The Daily Telegraph

Dutch minister denounces ‘wokeism’ as a threat to democracy

- By Senay Boztas in Amsterdam

‘Man or woman – grow a pair of balls and find some resilience. In open society, you need a thicker skin’

THE Dutch justice minister has called out “wokeism” as a threat to democracy, saying it is restrainin­g free speech and eroding the nation’s tradition of tolerance.

Dilan Yeşilgöz-zegerius, who earlier this year pledged war on organised crime, has turned her targets to farright politician­s, conspiracy theorists, Facebook and the US so-called “woke movement”.

Ms Yeşilgöz-zegerius, a Dutch minister of Turkish origin, said more needs to be done to fight for the Dutch concept of “tolerance” – which she said depends on a long-gone trust in government and social sense of reciprocit­y.

In Amsterdam on Monday, she said that one of her worries was political correctnes­s or wokeism. “I’m explicitly not talking about emancipati­on movements advocating equal rights and inclusion – they have my support,” she explained. “What I’m worried about are currents that focus on the opposite – on exclusion. People who believe they can decide what informatio­n or opinion is correct, and what isn’t, or what is hurtful or not hurtful, or who is good and who is not.

“Under the guise of inclusion, they are busy excluding, by cancelling everything that doesn’t light their fire.”

She claimed the movement, which she said had “blown over” from the US, limited conversati­ons, boxing people into fixed views by gender, ancestry or orientatio­n. Ms Yeşilgöz-zegerius added: “Our ability to grow, learn and develop is fuelled by mutual criticism and open discussion.

“Anyone who wants to limit that by demanding ‘safe spaces’ in universiti­es, excluding any form of so-called confrontat­ional knowledge, subordinat­ing freedom of expression to subjective emotion or determinin­g which words the free media can or cannot use, is limiting free progress.”

Saying that “open debate” is the “oxygen” of Holland’s free society, Ms Yeşilgöz-zegerius added: “Open debate, in which you fight words with words… Man or woman – grow a pair of balls and find some resilience. In an open society, you need to have a thicker skin.”

Claiming that wokeism promotes self-censorship and intoleranc­e, limiting academic and media debate, Ms Yeşilgöz-zegerius also criticised local far-right politician­s, conspiracy theorists, and algorithm-driven public debate.

“Bosses of social media companies like Facebook don’t feel any responsibi­lity for [online hate, threats and fake news],” she claimed. “In fact, it has become a very lucrative business model.”

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