For the past several weeks, Dutch farmers in the Netherlands have been engaged in a nationwide protest against their government’s new arbitrary climate policies, which demonstrators say will impede their ability to sustain a living.
On Monday, dozens of farmers in trucks and tractors parked outside major supermarket distribution centers in cities throughout the country. The blockade comes on the heels of a convoy protest of approximately 40,000 farmers in “the central Netherlands’ agricultural heartland” last week, which clogged up local roadways and led to standstill traffic.
As Reuters reported, the demonstrations came in response to “targets introduced last month” by the Dutch government “to reduce harmful nitrogen compounds by 2030,” which authorities say “are necessary in emissions of nitrogen oxides from farm animal manure and from the use of ammonia in fertilizer.”
If successfully implemented, the state initiative to “go green” would almost certainly cripple the country’s private agricultural industry, as the regulations are “expected to include reducing livestock and buying up some farms whose animals produce large amounts of ammonia.”
“The honest message … is that not all farmers can continue their business,” the government admitted in a statement last month.
The agricultural sector is not the only industry to voice its displeasure with the government’s actions, however. In solidarity with their fellow countrymen, Dutch fishermen have also joined the farmers’ protests and have begun using their ships to block ports throughout the country.
“In Harlingen, they blocked the port with trawlers meaning ferries to the islands of Terschelling and Vlieland could not leave for hours,” Euro News reported.
Farmer protests over excessive environmental regulations aren’t new for the Netherlands. Back in 2019, the country experienced similar tractor convoy protests over the state’s attempt to curb nitrogen emissions through overbearing regulations, with farmers accusing the government of targeting their industry.
Government Cracks Down
Despite their large numbers and commitment to freedom, Dutch farmers have begun to feel the wrath from their government. On Monday, police deployed tear gas and dogs to break up protests in cities such as Heerenveen, where farmers reportedly used tractors to block off a Lidl distribution center.
In addition to reports of police allegedly firing upon demonstrators, law enforcement officials have also issued more than 200 fines and made several arrests for “open violence” and blocking roadways.
The increasingly heavy-handed response from the Dutch government is beginning to resemble that of the Canadian federal government, which employed totalitarian tactics to crack down on citizens protesting state-mandated Covid-19 vaccinations earlier this year. In addition to falsely labeling demonstrators as racists, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proceeded to utilize the country’s Emergencies Act to mobilize the Canadian military and intelligence agencies to remove protesters occupying Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital of Ottawa.
As if allowing local police to use tear gas on peaceful protesters weren’t bad enough, Trudeau also expanded his government’s terrorist financing rules to go after crowdfunding sites the convoy utilized, such as the new GiveSendGo, and actively supported efforts by GoFundMe to deplatform fundraising efforts for the protesters.
Elitism Knows No Borders
Whether it’s the Netherlands or Canada, the story is the same across the globe. Over the past several years, elitists occupying positions of power within governments have grown accustomed to imposing their will on ordinary citizens.
It doesn’t matter that they’re blatantly violating the social contract established by their own people. For the elitist, the only item on the agenda is maintaining power and dominion over the populace, whom they view as nothing more than subjects meant to obey their diktats without question.
Avoiding such power grabs, however, requires a vigilant citizenry, whose dedication to liberty must be stronger and more widespread than elitists’ devotion to tyranny. As witnessed during the Covid regime, compliance with the state gives birth to more draconian edicts, which only continue to erode the line between democracy and oligarchy.
Make no mistake, if the Dutch farmer protesters let their foot off the gas for one second, the state will not hesitate to shove their alarmist, degrowth policies down the people’s throats without remorse. Any form of surrender will likely continue to enable more overreaching policies, which will undoubtedly infringe upon the everyday lives of Dutch people.
Shawn Fleetwood is an intern at The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood