So, when I read here about what is happening to Dutch Parliametarian Geert Wilders, I was somewhat concerned. (Hat tip to Instapundit.) The Samizdata post, by Libertarian Perry de Havilland, out of London, quoted a news source as follows:
The three judges said that they had weighed Mr Wilders's "one-sided generalisations" against his right to free speech, and ruled that he had gone beyond the normal leeway granted to politicians.Since Mr de Havilland strikes me as a level headed thinker, I asked my friend Ron Smits what he thought. I asked Ron because he was a Dutch citizen for about four decades, before settling in the US. Besides, he is a fellow fighter pilot. Who would I trust more? He took the question and posted his thoughts on his Blog. Read his comments here.
"The Amsterdam appeals court has ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs," the court said in a statement.
"The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders," it added.
Then there is this post by Bruce Bawer, whose article Submission in the Netherlands, is a tour of those who have opposed the growth in the Netherlands of closed communities which practiced Islamic customs contrary to normal Dutch social conventions. He mentions the late member of Parliament, Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated. He mentions film producer Theo van Gogh, who was assassinated on an open street. He mentions former member of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has renounced Islam and fleed to the United States. And he mentions Parliamentarian Geert Wilders.
We have the convenience and the time to watch this unfold in the Netherlands and to then draw our own conclusions on the balance between tolerance of differences and the acceptable degree of free speech to condemn practices, religious or cultural, with which we do not agree.
With our strong belief in free speech, we may not be too happy with limits on that free speech. On the other hand, to what degree should we be tolerant to others insulting those who believe differently from ourselves.
There are millions out there who think that Roman Catholics, such as myself, are going to spend eternity in Hell because we are following the Anti-Christ. Not lots of millions, but several. There are those who think Jews are evil. Then there are those who think all Muslims are terrorists. At this point it is my view that such opinions are to be tolerated, but acts against any group, including acts of intimidation, are to be condemned. And, that applies whether the group is a poor, persecuted minority or a small, ugly and bigoted group of dead-enders.
Regards -- Cliff