Rethinking the Danes

Dear M-,

You'll notice the only time you hear about the Danes is when some sweater-vested latte-sipper wants to remind you that they're happy.  Why are they happy?  Because, according to said genius, they happen to be democratic-socialists.

I insist this theory is false.  Aside from the fact that the Danes are currently voting away from said socialism, and cutting their taxes, and whittling away at many of their welfare programs, I point to one particular reason the Danes are happy, and that is they're almost completely irresponsible.

Did they have colonies anywhere?  Yes -- a few old forts they sold to the English in what is now a measly patch in Ghana; Greenland, which no brown person ever wanted and thus never really disputed; a couple of Islands in the Indies which they wisely sold the US in 1917; and a few colonies at Tranquebar, Serampore, and the Nicobar Islands, all of which nobody has ever heard of, and which the Danes have since yielded or sold to some other declining imperial power.  Thus, lo and behold -- they have no White Guilt, the quintessential bugbear of the average Western citizen.

Where can a Danish history be found?  We hear of the Vikings, of course; but beyond this nobody is reading about Danes because the Danes never actually did anything.  What did they do during World War 2?  Turns out they were occupied, and that their total military losses amounted to somewhere around 2,000 people*.  Where were they during the Cold War?  Eating lutefisk or some other rotten animal while the Allies did all the hard work.  What have the Danes offered the world?  Maersk and Legos (yay!) and Kierkegaard (yawn!).  A Google search will prove they have tolerably good-looking women -- not quite the English or the French or the Dutch, but tolerably good-looking.  For this we give them a few points and thank them.

Aside from living on a strategic location, on the world scene the Danes are almost as insignificant as the Uzbeks; but unlike the Uzbeks, today's Danes are surrounded by people, excluding yesterday's Germans, who won't brutalize, conquer, or forcefully convert them.  Not can't, but won't.  Thus Danes have all the fun and none of the work.  Are they worried about becoming the second most powerful economy instead of the first?  No -- this privilege of a conscious decline we leave to the Americans.  Are they interested in becoming the first instead of the second?  We leave this stimulant to the Chinese.  All Europe has an immigration problem but the Danes are largely unable to fix it -- they leave this to the budding nationalists in Austria and Italy.  They have no arms race and thus no arms budget worth talking about.  They aren't worried about the drug cartels in Mexico because they live nowhere near anything as horrible as Mexico.  What about an increasingly belligerent Russia?  Even with Putin threatening trouble, Nato's bills are footed mostly by The United States of America.

In addition to these significant facts I add that being a Dane means you compromise far less on serious issues than an American, because Danish people don't have too many people to compromise with, and the population is overwhelmingly homogeneous.  Denmark is far smaller than even Arkansas, has no California to ruin all its fun, and decides for itself whether it wants to have socialized medicine, mandatory paid leave, or abortion**.  A small republic (which Denmark effectively is), supposing it isn't in danger of invasion or filled with actual socialists, is generally a happier republic.  You lose power abroad but your voice gets much louder at home.

In short this peaceable and almost totally insignificant people has had their sphere of efficacy restrained almost to their front doors, and have thus been able to think primarily about what's for dinner, how their short work week went, or who they want to have sex with.  The Heritage Foundation says their property rights are more secure than an American's, and when they get someone pregnant they get a "free" vacation.  Of course they're happy.  I say this with a tinge of jealousy: they are the world's children.

Your father,

PS: There are two giant flaws in this article, and the first is that just because you aren't responsible for the world doesn't mean you aren't terrified by it.  Second in my list of objections is the supreme adaptability of the human mind to its environment.  If you don't have to worry about the big issues you'll begin to worry about the small ones.  If you aren't so worried about the Germans you'll be worried about the other Danes.  Maybe you've gotten out of national politics -- you'll soon begin to worry about local politics; and if you avoid even these, you'll begin to worry about family politics.  The mind is so structured that it's always in search of a discomfort; and if we aren't being stressed by the big pains we'll begin to be stressed by the little ones.  A man who's never had the flu thinks much more of a cold.
Not so bad

We oftentimes hear that the Millennials are weaker than the so-called Greatest Generation.  We can blame this on the so-called Greatest Generation.  They went through The Depression and we didn't.  They won the war and we didn't have to fight one.  We squabble about the stupid things because they warred and suffered about the great ones.  Pain alone turns a boy into a man.  They were born into greatness because they were born into struggle.  We were born into weakness because we were born into comfort.

*So far from slighting these 2,000 war dead I intend to honor them.  The fact that the Danes made any effort at all to stop anything as horrible, dangerous, and overwhelming as the Nazis proves that these men had guts.  Aside from these war casualties, about five hundered of them, probably political leaders, generals, writers, and people who refused to bend over in general, died in concentration camps; and this proves to me that even if it was prudent to just let the Germans in instead of fighting an unwinnable fight, some Danes realized they were too free and too good to put up with life under socialism.  Thus I save all my insults for the larger Allied powers -- people who had the means to fight, and, until they were cornered, none of the balls.  Denmark was never in a position to deal with the Nazis, and this made every death of theirs romantic.  But what are we to think of pre-war pro-Hitler England?

**The fact is they do have all the programs of a welfare state, and alongside these programs 28.5% less personal income than the average American.  Somehow, despite these programs, they have an even weaker birth rate than we do (almost 25% less), and also, despite this enormous safety net, die half a year earlier.  Denmark isn't only insignificant and stagnant -- it's dying.  They can't even get blondes pregnant despite the impossibility of starvation and universal access to their hospitals.  I called them the world's children, but this is only in relation to their so-called happiness.  In all other signs of vitality they are the worst of the world's invalids.

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