Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Friday, November 12, 2004
Boundaries of Tolerance in the Netherlands

Michael Totten is concerned that 40% of the Netherlands are not sufficiently welcoming of Islamic peoples, according to a recent poll. He says:

I understand their frustration. But they should hope Muslims learn to feel more at home in the Netherlands, not less. Dutch society is perhaps the most liberal on Earth. It’s not surprising that immigrants from a vastly more conservative culture feel alienated there.

The peoples of the Netherlands, a nation that's been welcoming for centuries, have done what they can to allow diverse groups to include themselves in their society. History shows them that not everybody belongs, though. Almost 400 years ago one intolerant group, who we call the Pilgrims, tried this culture, decided they didn't like it, and went on to build their own culture. Those folks did not get tolerant for a long time. As recently as fifty years ago, "Banned in Boston" was in common use, for instance. The Pilgrims decided to build something new to that was to their liking, and there was room and time for them to do so.

The Islamists are not interested in creating something new and their own; they are interested in destroying everything that is not old and theirs. I do not blame the many diverse people of the Netherlands for accepting the reality that not everybody belongs and that not everybody can change to accept others. Their history shows them that this happens. Regrettably, there is not time and space to allow the Islamists the chance to make something for themselves and to succeed or fail on their own merits. We do not have the luxury of ignoring the intolerant in a world where the technology to make WMD is readily available. There is no fence good enough to make genocidal intolerants good neighbors.

This is not on the Netherlanders to fix. Nobody from Amsterdam flew a jet into Mecca; somebody from Saudi Arabia flew jets into the most important buildings in New Amsterdam. The method the Netherlands are taking is the one they have been taking since creation. They are opposing totalitarian rule and inviting anyone who favors intolerance to leave. This is a method that works for them. I think it is time for us to respect their culture.
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