Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The National Anthem


So I was listening to Dutch radio the other day and they were talking about a large survey they (the NOS news service) had conducted about the public knowledge and general feelings regarding the Dutch national anthem. Mostly amongst the younger generation.

The overall conclusion was that they could only (sort of) sing along to 1 verse of the 15 official verses of the anthem and that was only because they watched the Dutch football team lose to Azerbaijan. The majority of those quizzed had a greater understanding of why Kim Kardashian posed naked in a tree last week than the origins of "their" Dutch national anthem. Now that is rather disturbing, especially for a down to earth nation like the Netherlands.

To bring you up to speed and within the space of one paragraph make you more knowledgable about Dutch history than approximately 8 million spotty, 6 foot 6 Kim Kardashian followers, the Dutch national anthem, Het Wilhelmus, was written by my namesake, Marnix van Sint-Aldegonde. He was a poet and close acquaintance of prince Willem circa 1572. Het Wilhelmus contains 15 verses and its origin lies within the Dutch rebellion and the dilemma of allegiance to both Spanish king on one side and on the other side his conscience which tells him to serve his God and the Dutch people. There you go. Feeling orange yet?

Now the survey came into existence after a Dutch parliamentarian demanded learning the national anthem be made compulsory at school. Although I can see that that might be going a bit too far, I do prescribe to the belief that today's younger generations could do with a generous helping of personal pride, practicality and discipline. Compulsory military service should be re-instated in my opinion. I'd bet my mortgage on Justin Bieballs (or is it Bieber?) being an entirely more bearable human being today had he gone through compulsory military service.

You ask 10 teenagers or even tweenagers today to a) sow a button back on their shirt b) fill in a passport application or c) drive somewhere without the use of satnav or google maps and I bet you 9 out of the 10 will look at you like you've just stepped out of a UFO and they will probably say something like "lol" or "what evs". At this point you are, in my opinion, entitled to hit them. More than once.

Unfortunately this is the way it is. A sense of instant entitlement and a general, ungrounded feeling that life owes them something is what exemplifies current society. I want to be able to get what I want and do what I want, right now, without having to get up and actually do anything for it. I want to be able to swipe left, or right, act like daddy big bollocks on social media and not accept any traditions or boundaries.

The reason we are in this shit hole of political correctness is because every opinions we have has become offensive, racist, sexist, misogynistic or all of the above, and everything and everyone needs to be tolerated, including criminals. Everyone is walking on eggshells and therefore nothing is actually getting done. It is very much like, and everyone will be able to relate to this, an argument that has morphed into an argument about the way you are arguing rather than about the actual differing opinions that started the argument in the first place. That basically sums up society nowadays. The knock-on of that is the Donald Trump effect. The pendulum is swinging the other way. The seesaw is wobbling.

So should the learning of the national anthem become compulsory at school? Yes, why not?
And bring back conscription. Make joining the Scouts compulsory for at least 2 years during the school years and introduce etiquette, personal grooming and presentation to the curriculum...


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