Rebirth of Reason

Sense of Life

PI editorial, Thurs May 9
by Lindsay Perigo

I've just heard of Pim Fortuyn for the first time. He is, or was, a Dutch politician. He's just been shot dead.

When the news broke, Mr Fortuyn was likened to France's neo-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who recently made headlines with his strong showing in the French presidential election. "Far Right," both men were called. Such a label in Mr Fortuyn's case would appear to be woefully wide of the mark - typical media knee-jerk ignorance.

Mr Fortuyn recently denounced Le Pen as "beneath contempt," observing, "A man who says the Holocaust is no more than a footnote in history is beyond my comprehension." But the comparison gained currency because both men opposed immigration, notwithstanding that they did so in different ways & for different reasons. Mr Le Pen opposes ANY immigration out of economic illiteracy & xenophobia; Mr Fortuyn was not opposed to immigration per se, but to "letting in millions more immigrants from rural Muslim cultures that don't assimilate." He had written a book, Against the Islamicisation of our Culture, which became a national bestseller after September 11, when Muslim immigrants were seen on Dutch television celebrating the attacks on the United States. His argument was that large-scale Muslim immigration of the kind that had already occurred posed an ominous threat to Holland's famed tolerance & permissiveness. He himself was openly, flamboyantly gay, a shaven-headed, dapperly-dressed cigar-smoker who favoured the legalised marketing of soft drugs, easier euthanasia, tax cuts & privatisation. He had a regular newspaper column that poked fun at Political Correctness (he started his ideological career as a Marxist sociology professor, so knew all about Political Correctness!).

Well, I like the sound of this Mr Fortuyn, & I'm very sorry, though not at all surprised, that he's been assassinated. The man was obviously pretty close to being a libertarian, & you can't be much further removed from neo-fascism than that. And while it's true that libertarians favour open immigration, I empathise with Mr Fortuyn's hatred of Islam - a cesspool of stupidity, superstition & savagery. One can hate something without wanting to ban or persecute it, & I'm sure Mr Fortuyn had a much better understanding of THAT distinction than most Muslims. In any event, whatever his inconsistencies, it would seem that the world has lost a rare kind of politician - a principled freedom-lover, as colourful as he was courageous. A voice of passionate reason has been silenced by means beloved of statists & mystics everywhere - a bullet.

The world has still to learn that a gun is not an argument.

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