Many of those policies were made as symbolic gestures and have little or no practical effect. Though, regrettably, the burqa ban led 22 people to be charged (not all convicted), and the police seized valuables from illegal asylum seekers ten times. The Lindholm Island Project has also been canceled.
That does not excuse any of the policies that were, admittedly, put in place to make Muslims feel unwelcome. But saying they live entirely different lives is an overstatement. The policies were a way to please the desperate voters that were convinced they were being invaded by asylum seekers, partially because of fake news. Sound familiar?
Many Western countries have seen the rise of right-wing, anti-immigrant populist parties in the last couple years. I don’t hold the entire political system in the U.S. responsible for the actions of Donald Trump, nor should the Danish system be liable to the actions of one party. The good news is that this year we voted out the government that introduced all of those discriminatory policies. I suggest that you do the same.
Some of the comments did focus on whether a social democratic system could work in the U.S. The main argument against it being that America is too diverse. I believe that this is a simplification of the issue, and also a bad excuse for not trying to do better. It is not necessarily homogeneity, but social cohesion that creates a society where people want to support each other. This is also exactly the reason why the Danish government forces immigrants to send their children to day care. We want to avoid parallel societies because it ruins the social cohesion in the country if we do not meet each other — without which the welfare state would not survive long.
I understand if you find my political comments annoying, because I am a foreigner. I know that I would if an American did the same in Denmark. Yet, sometimes it requires an outsider to see the flaws in your own system. I don’t have any political power in your country, however, I hope the people that do will choose to help the poorest. It is about time that someone did.
The United States of America is the most powerful country in the world and has achieved tremendous growth in the past decades, but it is still failing to convert that wealth into well-being for its people. While America is getting richer, it is also becoming more economically unequal. Improving the quality of the citizens' lives should be the ultimate target of public policies, instead of only focusing on growth.
A strong welfare state can improve everyone’s happiness, regardless of social class. So can pro-worker labor market regulations and strong labor unions. They are an important part of a social democracy, because strong unions have the power to set high wages and secure great benefits for all workers.
I believe it pays off to support each other and that the strongest shoulders should lift the heaviest burdens. That creates more welfare, more social security and more happiness. Contrary to what Dent argues, I believe that security is freedom. My future does not depend on how rich my family is, and I do not lose my home or health care if I am fired. I am free because the state makes it possible for me to be free from my social heritage.
Instead of the state or labor unions, it is the big businesses in the U.S. that are strong. Which is resulting in a society where workers have low wages, benefits that depend on the position and other inequities that favor the private companies.
The free market is not flawless. When a few companies have become so big that they can influence politicians on all levels of government and block any kind of competition through lobbying, it is not a free market anymore.
There are multiple examples of powerful companies dictating politics in the U.S.. A powerful state would never allow drug companies to make the population addicted to opioids. Furthermore, most Americans agree that stricter gun control laws are needed, but because the NRA is so powerful, those policies are not being implemented. Lastly, rich fossil fuel companies are preventing the investment in public transportation to save their profits.
While I agree with Dent that there will always be a possibility of greater evil and tyranny when it comes to the state, this is exactly why checks and balances are in place. They exist so someone like Donald Trump does not have the power to take away education or health care from the people he disagrees with. One person alone should not have that kind of power. Right now, companies that don't have the best interest of society in mind, and only care about profits, are the entities that do.
These companies profit off of the powerless state, which is hurting the American people. Let the government become stronger, and give power back to the powerless.