MENU

Photo: Antonio Calanni/AP Photo

The Danes say they are happy, but are they really masking a profound inferiority complex?

This story originally appeared in The Lowdown, ABP’s weekly roundup of news, culture, holy-shit awesomeness, event updates & exclusive offers delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to subscribe.

◊◊◊

Thanks to the U.S. obsession with “achieving happiness” and the resulting cottage industry of articles on joy and well-being research, most of us are aware that worldwide surveys peg the Danish as the happiest people on Earth.

Well, the melatonin-challenged northerners who never learned how to make a proper sandwich may be happy, but they can also be spiteful, pretentious asses too.

Island of Misfit Immigrants: Denmark’s government has announced a plan to forcefully relocate unwanted refugees to a remote island, where they will be compelled to live on the margins of society. Immigrants with a criminal record and those who have been denied asylum but cannot be returned to their home countries will be housed on Lindholm Island, an isle in the Baltic Sea with laboratories, stables, a crematory and infrequent ferry service.

“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said recently that the government wants to prevent refugees the country receives from assimilating, because “it’s not easy to ask families to go home if they’ve actually settled.”

Different rules for different people: Earlier this year Denmark passed a series of new laws pertaining to low-income neighborhoods with large Muslim populations, officially dubbed “ghettos.” Parents will have their “ghetto children” taken away for 25 hours per week starting at age 1 for instruction in Danish values, including Christian holidays and traditions, and parents who refuse to comply will lose government benefits. Other new laws under consideration would implement harsher penalties for crimes committed inside the “ghettos,” where many immigrants are placed by the government.

For years the Danish government has worked to make life as uncomfortable as possible for refugees and asylum seekers, especially those with a criminal history, who are not allowed to work, in hopes they will choose to leave. Many cannot be deported because their home countries are unsafe or refuse to accept them. Now, instead of opening up opportunities which could lead to greater integration and a smaller burden on government services, Denmark will spend $115 million to build facilities for their new island of immigrant outcasts.

Sure sounds like a happy, self-secure society to us. 🙄