Dutch liberal attitudes are currently getting caned by The Sun. The British tabloid newspaper is up in arms about the fact that an escaped prisoner from an English jail cannot be extradited from Holland because the Dutch don’t consider escaping a crime. They believe clambering over prison walls is just normal human instinct.
To anybody with an ounce of common sense the Dutch standpoint seems ridiculous. According to The Sun the escaped Dutchman was twice the drink-driving limit when he caused a fatal crash. Whatever his basic instincts, he committed a crime and should serve out his sentence and this should be extended because he escaped.
Holland is doing itself no good by pussy-footing around with such ethical abstractions. And there are many other examples. Until recently companies could deduct bribes from their corporate tax because this was technically a business cost if it was to secure a contract!
But this liberal lunacy is only one side of the Dutch character. Holland also has a fanatical fascination with rules and permits. The country is one of the most regulated, permit-driven countries in Europe. A businessman who recently opened a theme park had to obtain over a hundred permits to do so, at a cost of over €2m. Somewhere there is even an official list of names you can give your children.
It would make a great deal of sense to be less understanding of criminals and more sympathetic to entrepreneurs – the honest ones that is.
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