I have been in Copenhagen, Denmark the past few days on a business trip. I spent much of yesterday in southern Sweden, just a short train ride away. Scandinavia is a unique niche in the world. It is interesting in these countries because they do so many things the opposite of the US - yet the countries here get along just fine and have thrived economically. For example, income taxes on citizens in these countries are astronomical - 60% of the GDPs here go to government. Yet these countries remain very affluent and with little poverty. While I am a firm believer in limited government, it does make you realize that the end of free societies is not an immediate consequence of massive state intervention into the private sphere.
I asked a cab driver in Copenhagen what the income tax was like in Denmark. I ask the rate. He said 100%. I laughed and ask him again, and he repeated 100%. I said, no really is it 70% or so? He kind of agreed but it was clear he did not like the high taxes. He mentioned how diligent the tax collectors are. He opened his trunk and showed me a box for each of the last 5 years. He said that he must keep the receipts from every taxi ride client. This tax driver threw the f-word in regularly to show his dissatisfaction with it all.
But it would be misleading to think that people here don’t like their socialistic nanny state. If they really disliked it, then they would trim it back. But they like it. It is as if you had a country of all US liberal Democrats living in it (except for a few pissed off taxi cab drivers).
I have seen a lot of Muslims here. In the Fields mall in Copenhagen, I saw many Muslim women with head scarves. Most of the taxi cab drivers appear to be Muslim men. Many of these drivers don’t say a word to you and seem annoyed in general. But a few are friendly and talkative. The talkative ones keep bringing up Obama vs. Clinton and they want to know who will win. And they want to know what we think of Bush. When I mention that I’m from Texas, then they really want to know about Bush since he is from there.
Not only are taxes through the roof in Copenhagen, but things are really expensive. The airline misplaced my luggage for my first two days here. So I had to go the mall to buy some basics items. It was hard to pay $8 for toothpaste. And that was at some lame superstore of some kind. They need some Wal-Mart’s and Targets here!
My work associates and I went to dinner last night and I had a small steak and baked potato at a casual restaurant and it was $60. I skipped the small dinner salad because it was $15 extra. Gasoline is $10 per gallon. During a work meeting today, a native of Denmark told me that the very cheapest car is $20,000.
From the restaurant window in downtown Copenhagen I saw several different groups of Muslim girls with scarves walking about an amusement park area. None of the groups I saw were escorted by men. That is good news because this means that they are breaking from the customs of the more backward Muslim countries where men must always escort girls and women.
From the window I also saw two young lesbian women making out. I thought about the contrast, lesbian women uninhibited about making out up against a wall in public and Muslim girls going around with scarves and with loose clothes to hide their bodies. Denmark and Sweden are of course known for their liberal attitudes toward sex and social matters. This makes you wonder why so many Muslims are moving here.
As in the case of Muslim girls going around unescorted, I think that the Scandinavian countries can modernize Muslims who move here and bring backward values from the more backward Muslim countries. (Or at least their children will be changed.) But this is only if the Scandinavian counties don’t allow too many Muslims in. Denmark has wisely began limiting Muslim immigration, while Sweden is horrified that Denmark could do such as thing. (Again, think of a country made up of only US liberal Democrats. Think of the mental anguish in facing up to the need to take such a unmulticultural and non-PC action.)
But you can’t blame the citizens of Denmark for wanting to limit Muslim immigration. Consider this:
Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.
This rape problem is not a pretend problem. It in itself is reason enough to limit Muslim immigration. In Muslim countries it is extremely difficult to get convicted of rape. Women who go out alone, or are known to have had sex outside of marriage, are declared sluts and are fair game as targets of rape by many Muslim men. What sane Western society wants to import these values?
But all of these political matters are remote from my visit here. I am having a great time, I really like it here. Anyway, time to go eat dinner and drink a few beers on Friday night with my work pals.