The Denmark Dilemma


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Jesse says:

    I’m pretty sure all this will lead too in the long run, even if it temporarily helps them, is the Danish Social Democrats losing pro-immigrant voters either to parties that are left-wing both on spending and immigration or “liberal” parties who are pro-immigration and neoliberal on spending, and not gaining any voters from anti-immigration voters since they have a party they can believe in, who’s still promising to keep the welfare state afloat for the “true Danes.”

    European social democratic parties will have to learn the same lesson that the Democratic Party is slowly learning – your base will desert you if you deny social justice for some in the process of creating economic justice for others.

    Ironically, if we had a parliamentary system, I think the GOP would the one who’d be in danger from an anti-immigrant, pro-welfare state for the right* people since that was basically Trump’s message, however truthful it has turned out to be.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jesse says:

      “liberal” parties who are pro-immigration and neoliberal on spending

      It seems to me that they their counterparts have already lost these votes to those people, and this is a political response to that.

      Also, I’m not sure “base will desert you” has the same currency over there than it does here, insofar as over there the number of (genuinely) undecided voters seems higher, making it less about turnout.

      The other thing is that this is the Social Democratic Party that won. Most others haven’t, and I don’t think it’s because they have abandoned social justice. This SD seems like it’s kind of the exception.

      Or put another way, I think a lot of prescription that are reasonable or wise for the Democratic Party don’t apply their European counterparts for various reasons.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse says:

      “liberal” parties who are pro-immigration and neoliberal on spending

      Why the quotes? That’s textbook liberalism.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Some disjointed thoughts:

    Jesse is right that this going to end up the Social Democrats more than it is helping them. The Democratic Party tried to do a tough but fair stance on immigration when the Republicans started to bring up undocumented aliens as a political issue. Regardless of the justice of the merits on tough but fair, it did not help the Democratic Party politically because there is no constituency fo it. The anti-immigration faction wanted no immigration faction and the part of the electorate that is pro-immigrant did not really like the tough spot. Especially when it became clear that the Republicans would never ever vote for another amnesty. DSD strategy is not one with much of a constituency regardless of its’ substantive merits. The anti-immigrant Danes don’t want more controlled immigration. They want no immigration. The pro-immigrant Danes are going to look for an actual pro-immigrant party sooner than latter.

    Denmark’s attempts to prevent immigrants from building ethnic communities seems like a weird reverse bussing situation. Bussing did not work in the United States because white parents ultimately did not want African-American children sent into their suburban school districts in significant numbers. Its the majority that opposed real actual integration for the most part in the United States. In Denmark, the immigrants seem to want to remain among themselves and the majority wants them either not to be there or better integrated. I’m not sure you can force integration under these circumstances either.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Yeah I’m not 100% sure what the SD’s coalition in Denmark looks like, but this does not seem like a place where half-measures are going to work. Especially when those half-measures are accompanied by a creepily authoritarian program of social engineering.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    They don’t mind having a robust welfare state and they are big supporters of immigration but they see a bunch of things vaguely related to assimilation to be prerequisites of being in the society.

    It’s going to get worse.

    It’s going to get a *LOT* worse.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Asked out of ignorance, is refugee status a permanent thing? If peace were to break out in Syria tomorrow, would the Danes tell the Syrian refugees that they were now expected to return home to help rebuild their country? Or is it a permanent immigration thing, ie, they’re legal permanent residents even if the conditions which caused them to get refugee status no longer apply? I don’t even know how it works in the US. If all of the drug cartel violence in Honduras ended tomorrow, would we be rounding people up and telling them, “Time for you and your kids to go home.”?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The answer is that it is complicated. I do not know about Danish law but under American law, asylum status could theoretically be revoked for a variety of reasons. One of these is that country conditions have change and the alien no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution before the alien adjusts to LPR status. While this is possible, it is also unlikely because it would require a lot of work on behalf of the United States government. They would have to monitor country conditions, write a MTR, submit it to the Court, and give the alien time to respond, etc. Revoking LPR status after it has been granted is even more work.

      The changed country conditions usually comes up before asylum is granted. The government may try to argue that asylum should not be granted because country conditions have changed. They usually do not because country conditions take a long time to change and it is high standard. Its more than just a change of government. You need to really show things are different.Report

  5. Avatar James K says:

    As I noted in my discussion of New Zealand’s election last year, our main left party differentiated itself from the right by campaigning on lowering immigration.

