DUTCH REJECT DEBAUCHERY AND "ANYTHING GOES" CULTURE
"People in high political circles are saying it can't be good to have a society so liberal that everything is allowed," said Kranendonk, editor of Reformist Daily and an increasingly influential voice that resonates in the shifting mainstream of Dutch public opinion.
"People are saying we should have values; people are asking for more and more rules in society."
In cities across the Netherlands, mayors and town councils are closing down shops where marijuana is sold, rolled, and smoked. Municipalities are shuttering the brothels where prostitutes have been allowed to ply their trade legally. Parliament is considering a ban on the sale of hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms."
Orthodox Christian members of Parliament have introduced a bill that would allow civil officials with moral objections to refuse to perform gay marriages. And Dutch authorities are trying to curtail the activities of an abortion-rights group that assists women in neighboring countries where abortions are illegal.
The effort to rein in the famed social liberties of the Netherlands is not limited to the small, newly empowered Christian Union party, which holds two of the 16 ministries in the coalition government formed this year.
Increasingly, politicians from the more center-left Labor Party are among the most outspoken proponents of closing some brothels and marijuana shops, known here as coffee shops.
"Has the Netherlands changed? Yes," said Frank de Wolf, a Labor Party member of the Amsterdam City Council.
"There is not only a different mood among our people and politicians, but there are different problems now."
"In the past, we looked at legal prostitution as a women's liberation issue; now it's looked at as exploitation of women and should be stopped," said de Wolf, sitting in the offices of the medical complex where he works as an AIDS researcher.
And de Wolf said he is fed up with the planeloads of British thrill-seekers who take cheap flights to Amsterdam each Friday evening for weekend binges of sex, drugs, and alcohol in his city's red-light district, where scantily clad prostitutes stand behind plate-glass windows beckoning to potential customers.
"Amsterdam has a reputation that you can do everything here," de Wolf said.
"That's not the way I want people to look at Amsterdam."
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