As I feared and suspected, the murder of Fortuyn appears, according to Dutch police, to have come from the far left. So this is quite possibly an assassination of an openly gay man by the extreme left, because he held contrarian but completely defensible views. The vicious rhetoric spouted against him by leftist, liberal and even moderate politicians and journalists no doubt contributed to this outcome. I guess I see this a little personally. But no one should doubt that the far left, just as much as the far right, is now among the most intolerant forces in our society. They do everything they can to shut down the views of others, marginalize, blacklist or simply intimidate them. When all else fails, something like this horrific murder happens. I wonder how many leading European liberals, who are so quick to draw connections between speech and action when it comes to traditional hate-crimes, will now ponder whether their own rhetorical extremism has to be tempered somewhat. Here’s a classic of the genre, from the comment section on the BBC website:
Anyone deserving the name libertarian does not restrict people’s liberty to live where they want. It’s good to see people taking direct action against the far right. If Hitler or Mussolini had been killed in the twenties, when they were still ‘respectable’ and adored by such UK papers as the Daily Mail, who knows how many lives would have been saved?
Matt, a libertarian socialist, UK
Charming, huh? And what many leftist activists actually believe.
AN EMAIL FROM HOLLAND: One among many, but this time from a very different perspective:
A very good thing to dedicate some space on andrewsullivan.com to the news regarding the assassination of Pim Fortuyn. My thanks.
One important point which has not been made is that Pim, as a debater, was a man who opened himself completely, making himself maximally vulnerable to attacks (during a political debate or during interviews)
It is, even when writing from the Netherlands, difficult to describe the feelings this assassination has released. Most – well thinking – people are against his views, but have great admiration for the way he represents his views and the greatest respect for his drive and his dedication.
This is what makes him very very different in our view from e.g. JFK, we were promised a completely new, honest and open way of politics – in a Dutch fashion of course. Which has now been replaced by a great uncertainty about the honesty & effectiveness of the upcoming elections. The removal of this hope has released a sadness which is difficult to describe, but felt by his opponents and his followers alike. This was a man without personal defences. Who – in my opinion – deserves more attention to his honesty and drive than to his (often) misunderstood (extreme) right wing ideas.