Apart from their spitting sibilants (or shpitting shibilants, as they are known locally) the Dutch are defined by their compulsion to produce and consume mountains of mediocre cheese.
So how is it possible to penalise an activity so seminal to nationhood?
Here I must own up to playing a trick to catch your attention. The Dutch haven’t penalised buying cheese. I made this up to highlight the ridiculousness of something that did happen.
For, in an act of similar iconoclasm, the French parliament yesterday passed a law imposing fines on men paying for sex.
I don’t know what else the French are going to cut off to spite their national tradition, but this is ridiculous. Edward VII, a great patron of Paris bordellos, must be spinning in his grave.
Actually brothels were outlawed in France as far back as in 1946, doubtless to punish the owners for having done brisk business during the occupation. But never mind the ban on brothels. Yesterday’s legislation is much more pernicious than that, for it reverses the 2003 law penalising solicitation.
Or, to be more exact, that law banned ‘passive’ solicitation, that is wearing revealing clothes in a public place of ill repute. (If we had a similar law in England, the entire female population under 30 would be fined every weekend.)
However, blaming prostitutes for what they do isn’t consonant with the modern understanding of man. People are no longer seen as free agents, responsible for their actions. They’re pawns moved around by the invisible hand of circumstance.
If the hand moves them towards objectionable acts, they aren’t the wrongdoers. They are the victims.
Hence those young ladies hustling passers-by in Rue Saint-Denis and Place Pigalle are neither immoral nor greedy. They are victims of factors beyond their control, and the chap buying their services is one such factor.
In other words, a prostitute hired in Paris is deemed to be involved in the transaction the same way as a slab of Gouda bought in Amsterdam.
Nothing that an estimated 40,000 French prostitutes can do will ever come close to this act of degradation, reducing human beings to automata, rather than recognising them as God’s creatures endowed with free will.
A technically different but philosophically identical development is under way in Sweden. There men who report paedophilic fantasies are seen as patients requiring treatment.
About five per cent of all men are estimated to have paedophilic thoughts. Assuming that only a small proportion of such dreamers act on their fantasies, those who do must be working overtime: 10 per cent of girls are supposed to have been sexually abused.
My advice to men who dream of children in those terms would be to shut up about it and sort themselves out. My advice to courts dealing with paedophilic acts would be to punish them with deterrent severity, possibly including castration.
But such a cut and dried approach doesn’t agree with the progressive ethos, of which Sweden is the greatest champion. The progressive ethos says that every aberration must be medicalised.
Thus having impure thoughts about children is seen as a problem for doctors to treat, rather than an urge for the man himself to control. This again denies man’s free will, in this case his power not to turn silly fantasies into criminal acts.
Let’s face it, we all have fantasies acting on which would land us in prison. For example, I used to daydream about killing my first mother-in-law, who nonetheless died a natural death.
Part of the modern ethos is for the authorities to act as thought police. Fair enough, if we’re denied any responsibility for our own actions, then a criminal thought is practically indistinguishable from a criminal deed. No restraining mechanism exists: today I dream of killing my mother-in-law, tomorrow the hatchet sees the light of day.
Hence Swedes who love children the wrong way are brainwashed to seek treatment, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually abused anyone. And they do – even though the treatment on offer is the same chemical castration proposed as punishment in some quarters.
A drug that achieves such an effect by stopping the production of testosterone is currently on trial. Dr Christoffer Rham, the leading researcher claims that “a substantial number of patients with paedophilic disorder actually want help”.
They want to be castrated not to act on their fantasies? That’s as if I had sought jail for my fantasies about my mother-in-law.
What’s happening is a programme aimed at penalising thought as if it were deed, and a programme for which, in another modern perversion, huge state funds are being demanded.
Instead of offering castration as treatment for fantasies, it should be threatened as punishment for acts. On the assumption that most paedophiles wouldn’t seek castration voluntarily, this would reduce the incidence of child abuse more effectively.
But that’s not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose of what’s going on in France and Sweden and everywhere else is for modernity to put its leaden foot down, to impose its view of life. And what a puny view it is.