Prospects of the City: The Bill of Rights was never yours

In which the prospector welcomes the bright prospect of the summer and frets at the sinister prospect of the government’s projected limitations of freedom and expression in Denmark.

Imminent stranglehold
On March 30, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced his government’s intention to “criminalise expressions that undermine Danish legislation and values”. Considering the grave implications of such counter-constitutional legislation – not just for the religious extremists (who are purportedly the target of the new law), but for the public at large and the country’s creative writers in particular – the outcry has been modest.

It is not the purpose of this article to remedy the situation but rather to alert the country’s population of foreign residents to a fundamental change in Danish legislation that – when passed through Parliament – will work to lessen the constitutional gap between the democratic kingdom of Denmark and the world’s declared totalitarian regimes.

I expressly say ‘when’ this piece of legislation becomes law since the three largest parties in Parliament (Venstre, Socialdemokraterne and Dansk Folkeparti) all support it and will vote to approve it.

Parklife paradox
Cycling one warm and sunny day along Islands Brygge, taking in the throngs of people sunbathing, swimming and enjoying themselves in a spot where until a few years ago such beach life was forbidden (both because the water was polluted and because the physical conditions for it were not yet there – nowadays it is even possible to play beach volleyball!), I could not help being hit by a telling paradox.

While the physical conditions for living a good life in this day and age in Copenhagen are improved tremendously (for the moneyed class at least), the mental conditions for life and its spiritual expressions are structurally and systematically (proportionately too?) undermined and in effect worsened.

Never yours
When the new legislation is in place, the citizens of Denmark will be free to sunbathe and swim in places where it was formerly forbidden, but asked to shut up on forums where they were previously permitted to speak.

What the Danish state whispers in every one of its citizens’ ears from now on will be: “Go for a dip off the key at Islands Brygge and enjoy the wind and the sea against your skin, but don’t say out loud what you find is wrong with your workplace, the public institutions and the Danish state’s democratic ideology. Earn your money in any way you like, even if it means speculating in quick and work-free profit, consume material things and services to your pecuniary heart’s and belly’s content, but don’t ever publicly demonstrate that you have an independent mind and a corresponding need and longing for spiritual liberty. From now on, you will be punished for that. The Bill of Rights was never yours.”