The Wilders Trial: Voices From Europe

In the summer of 2008, as many readers know, I traveled to six European countries to interview politicians dedicated to breaking, halting and/or reversing the Islamization of their countries (here is a collection of some of the writings inspired by the trip).

One of those politicians was Geert Wilders, then the little-known (outside of the Netherlands) leader of a very small party, PVV, the Party for Freedom. Only a year and a half later, Wilders is the most famous Dutchman in the world, and his party rivals the current ruling party in popularity. Wilders is also now on trial for his political life and liberty – hardly a coincidence.

But Wilders is not the only politician in Europe fighting Islamization. In my travels, I learned there were other countries where extremely courageous men and some notable women had entered the democratic arena to defend Western liberties against the onslaught of sharia (Islamic law), and with electoral success. In interviewing such politicians, I was much impressed with their political and, in these times of jihad violence, physical courage. Sadly, it remains the case that no US politicians speak with either the candor or understanding of the Islamic threat besetting the West that at least some of their European counterparts do.

With Wilders' trial begining today, I contacted three of the politicians I interviewed on my trip and asked them for their thoughts today. They have obliged – and in English, which is worth noting. In alphabetical order, they are Filip Dewinter, leader of the Vlaams Belang party in Belgium, Oskar Freysinger, a member of Swiss parliament for the Swiss People's Party (lately in the news for the recent victorious Swiss referendum banning minaret construction in Switzerland), and Morten Messershmidt, a member of European Parliament for the Danish People's Party.


Filip Dewinter wrote:

“Loquendi Libertatem Custodiamus”.

“Let us safeguard the right to speak”, the inscription reads on the statue of Pim Fortuyn. The Dutch politician was murdered in Hilversum, and a statue in his honor has been erected in the Korte Hoogstraat in Rotterdam. It seems though that the Dutch government has not drawn any conclusions following the murder of Pim Fortuyn. The trial against Geert Wilders is a murder attempt as well! Premeditated murder of democracy and freedom of speech. According to the summons, Geert Wilders is guilty of “insulting the Muslim population by insulting Islam, hatemongering against Muslims and inciting discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other non-Western immigrants.” The trial against Geert Wilders is very similar to the judicial procedures that have led to the conviction and the dissolution of Vlaams Blok. It concerns also a so-called opinion offence, in which a court judges and possibly convicts certain political beliefs. A successful political party – like Vlaams Blok – is being criminalized and silenced when convicted. What cannot be achieved by democratic elections, happens in court. However, a possible conviction of Geert Wilders will not only be harmful to his PVV party. A negative verdict will not just make any form of Islam criticism impossible. There is a real chance that a conviction will shut the door on any form of criticism on an ideology or a religion. Each time someone feels insulted by strong criticism on an ideology or a religion, things get out of hand. The permanent threat of trials, judicial procedures and convictions leads automatically to auto-censorship.

Auto-censorship based on repression leads to one-way thinking and indignation, because freedom of speech – the cornerstone of democracy – has to make way for the newspeak of a politically correct, fake democracy. The boundaries of freedom of speech are clearly defined: whoever calls to violence or makes slanderous statements, needs to be prosecuted. However, expressing an opinion can never be a criminal offence. Eventually, parties and politicians with dissenting opinions threaten to become the victims of a judicial witch hunt and media lynching. The trial against Geert Wilders does not only endanger freedom of speech, but gives free play to radical Islam. A possible conviction of Geert Wilders will be an excellent precedent for several Muslim organizations in Europe to silence Islam critics and to continue the process of Islamisation.

Undoubtedly, the trial against Geert Wilders will give his party a brief electoral boost. However, on medium term, the establishment wants to put up a cordon sanitaire around Geert Wilders, on the moral basis of a conviction of racism. Geert Wilders needs to be politically liquidated, that is the only intention of this trial. Europe has to make a choice: a democracy in which freedom of speech is guaranteed, or a return to Middle Age society.

Oskar Freysinger wrote:

A democratically elected member of the Dutch parliament shall be forced to silence because his critical words on Islam could disturb the noise made by those who preach hate and war against freedom and democracy.

Previously, he has been denied entry into Great Britain where some preachers propagate jihad without restraint.

Is there a justice for religious extremists and another for democratically elected citizens? 

As a member of the Swiss parliament, I support the right of Geert Wilders to speak freely about all problems his fellow countrymen are facing. Even if this indisposes a religious group.

