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Democracy: a scary thing for those who insist we're all equal

Experts agree: democracy is fine as long as we all "agree with each other"

CDA-prominents decline coalition with PVV

The Hague, June 12. CDA figures feel that their party should not rule the PVV. Some called collaboration "unacceptable", others "unwise". They fear a schism within their party.

After his visit to the queen yesterday CDA leader Maxime Verhagen left the option open to form a coalition with the VVD and the PVV. VVD leader Mark Rutte and PVV leader Wilders want a informateur to examine the possibility of a right-wing coalition. VVD and PVV both won a lot of new votes in the election Wednesday, with respectively 31 and 24 seats. The CDA now has 21.

But former Foreign Minister and current Minister of State Peter Kooijmans called a collaboration between CDA and PVV "questionable" and therefore "unacceptable". "The Freedom Party excludes a whole group of people from Dutch society."

Leonard Geluk, a former alderman in Rotterdam thinks that for the CDA it would be "inconceivable and unacceptable is to do business with a party that makes concessions to religious freedom. "Our core values are non-negotiable." A coalition with the Partij Voor de Vrijheid will lead to great divisions among Christian Democrats according to Geluk. Doekle Terpstra, president of the HBO-council, would turn his back on the Christian Democrats if his party would govern with the PVV. "It is unthinkable that we can work together on content. If it does happen then I'll leave." According to him there's also a high risk of "a separation of minds."

The CDA lost many votes to the Freedom Party, especially in the south. That the CDA still leaves the possibility open to form a coalition with the Freedom Party may indicate that the top CDA intends to win back these voters by joining a right-wing government. But that would mean the party would alienate a large number of their own supporters, this was concluded after consulting with CDA members.


Meanwhile in the Dutch province of Limburg:

Tourist Office receives hate mail because of PVV voters

Limburg organizations and multinationals are concerned about image damage caused by the victorious success of the PVV in Limburg in the parliamentary elections. A quarter of the voters in Limburg voted for Geert Wilders's PVV last Wednesday. Since then the tourist office has received dozens of hate mails. Some people call for a boycott of the whole province.

According to Anya Nieuwierra, the director of the Tourist Office of Zuid-Limburg, the emails contain grievous content. Whether the voting behavior of Limburg will affect tourism in the province can't be determined yet, according to Nieuwierra.


More from the "nature not nurture" camp:

Critics of new media sometimes use science itself to press their case, citing research that shows how “experience can change the brain.” But cognitive neuroscientists roll their eyes at such talk. Yes, every time we learn a fact or skill the wiring of the brain changes; it’s not as if the information is stored in the pancreas. But the existence of neural plasticity does not mean the brain is a blob of clay pounded into shape by experience.

Experience does not revamp the basic information-processing capacities of the brain. Speed-reading programs have long claimed to do just that, but the verdict was rendered by Woody Allen after he read “War and Peace” in one sitting: “It was about Russia.” Genuine multitasking, too, has been exposed as a myth, not just by laboratory studies but by the familiar sight of an S.U.V. undulating between lanes as the driver cuts deals on his cellphone.

Moreover, as the psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons show in their new book “The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us,” the effects of experience are highly specific to the experiences themselves. If you train people to do one thing (recognize shapes, solve math puzzles, find hidden words), they get better at doing that thing, but almost nothing else. Music doesn’t make you better at math, conjugating Latin doesn’t make you more logical, brain-training games don’t make you smarter. Accomplished people don’t bulk up their brains with intellectual calisthenics; they immerse themselves in their fields. Novelists read lots of novels, scientists read lots of science.


Democracy is the furthest extreme of "nurture": one man, one vote; we are all equal, politically and presumably, in the ability to make decisions.

Aristocracy is the furthest extreme of "nature": pick the best, let them dominate the rest, and hopefully, infuse those wretches with some improved genetic code.

When you think about it, the difference between thoughts and genetics is that the latter is tested and persists between generations. There is an inherent utility -- non-arbitrary -- in that.