Many of these Muslim immigrants reside in government-controlled housing, an example of a government provision that Thamdrup would undoubtedly applaud. However, the Danish government's control over the housing is precisely what could allow them to execute their plans to forcibly relocate the Muslim inhabitants who live there. When the government says that something is mandatory, there is always an implied threat. Those who don’t go along with the plan face retribution of some sort; a fine, prison time, or, as the Danish government has the power to do, the denial of basic rights.
For example, parents who refuse to turn their infants, toddlers and children over to the state for 5+ hours a day will be denied welfare funds. How guaranteed are these other basic necessities Thamdrup points to? Is it so difficult to imagine that a denial of, say, healthcare could be enacted on nonconforming citizens?
Thamdrup pointed out that Danes routinely score high on the happiness index. They are, according to the most recent World Happiness Report, the second happiest country in the world. I have a hard time imagining, however, that Muslim immigrants living in Denmark lead very happy lives.
The examples I’ve provided of discrimination in Denmark are only a few. There is also the infamous burqa ban, and the government’s authorization of the police to seize all valuables from asylum seekers. Also, there's the Lindholm Island project — which is just as ominous as it sounds. It is a camp for denied asylum seekers on Lindholm Island, which is specifically designed to be inhospitable. Before being used to house asylum seekers, the island held research laboratories for infectious diseases. It seems the government views immigrants in similar terms.
“How,” you may ask, “is the government able to get away with all of this?”
Because they can.
Because somewhere along the line the Danish people decided they were willing to sacrifice their freedom for security and now, well, there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.
The inequality that we see within the borders of the United States pains me, as it should every other human being. Years of structural racism, crony capitalism and xenophobia have resulted in very real class differences in this country — especially for minority communities. But the answer to solving these problems is not greater government control of our lives.
It is improper to view these solutions as something with a straightforward and easy fix; they are far too complex to be solved simply, as the Danish fiasco has shown. Government provision of basic necessities may alleviate some of our problems in the short term but opens up the possibility of greater evil, of tyranny in the future.
My own approach to government has always been very simple: never give the government power you’d fear in the hands of someone you disagree with. For all the progressives out there I have a very simple question: do you really want your healthcare, your education, your income, all your basic necessities in the hands of Donald Trump?
It is fallacious to assume that those in power will always agree with you, much less that they will be noble, moral people. And an evil person with great power can achieve much more harm in a short period of time than a good person with great power can in even an extended period of time. Neither equality nor freedom can be guaranteed for all time so long as the government has the power to end either.
Alec Dent '19
Former opinion editor at The Daily Tar Heel