The end of the freedom of speech is the end of democracy!


Morten Messerschmidt wrote:

A conviction of Wilders is a conviction of free speech

The trial against Geert Wilders, MP, leader of the Party for Freedom, is not a trial in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a political trial, and there is much more at stake here than catches the eye. If Geert Wilders is convicted of using his freedom of speech, which should be guaranteed by the constitution in the democratic Netherlands, it is an attack on freedom in general and on the right to speek freely in particular. What does Mr. Wilders crime consist of? He has made a short film which combines the words of the Koran with horryfying pictures of – among others – women vicitimized by the rigid sharia-laws. Furthermore he has been advocating that the Koran should be banned – but he has done so in a country where Hitler´s "Mein Kampf" has been banned since the end of the Second World War on the ground that it represents a violent ideology. And so does the Koran. I don´t share the view that certain books should be banned, however, I respect Geert Wilder´s right to publish his views in the media.

If Geert Wilders is convicted a whole new standard of democracy will be seeing the light of day in Europe. Europe will have taken another step towards islamization, and attacks – even physical – against men such as Geert Wilders – and as we saw recently on the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard – will have a kind of backing from the courts. Once the islamists know that the judicial system has bowed down to the claims of the islamist, we are not likely to reduce religiously induced violence, but to further it even more. Geert Wilders has not only risked his life, he also has to live in a reduced world under the strict surveillance of his security guards – and in case of a conviction he would become an outlaw and would eventually fall prey to the hatred of the islamists.

In Denmark the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard on the first day of this year escaped his death by a breath. A young islamist of Somali origin broke into the home in Århus where Kurt Westergaard was enjoying the company of his 5-year old granddaughter, armed with an axe and a knife, and with his mind set on slaying the cartoonist in an act of vengeance because Westergaard had insulted the Prophet by drawing an innocent cartoon for a Danish paper. Fortunately, Kurt Westergaard managed to escape into his bathroom which had been transformed into a fortress. From there he managed to push the alarm button and he and his granddaughter were saved in the last moment. If Kurt Westergaard had been convicted of using his freedom of speech, people would have looked differently on this incident. The aftermath, however, showed that the united Danish population and media backed up behind Westergaard. When Wilders is standing trial this coming Wednesday the judge should bear in mind that in convicting Geert Wilders he will end up fueling the hatred of the islamists – and the cost of free speech.



This Free Speech Case?

Chesterton et al  v Atheling

Where royalties are being sought from named party for publishing the entire works of Chesterton in a demonstrably bad faith effort to make pithy and witty retorts to those who party identifies as anti-papists posters on the TBJ. Demonstrable, in as other than Chesterton lifted text, there is little pithiness and no wit to be found anywhere in party's posted retorts.


One person's free speech is sometimes another person's royalties.



I had an undergraduate at Georgetown when I was a TA for a Western Civ 101 course, the first paper he handed in was entirely a collection of quoted passages from the readings with all  the required quotation marks. The only words of his own were a few conjunctions here and there. He was genuinely shocked when he found out that that was not how to write an analytical report.  


I hate to shock you but I was not telling anyone to 'shut up,' not Chesterton, the founding fathers, not even you. You have a remarkable ability to misconstrue and misunderstand other people's words. I was simply suggesting with my own words and thoughts, that when one debates the concept of free speech one might be more effective using one own words rather trying to beat your opponents to death with quotation marks and dead men talking.


It gets rather tiring when current day pundits and wannabe pundits continually dig up the words of the great and honorable to win every little debate they find themselves in. And don't delude yourself that you are simply quoting the greats because they get to the point quicker, you do it because you are a lazy writer , and what's worse a lazy reader and you can quote me on that.



What case?

Lawyer's Fee: $500/hr.

Daumier Print: $2.99

Seeing someone post a "shut up" comment on a thread about free speech and completely miss the irony: Priceless.


"Nevermore, nevermore" - The Raven

At least get it right.

One More Quote

You know why there's a Second Amendment? In case the government fails to follow the first one. - Rush Limbaugh

Why is this a concept that Europeans seem unable to grasp?

American mantra # 4

@ Frank Lee

The answer is obvious.  Because the European public at large does not value individual freedom as much as the American public still does.  It values (presumed) 'stability' and government benefits higher. This was not always the case.  I do believe that in my youth, say 1960, a Wilders-type trial would have been unthinkable in the Netherlands or Belgium.

