Shell is bad because Shell pumps oil and gas. Unilever is bad, because Unilever uses palm oil as a raw material. KLM are bad because the planes don’t fly on wind or solar energy. Akzo Nobel is bad because it uses chlorine. These are four out of five large multinational companies.
Also bad: IHC due to involvement in deep sea miningFriesland Campina and the other large agro-companies because they support their co-owners, the farmers, and Yara, ICL and two other large producers supply fertiliser.
bad, bad, bad
Also bad is anyone who ever dared to say anything positive about Donald Trump, anyone who still believes in Zwarte Piet, who still talks about the ‘Golden Age’ of Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer, and of course anyone who believes that teenagers , who dream of a gender change, must not take hormones without permission from their parents.
The list is not exhaustive, but it is terrifyingly long. Was that the case before?
50 years ago, Hans Wiegel was the most important politician on the right wing. Watch him and PvdA leader Den Uyl joke together in an election debate from 1972. Of course there were violent moments then and later – the smoke bombs at the wedding between Beatrix and Claus, the ban on the bomb campaign – but what’s new now is hatred, this is immediately extended to the countrymen who work for Shell, KLM, Unilever, Campina and recently also for the farmers.
We all eat the food that the farmers provide. We couldn’t go two days without food and most farmer haters have no idea how the farmers grow that food. This is already evident from the idiotic demands to switch to organic farming. Dutch farmers are highly educated – often in Wageningen – and therefore need less land and less fertilizer than farmers in poor countries, but all the ignorant farmer haters are now demanding that tens of thousands of farmers stop growing their food.
I once sat at a dinner next to the director of Philip Morris’s large cigarette factory in Bergen op Zoom, and I wondered what it’s like to be part-responsible for an addiction that carries a risk of death. But that is very different from hating that director and all his employees.
Wilders: judging on merit
Some politicians on the political right can also do something about it. If PVV leader Wilders refers to a headscarf as a ‘head cloth’, it is intended to incite hatred against conservative Muslims. Wilders also calls for all mosques to be closed, but knows that a large part of the PVV members in the municipal councils have openly spoken out against this. The two program items – the ban on headscarves and the call for all mosques to be closed – are impossible, but a number of other proposals from the PVV can safely be seen on their merits.
Wilders does not want Islamic schools. Most of our neighboring countries have such schools, but Germany, for example, has does not. There was one such school in Germany, but it was closed again in 2017 after complaints of too much influence from Saudi Arabia. Wilders also requires assessment of asylum seekers before they enter our country. It is not impossible. Denmark and England are working on it, and they are, after all, civilized countries.
All in all, there are two big differences between the hatred of the climate left and Wilder’s right. Wilders makes concrete proposals and with the one mentioned impossible exception of closing all mosques, they can be discussed concretely. Klima Venstre comes up with demands that are often in conflict with what is realistically possible.
Proponents of major environmental measures against CO2 and nitrogen wrap their demands in a cloud of nonsense and mismeasurements, which the harsh light of reality does not penetrate. We know from the last few weeks that demands are being made for nitrogen concentrations, which in some places are absolutely impossible. A minister visits a farm and declares that switching to organic farming is the solution. The hard working farmers can only conclude that such farmer haters do not know what they are talking about.
Swap scarves for a better asylum policy
It has already become clear that the climate requirements for 2030 are outdated according to experts. But we still hear them, and companies afraid of the harsh climate lobby are joining in. NS claims on a website that ‘all trains have run on 100 percent wind power since 2017’ and at the same time ‘if there is no wind, we are still dependent on fossil backup’. One of the two must be false.
I deplore most of Wilders’ program points on Islam, but he is clear and much is negotiable. And if we can get Wilder’s extreme demands for headscarves and schools off the table through a better asylum policy, it is a possible trade-off for a compromise. It is impossible to negotiate with the CO2 and nitrogen activists because they want the impossible and they find all their interlocutors bad people who deny climate change.
Is it still possible for the Netherlands?
The other difference between Wilders and the climate left is that Wilders professes his love for the Netherlands. ‘PVV loves Holland’ is literally in his election programme. Could the hateful left still muster that love for the motherland? Henry Kissinger – but he is evil and worthy of hatred – wrote this year that a society cannot thrive if it has lost confidence in itself and constantly incites self-loathing.
Wilders knows that there are plenty of Dutch people who share their concerns about Islam and our culture in a more nuanced way. It can be negotiated. The left-wing environmental lobby rejects the nuance of all dissenters for ‘climate deniers’ and thus calling out bad people.
Now that that hatred has spread from Shell, KLM and so many other companies to our farmers, too many Dutch people are in danger of losing their national pride and love for their homeland. How to get on with such a country full of self-loathing is a daunting question, and history as early as Thucydides provides examples of civilizations collapsing due to lack of national cohesion. We don’t have to make the gloomy speculations if the left learns that not all opponents are necessarily bad people, and also that we can only negotiate land use and CO2 savings if everyone is honest about the facts and trends.
professor of economics Eduard Bomhoff has been a columnist for Wynia’s Week since January 2019. Wynia’s Week donors make our online magazine possible. Are you following? Thank you!