Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nonsense about Belgium.

In a highly contentious and in many parts plain wrong article titled Belgium Can Teach Us About the Need for National Unity by Paul M. Weyrich (chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation) our American idiot comes up with some crap that would make most Belgians seriously scratch the top of their head. But coming from the eminent "chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation", this kind of nonsense must carry some weight with the most ignorant of Americans. This piece is generally badly written and I'll highlight only the most blatant lies.
Belgium is in many ways an artificial state because it is composed of three distinct groups of people from three different cultures that historically have not always gotten along.

Belgium is as artificial a state as any other modern nation state, including the US. In the latter too, "different cultures [that historically] have not always gotten along".
Since 1993 the French-speaking population, or Walloons, which are primarily Roman Catholic, the tiny German-speaking population and the Flemish-speaking regions each have had their own parliament under a loosely federalized system of government, under the somewhat titular King of the Belgians.

The whole country is primarily Roman Catholic/agnostic, not just the Walloon part.
According to the highly regarded philosopher Roger Scruton, who has written extensively on the issues of multiculturalism in Western Europe, Belgium today is a seething political mess. In the same country where the European Union holds forth on European unity, the most popular political party in the country, now called the Vlaams Belang, has been banned.

Vlaams Belang has not been banned at all: it participates freely (and quite successfully) in all political elections and takes part in public life as any other social group. Weyrich is totally uninformed and unaware of the so-called cordon sanitaire, a non-binding, non-written pact between the major political parties to exclude Vlaams Belang from participating in a coalition government. If Vlaams Belang obtained a majority vote, it would be able to form a majority, non-coalition government. I wouldn't really expect someone who toils under a de facto two party system to understand these finesses.

And Roger Scruton, a highly regarded philosopher? Don't make me laugh... I know more highly regarded Ufologists.
The Vlaams Belang still won 24% of the vote. And so in 2004, the Belgian supreme court in Brussels declared the predecessor of the Vlaams Belang, called the Vlaams Blok, to be a "criminal organization" guilty of racism. Its only crime was success in too many elections on a platform of Flemish nationalism, anti-socialism and against current Belgian immigration policies.

A banned party that won 24% of the vote... Weyrich, that doesn't strike you as an oxymoron? Vlaams Blok (Vlaams Belang's predecessor) was tried in a just court of law and found guilty of breaking the laws on racial discrimination. Should we abolish these laws to accommodate some rightwing racists?
When the Vlaams Belang continued winning elections funds were cut off. This will make it impossible to campaign and, according to the Party's leader in Antwerp, Flip Dewinter, when coupled with the rising number of voting immigrants the de-funding eventually will achieve the Government's goal of completely eliminating its main opposition.

Complete and utter tosh. Vlaams Belang isn't banned or illegal and continues to be funded as any other political party. For the time being no other political parties are willing to enter into a coalition government with Vlaams Belang: it is these political parties' democratic right to choose who to partner up with and who not.
Imagine if this could happen here, if the Democrats could eliminate the Republican Party by labeling it racist and taking away its funding! (Oh, wait. That is what they might like to do, but a lengthier discussion of this subject will have to await another column.)

Seems we have a slightly paranoid "chairman and CEO" on our hands: the Democrats are trying to eliminate the Republican Party "by labeling it racist and taking away its funding"? Weyrich, try to get real and keep it real...
Across most of Western Europe -- but especially in France, Germany and Belgium -- immigrants from the various countries of North Africa as well as Turkey and the Middle East have been steadily arriving since the 1960s.

Immigration numbers of Muslims in Europe are barely higher (about 0.2%) than they are in the US. Surprising in a way considering the historical and geographical ties between Europe and the Arab world. But Weyrich is neither helped nor hindered by any real knowledge of the facts.

Then follows some more drivel not worthy of my attention and time. He concludes:
Disbanding the Vlaams Belang is the equivalent of shooting the messenger who delivers the bad news. Will the Republican Party in the U.S. be next?

Vlaams Belang isn't being disbanded in any way, shape or form. Weyrich, it's official, you're a repetitive moron...

Update: it's well worth reading what Wikipedia lists under Paul M. Weyrich. The man clearly is a loon.

I'm also convinced that Weyrich got most of his erroneous information on the political situation in Belgium from a co-loon, Paul Belien, who is affiliated with Vlaams Belang, although not particularly welcome there. Belien will find himself increasingly welcome only in the bosom of the ultra-conservative American far right, the kind that gladly describe themselves as radicals...

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