Bernie Sanders is a big fan of Denmark, referencing the socialist nation in a positive fashion in many of his stump speeches. One of the things he seems to like most about the country is their open, welcoming, non-judgemental attitude toward the rest of the world, as well as their generous social welfare programs which ensure that everyone is taken care of. He may want to take a fresh look at how that’s working out for them these days though, because the welcome mat is slowly but surely being withdrawn when it comes to the flood of Syrian and Iraqi immigrants.
Last December we looked at reports out of the Scandinavian country which indicated that Syrian and Iraqui refugees were having their valuables confiscated upon arrival to help pay for their care. Other restrictions on the new arrivals were being put in place as well, but now the Danes have turned their attention to their own citizens, punishing those who assist in bringing them into or through the country. The Washington Post shares one story this week describing the arrest of Lise Ramslog, a 70 year old grandmother who gave a ride to a couple of Syrian families trying to reach Sweden. She was charged with human trafficking.
The decision by authorities to prosecute Ramslog — and to charge hundreds of other Danish citizens with a similar crime — is to many here just the latest evidence of a society that, when faced with an unparalleled influx of migrants and refugees, has taken a nasty turn.
In that respect, Denmark has company: Across Europe, a once-tender embrace of those fleeing conflicts on the continent’s doorstep has evolved into an uncompromising rejection…
“We’re losing respect for the values upon which we built our country and our European Union,” said Andreas Kamm, secretary general of the Danish Refugee Council. “It’s becoming very hard to defend human rights.”
Denmark’s own Parliament is beginning to reflect the attitude of many of their citizens who recognize that their resources are being drained and their culture is becoming diluted because of the simple fact that there are limits as to how much of the farm you can give away. Peter Kofod Poulsen, a recently elected member of Parliament, explains the nuts and bolts of reality.
“This country is falling apart,” said Poulsen, who is slim, blond and self-assured. “We used to have a safe, monocultural society. Now our welfare state is under huge pressure.”
The notion that Denmark can’t adequately look out for its own if it is also giving sanctuary to asylum seekers has found wide appeal here. Anti-refugee positions once considered extreme are now embraced by a broad cross section of the country’s politicians.
Notice the growing use of the term monocultural society by Poulsen and others. Nationalism apparently isn’t such a dirty word in Denmark anymore. Each nation defines its own culture and values. These may vary wildly from country to country, but it’s the people who live in and support their own society who make those decisions. Charity is wonderful, but nobody is required to allow a complete revamp of their culture because of pressures from external forces. When you are a guest in a country, you are expected to make at least some effort to assimilate and adopt the ways of your hosts if you expect to stay. And productivity, to at least some extent, is a requirement as well because nobody can afford to feed the entire world.
Things are changing in Denmark and it’s not some sign of evil or a growing dark menace. Reality is simply setting in. Socialism is being put to a stress test and the cracks are beginning to show.