Let's not kid ourselves.  If the United States consisted solely of the states of New York and California, the First Amendment would already be 'history'.   


Wonder Why...

If the United States consisted solely of the states of New York and California, the First Amendment would already be 'history'.

Yes, because most immigrants in NY come from Europe, a people who, as you noted, no longer care about independence, liberty or free speech, but for their own comfort and entitlements.

As for California, we have immigrants (legal and illegal) from Mexico, who are just as bad. Not all, of course, but generally speaking, they come from a place where the concept of liberty is quite alien, and they bring that baggage with them. And their "masters" in the Donk Plantation keep them that way by bribing them with taxpayer funded entitlements.

"The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog is. - GK Chesterton"

@ marcfrans2

More important, though, is why mere politicians in Europe are able to undermine European free speech.  If politicians in America tried to imprison or fine people for speaking their minds about political Islam, those politicians would be on their way out of office pronto.  The senatorial election in Massachusetts this week shows how intolerant even the moderate majority in America can be toward leftwing politicians when those politicians' anti-democratic agenda comes too close to fruition.  According to internal polling by the Republicans there, the number one issue swaying independent voters was the decision by the Democrats to try enemy combatants in civilian courts.  What exactly is the glitch in Europe that allows a political elite to undermine the democratic process?  Why aren't politicians afraid of defeat as in America?

@ marcfrans

We are in agreement:  if America had a Supreme Court that pretended the 1st amendment doesn't say what it clearly says, the amendment would be as useless as the European laws that are supposed to protect the content of European speech.  But the amendment does make it a bit more difficult for liberal judges to make such a pretence (they cannot, for example, claim that the 1st amendment is unconstitutional, as they might claim about a mere law protecting free speech). 

American mantra # 3

@ Atheling

I would agree with you as far as external threats are concerned, but not with regard to internal threats.  Surely, a society which is not willing to face up to external threats and employ its military to defend itself against them, such a society will not endure.  The empirical evidence on that score is overwhelming.

When it comes to internal threats, however, and specifically internal CULTURAL trends, then I am pretty sure that the Second Amendment will prove useless.  If, the culture or the population at large would continue to vote into power (both in the Executive and in the Legislature), a party and/or individuals which do not respect freedom of political speech, then the judiciary's independence will gradually be lost through the appointments process, and the current situation in Europe will be replicated. Once the government is run by 'nondemocrats' and they control the monopoly of 'official' violence through the police and military, then individual ownership of weapons will be useless. Recalcitrant individuals and groups will be picked off separately.

This is not an argument for nor against the Second Amendment. It is simply an expression of disbelief in the efficacy of the 2nd Amendment to be able to preserve freedom IF the public were consistently to vote for a party of intolerant 'nondemocratic-minded' people. Ultimately, freedom depends on the evolution of the culture, i.e. on respect for fair rules, and NOT on the rules themselves. When it comes to internal threats to freedom, the battle has to be fought primarily in the democratic political process, but fundamentally in the culture at large and especially in the educational system. You cannot maintain freedom in a culture that does not value it (any more).

One Caveat

Once the government is run by 'nondemocrats' and they control the monopoly of 'official' violence through the police and military, then individual ownership of weapons will be useless.

That only works if the police and military are willing to commit said violence against the citizenry. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to uphold the government and/or any of its officials. I submit that if a dictator took hold of the Oval Office, 2/3 of the military and the police would revolt against him or her, and side with the people.

Unless you're talking about dropping bombs on cities, which would be a counterproductive tactic, it would be very difficult for the US government to fight its citizenry in a war, vis a vis urban warfare. Ask any Marine who fought at Fallujah. Or look at how the Minutemen fought the British army.

I think you underestimate the importance that the Founding Fathers placed on the right of citizens to bear arms, not just as a physical deterrent, but as a psychological one.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. - Thomas Jefferson

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good - George Washington

Men trained in arms from their infancy, and animated by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap or easy conquest. -- From the Declaration of the Continental Congress, July 1775.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Again, if the people were completely disarmed, the government would have no qualms about doing as they please and disregard the will of the people, as we have daily proof in Europe.

