The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

The Politics of Demonization

From the desk of Thomas Landen on Tue, 2009-03-17 20:46

When the media keep repeating that someone is beyond the pale, some people are bound to believe them. Recent events show that radicals will even try to kill people who have been demonized in this manner. Perhaps that is the goal behind the policy of demonization: to neutralize and remove the people’s democratically elected representatives.

Recently, we are being confronted with the bizarre phenomenon of defenders of Western freedoms, including Jews, being demonized as “Nazis,” while subsequently Nazi methods are used to eliminate them. The authorities, meanwhile, do not come to the aid of the victims since the latter are “Nazis.” On the contrary, sometimes the authorities even praise the aggressors for their vigilance and their “intolerance” in the fight against “Nazism.” The Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn fell victim to this, so has his successor Geert Wilders and the Vlaams Belang party in Belgium, as has the German civil movement “Pro,” and many others.

As people generally tend to believe the media and mainstream politicians, events in Europe show how easy it is for violent activists to gain general approval for their use of Nazi methods against enemies whom they first demonize as “Nazis,” “racists” or “far-right extremists” who are “beyond the pale.” In this context the word “Nazi” no longer has any real meaning, so that the term is now also used against Jews wearing kippas and against the state of Israel. Indeed, the Israeli flag has already been compared to the Nazi flag, the cross of David to the swastika, the methods of the IDF to those of the SS. This language serves a clear purpose, viz. to demonize Israel and justify the use of Nazi methods against it. Today, those who are branded as Nazis know that they are being singled out for annihiliation. Just as, 7 years ago, Mr. Fortuyn was annihilated in the Netherlands.

Pim Fortuyn predicted his own death. In the weeks preceding the May 2002 general elections in the Netherlands, polls indicated that the LPF, the newly established party of Mr. Fortuyn, was bound to win the elections, perhaps even to become the country’s largest party. Pim Fortuyn, a homosexual columnist and former university lecturer, had never stood for election before. His message that the Dutch should not allow their nation to be overrun by immigrants from what he called “a backward Muslim culture” appealed to the voters. The Dutch political and media establishment, however, branded him a dangerous and xenophobic far-right extremist, a racist, even a neo-Nazi.

In the Spring of 2002 a barrage of dirt and insults were heaped on Mr. Fortuyn by people and organizations who refused to debate with him. Wim Kok, the Socialist Dutch Prime Minister, accused Pim Fortuyn of ‘inciting hatred.” Matty Verkamman, a columnist of Trouw, a Christian newspaper, wrote that Mr. Fortuyn was “a man with the intelligence of Hitler and the charisma of Heinrich Himmler. I hope he gets AIDS as soon as possible.” Ad Melkert, the leader of the Dutch Socialists, compared Mr. Fortuyn to the anti-Semitic French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen. Iki Halberstadt-Freud, a psychotherapist, said in a newspaper interview that Mr. Fortuyn’s personality showed “psychopathic elements” and compared him to people “who advocate clubbing black people to death.” The Dutch Council of Churches, an organization of 17 Christian denominations, wrote in a pamplet that Rotterdam, Mr. Fortuyn’s hometown, was “not just the stronghold of Pim Fortuyn and his ilk, but also a city with a heart,” thereby implying that Mr. Fortuyn lacked a heart.

On May 6, 2002, Mr. Fortuyn was shot by Volkert van der Graaf, an animal rights activist who had believed the continuous stream of “warnings” in the media about how dangerous the politician was and felt he had to do something. During his trial, Mr. van der Graaf claimed that he had killed Mr. Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as “scapegoats” and seeking political power by “targeting the weak.”

A few days before his assassination, Pim Fortuyn, inundated with threatening phone calls and letters, had accused his media critics of “demonizing” him and warned that some people might take their talk seriously and take the law into their own hands. “If something happens to me, then they [the people demonizing me] are co-responsible. They have created this climate. This has to stop,” he said. It did not stop…

Two weeks after the assassination, on May 21, 2002, HP/De Tijd, a Dutch weekly, published Mr. Fortuyn’s last column. He had written it following an incident in which Filip Dewinter, one of the leaders of the Belgian Vlaams Blok party, had been assaulted in a television studio in the Netherlands. As Filip Dewinter fled from the studio his car was smashed and destroyed with iron bars. The far-left activists who demolished the car conspicuously placed a book with a Nazi title on the back seat.

