A shorter version of this article was published by Newsmax.
A major immigration reform is afoot in Denmark. Yet, the mainstream media is rather reticent about it. That is not only because the story is an embarrassment to the consistently pushy narrative about “socialist” and “progressive” Denmark, but because the Danes make international news usually as an appendage to a larger story. Yet, there is much happening in this small Scandinavian nation that could be useful for the United States.
In the latest development, for example, Denmark’s prime shipping company Maersk begs “the international community” a.k.a. the U.S. to help out with the pirate problem in western Africa. Or we hear that, having registered an unusual death of a newly inoculated Covid patient, Copenhagen, along with other European capitals, rejects the AstraZeneca vaccine. We see reports about “Guys in Black” staging anti-Covid restrictions demonstrations in a couple of cities with mild violence and a few arrests. We learn about Denmark closing its border with Germany to contain the pandemic.
In raunchy news, we read about a cartoon of a naked guy, John Dillermand, on Danish TV. He pranks children with his penis, the world’s longest, apparently, and discusses its merits with them. Some parents have objected. However, the “Sex and Sumfund” NGO blessed the show; the leftist director claimed artistic freedom and assured us he got the idea from his own little children. Consequently, twenty installments of the cartoon are scheduled to air. It is progressive, indeed, but also pedophilic for sure.
Aside from that, there is usually nothing major that makes the Danes stand out. Of course, Denmark plays a certain role in a morality play that America’s left repeats as a mantra: how much better our Scandinavian allies are than us. But, usually, the morality play is based upon false premises and utter ignorance of Denmark and its Nordic neighbors.
For example, our illustrious Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has juxtaposed the minimum wage in the U.S. with that in Denmark: apples and oranges, of course. “Override the parliamentarian and raise the wage. [McDonald’s] workers in Denmark are paid $22/hr + 6 wks paid vacation. $15/hr is a deep compromise—a big one, considering the phase in.” But Denmark has no minimum wage; even if the fast-food workers made this much money, in Copenhagen, half of it would be deducted in taxes and, in addition, they would have to pay a 25% VAT (Value Added Tax) on EVERYTHING. No wonder the hamburgers they sell run about twice the price of a U.S. Big Mac.
American progressives should also learn that Denmark is quite pro-American. The Old Glory flies in Denmark on July 4th in numbers unsurpassed outside of the U.S. Pro-American sentiment was at its peak in the wake of 9/11. I remember a Danish pizzeria owner who refused to sell pizza to Muslims after the terrorist attack on our soil. He was fined, but he chose jail time for his stance.
At any rate, high prices and high taxes are a brand of Danish social engineering, where in a homogenous country of fewer than 6 million people, socialist politicians parasite on a free market economic system that bankrolls their progressive fantasies. Ocasio-Cortez would like to replicate it in the U.S., a country of 300 million with astonishing diversity. The shoe usually does not fit on a larger foot.
Not that there is no diversity in Denmark. When I first visited my family there almost 50 years ago, I was the swarthiest kid on the block in the capital’s suburb of Herlev. Now, in some places, I’m positively albino.
Denmark has generously taken in more than its due share of immigrants from the Third World, particularly the recent wave. You bet that the socialists and other leftists did the inviting without much social consulting. The progressives further set up “ghettos” for the newly arrived people.
The refugees congregated together, and, not surprisingly, mostly failed to assimilate. Some of that led to social pathologies.
I have heard more than a fair share of horror stories. Danish women were slapped on public transportation for failing to adhere to Islamic standards of decency, i.e., not wearing scarves. To avoid being pressured for sex by immigrant boys, a middle school girl had her grandfather walk her to school day in and out for two years. When I asked (by then a young adult) why her schoolmates had not helped her, she responded that the Danish boys were too busy with soccer and, besides, there were no grounds to interfere with anything since the school taught them relativism: all lifestyles were equal.
There are success stories, of course. I met an African twenty-something who felt Denmark was paradise after the hell of Minnesota’s inner city, where he first landed from the old country only to be preyed upon by drug dealers. He moved to Copenhagen, where he thrived.
Now, the minority socialist government of prime minister Mette Frederiksen wants more success stories like that. Pressured by public opinion and the populist and conservative opposition, the ruling Social Democrats want to reverse their own earlier social engineering experiments. They intend not just to eliminate immigrant ghettoes, but to remove the word “ghetto” itself from the nation’s political vocabulary.
The idea is to cap a permissible level of immigrants in a neighborhood to 30%. The rest must be dispersed elsewhere. Further, Denmark has just become the first European country to return Middle Eastern refugees home. There is no more civil war in Syria, so they should return. It is a very popular policy position. Those who remain behind are given four years to learn Danish or leave the country. The government introduced that requirement a year ago or so, to no great fanfare.
However, the Danes are serious. They are a calm people, not mellow, but, rather, deliberate. They have assimilated successive waves of immigrants: from the Dutch in the 18th century through the Polish “potato” migrants of the 19th century. And Denmark now hopes to make the newest arrivals Danish. First, they must learn the language; then, they must master the Danish ways. Assimilation is the key. Multiculturalism will not do. And Islamism is certainly out of the question.
That’s the Danish way, even among the socialists.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Washington, D.C., 26 March 2021