American mantra # 2

@ F Lee

It's not the 1st Amendment as such that preserves freedom, but rather the continued cultural acceptance of the 1st Amendment.  The 1 st Amendment is a constitutional provision, i.e. it is a 'rule', a command (if you will), but if people (especially politicians) do not respect it then it can easily become 'dead letter'.

Most of Europe has similar constitutional provisions that are supposed to preserve 'free political speech'. But they have also enacted 'ordinary' laws that effectively undermine free speech, and their 'Supreme Courts' have not stood up and defended their 'constitutions'.  The Wilders trial is just one of many 'results' of that cultural degradation. Similar trends are at work in the USA.

As I see it, the difference between Europe and America today is that in the USA it is still culturally accepted that the CONTENT of speech should not (or never) be criminilized, whereas in Europe the bulk of society 'accepts' that certain specific content itself can be made unlawful. On both continents it is accepted that the CIRCUMSTANCES of speech can be regulated in a variety of ways. By circumstances I mean things like the manner, the place, the vehicle etc...of speech.

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision (by a 5 to 4 vote) in the USA, which undermines the McCain-Feingold restrictions on political financing, was a step in the right direction. But, the narrowness of the vote illustrates that what happenend in Europe could also happen in the USA in the future, if Obama-types could make more Supreme Court appointments. After all, the distinction between content and circumstances of speech can become a moot point when practical 'restrictions' become so extensive that it becomes difficult to 'communicate' one's speech content to others.

Ultimately, freedom is not preserved by legal rules and constitutions, but rather by broad cultural acceptance that the CONTENT of any speech should be beyond criminal law.

Forgetting One Important Point

Ultimately, freedom is not preserved by legal rules and constitutions, but rather by broad cultural acceptance that the CONTENT of any speech should be beyond criminal law.

Empirical evidence also indicates that freedom is preserved by those willing to fight and die for it. Hence the necessity of the 2nd Amendment.

A Resurgence of Christianity across Europe and the West

is the only counter deterrent to the poisonous influences of Marxist Liberalism and the ambitions of medieval Islamists.

All Christian denominations across the world need to immediately form outreach projects in order to unite as one body for the purpose of preserving AND upholding the Christian identity and civilization of the West.

It will mean a concerted and forceful programme of ousting the Marxist Liberal NWO regime which has been conspiring with the Muslim world since the 1970s, to destroy what is left of the Christian world. We must not forget that the Muslim world would not have been so empowered and subsequently emboldened had it not been for the planned destruction and usurpation of the West by Marxist conspirators immediately following the end of WW11.

The postwar scramble for sustained fuel supplies in the shape of black gold was merely the excuse they needed to open the floodgates of Muslim invasion into the West as a means of hammering the final nail into its coffin.

Marxist Liberals must be made to pay for their crimes of Treason, Subversion AND Sedition with their lives.

Rise up Christians and do not be afraid to do whatever is deemed necessary to take back not only Europe and the rest of the Western world, but also, in the fullness of time, those lands lost to Islam over previous centuries.

My American mantra

Thank God for the 1st amendment.  Thank God for the 1st amendment.  Thank God for the 1st amendment.

Joining the Choir

Thank God for the 2nd Amendment. Thank God for the 2nd Amendment. Thank God for the 2nd Amendment.

Freedom could go up in smoke

What happens in that Dutch court room will have a major impact on the freedom of all of Europe. If Wilders is convicted, freedom in practically all forms will vanish like a cloud of smoke. If one cannot speak freely, there is little other freedom at all. If Wilders is convicted, every European is only a whisker away from a similar conviction.

Voices of Freedom

These men are confined to the political wilderness, helplessly watching the advance of evil across Europe.  Others will decide whether their warnings will be heeded, as Churchill's were in the eleventh hour, or be drowned out by the coming storm, as were those of the pre-war German resistance.

Losers, all of them

This is obvious that Islam might be countered only by strong religious Catholic offensive. I'm tired of hearing about defensively minded 'democracy defending' losers.  You people have absolutely no chance to survive because everything that you believe  reduce to to utopian concept of democracy. This illusion is good for idealist teenagers in high-school, mature people should have know better.   Please continue to shake your assess and complain about threat of some primitive religion.

I have heard that Pope Benedict XVI nominated (what a lack of democracy!/sarcasm) true Catholic to run Belgian branch of the church.  I would wish to learn more about bishop Leonard, so if there are still any true Catholics in Belgium who would be able to comment this issue, I would be grateful.