dutch islamic communities: We are willing to entertain the thought. And that is decidedly creepy.
Liberty and Justice
Islam in Europe (with a roundup)
[UPDATE001] Summing up the situation, from the Infidel Bloggers Alliance
[UPDATE002] Robert Spencer: "Piet, can you please ship us the artworks and other manifestations of jahiliyya (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance) before you turn out the lights?"
(1) Pillarisation was the characteristic phenomenon defining Dutch society from the 1930's untill around the 1970's when the walls between the traditional pillars (catholics, protestants and socialists) were demolished for good. It seems to me that welcoming Islam as a 'new pillar' is rather regressive.
(2) This is also why I think GW Bush is wrong about his whole project of bringing democracy to the ME. Democracy will be still-born if some prerequisites are not met. These include the rule of law and equality before the law, separation of powers (and not just church/mosque and state, either). The way the US administration is going about it will, I am afraid, ultimately proof to be a case of putting the cart before the horse (one still hopes one will be proven wrong, of course).
(3) If such a dictatorship could ever exist. Hayek, for instance, makes a pretty good case that in the real world such a dictatorship would turn ugly in short order.