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Europe’s Most Dangerous Man?!

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Well I know relatively little about Geert Wilders, other than that he is a controversial Dutchman who isn’t too fond of Islam. So when the BBC aired an hour long documentary about him last night, entitled ‘Europe’s Most Dangerous Man’, I felt compelled to check it out and see if the title description was apt. Who is this guy? What makes him the most dangerous man in Europe?

Well, fast forward one hour and I was none the wiser. This programme was just another BBC hatchet job; all I gleaned from it was that some people like Wilders, and others don’t. Those from the former group tended to look somewhat… odd, whilst members from the latter were a bunch of reasonable looking fellows. Maybe the film-makers deliberately chose their subjects this way, or maybe I’m imagining things. Or maybe, they really are a representative sample of their respective groups. Who knows. Anyway, then in the middle of the film there was a strange tangential section that seemed to be trying to ‘suggest’ that Wilders was receiving suspicious funding, although no concrete accusations were made, nor was any evidence provided. Then after this odd section subsided, we cut to a muslim intellectual Khalid Yasan (whom I am not familiar with) describing Wilders’ Zionist views. In the background of this segment, the music playing is clearly meant to induce a sensation of revelation in the viewer, as if he is having a ‘eureka moment’. All in all, I found the programme insubstantial and at points somewhat bizarre.

Now perhaps Wilders really is a terrible individual (like I say, I don’t know a huge deal about him), but based on the showing last night I didn’t have any reason to believe that he is. The only thing the programme really helped shed light on for me is the utterly ridiculous, backwards set of moral priorities that characterise mainstream views in society today. I mean seriously, a man is vilified as the most dangerous man in a whole continent simply for voicing his dislike of a particular bloomin religion?! Come on.

Now don’t get me wrong, Wilders isn’t exactly a man that I have warmed to. Indeed, I found that his slick, well-crafted appearance and persona made me instinctively suspicious of the man. Some aspects of his rhetoric were hyperbolic and not to my taste. However, these are peripheral points at best; the issue is: what is it about the views that expresses regarding Islam that is so fundamentally wrong (in a moral sense)? As far as I can see, absolutely nothing.

Indeed, the reason the programme failed to persuade me of Wilders sheer dangerousness was that it assumed from the outset that I, the viewer, was on board. An implicit premise of the whole thing seemed to be that to criticise a religion (or perhaps just Islam?) – or at least to do so in anything other than the meekest of manner – is a morally outrageous thing to do. Absolute nonsense.

Unfortunately, this programme is not alone – indeed, this implicit premise is made in almost every mainstream discussion of religion I have had the displeasure of witnessing. If we want to talk about what is really dangerous for Europe I humbly suggest that the BBC look not to any rogue individual who speaks out against the satus quo, but perhaps to themselves. You see, by making the assumption that they make, and thereby branding individuals such as Wilders as abhorrant, or ‘fascistic’, they are contributing to the socially prevalent propensity to opprobriate those who voice any controversial opinions. This: a) enforces a culture of socially imposed self-censorship which, if prevalent for sufficiently long can, I believe, lead to a very real reduction in the capacity for free thought; and b) equips those (typically on the left) who wish to stifle meaningful debate by simply tossing pejorative terms such as ‘bigot’ or ‘fascist’ at the speaker. Ironically, these two effects both then create a void which very often tends to be filled by the very extremists the opprobrium was meant to deter in the first place. It is no coincidence for example, that the rise in popularity of the BNP occurred at a time when the Labour government refused to engage in meaningful debate about immigration.

So do I agree with Wilders that the Qu’ran is fascistic? Well, truth is I’ve never read the thing so I have no idea. But more importantly, simply being asked the question does not enrage me or provoke me to insult the asker, for to do so would be the real mark of a fascist.


Written by theunfashionabletruth

February 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm