|Man Without Qualities|
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
The Times of London reports:
"Fortuyn and his allies developed a critique of the establishment notably different from those pioneered by the politicians with whom he has been compared, Jörg Haider and Jean-Marie Le Pen. Fortuyn was uncompromisingly neo-liberal. An advocate of laxer rules on euthanasia, greater drugs liberalisation, more use of the private sector in healthcare and tax cuts, he was very far from Le Pen’s hearthland politics of Vichyiste nostalgia. He may have been a “cultural protectionist” like Le Pen. But the culture he wished to protect was the Dutch libertarianism so familiar to many Britons from their weekends in Amsterdam, so congenial to him as a gay man, and so threatened, he claimed, by the incursions of Islam.
Mr. Fortuyn's own garish application of his basic political beliefs in the area of immigration politics may distract us from the nature of those basic beliefs, perhaps as it distracted him. It just seems wrong to say that Mr. Fortuyn was mostly interested in protecting anything as familiar as the Dutch libertarianism (really libertinism) one finds on the streets of Amsterdam, although that may have been where his thinking began. His advocacy of "more use of the private sector in healthcare and tax cuts" is particularly intriguing, and not at all reflective of someone who wants to "protect" any current way in Europe. Is it possible that Pim Fortuyn represented something much more threatening than the "Far Right Wing Activist" the European mainstream press and political establishment has labeled (and libeled) him to be?
"Laxer rules on euthanasia, greater drugs liberalisation, more use of the private sector in healthcare and tax cuts?" Is it possible Mr. Fortuyn's thinking represented the beginnings of a popular, imperfect groping for some form of a true European libertarianism, one that placed much more emphasis on the individual than do current and familiar Amsterdam collectivism or libertinism? If so, what a pity he got sidetracked into his strange brand of xenophobia.
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