The cost of power in Denmark: A little bit of dignity, a lack of moral conscience and a few thousand immigrants
A friend of mine recently asked me to edit an article she's is hoping to have published that details the sad state of affairs resulting from Denmark's current immigration policies. This inspired me to comment on the situation, as I have a few times in the past on this blog. I try not to get too political here, or at least not too often, but once in a while it is necessary for my own sanity. I should also add that I do believe that these policies I'm complaining about will change before too long. It can't happen soon enough.
To be perfectly clear about my views on Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, I'm not all that fond of him, to put it mildly.
please Danish voters, no more of
this guy after the next election
Yes, he's done some good things during his time in office such as supporting EU expansion, keeping the Danish economy generally purring and supporting green energy policies (to be explored further in an upcoming article). However, when it comes to the fundamentals - like implementing policies that ensure as many humans as possible are treated with the respect and dignity every one of us deserves - he's a complete and utter failure.
I'm singling out a couple of policies of his government, above all others: his support of the U.S. in Iraq from the start (and his continuing gutless lack of criticism of the situation there at present, discussed previously in this article), along with the highly xenophobic immigration policies (as noted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, among others) that have become a sad reality in Denmark over the past years.
The reasons for his actions in the area of immigration are quite simple: he needs the support of the highly xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti (who garnered 13% of the popular vote last election) to stay in power, otherwise his government likely falls. The consequence is a rash of policies designed to appease these xenophobes (and the Dansk Folkeparti, understanding that this is as close to office as they are ever likely to come, shrewdly continue to cooperate by taking whatever they can get).
For the simple cost of a large chunk of his soul, Rasmussen has maintained his grip on power. Sadly, too many Danish voters have went along with him.
Yes, Danish voters actually voted him in again for a second term, opting to cover their eyes, ears and nose to the unsightly stench that are the highly undesirable effects that these policies have been having on people - real people. Human beings.
When you live in a largely insulated little bubble, as Denmark is, with it's highly developed (and tuition-free) education system, high salaries and cradle-to-grave social support system, it's easy to pretend that on a grander level it's irrelevant whether the policies of the government of your country just might be having perverse effects on real people just outside of your own limited line of vision.
It is also easy to not think about whether they reflect how you would want to be treated, if they were policies that directly affected your life. I believe that's called following the 'Golden Rule'.
And nobody in their right mind would want to be treated the way Denmark treats it's potential immigrants and asylum seekers.
Denmark, as a small country with a small population, certainly can't solve the problems of the world simply by taking in every potential refugee there is. Fortunately, relatively few of these potential immigrants ever get the idea to come to Denmark, and even fewer actually try. And the ones that do are generally quite energetic, determined and more than willing to do whatever is necessary to make a life for themselves here and contribute meaningfully to society.
So it isn't that big of an issue. Or it shouldn't be.
What's more, the fact the Danish language skills of the average immigrant are limited tends to prevent them from immediately 'stealing' those really desirable jobs away from Danes - as one of the typical arguments made by those against allowing in more immigrants goes. Rather, they tend to end up doing the jobs most Danes don't really want anyway.
What are some of the effects of these policies?
Apparently since 2001, the number of as refugees accepted into Denmark has dropped 95%. About 1% of claimants from Iraq are accepted these days. You can thank the influence of the xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti for that, and it's an accomplishment they are quite proud of, thank you very much.
There are a serious problems with the immigration process as it stands currently.
Potential immigrants and asylum seekers are not allowed to work while their application is pending - a process that often takes years. This is ridiculous and unnecessary, forcing these immigrants to rely on the meagre handouts they receive from the state, while their minds and bodies languish. If countries like Sweden and the Netherlands can let applicants work (and they do), there is no reason Denmark can't as well. Such treatment falls well below the threshold of the 'Golden Rule' - a more meaningful threshold then any law can ever prescribe or explicate.
It is a sad state of affairs to hear about the holding tank at Sandholm, where many of Denmark refugee claimants are housed, stuck in a state of inhuman limbo while their application and various appeals are pending.
Danish citizens seem to understand, a recent survey suggested that almost 97% of Danes believe that Iraqi waiting for there claims to be precesses should be allowed to work while they wait, and almost 88% believed they should be able to pursue an education. Unfortunately, only 25% believed they should be offered a full residence permit. So what is the government, lead by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, waiting for?
There are other areas of policy that hit closer to home for a lot of people and their families.
Thanks to recent changes to immigration policy, any Dane under the age of 24 who marries a foreigner is not considered to be mature enough to enter into such a decision - and so they kindly asked not to apply to bring their spouse back to Denmark on this basis. I would be unable to look myself in the mirror every morning if I was responsible for such tripe and the effects it has on real people and real families with real lives and real emotions.
No person in Denmark can claim to have done more to keep families and loved-ones apart in the past few years than Anders Fogh Rasmussen can.
Priority for voters should be clear: if there is one thing that stands above all else in life, it is the necessity to ensure people are treated with dignity and respect, and to respect and help those who desire to be together with loved ones and families. When government creates policy that does the opposite, it is bad policy and the citizen's in such countries should vote them out of office immediately - regardless of whatever else they may have been doing as a government. It's that simple.
Too many Danish voters have sadly abdicated this particular set of responsibilities.
The necessity of taking this responsibility is best highlighted by planing a simple mental exercise: how would the world look if every government around the world moved in precisely the same radical and xenophobic direction as Denmark over the last years? It would not be pretty.
Of course, a simple look into Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s eyes tells you he knows full well that the remaining shreds of moral consciousness he may have possessed were sold off long ago for a few extra years in office, human dignity be damned.