The age of petitions
During December, Denmark has been the place where our intellectual elite staged an offensive against the immigration policies that our current government, now elected with decent majorities twice in a row, is conducting. The thing finally starting it was the Mohammed drawings, and the medium was petitions signed by various groups.
First came a petition on December 15th in the leftwing paper Politiken, signed by 22 authors, that complained about the "tone" in the immigration debate. That was joined on 20. December by 251 members of the Danish Author Association, and two days later by 61 member of The Association of Danish Fiction Authors. (source, in Danish: Politiken).
Accompanying protests included 150 psykologists, 250 doctors and 200 priests, the latter trying under the headline "there still is no open space in the inn" to link the more restricted immigration policy we have had since 2001 to baby Jesus having to be born in a stable since there was no open space in any inn. They went on to collectively preach on that theme against the sitting democratically elected governments policy on Christmas Eve, which is traditionally the day with the biggest church attendance in Denmark.
Even 22 former ambassadors (most of whom hadnt been accredited to moslem countries, btw) were protesting over both the tone, and the fact that prime minister Fogh didnt want to meet with moslem ambassadors demanding he violate the Danish freedom of speech.
Then came Foghs statements in the traditional new years´speech, and the protestors revealed themselves to be less concerned with the "tone" than with party politics, trying to remove the Danish People´s Party from influence (source: Politiken, my translation):
When the prime minister sunday evening was looking into the camera and finished off his new years´ speech, he left behind 12 happy authors.
The authors - who three weeks ago directed a sharp criticism at the tone of the immigrant debate and against the imiigrant policy - were happy, that prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Liberals) in his new years´speech condemned "any utterance, act or statement, that tries to demonize groups of people based on their religion or ethnic background".
The prime ministers new years´ speech was also well received with approving nods with the groups of priests and doctors, who backed up the authors´criticism.
The spokesman of the authors, Stig Dalager, is "very satisfied":
"The prime minister had distanced himself clearly from any form of demonization of big groups based on their religion or ethnic background. Such a declaration has not been made before, and we see it as a first victory, since we were the first, who started the wave of criticism of the tone in the immigrant debate and the legislation about refugees and immigrants", says Stig Dalager ..
"Now we face the next step: If it really is so, that the prime minister distances himself from the tone and any form of demonization, then you have to question whether the government still can work with the Danish People´s Party".
When it came down to basics, the elite protesters didnt achieve anything, though. Quite the contrary: especially the priests´use of the pulpit for political purposes was strongly condemned (DPP politician and priest himself Jesper Langballe called the preaching priests "a flock of mooing cows"). The same happened in regard to their attempt to portray themselves as representing the majority of priests (200 is a small minority of the ab. 3500 priests in Denmark). The action was especially glaring since the Danish left wing normally condemns the US for religion intruding too often into politics.
The authors were also rediculed for their concern about the "tone" in the debate since some of those protesting arent exactly saints in that regard. Especially politicians of the Danish People´s Party have had to endure a lot. From the article "The age of petitions" in Weekend-avisen, dealing with the original 12 protesting authors:
..there are two names that flash in red in this collective concern for the tone of the debate: Carsten Jensen and Klaus Rifbjerg. ..
..Rifbjerg has described Pia Kjærsgaard (leader of the DPP - Henrik) like this: "Pia Kjærsgaard is, I suppose, still in the fertile age, just consider if she fucked a black guy and got a little chocolage pig as a bonus...They - the subhumans - want to take something from us, they want to take advantage of our kindness, our humanism and that is not all: they want to replace our empty churches with mosques stuffed to the roof, and they want to cut off Pia Kjærsgaards clitoris."
Apparently there are a lot of sexual visions in Rifbjergs head, because there are lots of examples: "And Søren Krarup (DPP politician and priest), a man that has so much energy could really get a Tamil lady going, something really life-affirming could result of that, not to think of Jesper Langballe (another DPP politician and priest) rolling around in the hay with a muslim."
One more: "I dont know the prime ministers´sexual preferences, and I dont give a rat´s ass, as to me he could be sleeping with the chickens. What I protest against is his almost erotic attraction to George W. Bush, because this is not just a question of a questionable submission, but a liaison dangereuse. It is a dangerous connection, not just because it is built on several handfuls of lies, but because it insists on its purity in the name of freedom and democracy."
At the same time, oppinion polls showed the protesting elite to be totally out of step with the general population (source: TV2):
A totally unlimited freedom of speech is more important than the consideration of religious or ethnic minorities.
That is the view of an overwhelming majority, a new oppinion poll by A&B Analyse shows.
A majority of 85% against barely 7% refuse to limit the freedom of speech to avoid offending minorities.
The majority is, as expected, larges with the Danish People´s Party, but even with parties like the Socialist People´s Party and the Radicals, less than 10 percent think that consideration of the feelings of minorities justifies limiting the freedom of speech.
There are also large majorities against that with the Unity List (communists - Henrik) and the Christian Democrats, though these are the only parties where supporters of limiting the freedom of speech reach into the double digits.
Lesson: dont listen to elite protestors.