“Unreliable, unprofessional, politically driven. They are on the wrong side of history. All three.”

After being prosecuted for what millions think, the judges ended up on the wrong side of history. At least, in Wilders world view.

“They are on the wrong side of history.”

Having history on your side is much better then having millions think the same. For “Saying we need less Moroccans is not racism because being Moroccan is not a race“,Geert Wilder, the Dutch politician, was put on trial. Which rhetorical techniques is Wilders using to convince the courts? Claiming that others did it as well is not a valid argument in court, which he probably knows. He wasn’t talking to the court but to the reporters present in court:

Technique: “Persuade the audience, not the opponent”, number 28, and “Appeal to authority rather then reason”, number 30.

The interesting philosophical question is that it reveals a of point of view that ‘history’ has a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ side. There are losers and winners, a black and white world view. This is in contrast with a more pluralistic world view: there are different people who form different groups over time with their own interests. Everyone seeks to further his own particular interest and is more or less successful in doing so. There is also a second and third place and everybody deserves a piece of the pie. Persuading someone that his worldview is wrong is impossible. The assumption that you ‘loose’ if you’re convicted for saying something hateful is however something you can attack. For people of the populist right, drawing borders and making distinctions is important. This can be used against them. First of all, there is a small group of people who stubbornly defend their position, and a majority that just follows along to wherever they think they are safer or where they think the grass is greener. These are the people to which any answer must be directed. These are law abiding people who want to feel safe and who like to dream that one day they will be richer and can finally get what they deserve in life. These people need to be told that the law is drawing a line so that everybody can feel safe. Finding a great one-liner to do this is not so easy however. The slogan of Operation Libero in response to the Swiss Referendum to automatically reject foreigners who commit a minor offense was: “The judge is not an automat.” Along these line we can craft a response as well, for example: “The law is for everyone”. This, of course, will only have an effect if shouted through a mega phone.


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