    Left and right are fluid concepts, there is no reason why the left would be inherently pro-immigration or the right inherently anti-immigration.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K says:

      New Zealand seems relatively unique in that regard. More often than not hostility to immigration is a rightist value because the right tends to favor homogeneity over diversity and a more local as opposed to global outlook.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I don’t necessarily disagree that hostility to immigration is more common to the right, but what would probably be described as the American Left, from about 1880 to 1914, had large chunks of anti-immigration as part of its anti-monopolist ideology. This was most apparent in worker’s parties in California that pressed for Chinese exclusion, as it was in the early writings of Eugene Debs about how immigrants are the means by which the monopolists devalue labor.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

          Its debatable about whether the anti-immigrant forces in California and West were Left in any meaningful sense of the term. They really didn’t argue for anything besides the exclusion of immigrants and quickly folded up as an organization after the Federal government gave them what they wanted.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I think the Knights of Labor were effective in getting Chinese exclusion because labor organization was not firmly ensconced in either party and the Knights were in a position to swing Western states either way. So, Eastern Ds and Rs were compelled to support the legislation to be nationally successful, and such support didn’t implicate any local concerns that would impose any cost for their support.

            I don’t think it’s fair to characterize them as one-trick ponies, because on other important issues, like regulating railroad monopolies, they were stymied by the SCOTUS and by the need to forge alliances with other groups that were made difficult by the identity politics of the time.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw says:

          One of the interesting turns in the Turtledove Southern Victory series is how immigration was a big part of the black genocide. The black folks thought what would ultimately save them is that they did jobs that the whites wouldn’t do (and with WW2 there were too few white men around anyway). When Mexicans started showing up, the writing was on the wall.

          (Not making a political point here. It’s just something that stuck with me.)Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The immigration issue is almost always buried under a lot of bad faith and proxy discussions. Sounds like It is no different in Europe than here.

    Is the real desire to preserve the welfare state, or keep out ethnic groups who are undesirable?

    If the starting point is “I don’t like those people, Sam-I-Am“, then it doesn’t matter if we have immigrants on a train, or in a plane, if we have them here or if we have them there, if they pray like this or pray like that.

    The bit about preserving the welfare state by reducing immigration is especially insane when applied to America, where we have an aging white population and an influx of Mexicans eager to work hard and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      This doesn’t seem to be about either not liking immigrants nor wanting to preserve the welfare state but The State saying “you have to assimilate into our culture”.

      From the article itself:

      The proposed measures, reported in Monday’s New York Times, are draconian. From the age of one, children living in one of 30 government-defined “ghettoes” would have to spend at least 25 hours a week away from their families—naps excluded—in government preschools to receive mandatory exposure to “Danish values,” or their families may have welfare benefits stopped.

      I added the emphasis.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        A welfare state simply cannot afford anything other than a restrictive immigration policy if welfare arrangements are to remain at a reasonable level.

        “So therefore you have to adopt our culture”

        Which is an example of the bad faith proxy battle I mention.
        So a family that successfully becomes “Danish” but refuses to work is OK, but a family that is Muslim and works like hell is not?

        It doesn’t sound like the ostensible reason given is the real impetus behind this change.
        Which means any conversation about it on face value terms is going to go in circles because it never touches on what’s really going on.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          So a family that successfully becomes “Danish” but refuses to work is OK, but a family that is Muslim and works like hell is not?

          Is it not possible to be both “Danish” and “Muslim”?

          If it’s not, what does that mean about Danish obligations to Muslims?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I think its a little different when a country has a long history of homogeneity or at least relative homogeneity. The new world countries have never been homogeneous. Neither have larger Asian polities like China or India. They always contained multitudes of different peoples, customs, and religions. Small to medium seizrd countries have long history of homogeneity though. There are always going to be culture shocks when that happens.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Entirely unrelated except for “Danish”, a Danish man in the US on an expired visa has been charged with 141 counts of felony arson for starting the Spring Creek fire in Colorado. The fire has burned >107,000 acres (43,300 hectares, 167 sq miles, 7.3 Manhattans) so far. ICE has issued an immigration detainer.Report