Geert Wilders MP, founder and leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid) yesterday delivered a speech in Sydney’s Liverpool district to an audience of several hundred attendees. The event was organised by the Australia’s “Q Society”. A contingent from the Sydney Traditionalist Forum was also present in the audience along with other members of the Sydney conservative scene. After the disturbances associated with his Melbourne appearance and the unfortunate cancellation of his Perth visit, many feared that the fascistic so-called ‘anti-racist’ crowd would similarly cause havoc in the streets of suburban Sydney, and cause this event to be shut down as well.
Fortunately, the heavy police presence (which included the State police, mounted police, Australian Federal Police and a SWAT team) ensured that the protesters were kept at bay. In any event, the protest crowd did not number more than 30 to 40 at the time admissions commenced. What they didn’t achieve in numbers, they compensated for amply by shouting slogans with the assistance of a bullhorn. None of this deterred the attendees from calmly proceeding through the first stage of security screening and registration. The second stage of security screening was at the entrance to the building complex, where identification and tickets had to be presented a second time; the third screening required all attendees to walk through metal detectors.
Wilders is the democratically elected member of the second largest political party sitting in the Netherlands’ Parliament, is an outspoken Islam critic and immigration restrictionist. He is the author is Marked for Death (Regnery Publishing, 2012). Wilders argues that Islam properly practiced is a religious and political creed that is fundamentally incompatible with Western European values, that so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ who do integrate into Western societies are in fact not practicing Muslims at all, and that appropriate measures must therefore be taken to prevent the destruction of the liberal and inclusive West by an absolutist and intolerant ideology.
In attacking Wilders and thoughtlessly denouncing his message, the protesters undermine what is fundamentally a spirited defence of contemporary liberalism. Far from being a ‘far right winger’, Wilders in fact manifests a desire to defend the very liberal culture from which his opponents derive their incessant demands for ever-more progressive ‘rights’. For example, those protesters will demand the public and legal recognition of homosexualism as a legitimate alternative ‘lifestyle’ and continue pushing the radical feminist agenda in all of its forms. Do they ever reflect whether these concepts sit well within the framework of sharia law? Their broad-mindedness is diametrically opposed to traditional Islamic cultural practices which have been imported in Europe by its ‘progressive’ governments throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Yet their militant multiculturalism will pit them against any argument that calls for a particularist defence of the West or which questions the value of non-Western cultures. Where does that leave these relativists unwilling to defend their culture of ‘freedom’ in the face of others’ burgeoning intolerance?
Wilders’ book documents the acts of targeted violence against Europeans by a large and culturally assertive Muslim sub-culture on that continent, as well as the threat this poses to the sacred cows of left-liberalism. As he warns the West about the dangers of an increasingly assertive Islamic population within a Western host culture, cultural relativists who continue to vociferously back every ‘progressive’ social experiment, seem to be completely oblivious to the ultimately suicidal nature of their agenda as they try to shut him down at every turn.
This raises an interesting if not dangerous paradox. What is this bizarre alliance between the middle class sex-fetishist left and the most intolerant of creeds currently incubating in the ever-more multicultural West? Let us not forget that the middle class Iranian liberals who supported the 1979 Islamic revolution were among the first to be eliminated as soon as the Shah’s government was abolished and replaced by the Ayatollahs’ regime. If the ‘anti racist’ protesters were truly concerned about the survival of their ‘freedoms’ and seriously desired increasing the scope of liberal society, they should perhaps be Wilders’ greatest and most aggressive supporters.
Ironically, the sensitivity surrounding Wilders’ message and the fact that he must now live under constant security surveillance seems to vindicate his overall message: a multicultural society which embraces cultural relativism and welcomes significant numbers of people who do not share such liberal conceits will become less safe for all, and eventually fall into endemic social and political dysfunction.
Apparently, every elected Parliamentarian in Australia was given notice of the Geert Wilders events in Melbourne and Sydney, but only four responded to the invitations. Nevertheless, the sole politician to attend the Sydney function was Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democratic Party.
