In terms of political ideas, Denmark these days is largely socialist. In economic terms it is a mixed economy with a large part of civil society encroached upon by government bureaucracy.
There is not a vital part of society that politicians do not seek to control. Danish politicians and government employees (the technocrats and bureaucrats of the “public sector”) have strict control over the media, education, culture, energy, finance, health and so on.
The socialist mindset (where state control is seen as a blessing) is so inbred in our professional politicians, that our so called ”liberal” government (in power since 2001) has done nothing to restore lost freedoms to individual Danes.
In parts of the world that are more free, people would likely be shocked if a member of parliament demanded scrutiny of a well known member of academia (who operates safely within the bounds of established political science) on the grounds that he did not deliver the expected political goods.
However, Ejvind Venstre, climate spokesman for one of Denmark’s ruling parties said, “I do not think we should give (Bjørn Lomborg) money for telling the public that what the government does with respect to climate policy is foolish.” In other words, the state provides funds to promote certain ideas and viewpoints, not to ensure fairness and pluralism.
There was a time when politicians relied upon Danish academic freedom as their platform for launching socialist and environmentalist movements. Back then “diversity” “pluralism” and “fairness” were the catchphrases of the day. Now that the state-centered mindset is safely in contol, dominating both right and left, those in power no longer find such freedoms convenient. Today the powers that be want “consensus” and political “harmonization.”
The political elite no longer has use for the academic freedoms of the 1970’s that brought them to power. They are not afraid to openly state that if you want funding from Denmark, you’d best say what the rulers of the state find it convenient for you to say. We should be grateful to Venstre for giving Danes and the rest of the world a glimpse at the future of science and debate in a more tightly controlled welfare state.
Reprinted with the kind permission of Simon Espersen, Copenhagen Institute