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Geert Wilders is not a conservative, he is a radical liberal

Geert Wilders has confounded the post-modern liberal European elite but he has not done so by being a conservative, he has done so by offering a different version of liberalism.

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For many years Geert Wilders has been an eye-catching figure in Dutch politics, but it is only this year that his Party of Freedom stands a real chance of winning big in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

The biggest problem with Wilders is not Wilders himself, but the total distortion of his politics by the mainstream media. He’s been called everything from a conservative to an ultra-conservative, to a far-right leader, but this is certainly not the case. Wilders is none of those things.

Geert Wilders is a liberal who believes in the liberal ideology of civic nationalism. He believes in it more thoroughly than almost any politician in Holland. To understand why Wilders represents a brand of civil nationalist liberalism, which is distinct from globalist post-modern liberalism and different from conservatism, one must examine what true conservatism is and what it looks like.

Compared with liberalism, socialism, and communism, conservatism demands previous little from the ordinary person. Beyond loyalty to the state, established religion (if there is one), military, existing social order and other state institutions, conservatism doesn’t typically care about one’s behavior so long as it is legal and not subversive.

Take Russia for example. Tsarist Russia had always been a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional state. Modern Russia is no different. In modern Russia, so long as one is loyal to the Russian state, honours one’s duties as s citizen (military service for example), respects the historic position of the Russian Orthodox Church and is literate in the Russian language, one is allowed to maintain one’s private, local and regional life as one wishes.

Chechens, for example, are allowed to celebrate Muslim holy feasts with public holidays, Armenians in Russia are allowed to speak Armenian to their family and comrades, Jewish rabbis are allowed to conduct holy days among their community and these are just a few examples of the successful multi-ethnic and multi-faith society that has grown in Russia over centuries.

With a few exceptions, it is only through conservativism that multi-cultural societies can function. This is because there are but a handful of simple loyalties one must render the state and a handful of institutions one must respect in return for one’s local and personal customs to be respected.

It is also true that multiculturalism can only work when it happens organically, again with precious few exceptions. This typically happens as a young state expands over time to incorporate a variety of peoples into a common class of subjects or citizens.

By contrast, I have little faith that the rapid immigration of a variety of alien cultures can ever truly live in peaceful coexistence with the host culture in small states. This is why multiculturalism, as typically understood in the 21st century, is a uniquely European problem.

Rather than large multi-ethnic states like Russia, the Austrian Empire or China which grew over time and incorporated many various and distinct groups of people, small states like Holland have experienced the trend of mass immigration over a period of decades, rather than centuries.

Apart from political leaders, it is no one’s fault that there are problems, not the new arrivals and not those who have ancient Dutch heritage. It is simply a fact of human nature that successive generations of politicians either ignored or had no understanding of.

Wilders is correct to point out these problems but his solution is not a conservative one. A conservative solution to the problems Wilders points out would be to require all Dutch residents to maintain a loyalty to the Dutch Monarch, laws and respect the primacy of the majoritarian religious confession. This is last part is difficult as today, those without a religious faith are more common in the Netherlands than those with one.

With Holland not being a socialist country with state atheism, there is difficulty in establishing where one’s religion relates to loyalty to the state under the conservative definition.

The solution Wilders presents is a liberal ideal called ‘civic nationalism’. This is contrasted with the statism of conservative countries like pre-1917 Russia and its modern outgrowth in today’s Russian Federation. It also contrasts with the ethnic nationalism that came to prominence in Europe during the revolutions of 1848, where the idea of nationhood was thought to be predicated on a group of individuals with the same ethnic identity.

Civic nationalism, by contrast, demands a common loyalty not only to the state but to a set of ideals/an ideology. Typically these ideals are defined in constitutional documents or other important pieces of legislation. The three most apparent examples of such a state are post-1923 Turkey, post-1905 France, and the United States.

In 1905 France passed the Laïcité laws which defined the Third French Republic as a state where secular values defined the public forum. Additionally, modern France’s civic nationalism owes much to the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as well as the Jules Ferry laws of the early 1880s which secularized state education.

Likewise, Ataturk’s Turkish Republic of 1923, defined Turkishness on an adherence to modern secular values as personally defined by Ataturk. It came to be known as Kemalism.

In both cases, there was opposition to this civic nationalism by conservative forces. In France, many objected to the removal of Roman Catholicism from the civic sphere and in Turkey, many saw Ataturk’s civic nationalism as an attack on a traditionally Islamic society. Indeed, President Erdogan is a leader of this backlash against Ataturk’s civic nationalism and has been resoundingly more successful than any previous anti-Kemalist leaders.

The United States is slightly different. Unlike France and Turkey whose contemporary leaders rejected prior conservative trends to forge a modern civic nationalism in old states, the US was founded as a nation of exiles (mostly self-imposed) which welcomed immigrants.

In order to make such a country functional, early US leaders invented Americanism which became the civic national ideal. For a long time, it was broadly successful, until recent decades when the post-modern liberal left introduced the European concept of multi-culturalism to the US and called it ‘identity politics’.

It must be said that for many decades the ideal of Americanism was not available to colored individuals who prior to 1865 were held no in the southern states.  Post-slavery discriminatory policies in parts of the US continued to make America’s civic nationalism incomplete until at least the 1960s.

America though achieved broad success in her civic nationalism as a nation of immigrants, partly owing to her geographical vastness. So long as one was loyal to American values, one could have a local community that remained fairly isolated from others. It is why certain regions of America to this day are more Hispanic in character, Germanic in character, West Slavic in character, Italian in character or Chinese in character.

Here one must also mention Nasser’s idea of Arab Nationalism as well as the Arabism implicit in Ba’athism. Here one has a syncretic melting pot of ancient trends in which Arab lands were united under a common sovereign, with the modern ideals of the mixed market/command economy all combined with a tolerance for many varieties of moderate Islam in a broadly secular state.

Interestingly, Syria’s relationship with its Kurdish population is based on civic nationalism. The fact that some Syrian citizens with Kurdish backgrounds now want autonomy based on ethnic nationalism, is demonstrative of the limits of civic nationalism in certain instances. Overall, though,  Ba’athist Syria has been a far better multi-cultural success story than The Netherlands or anywhere else in western Europe.

Geert Wilders wants to impose a liberal civic nationalism in the Netherlands which combines radical modern secularism with a vague adherence to the notion that western secularism is somehow an outgrowth of what he calls Judeo-Christian heritage. Historically, I find the idea that secularism has anything to do with the Old or New Testaments to be totally false, but many civic nationalist liberals share Wilders’s views.

Because of this Wilders has no time for the localized traditions of multi-cultural existence which transpired in the Russian, Ottoman, Austrian and Chinese Empires. Instead, he wants people to confirm their loyalty to his version of Dutch civic nationalism or to return to the lands where their cultures and faiths are indigenous if they are unable to do so.

In a country which in many ways is the birthplace of the classical liberalism of which civic nationalist liberalism is an outgrowth, it is little wonder that Wilders is so popular in The Netherlands. One can compare him in many ways to the late Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002 for having similar views to Wilders.

Politicians like Wilders or Fortuyn would never fare well in conservative Russia for example as Russia’s conservative brand of historic multi-culturalism is anathema to the radical ideology inherent in Wilders’s program.

I’ll conclude by saying that this piece is neither pro nor anti-Wilders. It is simply a point of clarification in an age of fake news, fake history, fake reality and fake lexicon.

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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