You see evil stupidity everywhere, but nowhere is it as tolerated as in the Netherlands
Well, that of that cucumber season turned out to be a bit premature. While the rest of Europe knows the worst of the corona crisis, the Netherlands is experiencing a dramatic month of July. The corona figures have exploded due to the horrible murder of Peter R. de Vries are they worried in Italy about U.S, and due to the floods in Limburg, it is slowly starting to decline that corona was just a practice game compared to the challenges that await us.
The Italian mafia judge Paolo Borsellino, who was murdered in 1992, like the compassionate De Vries tirelessly fighting injustice, once said that it is normal for everyone to have fear. “The most important thing is that this goes hand in hand with courage. Don’t let fear take hold of you or it will become an obstacle that prevents you from moving forward.’ But is fear perhaps a prerequisite for true courage?
Contrary to what De Vries hoped, the Netherlands is now like Sicily, only without the sun and delicious food. More importantly, without the fear required for courage. The Netherlands is the country where the population in all its ignorance sits on a folding chair with a 2 deciliter bottle of Fristi and a filet américain sandwich, watching overflowing rivers, as a cozy foretaste of upcoming climate disasters. And the country in which adult people dress up as Jewish concentration camp residents to protest against corona measures.
You see malicious stupidity everywhere, but nowhere is it as tolerated as in the Netherlands. It is not for nothing that the Germans invented the word kaltstellen, and French President Macron regularly shows his teeth against backwardness. Here we let it run its course, with the misguided idea that every sound must be heard in our polder, with all its consequences.
The absurdity of a tiny country where major cities and millions of people are below sea level, but tough climate policy is seen as an expensive hobby, is a cognitive dissonance that will drive you crazy. The Telegraph, the newspaper that consistently votes against climate measures, managed to combine front page images of Limburg drowning with short-sighted grumbling about rising climate costs – ‘citizens are presented with an extremely expensive climate bill’.
‘Burger has been living above his means for decades’ would have been a better headline. With a frightening mortgage debt, the Netherlands also runs a huge risk of being financially under water in the next economic storm.
The Netherlands has long gotten away with a hopeless indecision and lack of leadership, which in our overestimation we have also managed to sell as the ‘polder model’. The way in which Prime Minister Rutte and his colleagues have tackled the corona crisis is very understandable by polder standards, and the average excess mortality is quite acceptable. But it is becoming less and less accepted, because we are all starting to feel that the polder model, of which our corona policy is a clear example, no longer works in this time.
We cannot hug or tolerate the Mocromafia, and we cannot moderate climate change the way we once moderated wages. Moreover, the pandemic does not appear to be a social challenge that we will together going to do with cheerful SIRE commercials, but a warm-up for the grown-up choices that are becoming more and more normal.
The Dutch can keep pointing at others until they weigh an ounce, but above all they will have to sober up from their own deeply rooted exceptionalism. The smug Dutchman honestly thinks that our knowledge of dikes and waterworks is so superior that nothing can happen to us, just as he thinks his prosperity is eternal and logical, and he never has to work hard, because he is so incredibly productive.
Unfortunately, we do not live on an island that is immune to the major world problems and we are not better but worse prepared for all kinds of threats than many neighboring countries. The Dutch polder is flooded, and if we don’t want to drown, the dangers of this time should frighten us more. For without fear our courage is but hubris.