The leader of the nominally conservative Opposition, Tony Abbott distanced himself from Wilders while acknowledging the Dutch MP’s right to speak and assert his opinions during the his Australian tour. The Australian Conservative reports the Prime Ministerial aspirant as stating that “[t]here are very few lessons that Holland has to teach Australia when it comes to the integration of newcomers” and that “the Muslims in this country see themselves rightly as fair dinkum dinki di [!] Australians.”1 When asked on 3AW Radio whether Wilders is wrong about Islam, Abbott replied that “[s]ubstantially, yes.”2
Unless we are mistaken, Abbott, a former Catholic seminarian, is no scholar of Islam. He is nevertheless entitled to his views, as is Wilders. But between these two politicians, which of them have lived on a continent with significant Muslim enclaves where Europeans are targeted with robbery, assault and rape, enclaves where the authorities or emergency services dare not enter, or do so reluctantly? Which is in a more credible position to venture an opinion about the impact of an expanding and radicalising Islamic population within a host Western culture? It seems rather odd that Tony Abbott, alleged conservative politician and dare we say it “fair dinkum dinki di” Australian, feels that he can speak on behalf of a demographic whose more newsworthy members’ reputation haven’t exactly reflected “fair dinkum dinki di” ideals in recent years.
On 15 September 2012, one of our correspondents reported3 on the ‘protest’ carried out by a certain group for whose patriotism Abbott is now an apologist. In the 3AW radio interview, Abbott added that Muslims can be integrated into Western society “just as the Catholics and the Jews and the Protestants and the atheists.” We’re not exactly sure when and how Protestants needed to integrate into Australian society, and whether this was a particularly traumatic episode in Australia’s overwhelmingly ‘WASP’ history. Nevertheless, we don’t believe feminists and homosexuals have much to fear from Catholics and Jews donning jihaadist paraphernalia and glorifying suicide bombers, as did Abbott’s “fair dinkum dinki di […] Muslims in this country” of late last year’s street blockade in Sydney.
But if the Sydney protest was not enough to raise an establicon’s eyebrow, and if Wilders’ opinions are to be nothing more than the ravings of an ‘extremist’, perhaps Abbott may care to hear the views of another politician, this time the Prime Minister of the most socially progressive of all majority-Muslim countries. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports the Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, responding to the concept of a ‘Moderate Islam’: “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”4 Perhaps these views are “substantially” wrong about Islam too, Mr. Abbott? After all, what would a Muslim Prime Minister of a Muslim country know about Islam?
We understand that as a mainstream politician, Abbott needs to be careful not to be baited into to the career destroying bear trap of politically correct controversy. This is particularly true of an aspirant for public office in a mass liberal democracy with compulsory voting, especially one with concentrated ethnic ghettos and strong identity politics among their constituents. These identity politics have already had a significant impact on national foreign affairs, as the Herald Sun reported Australia’s surprise abstention from the United Nations resolution for Palestinian Observer Status.5
We also understand that the factional situation in Abbott’s own party is possibly a greater political threat to his aspirations than the current Labor Prime Minister and her Cabinet, wounded as they are by recently unflattering polls and desperate for a wedge issue to campaign on during the upcoming federal elections.
But Abbott’s all too supplicating attitude to cultural relativism risks losing him his base. Of course, Abbott’s own party is hardly homogenous in terms of its member’s ideology. His Catholicism and socially conservative views often grate the liberals within the Liberal Party, who surely hate the fact that it is still considered the de facto conservative force in Australian politics, despite their own ‘wet’ inclinations. It must also be remembered that Abbott’s long-time foe, Malcolm Turnbull HMR, is likely waiting to make best use of any political wedge that arises in the broader political discourse leading up to the next and rapidly approaching election. With speculations the Prime Minister herself may be dumped for her presently poor electoral appeal, it is not inconceivable that a similar move may be made against Abbott by leftists within his own ranks – that would undoubtedly be spearheaded by Turnbull.
