Protesting in the Netherlands

Some related news stories in the Netherlands:

  1. Amnesty international says the right to demonstrate is under threat. It often becomes impossible for some groups to protest as their demonstrations are not allowed due to safety reasons and such. It’s hard to not see these bans as politically motivated.
  2. One of the yuppie parties wants to outlaw the opposition. Naturally the reason for wanting to disband another party is protecting democracy.
  3. Hundred are arrested for protesting against private jets as Schiphol. This was a classic act of civil disobedience with the only “harm” being a few very rich people slightly inconvenienced.
  4. Out of towner clashed with locals in a small town over Zwarte Piet.

The narrative not told in these stories is that by attempting to ban wrongthink, political positions and protests are becoming more extreme.

This is a worldwide issue. Suppose the Canadian government had simply allowed the truckers to protest, the movement would likely have fizzled out pretty quickly. Instead there’s a concerted effort to demonize groups guilty of wrongthink, forbid their protests, and take extrajudicial measures against them (for example revoking their access to the financial system without any due process).

The natural reaction to any of this is going to be more extremism. We you deprive people of any meaningful agency and the ability to have their voice heard, things get ugly.

A side note about Zwarte Piet

I included the Zwarte Piet (for the unaware, it’s this Dutch version of Santa Claus where kids dress up in blackface) because it still has the same feel: “enlightened” people from the big cities condemning people in the villages for wrongthink, which is only going to lead to more Zwarte Piet fundamentalists rather than letting the tradition wither out on its own.

I have to say, it was jarring the first time I saw some kids in blackface. In Amsterdam they don’t do full on Justin Trudeau style blackface, just a few spots. Apparently this is show the black is soot from the chimneys.

As odd and ugly as I find the tradition, I also don’t see the merits of banning it.