“Filip Dewinter of the Vlaams Blok was in the Netherlands,” Mr. Fortuyn wrote. “Well, he is not likely to forget the occasion. The Dutch public television network NOS had asked him to appear in an interview. He had hardly sat down when he was attacked. […] Mr. Dewinter had to flee for his life and was evacuated in a police vehicle. […] Then the camera zoomed in on his demolished BMW, focusing on the back seat of the car, on a book entitled ‘Rudolf Hess’s mother.’ I do not know that book, but it is clear what the NOS is trying to convey: this man is no good, he is a fascist!

“I have seldom seen such a cowardly act. A man is beset by many and the NOS, who should have been indignant and come to the defense of their guest, goes out of their way to show that the man is no good and hence is only getting what he deserves: that is what their pictures suggest.

“I cannot condone these activists. Outnumbering him, they abuse a man with the methods of fascists and nazis. They silenced Dewinter physically, threatened his person and damaged his property. […] In this country the police never takes note of violence perpetrated by the left, nor do the intelligence services, and these culprits, too, will never be caught. […]

“The judicial authorities are present with cameras at public hearings in every single hamlet in the Netherlands where an asylum centre is to be opened, in order to accuse anyone who is not careful how he speaks and persecute them for discrimination, but they are not there to prevent attacks on Filip Dewinter. So-called autonomists [a violent far-left group] whose names and addresses are known by the Volkskrant [a liberal Amsterdam newspaper], are allowed to distribute posters depicting me beside a portrait of Hitler. The authorities refuse to prosecute: they say this is something I just have to accept! I would like to know how they would react if I had not happened to be white, but simply nice and black!”


Mr. Fortuyn’s column highlights a remarkable procedure. People are demonized as Nazis, and subsequently Nazi methods are used to eliminate them. The authorities, meanwhile, do not come to the aid of the victims since the latter are “Nazis.” On the contrary, sometimes the authorities even praise the aggressors for their vigilance and their “intolerance” in the fight against “Nazism.”

The latter happened last September in the German city of Cologne. On September 20, 2008, 5,000 left-wing demonstrators – self-proclaimed “anti-fascists” – prevented a peaceful gathering on Heumarkt in downtown Cologne of adherents of Pro Koeln (Pro Cologne), a local conservative political party with five elected members on the Cologne city council. Pro Cologne is opposing the construction in the city of a giant mosque built by the Cologne branch of the department of religious affairs of Turkey, which reports directly to the Turkish Prime Minister.

Pro Cologne had invited democratically elected politicians from other European parties that oppose Islamization, to address the meeting. The German police prevented the foreign politicians from leaving Cologne airport while left-wing demonstrators violently prevented people from entering Heumarkt.

An eyewitness, who got beaten up by the “anti-fascists,” wrote on his blog:

“I was attacked by Antifa [“anti-fascist”] thugs as I tried to make my way to Heumarkt where we were slated to meet for our conference. My friend Michael Kucherov [a Jewish member of Pro Cologne] was beaten up yesterday. […] In both incidents, as we were being beaten up, they were yelling and screaming ‘Nazi’ which was quite odd. Michael dressed in a suit but I was wearing my kippa and quite easily identified as a Jew so you can understand how odd it seems to be beaten by Germans in the street and called Nazi when you are Jewish.”


Prior to the Pro Cologne gathering Fritz Schramma, the Christian-Democrat Lord Mayor of Cologne, had called on the people of his city to show their “intolerance” of his political adversaries in Pro Cologne, a democratically elected opposition party. After the “anti-fascist” thugs had violently prevented the gathering on Heumarkt from taking place, the Mayor congratulated them, saying that the events had been “a victory for the democratic forces in this city.”

