Why Santorum Should Learn to Love the Netherlands

by Erik Voeten on February 28, 2012 · 1 comment

in Campaigns and elections

It seems like the Netherlands has emerged as the exemplar of all that is wrong with modern secular liberalism. First there was Fox News’ campaign against the free love, pot smoking, anarchists who have turned Amsterdam into a Disney World for every questionable person in Europe (the video above is worth watching alone for Bill O’Reilly’s comments about statistics at the end). Now Santorum has been telling tall tales about the Dutch elderly being forcibly euthanized at high rates. According to Santorum, about half of the Dutch elderly wear armbands that say “please don’t euthanize me” and flee abroad to escape the government doctors eager to inject them with poison in order to save a few euros (see also here where he explicitly compares the Netherlands to Nazi Germany and blames it on “socialized medicine”).

Santorum’s “facts” have already been thoroughly rebuked but it is perhaps more interesting to consider his comments in light of his more prominent outburst of the week:

The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.

In other words, the U.S. should learn from the Netherlands. The Dutch Constitution guarantees equal public funding for public (secular) and private (religious) schools. Dutch politics has been dominated by Christian parties, who have been in government for all but a brief period of the last century. People of faith play a big role in the public square. For example Jan Peter Balkenende was a professor of Christian social thought before he became Dutch prime-minister from 2002 to 2010. Clearly, the U.S. has a lot to learn from the Netherlands.

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