2022: the year of the Crisis Exaggeration

In 2022, we will find ourselves in various crises in the Netherlands. Philip van Tin looks back and concludes that dignitaries failed to solve the problems. Even worse, they have sometimes even caused the crises.

It has not escaped your notice: in 2022 we have rolled from one Crisis to another. The Energy Crisis, the Inflation Crisis, the Refugee Crisis (also known as the Migrant Crisis or Ter Apel Crisis), the Housing Crisis, the Nitrogen Crisis, the Climate Crisis, the Benefits Crisis, the Corona and Long COVID Crisis, the Housing Market Crisis, the Purchasing Power Crisis. And let’s not forget, the most important of all: the Excuse Crisis just averted.

Philip van Tin is a director, supervisor and advisor. He writes a weekly blog about current affairs.

At school we learned that 1672 can be characterized as the Disaster Year: England, France, Münster and Cologne invaded the Netherlands from four sides. Stadholder Willem III was given special powers and he managed to drive the enemy back, after which a remnant of the Golden Age (excuse me, Gray Age nowadays, because of our bad behavior) could begin. Willem III with his supernatural powers was therefore actually Mark Rutte, Sigrid Kaag and Rob Jetten in one.

Because in 2022 the three of them have averted, prevented or cured all those crises. Without the first we would not have put a comma but a period, without the second we would not have issued a blank check to arrange an energy ceiling for the millionaires among us, and without the third we would not have already reached the point of deployment to a start of a set-up of two nuclear power plants.

Whether the rumor is true that Willem-Alexander, descendant of Willem III (nowadays you say: his DNA is still in our current king, as we learned during the Slavery Crisis), had wanted to give his Christmas speech to this awake threesome, I don’t know. but it doesn’t seem impossible to me.

Grotesque inflation of words and concepts

The above is of course nonsense, so don’t worry that your columnist has already fallen victim to the current Inflation Crisis. Not the inflation of the euro, but the inflation of words and concepts. Nothing can be valued and evaluated normally anymore, everything has to be capitalized and exclamation marks. The crises I mentioned above are intertwined in the first place and, moreover, they largely belong to the normal problems that a public administration, a government, a parliament has to contend with. All these dignitaries have been appointed or elected to solve such problems, not to blow them up. Unfortunately, those dignitaries have not only largely failed to do so, even worse, they have caused some crises themselves, such as the Nitrogen Crisis and the Migrant Crisis.

Exaggeration is not in our DNA, but has taken over us stealthily. The language is full of it, not least the language of the young generations, for whom everything super and Fat is. But older generations are also involved. Take the Supplementary Affair. There is no doubt that bad things have happened, everything that should not happen in a civilized country has taken place, but how widespread the injustice was, how many victims there are, has remained completely obscure, buried under an inflationary mash of words.

Also about slavery is not always truthfully written. (Here, of course, first the disclaimer, namely that this does not mean that very bad things have not happened.) And our greatest expert, Prof. Piet Emmer, who has been regarded as the absolute specialist in the field of slavery and immigration, was dismissed as a charlatan, liar and worse. Exaggeration and denial of true expertise go hand in hand.

Attorney Spong’s fundamental lie

For example, the well-known criminal lawyer mr. Gerard Spong writes these days in an opinion piece de Volkskrant: ‘Slaves suffered the same pitiful fate as Jews in World War II for centuries.’

Now lawyers are allowed to present the facts as favorably as possible in the interest of their client, but rape of historical facts is a bridge too far. There are six million Jews in WWII murdered; twelve million survived, but if it had been up to the perpetrators of the Holocaust and if the war had lasted longer, those numbers would have been even higher. Slaves perished in the transatlantic crossing, as did sailors who transported them, by the way – according to the facts that are no longer sacred. Slaves also lost their lives while performing their slave labor.

But where the intention While Hitler and his many accomplices wanted to kill as many Jews as possible, the aim of slave traders, transporters and owners was precisely to keep as many slaves alive as possible. Because slaves were property, therefore trade, therefore worth money and so everyone involved had an interest in keeping as many slaves alive as possible. Under sometimes appalling circumstances, I add as a disclaimer – but not always, I add – but slaves were not transported to extermination camps, nor gassed.

And so in Mr. Spong’s quasi-scholarly one-and-a-half-page consideration, the core sentence is flawed. The criminal lawyer screeching around the bend coute que coute are to be right. And so ends the Year of Exaggeration with a big lie. And if it is repeated often enough, it will eventually be believed.

Reason, it seems to me, for Mr. Spong to apologise. And preferably with a point.

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