European Union

Fogh More Years

|

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, author of the libertarian tract From Welfare State to Minimal State, was reelected to a third straight term as Denmark's prime minister, which will be the longest consecutive run of a center-right government in modern Danish history. It appears that Naser Khader, the Syrian-born leader of the New Alliance party, who bravely defended the rights of Jyllands-Posten to offend radical Muslims, will likely support the ruling coalition, which includes Rasmussen's Liberal Party (Venstre), the Conservatives and the anti-immigration Danish People's Party. It's a somewhat disappointing showing for Khader's new party—the New Alliance managed five seats in parliament, significantly lower than previous poll predictions—who campaigned a pro-immigration, tax-cutting platform (Khader proposed lowering the top income tax from 63 percent to 40 percent). In the first election since the "cartoon crisis," Pia Kjærsgaard's anti-immigration, pro-welfare state Danish People's Party increased their representation in Parliament by a single seat, garnering 13.8 percent of the vote, the party's highest total since its 1998 electoral debut.

The Economist leads today with a story on Denmark, playing up the immigration and Danish People's Party angle (headline: "Fear of Foreigners"), but conceded that "in the end…Danes are more concerned about welfare than immigrants, although the two issues are often mixed in voters' minds." But Europe as a whole, The Economist argues, is experiencing a wave of xenophobia unprecedented in the post-war period:

Where xenophobic parties are not flourishing it is sometimes because centre-right parties-and even some others-have taken up their themes. Nicolas Sarkozy, who won the presidency of France earlier in the year, imitated the policies of the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen over law-and-order and immigration. He also promised to oppose Turkish membership of the EU. A block on further EU enlargement may be one consequence Europe's worries about foreigners.

Back in Denmark, Mr Rasmussen's razor-thin majority may be more or less dependent on the DPP. Denmark has a consensus-based tradition, so he may have the option of fishing for votes among a left-wing party instead, and from Mr Khader's small party. In any case Mr Rasmussen may be thinking of moving on soon, perhaps to a European post. Given the prevailing anxiety about foreigners in the midst, he would find familiar themes of xenophobia to occupy his time, whether in Brussels or in Copenhagen.

For those who speak a Scandinavian language, I made a similar case when interviewed by the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen last week, which can be read here.

NEXT: We Don't Need No P2P

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But Europe as a whole, The Economist argues, is experiencing a wave of xenophobia unprecedented in the post-war period…

    Someone is forgetting the late 70s and early 80s.

    On Europe and immigration you may wish to read this. The article is in French.

  2. It is a disappointment regarding Khader’s NAP, but probably not a bad start.

  3. Thank you, Michael!

    During the coverage (seen at DR.DK), Pia K. was asked about Khader and she put on her megabitch act, including saying that he had to climb out of his tree and join the others (not sure if that’s a reference to something in the political sphere or Pia being Pia).

    and, as you probably know, she’s letting V and K do the groundwork right now…

    and thank you for posting your Weekendavisen article!

  4. Michael,

    Regarding From Welfare State to Minimal State, I did a Google search and there does not seem to be an English version. Are you aware of any? Since it is just a “tract”, would one have any hope for a free on-line version 😉 ?

  5. One thing of interest from the above cited article is this:

    Qu’elle soit familiale ou de travail, l’immigration choisie, sans toujours l’avouer, est l’option d?sormais privil?gi?e. De Paris ? Londres, de Madrid ? Berlin.

  6. iih,
    Khader is off to a good start, so I am optimistically staying tuned. As for AFR’s book, I quoted the title from memory. It should translate to “From SOCIAL State to Minimal State,” though I’m not sure it has been translated. I’ll have a look around and see…

    VM: No problem. The article was behind a subscription wall, hence the Google Cache version.

    mm

  7. Where’s TLB? He’s normally all over H&R entries like these by now.

  8. Thanks Michael. I will stay tuned regarding the tact.

  9. MM: check out David Karsb?l’s site Liberator

    During Khader’s speech, he had his mom come up on stage, during which they did a split screen to show Pia’s reaction. Priceless.

