Food for thought

On Gates of Vienna a correspondent using the moniker 'las' penned a piece giving some background on the Netherlands, which 'needs to be understood by [non-Dutch] in order that [they] might have an accurate picture of the political culture in the Netherlands' (I am quoting the Baron here): Holland's Muddy Waters.

The thing is: It is a bit of an eye-opener even for the genuine Dutch as well. The writer, who evidently knows the Netherlands quite well, but isn't a native, puts the finger on an aspect of the whole freedom discussion in the Netherlands, which I for one, hadn't given much thought. But reading the post, I realized it is an aspect that has been an annoyingly irritating sore spot in the back of my thinking all this time:
That problem is: Alles Kan, Alles Mag.

Translated as “Everything is Possible, Everything is Allowed”, this is the leftist-liberal ethic that has been a sore spot, particularly amongst elderly Dutch. They will lament, for example, the possibility of exiting an antique store, housed in a beautiful seventeenth century canal house in the Red Light District, only to step into the street and have their eyes accosted with dildos displayed in the window of the next door sex shop. (...)

Theo Van Gogh exemplified this ethic. Even those considered left of centre felt he was over the top. The “Alles Kan, Alles Mag” advocates, having gained such traction within Dutch society are what, in an earlier time, would simply have been termed licentious [in Dutch: liederlijk or losbandig - KV]. But of course “licentiousness” carries baggage, religious baggage, and there is no question that Christianity is “on the outs” in Dutch culture.
The writer goes on and decries Gregorius Nekschot for using the Enlightenment, which gave him his freedom, to bash Christianity as a whole:
He only gets half the picture - he does not see that the Enlightenment was cradled in the lap of Christianity. Without Christianity there would be no Enlightenment. Not only does he typically misunderstand the idea of separation of Church and State (that in America it means the protection of the Church from the State while Canada, for example, sees no such need for this constitutional provision at all), he makes the same mistake that all Post-modernists make, namely that Freedom of Speech was necessary to free people from Christianity. He has it precisely backwards.
Maybe we all need to think this over a little. Is the whole freedom discussion being hijacked by those that see its greatest expression in being able to consume 'shrooms? Have we lost so much of our heritage that the only thing we can think of when we talk of 'liberty' is: to do what we want to do, whenever we want to, without minding those around us?

Of course it isn't all as bleak as that. I for one don't recognize myself in that description. Yet, when I read the comments on GeenStijl, for instance, I suspect that this attitude that 'las' describes is spread more widely the we may be willing to admit.

Anyway, head on over to read the entire thing. And then come back and tell us what your thoughts are.


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