Oh no, the Dutch have the disease, too!

You know the one, where people elect demented lunatics who think the universities are all out to destroy Freeze Peach and the economy and society as a whole, so they form lists of evil academics.

We, educators and researchers working at Dutch universities and research institutes, applied universities and research institutions, are alarmed at the recent actions and statements of the political party, Forum voor Democratie (FvD), and their party leader Thierry Baudet.

With this letter, we heed the message of the minister of Education, who expressed her indignation at Baudet’s attempts to cast universities as suspect institutions and who has called for the protection of academic freedom. We also join university students, teachers, and academics who have expressed their concerns about Baudet and FvD’s position on universities and schools.

In his post-election speech last week, Tuesday, Baudet claimed that ‘our boreal world’ was being ‘destroyed’ and ‘undermined’ by ‘our universities, our journalists, and those who receive our arts-subsidies and design our buildings.’ Such statements are meant to conjure up a conspiratorial atmosphere in which academics, journalists, artists and architects are not only seen as suspect. They are deemed guilty of the ‘destruction’ of our society, and portrayed as the enemy of the people.

These statements are especially worrying because the FvD is attempting to put Baudet’s rhetoric into practice by opening the ‘meldpunt indoctrinatie op scholen en universiteiten’ (hotline for reporting indoctrination at schools and universities). They have called upon individuals to report ‘biased tests, politically tinted exam questions, one-sided textbooks, oikophobic projects, and prejudiced teachers.’ Given the strong interest Baudet expresses in dismissing climate science and promoting history based on national pride, it is clear that this initiative is not genuinely interested in reducing bias in academic institutions. Rather, it is interested in selectively discounting knowledge that does not fit its political and ideological aims.

Funny, isn’t it, how the people who complain the loudest about bias in the schools think the solution is to force more patriotism into them.

Anyway, if you’re a Dutch academic and care about this effort to insert propaganda into your work, follow the link and go sign the letter. I’d sign — I’d volunteer to be put on the FvD’s list! — if only I were Dutch.


  1. F.O. says

    The thing “we” want to undermine and destroy, the thing that these bigots fear for, is the current social hierarchy.

  2. lucifersbike says

    The Alternative für Deutschland has a similarly nasty little idea. The “Aktion Neutrale Schule” is a series of websites where schoolkids can denounce teachers who, in their opinion, fail to be neutral. The teachers’ union GEW comments: “This is a worrying development, intended to intimidate teachers. Creating a platform for people to denounce those they disagree with is typical of a party that wants to exclude dissenting voices.”
    It is beginning to dawn on my fellow Brits that the reason we don’t have an extreme opposition right-wing party is that the extreme right has infiltrated the governing party already. The charming Jacob Rees-Mogg has been caught retweeting Alice Weidel, formerly of the AfdD. Poor Europe, poor USA.

  3. unclefrogy says

    what a short sighted and self-defeating set of ideas. it is a wonder that they are not universally dismissed out of hand?
    it can’t be good short term nor long.
    uncle frogy

  4. Duckbilled Platypus says

    I’d sign — I’d volunteer to be put on the FvD’s list!

    A number of academics over here have done exactly that. I’d like to sign up, but there’s no way I can pass up for an academic.

    So instead, I tipped off the Authority for Personal Information, because I think it is forbidden under Dutch law for an organisation to collect personal data (in this case, names and political inclination) without explicit consent of said person. And if it doesn’t, then it falls under the European GDPR: they need to ask for consent from the ‘data subject’, to make clear how long the data is retained, that it is stored securely, make clear for what purpose it is used, ask for consent before selling on or sharing the data with other parties, comply with the individual’s right to review the collected data, and to have removed at the any time the individual demands it.

    Yes, that persistent little annoying checkbox under every web page in the EU is a sign of something good.

    I seriously don’t know if my report will yield any result, all I could do at the moment was tip the organization off and they are not obliged to take action if you are not a victim. And even if you are, you can’t actually know, because the FvD does not seem to disclose it.

    But I’d still recommend any other EU country where they start these shenanigans, to try and take comparable actions under the GDPR. There appear to be entirely appropriate laws in place.to slap the Nazi tool-set out of these fuckers’ grubby hands.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Fascists & their friends have long hissed and spat at academics, journalists, and artists – but what did Dutch architects do to join those usual suspects?

  6. rietpluim says

    Yep, we have the disease too.

    Wilders and Baudet have a steady ~20% of the electorate voting for them. It is a little reassuring that the number is quite stable, but it is far too big imo.

    What troubles me most, is the way how “moderate” parties are treating them. You know; equating criticism with demonization, pointing out how many people voted for them, saying how we should take their grievances seriously etc. Lip service to the alt-right. The usual stuff that always counts for privileged white men but never for minorities.

    Thanks to the way our parliamentary system works, Baudet will probably never become prime minister and do the damage that authoritarian leaders are doing all over the globe, but then again, he won’t have to with the centrists doing it for him.

    Some say that the left and the right blocks haven’t really changed in numbers over the years, but in reality, the left have shifted right and the right have shifted extreme right.

    So far for the infamous Dutch tolerance.

  7. rietpluim says

    P.S. A little ironic to speak of a disease, while Baudet literally compares immigrants and their descendants to a infectious disease and accuses the political and cultural elite of spreading it.

  8. Phrenomythic Productions says

    As a Dutch expat, this news made me very sad indeed.

    Also, “Lügenpresse” anyone? Or shall I say “leugenpers”?

    The world is going mad.