Europe’s war of the right
: The Netherlands’ Pim Fortuyn, a right-wing, anti-immigrant, and gay political leader, has been assassinated. The coverage of De Volkskrant is here. You don’t need to read Dutch to see what a shattering event an assassination is in any country.
I don’t assume this is an act of political conspiracy. I remember the murders of my friends Harvey Milk and George Moscone in San Francisco. That was not the act of a conspiracy or politics; it was the act of one dangerous political freak and twerp, Dan White, who later got off with the infamous Twinkie defense and then killed himself. Unless government-sponsored, assassins are as a rule lone lunatics.
Still, this act only adds to the right-wing BTUs heating up Europe. Add Le Pen in France. Add right-wingers scaring the electorate in local elections in Britain. Add more in Hungary. And elsewhere.
It all makes me all the happier with our two-party system in America. Our system is often frustrating and certainly imperfect and frequently maligned. But this system assures greater stability. It assures moderation. It assures the closest any political body can come to consensus. To state the obvious: Because we elect our chief executive directly — and not via any coalition of parties that often have to do deals with devils to add up a majority to run the government — and because only two parties can truly afford to run major races and because our government’s cannot collapse on one lost parliamentary vote, we are left with two parties that each must find ways to bring their edges to the middle, for that is their only hope of winning. Sanity lives in the middle. Of course, we have our third parties as well but whether it’s Nader or Perot or Buchanan or Anderson, they tend to spoil elections and pump already overinflated would-be politicians’ egoes more than add to the debate or give us true choice. And because those third-parties do not succeed, it means that fourth or fifth or sixth parties — the ones that live in the extremes, the ones that are getting upwards of 15 to 20 percent of the votes in Europe — cannot possibly grow here; they cannot gain a position to blackmail coalition-partner parties; they cannot win; they stay on the fringe, where they belong and the government stays in the mainstream.
God Bless those Founding Fathers.
: The Times says:
…his main target was Islam. After an imam in his native city of Rotterdam described gays as being worse than pigs, Mr Fortuyn attacked almost every aspect of Islamic culture. His central argument was that The Netherlands had to defend its open and tolerant values against a flood of Muslims who were intolerant. Islam, he said, was a