Frank Judo: ‘The failure of progressive history is clear’

Historian, philosopher and lawyer Frank Judo (50) sits at the knowledge table. He wrote a booklet on conservatism. ‘People make fundamentally conservative choices.’

Belgian journalist Rik Van Cauwelaert said this at the presentation of the book Worth keeping by Frank Judo jokingly: ‘Even as a small child he was already a deep thinker.’ This deep thinker is known in Belgium. As a partner lawyer specializing in constitutional and administrative law in Liedekerke, Wolters, Waelbroeck, Kirkpatrick in Brussels, as an active member of the Christian Democratic political party CD&V, as the author of a number of books. In the Netherlands he is known for his membership of the board of the Algemeen-Nederlands Verbond (ANV).

That ANV has worked since 1895 to connect Dutch-speaking Belgians and Dutch in line with especially language and culture. Judo: ‘The cooperation between North and South in the low countries is one of the common threads in everything I do. After eight years, my term in ANV ends this summer. It is a good Dutch tradition not to put people on a board for life. In Flanders, someone would be asked to quit board membership after fifty years and then protest. ‘

He describes himself as Brabant and Dutch in the sense: someone from the low countries. “In Flanders, efforts are being made to abolish the provinces in favor of the Flemish region. Then I say: boys, this is a nineteenth-century centralist story. With the best will in the world, I can not agree to it.

‘Centralism is contrary to the tradition peculiar to this part of Europe. I am also more and more convinced that the attempt to do something like a general Dutch nation-state between 1815 and 1830, housed the germ of failure. The lack of recognition of regional differences has been a kind of inherited sin in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. They are the low countries, majority. It is not a country. “

Frank Judo (Anderlecht, Belgium, 1971) is a lawyer, church lawyer, philosopher and historian. He wrote Belgian and bataaf and Worth keeping. Judo lives in Rumst, between Brussels and Antwerp. He is married and has a son.

He therefore regrets that his command of other languages ​​is declining. ‘I notice how the knowledge of the French-speaking world in Dutch-speaking Belgium, not to mention the Netherlands, is declining. One of the beautiful Flemish expressions is: you are human just as much as you speak a language. A Dutch-speaking world in Flanders, believing that Dutch is enough and a bad Englishman, is losing part of his own soul. The same goes for Holland. That soul is aware of diversity. I have always been very interested in the Eglise Réformée Wallonne in the Netherlands, where there is still a liturgy in French to this day. It is at the same time a continuation of tradition and the care of diversity. ‘

Judo did not really want to write about conservatism

In this way, Judo implicitly serves the main course of the conversation through the history of the lowlands: conservatism. But not before breakfast is ordered. The waiter at the Gustatif restaurant in Schoten, near Antwerp, quickly announces what the kitchen can prepare, including a pre-prepared lunch menu. Judo to the waiter: ‘I am always happy when the election work is done by you.’ The breakfast menu with bream, artichokes, polenta, sea lavender, carrot and sauce with razor blades can come. ‘We deserve it,’ he concludes contentedly.

He did not really want to write about conservatism. ‘How does a person think to write a story about conservatism?’ he wonders about it in the first sentence of the book. The reason he did so was due to a series of encounters with people who saw themselves or their views as conservative, while Judo thought otherwise.

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