Tag Archives: Politics

Danish Embassy bombing

I weren’t going to write about this, and I apologize in advance for being a bit ranty. We probably all know what’s happened, and even though I have the deepest sympathies for the people hurt or killed, it could’ve been a lot worse.

But then a quote popped up in a Danish newspaper article, from The Post in Pakistan. I found the exact quote on their webpage:

While the radical elements in the Muslims world should use the language of logic instead of resorting to terrorism, the West must also understand that the freedom of expression is not a licence to hurt the sentiments of millions of people.

And just for the benefit of the people at The Post: Yes it is. Freedom of speech and expression is exactly that – a freedom. Posting something that’s forbidden by someone else’s religion surely cannot be reason enough to restrict this freedom, and while I understand and support the ideas of boycotts, protests and flag-burning, please stop trying to pressure our government into apologizing for something the country’s citizens do which is completely legal. They have no legal way to do that. If you want an apology, ask the people who’ve offended you. And don’t expect to get it.

Khaleej Times also posted an editorial, that takes a slightly differing view – they still put all the blame on “Denmark”, instead of where it rightly belongs, with Jyllands-Posten – but they also have the following bit:

Most unfortunate and unacceptable as this attack is, we can’t help notice the fact that none of those killed was a Denmark national or European. […] This doesn’t mean if the victims included Danish or European citizens, the attack would be somehow justified. The point is such attacks always end up targeting innocent people — the people who have nothing to do with those the terrorists seek to punish and target.

Quite a clever observation, though not one I think the terrorists care much about. No matter what they write, though, their tone still seems to indicate that had only Danish people been killed, their outlook would have been a lot more positive. Scary.

To round it all off, sorry for the above post. I hadn’t planned on making it, but those few quotes got me going for a while. I’m not surprised at the attack, and I don’t think it’s the last one we’ll see. It’s expected, possibly even deserved, looking at what the Danish media have done to Islam. But that’s the price of freedom.

Tax debate

There is a tax debate going on in Denmark at the moment. I say tax debate, it’s actually more that a number of political groups are making statements to the effect that they have the best tax plan. The groups are cut into two big camps:

  • Those who believe the tax should be lowered, especially in the top end, to give a bigger incentive for people to work more.
  • Those who believe the money is better spent on welfare, hiring more people to work with elders, children and so on.

I know enough about taxes and public administration to know that in theory, both of these things work. However, in practice – I find that there’s a few problems.

Sure, lowering taxes, especially for those who’ve hit the high marginal tax rate, is an effective means of incentive. But when a very large part of the society isn’t ready to accept people working more than the standard working week of 37(½) hours, it isn’t really going to do much. In particular, public employees are hired on very inflexible terms, even though this is among the areas where more people would make a difference.

The other suggestion, spending more money on welfare, is really a good idea too. Hiring more people, sure – but where are you going to get them? Denmark is the country in the EU-15 with the lowest unemployment – and I guess the same is true of the entire EU. Sure, they’ll find some way to spend the money – but it isn’t going to provide more employees. Again, flexibility is needed – if people were actually allowed to work more, it might be possible.

My suggestion is a compromise – and a focus on flexibility. Let’s cut the tax somewhat, provide some more money for paying public employees – and most importantly, find a way to open up for working more than the standard working week if you so desire. Why not?