The German and international media turned a blind eye to the violence and the Nazi methods of the so-called “anti-fascists,” implicitly approving their behavior by branding the Pro Cologne people as far-right thugs and the thugs as ordinary people resisting “Nazism.” The Times of London wrote on September 22, 2008: “A weekend gathering in Cologne of far-right European extremists ended in farce when the main rally was cancelled as the organisers fled for their own safety.” The Norwegian national news bureau (NTB), too, depicted the victims as “Nazi” extremists and the aggressors as the peace-loving citizens: “Students, families and businessmen went out to protest, carrying banners with the text ‘We are Cologne – get rid of the nazis’ and ‘Cologne is rebelling,’ when they gathered to protest the conference of the local right wing extremist group Pro Cologne. In his speech, the city mayor Fritz Schramma called Pro Cologne a group of arsonists and racists who are hiding behind the mask of being a civil rights movement.”

A recent victim of demonization in an almost literal sense is the English Anglican priest Patrick Sookhdeo. Mr. Sookhdeo is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. In his book “Global Jihad” he claims that Islamic aggression is rooted in Islamic theology rather than in economic and political grievances such as the existence and behavior of Israel. Rather than engaging in a debate, Indigo Jo, a British Islamist and Muslim convert, branded Dr. Sookhdeo on his website as the “Sookhdevil,” which resulted in death threats against the Anglican priest. Apart from Melanie Phillips, most British journalists do not seem particularly upset about this disgraceful incident. They seem to accept it as a fact of life that Nazi methods are used against people who, like Dr. Sookhdeo, consort with “hard-line conservatives and pro-Israel right-wingers” or others who are demonized as “Nazi” devils.

It is particularly disturbing that even the Dutch do not seem to have learned their lesson. Following the recent visit to the United States of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who appeals to many of the late Mr. Fortuyn’s voters and their concerns, Mr. Wilders’ party, the PVV, has become the largest party in the polls. In a graph depicting the PVV’s surge, the line representing the party is colored in brown – the color of Hitler’s NSDAP party, the color of the Nazi devils.

In Belgium, too, the media in charts and graphs consistently depict the Vlaams Belang party in brown. Two years ago, VB leader Frank Vanhecke protested against the Belgian public television company’s use of brown to represent his party, instead of the party’s own color, yellow. “While for all other parties their own chosen colors are used [orange for the Christian-Democrats, blue for the Liberals, red for the Socialists,…] we get brown. Brown! The reason is obvious,” Mr. Vanhecke protested. The Belgian media, however, insist on painting Mr. Vanhecke and his party brown. The latter are depicted as the brownshirts of our time, against whom, paradoxically, the methods of Herr Hitler’s brownshirts of yesteryear are deemed appropriate.

Tags: alinsky, fjordman, fortuyn, lake, loonwatch, wilders

Views: 92

Replies to This Discussion

The exact same scenario is being played between the 'anti fascists' here and the EDL. Over a year ago they were making the associaton inthe public mindset between the EDL and the'right wing' and the Brownshirts. I didn't realise though how far it's gone in Europe Whoah. By the way, we can't fight our way out ofthis. The political and media 'communities' are absolutely corrupt and compromised and so are the public services. Too many people are owned by the government, too many people rely on government to pay their bills.They do as they are told even now, Even medieval England had more democracy than this!  The British are slaves and there is nothing they can do about it because they don't even know where to begin.


The Breivik blame game

Some people seem to believe that because Anders Behring Breivik quoted them in his mad manifesto, journalists like Mark Steyn, Melanie Phillips and Jeremy Clarkson bear some responsibility for the massacre he carried out on the island of Utoya last year.

So convinced are some liberal observers that these right-wing journalists stirred Breivik's seething cesspit of a mind, making him go out and kill, that they're now demanding that such hacks "tone down" their rhetoric.

In this week's New Statesman, Peter Wilby says the similarities between Breivik's mindset and that of mainstream right-wing writers are "striking".

Breivik was a fan of writers who opposed mass immigration and who are critical of certain aspects of Muslim culture, Wilby points out. So surely it is now incumbent upon such writers to "mind both their language and their facts".

In short, journalism can be dangerous, especially strongly worded, right-leaning journalism, the kind that brings decent-minded folk out in hives. And if such journalistic excess is not reined in, says the New Stateman's editorial, we may well see more of Breivik's kind.

But hang on - if Steyn, Phillips et al bear some moral responsibility for Breivik's crimes, is Noam Chomsky to blame for 9/11?

