I’ve only got time for a quick post, but I thought it would be nice on this rainy and windswept day to pass on the news that the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) yesterday voted – by a majority of 85:24 – to approve laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.
This vote – and particularly the size of the majority – is yet more evidence that there’s something splendid in the state of Denmark. Danes have a much stronger commitment to real equality than can be found in most countries including, sadly, my own. While our politicians utter meaningless platitudes and offer feeble compromises, the Danes just get on and do the right thing. Can it be a coincidence that Denmark is the happiest country in the world?
I have visited Denmark on many occasions but I’m by no means an expert on Danish culture. I do wonder, therefore, how the progressive social agenda relates to the concept of Janteloven developed in a famous pre-War novel by Aksel Sademose to describe a type of social behaviour Denmark which is, on the one hand, strictly egalitarian but also, on the other, rigidly conformist. This “you’re no better than me” attitude has clearly found its way into many aspects of modern Danish life. I found an interesting blog article about Janteloven, for example, which says:
It stresses cooperation above competition, and it can be a relief from that persistent, capitalistic pressure to always excel, all the time. It requires respect for all, not only for the most “respectable.” It has been rewritten in a much more encouraging tone, as a recipe for teamwork.
On the other hand, one can see that this attitude might easily lead to a fatalistic outlook that stifles creativity and discourages originality and cultural diversity.
So is the success of the equal marriage lobby in Denmark an offshoot of, or a reaction against, Janteloven?
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