The Netherlands will vote Wednesday in elections for the Tweede Kamer, Parliament’s lower house. Twenty-eight parties are competing for 150 seats. Any of the established parties could find a niche within America’s Democratic Party; they all are basically social democrats. That includes the conservatives and the so-called extreme right-wing Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, the man with the unusual hair. Mr. Wilders is harshly critical of Islam and the country’s immigration policies, but his social agenda is as left-wing as the Socialist Party’s.
The Dutch are disciplined, hardworking, well-educated, and at the same time open-minded, tolerant and antiauthoritarian—all of this because of our Calvinist heritage. We are also the most secular people in the world. Lots of Dutch say they believe only in “something.” We even have a name for this postreligious religion: “Somethingism.”
This type of open and yet highly regulated society can function only if it is carried by a disciplined and well-educated citizenry with a reasonable degree of cultural homogeneity. But because of political correctness and cultural relativism, Dutch elites agreed to absorb low-educated, even illiterate, mostly Muslim migrants from collectivistic rural areas. Significant numbers of them refuse to embrace the radical, secular tolerance of their new home.
Did the Dutch really turn into xenophobes and racists? No, they are as open-minded as ever. But they have started to demand what most of their politicians (except people like Fortuyn and Mr. Wilders) until recently didn’t dare mention because it was politically incorrect: that immigrants practice tolerance, work and study hard, and teach their children to be proud and contributing members of this society. That is the least you can ask when the fruits of your labor are taxed at 50%.
This is the Netherlands in 2017. Still an impressive country, if you ask me, whatever the result of Wednesday’s election.