From: Martin Horton
To: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: September 21, 2001 3:25 PM
Just a quick note to respond to something Chris Basten said about Amsterdam. Although I entirely agree with his general sentiments regarding the rest of the free world, the following (although it is a common misconception) quote isn't really fair:
"And what about the Netherlands? Amsterdam is truly a city that lets anything go. Its "red-light district" is famous for drug abuse, prostitution, and sex performances in night clubs."
This is not true. The Dutch are a 'tolerant' people. That's all. Call it sensible if you want. This does not mean that they indulge or even condone the semi-legalisation of cannabis and prostitution, but their attitude is one of letting people do what they want to do, within reason, because they are going to do it whether it's legal or not. It really isn't the orgy of hard drugs and sex that people get the impression of. Indeed, you hardly see a Dutch person in the red-light districts. It's usually just crowds of drunken english and american yobs and other people from other cultures where these slightly 'distastefull' antics are deemed almost satanic. The red-light district that he talks about, covers barely two blocks, and the rest of Amsterdam and indeed Holland is as beautifull place as you could find. Violent crime is virtually non-existant.
Amsterdam is not a city that 'lets anything go', it simply is populated by a sensible people who recognise that some of us are going to do drugs, and have sex with prostitutes, so it's better to regulate these 'crimes' rather than get pious and righteous about it and drive it underground. I wonder why people get the impression that when something entirely natural, like taking drugs and having sex, is freely and openly discussed and available, then we will all suddenly turn into angry crack heads who molest children!! Holland is one of the most safest, cleanest, informed, sensible countries on earth! Trains run on time, borders with other countries are open and free, the standard of living is one of the best in the world, social care facilities are second to none etc.
It's quite revealing that countries like Holland, with an open tolerant society, have less problems with drug addiction, sex-related illness, underage sex, abortions etc, than other so-called free societies. It amuses me whenever I go to America and encounter the draconian drinking, smoking, and sex laws, but look around and see people who are positively encouraged to hoard guns and other dangerous weapons -- and 14 year old pregnant girls with an Uzi in their school bag. Truly amazing.
And yes, that's probably a misinformed interpretation as well!!
Anyway, cheers, and keep up the good work.
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