Patterico's Pontifications


Geert Wilders Didn’t Expect the Inquisition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:34 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

That title is a tongue-in-cheek way of getting at a serious point.  Also its my way of complying with the rule that every blogger must make at least one Monty Python reference every week.

As you may or may not know, Geert Wilders is on trial for saying lots of bad things about Islam.  Regular readers know how I feel about the God given right to talk trash about any religion you want.  Mind you, most of the time that is a pretty rude thing to do, and I discourage that.  But more than I want to avoid offense, I believe we should be free to say what we want about any religion, without threats of violence—be it by terrorists or government prosecution.  So, I am against this prosecution.

And don’t tell me he is an awful, awful man.  I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.  Certainly anyone who has ever defended dipping my savior in urine, burning the flag, or letting Nazis march in Jewish neighborhoods shouldn’t suggest to me there is any righteousness in this prosecution.

Now a few people have reported that Geert was found not guilty.  That is the headline of this story, for instance.  But that isn’t quite right, as the text of the story makes clear.  The truth is that prosecutors have only said he should be found not guilty.

Now in America, under our adversarial system of justice, that is almost a guarantee of a dismissed case.  But apparently The Netherlands operate under the Inquisitorial system (see?  Now you get the joke in my title!).  In the Inquisitorial system, the judges are in charge of even the decision whether to prosecute at all.

So for instance, Andy McCarthy at The Corner points out that

Prosecutors never wanted to bring the case against Geert. In 2008, the office of the public prosecutor declined to charge him. The lunatic judges are the ones who’ve been behind this all along, representative as they are of the transnational progressive thinking responsible for having such “crimes” on the books in the first place. In 2009, the Dutch Court of Appeals issued an order essentially overruling the prosecutors and ordering that Wilders be charged. That could not happen in the U.S. federal system — at least for now — because, under separation of powers principles, prosecutorial discretion is vested absolutely in the executive branch. The judiciary can inveigh, but judges can’t force the Justice Department to charge anyone. But in the Netherlands, the court gets the last word.

McCarthy’s bottom line—and I think he is right—is that you shouldn’t get too excited by this news.  I mean a better headline is “Prosecutors Who Didn’t Want To Bring the Case in the First Place Don’t Want Wilders To Be Convicted.”  I suppose the fact that after all of this, they still aren’t convinced is encouraging, but I’m not sure how much it really matters.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


  1. If found guilty, his punishment should be to spend a few hours in a comfy chair.

    Comment by Old Coot (ac0ff6) — 10/17/2010 @ 7:43 am

  2. I thought this was going to include a Peoples Front of Judea reference as well.

    BTW, you can kiss the Netherlands and Holland goodbye in short order. I’ve had way too many discussions with a few ex – pats here who dismiss my complaints about Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s being forced to flee to the US because her own government couldn’t protect her. Not to mention a filmmaker being disembowled in broad daylight on a public street – oh no, they just wave their hands as if to shoo a fly away, saying in so many words that they both had it coming to them. I always remind them about “first they came for the Jews.” They act like they have no idea what I’m talking about – which isn’t too surprising, since many of their countrymen were all too willing to help the Nazis ship out their fellow citizens to the ovens.

    Comment by Dmac (84da91) — 10/17/2010 @ 8:14 am

  3. And we’re supposed to use the Dutch as models for our drug laws, and allowing gays in the military?
    It’s Madness!

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7bc302) — 10/17/2010 @ 8:39 am

  4. Plus yesterday you had Andrea Merkel admitting Germany’s attempt to build a multicultural society had “utterly failed.”

    Comment by daleyrocks (940075) — 10/17/2010 @ 8:40 am

  5. Dmac, I have a close friend who is also an ex-pat from Holland. His family still lives there. They rank Wilders right up there with GW Bush…yet avoid commenting on Hirsi Ali.

    My friend believes this to be in large part because the local news is so askew in the city and major newspapers shamefully shape stories to the majority liking. It’s a bit ironic because currently in Europe’s leading multi-culti region of diversity, Holland continues to embrace Islam to the point of re-designing apartments to make sure bathrooms do not face Mecca yet simultaneously supporting Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) so that it is now the third leading political party. There is a huge disconnect occurring within this population.

    Comment by Dana (8ba2fb) — 10/17/2010 @ 8:43 am

  6. Comment in filter.

    Comment by daleyrocks (940075) — 10/17/2010 @ 9:02 am

  7. Daley

    Whatever comment is in the filter, i can’t find it and can’t therefore release it. email me at if you want to try to work with me to find it.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (f97997) — 10/17/2010 @ 9:48 am

  8. Ah, now i figured it out. never mind. released.

    Some wag said that Merkel said she had ways of making you talk… in german.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (f97997) — 10/17/2010 @ 9:51 am

  9. Aaron, is that your email addy for tips?

    Comment by Dana (8ba2fb) — 10/17/2010 @ 9:56 am

  10. There are actually two prosecutors under the Napoleanic Code. Maybe three.

    The Prosecutor is a judge who decides whether there is a prima facie case (not probable cause). And then he sits on the bench with two other judges and a jury to see if he was right.

    The Public Advocate argues the case in court against the defense.

    A high-ranking police officer (the third prosecutor?) is the one who remanded the case to the (Judge) Prosecutor in the first place after putting the evidence together.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:05 am

  11. As far as freedom of speech goes, that’s why we live in America and not some cold little European country.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:11 am

  12. I don’t understand how this case can proceed if the prosecutors don’t want to prosecute. It may be permissible under Dutch law, but it doesn’t make much sense. I picture something like a reverse of the climactic scene in “… And Justice for All” with Al Pacino:

    Prosecutor: And ladies and gentlemen of the court, the defense is not going to get that man released today, no, because I’m gonna get him released! The defendant, the Honorable Geert Wilders, should go right back to the f***ing Parliament! The son of a b**** is innocent! That man is innocent! That man, there, that man is a hero! He is a *hero*! If he’s convicted, then something really wrong is goin’ on here!

    Judge: Mr. Prosecutor, you are out of order!

    Prosecutor: You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order! It’s just a show! It’s a show!
    [dragged out of court by bailiffs]
    Prosecutor: Hold it! Hold it! I just completed my opening statement!

    Comment by Joshua (ecf0fa) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:28 am

  13. Note to Self (again):
    Never, ever, get crosswise with the law in a Napoleonic-Code country (such as Mexico – which is why I never go there) unless you’ve got more guns, and the will to use them, than they do!

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7bc302) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:46 am

  14. There is a huge disconnect occurring within this population.

    Not to mention that many citizens have opted out of the country altogether; the rapid rise of non – assimilated Muslims has been cited as the primary reason.

    Comment by Dmac (84da91) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:53 am

  15. Dana

    See the main site for the very obvious answer.



    Comment by Aaron Worthing (f97997) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:53 am

  16. Greetings:

    At the risk of raining on even an “Inquisition” parade, sometimes the process is the punishment. Mr. Wilders has had to give up his time and probably some of his sheckels to deal with this matter which, in turn, has gone on for way too long. Many of his fellow citizens will get the “Don’t go there!” message and begin to self-censor rather than risk the possibility of annoying the Islamaniacs and their fellow travellers.

    Comment by 11B40 (f40be0) — 10/17/2010 @ 12:18 pm

  17. 11b40

    Excellent point. Even if Wilders wins, he loses. The only hope is that maybe if he is acquitted the public will decide that the law is “defeated” and not be afraid to speak.

    The entire thing is an outrage from start to finish. The right to debate should not be up for debate.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (f97997) — 10/17/2010 @ 12:25 pm

  18. As Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn will attest, the process is the punishment. The “not guilty” finding is irrelevant.

    Comment by the wolf (7cffb6) — 10/17/2010 @ 4:49 pm

  19. Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, sums it up . At the link, she runs through the various examples we’ve come to respect but who must be silenced.

    The Wilders case is not unique, but it is important. It demonstrates the continued willingness of authorities in Europe’s most liberal countries to regulate the content of speech on Islam in order to placate Muslim blasphemy demands. Few such cases end in conviction, but their chilling effect on free speech within and on Islam continues to widen.

    (emph. added)

    Comment by Dana (8ba2fb) — 10/17/2010 @ 5:11 pm

  20. It is tragic that the birthplace of The Age of Reason (Europe) has willingly walked-the-plank.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7bc302) — 10/17/2010 @ 5:22 pm

  21. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar storming off the set of the View this week in a snit fit after Bill O’Reilly said Muslims killed us on 9/11 was another example of this idiocy reaching the U.S.

    Comment by daleyrocks (940075) — 10/17/2010 @ 6:28 pm

  22. The Wilders case is not unique, but it is important. It demonstrates the continued willingness of authorities in Europe’s most liberal countries to regulate the content of speech on Islam in order to placate Muslim blasphemy demands. Few such cases end in conviction, but their chilling effect on free speech within and on Islam continues to widen.

    Those countries do not have longstanding traditions of freedom of speech.

    Can we really judge other countries for not offering the same legal protections America offers (freedom of speech, exclusionary rule, right to remain silent, etc.)?

    Comment by Michael Ejercito (249c90) — 10/17/2010 @ 9:47 pm

  23. Micheal

    > Can we really judge other countries for not offering the same legal protections America offers (freedom of speech, exclusionary rule, right to remain silent, etc.)?

    On free speech, you bet your ass we can. Freedom of speech on political subjects is necessary for republican government. Freedom of speech on religious subjects is necessary for religious freedom. I consider those values absolutely non-negotiable.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (f97997) — 10/17/2010 @ 10:03 pm

  24. To build on Aaron’s comment (23) above, it’s clear that the ruling elites of Europe do not care about either republican government or religious freedom. And they are cowards.

    They are not deserving of our respect, only of our contempt and mockery.

    Comment by LarryD (f22286) — 10/18/2010 @ 9:16 am

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