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.