Brave New Denmark Revisited

Perception versus Reality.
By Philip Jones. May 2008


I recently viewed a `blog` by a person named Tim Ferris. The subject matter of said `blog` was  `Denmark the happiest country on Earth`.
I refute this assertion now as I did when ABC News ran the original story in January of 2007. Danes are not the happiest people on earth. Far from it, what they are is an indoctrinated and subdued society who for fifty or so years have been subjected to a social engineering programme which is to serve as one model for the European Federalist Superstate.
The Oxford English dictionary defines the elements of happiness as being, `pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentment, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction`.
The only element which in my view applies to the Danish national character is contentment. There is no arguing that Danes in the most part are content (although this is diminishing at pace due to the gradual deconstruction of their most Holy of Holies, the much vaunted Danish Welfare State). It is no wonder that they proclaim this contentment. They have been and are programmed to do so from cradle to grave, by a State controlled education system and mass media which tells them how much better they have it than anyone else, even when much of the current evidence is to the contrary. In fact even the word `content` is a little off the mark. Danes have a word which describes their condition perfectly, `Tryghed`. This in essence means an all embracing security. It is to a Dane everything, and in order to ensure this `Tryghed` is sustained`, they are prepared to accept having their lives micromanaged to the finest degree. A walk along any city street will burst anyone's preconceived illusions of Danish happiness.
The origins of this social experiment go way back to the 1920's, but for practical purposes, it was during the 1960's that the nexus of this aberration first raised it's head above water. Until relatively recently, Denmark, like Sweden (another country to which all of this if not more applies) had been comparatively isolated from the European mainstream. Therefore, the State was able to exercise a disproportionate degree of intellectual control over a population starved of any real outside influences. At the time, broadcasting in particular and the media in general were controlled by the education ministry. Together, these avenues of information have acted in concert to guide the population into a desired way of thinking and behaving.
To induce a nation into believing that it enjoys the happiest lot on earth is an elementary device to secure compliance with the State and hinder criticism. When covering news stories from abroad, Danish TV and radio appear more concerned in highlighting how superior the Danish way of life is, rather than giving a fair and balanced picture of how people in other lands live. The negatives of the other country are always accentuated, drawing `weighted` comparisons to the `advantages` of living in Denmark. The `Press` takes the same line. It is not only that the Dane is told that he has one of the highest standards of living in the world, and the best welfare system, but that he and all things Danish really are superior.
All this is done cynically to instil a sense of `contentment`, or rather `tryghed` in the population, thus generally averting many of the political tensions one finds in other Western `democracies`.
Danes are a decent people generally, and they do have a fairly high standard of living, and their social security is still above average, but standards are dropping, and being resident here, rather than a visitor, I am beginning to hear unaccustomed rumblings of discontent among the natives. However, in truth, the majority still delude themselves that they `har det godt` (have it good) and a state of mass denial is beginning to creep into Danish society.
In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley wrote, " The perfect Totalitarian State is one where the political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced because they love their servitude`.
Denmark has one of the highest rates of suicide on earth. The pressure to conform, whilst being of little hardship to the majority of Danes, can be of considerable strain to those of exceptional talent and individuality. In Denmark, again, as in the other Nordic countries, it is an interesting phenomenon that many of those who take this sad option are the extremely gifted and talented, and tragically, the very young. The eccentric and outsider in other Western countries can coexist easily with the more conformist of citizens. In many cases, as in the UK and US for example, such people have been much admired and celebrated. But in Denmark, there is no real accepted existence outside of the group. When a person feels his or herself to be different, the experienced loss of identity can cause the loss of any justification for existing. This helps explain the massive levels of alcoholism, drug addiction, prescribed anti depressants and suicides in a country who's people supposedly believe themselves the happiest on the planet.
In reality, the Danish concept of happiness is completely at odds with say that of a Canadian or American. The Dane wants only to be safe and secure, and is willing to be enclosed in a social welfare net and have the whole of his life dictated by the State.
As Roland Huntford writes regarding Sweden in `The New Totalitarians`;
"Whether the Swede is happy in his Utopia is a moot point. At least he is acquiescent, and has his compensations. Few would want to change their condition. Pioneers in the New Totalitarianism, the Swedes are a warning of what probably lies in store for the rest of us, unless we take care to resist control and centralisation".
For all practical purposes, there is little to choose politically or socially between any of the Nordic countries.
Recently in Denmark, the municipal authorities underwent extensive merging, further centralising public services and local political institutions. This huge restructuring was barely mentioned in the State sponsored press, except to inform the people how much better and more efficient everything would become. Of course, the exact opposite has been the experience of most.
Denmark along with every other member state of the EU is being `primed` ready for the inevitable imposition of the Federal Superstate in the near future. For now, Danes will remain happy, or rather content in their servitude. But I doubt that even they will be so accepting of a Central Dictatorship from Brussels.
Reporting from Denmark,
Philip Jones 2008

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