    Asharak – we distracted him by making him say r?d gr?d med fl?de ten times, so he’ll be detained for a bit 🙂

  10. Syloson:

    One thing of interest from the above cited article is this:

    Qu’elle soit familiale ou de travail, l’immigration choisie, sans toujours l’avouer, est l’option d?sormais privil?gi?e. De Paris ? Londres, de Madrid ? Berlin.

    Ce n’est pas juste. Traduisez s’il vous plait pour les autres.

  11. Ce n’est pas juste. Traduisez s’il vous plait pour les autres.

    Whether family or work, immigration chosen not always admit, is the preferred option now. From Paris to London, from Madrid to Berlin.

  12. During Khader’s speech, he had his mom come up on stage, during which they did a split screen to show Pia’s reaction. Priceless.

    I’d pay 10 ounces of gold to see her reaction.

  13. Syloson:

    Je suis paresseux. 😉

    Oui, Monsieur, je suis d’accord. 😉

    MikeP, Syloson:

    Reason.com en fran?ais? Quelle r?volution authentique!

  14. iih,

    *LOL*

    Aux armes citoyens!

  15. iih,

    Nope, never heard of it. I’ll give it a spin. I can say that the articles on Epicurus are of immediate interest to me.

  16. Aux armes citoyens!

    Pacifiquement, bien s?r!

    Est ce que vous ?tes fran?ais ou canadien? J’ai ?tudi? la langue fran?aise pour cinq ans quand j’?tais jeune, et pour une ann?e ? l’universit?. J’habite partiellement au Qu?bec.

    OK, we have to stop this now.

  17. Hmmm… interesting:

    To me, Epicureanism is the closest thing to a libertarian philosophy that you can find in Antiquity. Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, were all statists to various degrees. Epicurus focused on the individual search for happiness, counselled not to get involved in politics because of the personal trouble it brings, and thought that politics was irrelevant.

    This will certainly send any support for Ron Paul (or any other libertarian politician) down the drain. But very interesting indeed. Thanks for the article (which was on quebecoislibre!)

  18. Where’d all the French come from? I thought we had this place sprayed!

  19. Where’d all the French come from? I thought we had this place sprayed!

    Blame Syloson.

  20. We had this place spayed?

  21. So is Rasmussen a libertarian? And if so, does “libertarian” mean the same thing in Denmark that it does here? After all, Europrogs keep telling us that US liberals are far to the right of Europe, so maybe a European libertarian would still be to the left of Hillary.

  22. Moynihan’s article gives the incorrect impression that Anders Fogh is a libertarian. Although “From Social State to Minimal State” is a libertarian book, Anders Fogh has since moved center, explicitly denying the views of his book.

    His party is responsible for soaring government spending, and has steadfastly refused to lower the high marginal taxes or reform Denmark’s generous welfare state.

    Mikkel Kruse,
    Copenhagen, Denmark

  23. Mikkel – true – do you go to Liberator.dk?

    (but there never has been a real liberal party in Denmark, anyways. And since most are pledged to the nonliberal EU, there’s probably no hope.

    but the main problem with Danish politics: Venstre – h?jre parti. Radikale Venstre – hverken Radikale eller Venstre. Fremdskridts Partiet g?r tilbage… it’s all too confusing (too bad FP no longer exists)

    🙂

    mvh,
    Viking Moose
    Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Chicago, IL

  24. Hi Viking,

    I post on the Liberator forum every now and then.

    That the political spectrum in Europe is slanted to the left is correct. But Anders Fogh isn’t even libertarian-minded by European standards!

    And you’re right: I would trade the Forward Party for DPP any day of the week – same anti-immigration, but with a wonderfully anarchistic approach to taxes.

  25. have a great evening!

  26. d’oh –

    somehow got left out:

    “But Anders Fogh isn’t even libertarian-minded by European standards!”

    tell that to the VU lap dogs 🙂

    (I knew Bertel Haarder socially, and to listen to him, you’d think Venstre was the top of the Liberal pile, anywhere!)

    NOW: have a great evening.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.