May 16, 2003 by AK
Looking through my files a few months ago, I stumbled upon a fragment whose authorship (that of the first paragraph primarily) I could not immediately establish. Now I believe it belongs to no one but myself, but if I am mistaken, please excuse me. Apparently, I was replying to someone’s comments on the death of Pim Fortuyn.
Now on to the “Islam is intolerance” thesis. It equally applies to both Catholics and Calvinists — the Netherlands’ two principal denominations — with two exceptions. First, both churches have “softened down” considerably in the past century or so, accepting diversity of opinion within themselves and adopting a reasonable degree of tolerance. Second, western societies have secularised radically since the Middle Ages, and most Christian churches have acknowledged and accepted existence of a life outside the church, recognizing the secular realm’s claim to legitimate existence. Even Ireland and Poland, where the Catholic church seems to hold ground in every sphere of life, are fundamentally secular societies inasmuch as the distinction between His realm and Caesar’s is universally accepted. When individuals’ behaviour is not subjected to ecclesiastic judgement; when society no longer wants to submit to it entirely, when it prefers to draw that line, tolerance is born out of the air.
Pim Fortuyn’s message — the core of it as I would like to understand/perceive/interpret it — was this. We don’t want the religious to restrict our freedom. We don’t want the intolerant to curb personal liberties in the name of morality. We may be decadent, but then decadence is our personal choice to which we are constitutionally entitled and for which we shall bear responsibility. The decadent Rome was overridden by barbarians. But, unlike the Romans, we are ready to defend our freedom to make sinful — as the religious call them — depraved choices. Indeed, not so much the choices as the right to make them, as well as the right to freely contract. After all, even they admit that without personal freedom, sin and righteousness are moot, and if so, then liberty deserves to be called holy and sacred. Yes, we are ready to die for the right to live a decadent lifestyle — harken ye!
And if there is no way to protect this freedom but to constrain immigration, so be it.
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