Osama bin Laden loved Chomsky. In 2006, he described him as "among the most capable of those from your side" and praised his theories on the "manufacturing of public opinion" and his "sober words of advice prior to the war [in Iraq]".

What about Robert Fisk, the left-wing Middle East correspondent for the Independent who is loved by radicals? His words also moved and inspired bin Laden.

In 2004, bin Laden advised people in the White House to read "Robert Fisk, who is a fellow [Westerner] and co-religionist of yours, but one whom I consider unbiased".

In fact, he "dared" the White House to "interview [Fisk], so that he could explain to the American people everything he has learned from us about the reasons for our struggle".

Wow, OBL was clearly a close follower of Fisk's writings. Maybe Fisk should tone down his rhetoric lest it inspire further Islamist terrorism?

Or maybe American author William Blum should be held accountable for Al Qaeda violence.

"It is useful for you to read [Blum's] book The Rogue State," said bin Laden in 2006. Bin Laden made it clear that he had imbibed Blum's theories about America being the real rogue state, talking about the "war merchants" who "supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars".

Alongside Blum, Chomsky and Fisk, bin Laden was also influenced by Western think tanks (he favourably cited the Royal Institute for International Affairs) and Western environmentalists.

In 2002, he said one of the reasons he hated America is because "you have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto Agreement."

You could read the same words in any respectable newspaper on just about any day of the week. So maybe greens should "mind their language and their facts", since it seems pretty clear that they are giving ideas to anti-Western, anti-modern terrorists.

Of course, it would be barmy to blame Islamist terror on Fisk or Chomsky. Just as it is crazy to blame Utoya on Steyn or Phillips.

Individual terrorists, the men who press the buttons on their bombs and pull the triggers on their guns, are solely responsible for what they do, not the writers whose articles they happened to have lapped up.

There is something deeply censorious in the demand that right-wing writers curb their rhetoric in order to prevent "another Utoya". It is a kind of emotional blackmail, where writers whose views are unfashionable in chattering-class circles are effectively told that if they carry on criticising Islam or ridiculing multiculturalism then more neo-fascists will rise up and gun down innocents.

The New Statesman's editorial says that so long as the "mainstream press" keeps "fuelling Islamophobia through misinformation and distortion", there will be "more of [Breivik's] kind". Given bin Laden's reliance on the writings of Western leftists, you could just as easily, and just as crazily, have said in 2005: "So long as the respectable press keeps arguing against the war in Iraq, al-Qaeda will keep blowing things up."

But that is the striking thing: no-one held Chomsky and Co. responsible for Al Qaeda outrages, whereas there is now a palpable rush to hold Steyn and Co. responsible for Utoya.

There is an extraordinary double standard here. When terrorists cite leftist writers, it's downplayed. Yet when terrorists cite right-wing writers, it is held up as hard proof that certain political ideas lead directly to violence and therefore those ideas must be urgently rethought and watered down.

In fact, the double standard is so enormous that where respectable commentators now rush to condemn Breivik's rantings and all those who are allegedly responsible for making him think that way, in the recent past they embraced bin Laden's rantings. The media, especially the liberal media, frequently pored over and even empathised with Al Qaeda's rants.

The Guardian once published a bin Laden statement on its actual op-ed pages, raising it from the level of terrorist rant to respectable commentary. The leftist publishing house Verso published a collection of bin Laden's statements, beautifully bound, under the title "Messages to the World". In the introduction, bin Laden was described as a "rational man", while enthusiastic broadsheet reviewers of the book described him as an "eloquent preacher" and a "wonderfully briefed" politician.

I invite you to imagine the stellar fury that would be unleashed if the Daily Mail published Breivik's words on its comment pages. Or if a publishing house released his rantings in book form. Or if a commentator described him as "eloquent" and "wonderfully briefed". The intellectual elite would go beserk.

This double standard makes it pretty clear that the real reason illiberal liberals are now linking Breivik's violence to writers such as Steyn and Phillips is simply because they hate those writers' ideas, and they long to squish them through a process of post-Utoya fearmongering about “bad journalism” giving rise to fascist killers.

But the ideas propagated by Chomsky and Fisk? They like those ideas, and so they don't mind if they occasionally inspire the odd bit of terror.


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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

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