The Magazine

Flirting with Fascism


On the whole, Glenn Beck is unique on the mainstream right. He is perhaps the only member of this clique to treat Bush with the contempt he reserves for Obama. And no one on the mainstream right has done what Beck has to illuminate the catalysts to America's insolvency: monetary policy and state profligacy. Still, as a recovering neoconservative, Glenn often loses his way.

Beck frequently confuses genuine forces for liberty (Ron and Rand Paul, Peter Schiff) with snake-oil merchants (the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Republikeynsians of the Wall Street Journal). Although Beck had a breakthrough at CPAC – declaring fleetingly that "We don't need to export democracy; the best example to the world is to lead by example" – he persists in identifying patriotism with a blind support for the two wars we have going, and appears partial to opening up a third front in the Middle East.

Glenn also vastly overestimates the virtues of the "American People," and underestimates the forces (state-managed mass immigration) that are dissolving what remains of that people and busily electing another. (Glenn: Once the country is 50 percent Third World, you might as well be talking to the hand.)

And the other day, the Fox News host insinuated that Geert Wilders, an influential Dutch parliamentarian working against the spread of Islam in his country, is a man of the fascist, far-right.

Wilders is certainly a man of the hard right. His fans and followers in the U.S. disco around this immutable fact, flimsily defending him on the grounds that he defends the rights of women and non-Muslims, the right of free speech, and is against Shariah and clitoridectomy.

The yang to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's yin. (A classical liberal Dutch feminist, Hirsi Ali is a model of lucidity on all things Islam, with the looks of a model. In free societies, both she and Wilders would not live in fear of their lives. In a free society, Wilders and Hirsi would thrive, while their assailants flee in fear of being hunted and exterminated like vermin.)

However, my family in the Netherlands votes for Wilders not because of his stand against honor killings and genital infibulation.

Yes, the Party for Freedom is one of economic liberalism and cultural conservatism. The Party for Freedom is Euroskeptic and favors devolution of powers and less taxation. But the reason Wilders now occupies nine of the 150 seats in the Dutch Parliament and, come the general election on June 9 – in the estimation of Ian Traynor of the Guardian – "could muster thee times that," is not because he supports the rights of women and free speech. The Dutch and their representatives have been down with those ideas for decades.

Wilders may become a "potential prime minister or kingmaker in the Dutch coalition system" because he has promised to "halt immigration from non-Western countries. … and significantly reduce the dominant presence of Islam in the Netherlands."