Saturday, December 02, 2023

Commonality of Principles

In a world increasingly populated bt individuals such as Geert Wilders and Rashida Tlaib, there is nonetheless some good sense.

An ardent supporter of Brexit, Wilders has hinted at taking the Netherlands out of the European Union but is known primarily as a foe of immigration.. A member of the Dutch legislature, Wilders leads the country's Party for Freedom (PVV), which recently picked up many seats in the Dutch legislature. Consequently, he will lead talks to form the next coalition government and possibly become Prime Minister.

At 7:08 into the Overtime segment of Friday evening's "Real Time with Bill Maher," the host read the question "is the rise of anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders... a warning to liberals in America that they need to take our immigration crisis more seriously?'

Though the obvious and simple answer is "yes," Maher explained

So, if you don't follow the story, Geert Wilders has been running forever in Holland. Of course, the New York Times calls him a far-rightist- they call these people, I mean Meloni in Italy is another one,Viktor Orban is kind of a far rightist in Hungary. But I believe some of them are just- Brexit in England was a part of this- people are feeling, uh, they are not welcome in their own home because of the kind of immigration that these people are fighting against. So-

Guest panelist Dave Rubin then contended

Most of these people are not far right by- in that they're racists. I actually met with Orban in Budapest and I talked to him for a little while and all he kept saying was (imitates Hungarian accent, whatever that is) "I love Hungary, that's all. I love my people. I love my country, that's it. I don't know what kind of accent that was but that basically.... All of these guys- Geert Wilders wants Holland to be for the Dutch, right? That's what he wants. When we see- that's racist, that's what they would tell you, right? 

Then Maher finds the sweet spot between xenophobia and embrace of open borders, between Wilders and the Tlaib crowd, as he remarks (emphasis his)

I was just going to say "Dutch for the Dutch." Uh, I would amend that if it was me- Dutch values. You don't have to be actually Dutch, you don't have to be white. That's what I think is great about America- the ideas. As long as you subscribe to our idea, which again, to your point, and what I was saying at the end of the show, we're not a Christian nation. This is a country where we have the First Amendment, then everybody should be welcomed.


The First Amendment doesn't apply to immigration but it does pertain both to freedom of religion, the right to worship as one pleases in a nation with a wall of separation between church and state.   Maher was referring to comments at the end of the show in which he noted the Constitutional admonition that  "no law respecting an establishment of religion" should be enacted and that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office."

Nevertheless, in a larger sense, the call to acceptance by Americans of an American set of values is based in part to what George Orwell termed the "Judeo-Christian scheme of morals." It is vague and flexible but nonetheless real, and (absent to a religious test) should be fundamental to any consideration of immigration policy in the USA.

Notwithstanding the temptation of having "Dutch for the Dutch," an individual need not be Dutch or white but should accept such traditionally liberal values as freedom of expression, religious liberty, and pluralism, which are not universal. Nor should there be America for Americans," especially because there is no one American ethnicity (And yet, "Palestinian" is assumed to be an ethnicity, wherein it becomes conflated with religion.)

Last night, as he is wont to do, Maher criticized the impact of religion and religious thought upon government and politics. However, he remained faithful to the notion that a nation is most likely to survive when its citizens of whatever religious faith "subscribe to our idea." The United States of America, as Joe Biden has put it, is an "idea."  Thus are many other nations, including the Netherlands, which will prosper if its scheme of values prevails.

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