“Terrified of thoughts and ideas that the establishment has ‘outlawed,’ conservatives have completely internalized the ‘rules of the game’ that their enemy has imposed.” —Thierry Baudet
n this video you can hear Dutch opposition leader Thierry Baudet speaks about NATO.
I do not publish this video because I agree with every word, but he has got a point, and he is one of the very few conservatives that dares to make a statement like this.
At the end, a shoe polisher for Prime Minister Mark Rutte tries to tackle him with a trick question, but Baudet stays calm as he always does, and shows he is a master of political debate.
NATO is not the same NATO it used to be, and I do agree that under current circumstances it would be better for The Netherlands to say farewell to the club.
Thierry Baudet also gave this interesting interview today with the European Conservative.
“Politics,” Bismarck famously said, “is the art of the possible.” But when we’ve lost everything and are only allowed to speak within the little bit of space allotted by the mainstream, then it is time for the Right to re-group and re-think its tactics. Whatever it is we have been doing for the past decades, it simply has not worked. Could it be because conservatives are, in fact, more concerned about being accepted by the mainstream establishment—that is, by our enemies—than building a broad coalition to resist it?
The Left never disavows its own radicals or their ideas; instead, it tries to ‘mainstream’ those radical ideas—precisely because it is aware that radicals are its most effective, most powerful shock troops. In contrast, conservatives routinely push away all those to their right. But why is the fear of being denounced by their opponents—including the mainstream media—so prevalent among conservatives?
Such questions led me recently to sit down with various controversial intellectuals, including the founder and leader of the Forum for Democracy (FVD) party in the Netherlands, Thierry Baudet. After writing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Roger Scruton, he acquired international fame in 2019 when his party topped the polls in senate elections. Since then, his reputation has suffered after making controversial and impolitic statements, while his political fortunes have become uncertain. Despite many warnings, I chose to catch up with him at last year’s FVD Party Congress, as well as afterward, for the following wide-ranging conversation.
Some conservatives think you hold dangerous views and thus do not consider you ‘one of us’ anymore. What’s your response?
It always surprises me when conservatives—having suffered so much from censorship themselves— revile the questioning of their own ideological dogmas. I’m a strong believer in the French proverb “du choc des idées jaillit lumière” (“from the clash of ideas springs light”). Truth can only be found if ideas can be freely expressed and debated—in a spirit of openness and seriousness. Simply saying ‘you can’t say that!’ has never convinced anyone of anything.
In addition, I have personally never felt that opinions—of whatever kind!—can be ‘dangerous.’ I’ve never been scared of exploring different trains of thought. Quite the contrary: I am immediately interested whenever I discover a new ‘taboo.’
You certainly seem drawn to taboos and what some might call ‘the dark side.’ Do you think it is your fascination for such things that explains the apparent ‘toxicity’ around you?
For someone to refer to a ‘dark side’ presupposes that the speaker is ‘enlightened.’ It also implies that conservatism is on the thin end of a sinister wedge—that conservatism is indeed almost there and can only be acceptable if it is emasculated. Terrified of thoughts and ideas that the establishment has ‘outlawed,’ conservatives have completely internalized the ‘rules of the game’ that their enemy has imposed. And, in doing so, they have implicitly conceded the very points they wanted to make in the first place. This is why they can never win.
I’ll explain what I mean. Today’s conservatives completely avoid talking about ‘the deep state’ for fear of being denounced as ‘conspiracy theorists.’ They avoid talking about ethnicity for fear of being denounced as ‘racists.’ And I dare you to find anyone who is willing to talk about the Left’s ‘weaponization’ of the Holocaust—which has been instrumentalized through the teachings of the Frankfurt School—in order to undermine European self-confidence. They’re too afraid of being labelled ‘antisemitic.’ In short, today’s conservatives shy away from all the fundamental fights and instead spend their time being ‘goody-goodies,’ submissively avoiding being associated with—or being called out as—‘fascists.’
But isn’t it ‘a good thing’ for conservatives to avoid being unnecessarily controversial and, instead, formulate their arguments in a cautious way—one that may actually convince their opponents or reach undecided mainstream voters?
If the price of not being controversial is not actually making the argument you want to make, then that price is too high. Take immigration: rather than making the point that we do not want the ethnic and cultural composition of our societies dramatically changed—which I believe is the fundamental point—conservatives emphasize the distinction between ‘legal immigration’ and ‘illegal immigration’—as if that were the issue, as if the problem of immigration is how immigrants enter! Or take climate change: instead of attacking the fundamental premise of man-made global warming—that is, the absurd idea that CO2 is somehow ‘bad’ for the environment and that man-made emissions need to be reduced—conservatives have defended ‘green policies.’ Their surrender is complete. They even avoid talking about the importance of a national economy, apparently feeling compelled to support that globalist idol and sacred cow of liberalism: free trade!
©2023. Matthys van Raalten. All rights reserved.