At the risk of evincing intolerance, this column, posted recently in the New York Times, explains why I often get so exasperated with the left and why I fully understand the roots of Trumpkinism in Middle America.
There is a term in political science – “getting to Denmark” – that underscores Denmark’s standing as one of the world’s most tolerant, open and successful societies. It is not only one of the most tolerant societies in the world, but also, by many accounts, the most successful former colonial power – just ask most Greenlanders.
Like many other Western European nations, Denmark has graciously offered refuge to people from one of the most intolerant, closed and misogynistic regions of the globe. Some Danes are openly expressing concerns that the large number of newcomers and their profound unfamiliarity with open, democratic values present a long-term threat to the very qualities that distinguish Denmark from most of the rest of the world.
This leads me to wonder: Why is this being treated as some sort of pathology by so many in the West? Don’t misunderstand me: Rank expressions of racism reported in this column are wrong and should be roundly condemned by all decent Danes. On the other hand, doesn’t every society, even Western ones, have the right to defend the underlying values of their culture? Aren’t they entitled to express concerns when the most basic norms and mores underlying the free institutions of their culture appear to be threatened?
I challenge all my friends to read the compelling life story of one of the most eloquent and committed defenders of the West – Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Reading her account of how life truly began for her after her exposure to tolerant, open Dutch society instills one with a real appreciation for what we have achieved in the West.
Predictably, even she has been subjected to the usual hectoring by the left. We increasingly seem to be living in an Alice and Wonderland society. Somewhere along the way toward “getting to Denmark,” much of the West has come to regard the act of defending the underlying values of open, democratic society as an act of intolerance.