Interestingly, Turnbull represents the seat of Wentworth in the federal Parliament. The region possibly has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of Jewish voters, an ethno-religious group that, by comparison, doesn’t seem to be faring very well in the Islamising regions of France. One would presume that they might therefore be somewhat more sympathetic to Wilders’ message than the White middle class dominated members of the Socialist Alternative protesters in Liverpool. Yet, just like the endemic moronism of those feral picketers, Turnbull’s leftism (although watered down somewhat by comparison) suggests he could make political use of any conciliatory words uttered by Abbott about Wilders as proof that the present Opposition leader is no longer fit to lead an ‘inclusive’ and ‘modern’ party into the next election.
Despite this, consistent polling has shown that the Australian electorate does not embrace the idea of a growing Islamic presence in our society. In fact, public opposition to this is greater than its opposition to homosexual ‘marriage’, yet Abbott and mainstream conservatives seem to be more willing to take a stance of that issue than the building of mosques in suburban State capitals. Perhaps these mainstream conservatives (and the broader political elite) are more concerned about the impact on our relations with the Muslim countries of our near North, should we give political firebrands like Wilders any legitimacy. But this begs the further questions of why our political elites keep courting favour among regional leaders who may not see us in flattering terms in any case: Paul Kelly recalls the words of former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, that Australia is the “poor white trash of Asia.”6
Here we witness the nexus between political opportunism (Turnbull) the debilitating effects of liberalism on the political process (Abbott) the suicidal leftism of the mainstream and far left (the Labor Party, the media, ‘anti racist’ street thugs) and the cowardice of a deracinated elite in the face of a foreign, strong group identity (all of the above). The result is that an elected member of Parliament from a country that has committed possibly irreversible and fatal mistakes in its immigration and citizenship policies is ignored, slandered and his audience berated with insults. No Mr. Abbott, Holland certainly does have a great deal to teach Australia. It is always wiser to learn for the experience and mistakes of others, rather than naively believe that we can follow their Utopian policies of yesteryear while magically avoiding the damage inevitably caused today. Here is the gist of what Abbott could have said in the 3AW radio interview, but didn’t:
We all know that Europe is going through some very difficult years of late. Wilders’ own country has suffered the effects of leftist wishful thinking turned into government policy for the past several decades. We Australians are fortunate that our history of assimilating citizens from abroad has been far more successful. Wilders has a right to speak his piece in Australia, as an elected representative from a friendly nation. Although I may not share his strict views of Islam, he is the product of his country’s recent history and social ills. We should be thankful that we do not suffer the same social ailments here. There is a lesson to be learned from the experience of others, but that does not mean that we have to agree with everything that everyone says all the time.
Non of the above would likely offend Abbott’s base, thus he would not alienate his core constituents (i.e., us). Moreover, there is sufficient room for middle-of-the-ground electors to see a distancing from Wilders’ message, while those who would still be offended at the ambiguity are unlikely to vote for him in any case. Wilders’ presence in Australia was hardly a surprise to the political establishment – his visit was originally schedule for last year. It is a shame that Abbott did not seem adequately prepared to meet a question such as the one he was asked. We hope that the alternative Australian Prime Minister will be a little more bold in tacking these issues in the future. In international affairs as in domestic politics, the self effacing never attract respect.
- AC, “Dutch MP Geert Wilders substantially wrong about Islam, Tony Abbott says” Australian Conservative (20 February 2013) <australianconservative.com> (accessed, 23 February 2013).
- Photo Report, “Islamic Protest in Sydney, 15 September 2012” SydneyTrads (15 September 2012) <sydneytrads.com> (accessed, 23 February 2013).
- MEMRI Blog entry, “PM Erdogan: the terms ‘Moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive; There is not Moderate Islam; Islam is Islam” Middle East Media Research Institute (undated) <www.thememriblog.org/turkey> (accessed, 23 February 2013); information originally sourced from Milliyet Turkey (21 August 2007).
- Andrew Bolt, “Labor again sells us out for Muslim votes in Western Sydney” Herald Sun – Andrew Bolt Blog (29 November 2012) <blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun> (accessed, 23 February 2013).
- Paul Kelly, March of the Patriots – The Struggle for Modern Australia (University of Melbourne Press, 2009) p 464.