A Philosopher's Blog

Denmark’s Refugee “Fee”

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on January 29, 2016

In January, 2016 Denmark passed a law that refugees who enter the state with assets greater than about US $1,450 will have their valuables taken in order to help pay for the cost of their being in the country. In response to international criticism, Denmark modified the law to allow refugees to keep items of sentimental value, such as wedding rings. This matter is certainly one of moral concern.

Critics have been quick to deploy a Nazi analogy, likening this policy to how the Nazis stole the valuables of those they sent to the concentration camps. While taking from refugees does seem morally problematic, the Nazi analogy does not really stick—there are too many relevant differences between the situations. Most importantly, the Danes would be caring for the refugees rather than murdering them. There is also the fact that the refugees are voluntarily going to Denmark rather than being rounded up, robbed, imprisoned and murdered. While the Danes have clearly not gone full Nazi, there are still grounds for moral criticism. However, I will endeavor to provide a short defense of the law—a rational consideration requires at least considering the pro side of the argument.

The main motivation of the law seems to be to deter refugees from coming to Denmark. This is a strategy of making their country less appealing than other countries in the hopes that refugees will go somewhere else and be someone else’s burden. Countries, like individuals, do seem to have the right to make themselves less appealing.  While this sort of approach is certainly not morally commendable, it does not seem to be morally wrong. After all, the Danes are not simply banning refugees but trying to provide a financial disincentive. Somewhat ironically, the law would not deter the poorest of refugees. It would only deter those who have enough property to make losing it a worthwhile deterrent.

The main moral argument in favor of the law is based on the principle that people should help pay for the cost of their upkeep to at least the degree they can afford to do so. To use an analogy, if people show up at my house and ask to live with me and eat my food, it would certainly be fair of me to expect them to at least chip in for the costs of the utilities and food. After all, I do not get my utilities and food for free. This argument does have considerable appeal, but can be countered.

One counter to the argument is based on the fact that the refugees are fleeing a disaster. Going back to the house analogy, if survivors of a disaster showed up at my door asking for a place to stay until they could get back on their feet, taking their few remaining possessions to offset the cost of their food and shelter would seem to be cruel and heartless. They have lost so much already and to take what little that remains to them would add injury and insult to injury. To use another analogy, it would be like a rescue crew stripping people of their valuables to help pay for the rescue. While rescues are expensive, such a practice certainly would seem awful.

One counter is that refugees who are well off should pay for what they receive. After all, if relatively well-off people showed up at my door asking for food and shelter, it would not seem wrong of me to expect that they contribute to the cost of things. After all, if they can afford it, then they have no grounds to claim a free ride off me. Likewise for well-off refugees. That said, the law does not actually address the point, unless having more than $1450 is well off.

Another point of consideration is that it is one thing to have people pay for lodging and food with money they have; quite another to take a person’s remaining worldly possessions. It seems like a form of robbery, using whatever threat drove the refugees from home as the weapon. The obvious reply is that the refugees would be choosing to go to Denmark; they could go to a more generous country. The problem is, however, that refugees might soon have little choice about where they go.

 

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13 Responses

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  1. nailheadtom said, on January 30, 2016 at 12:10 am

    There’s the element of “hospitality”, which is extended to strangers, not casual acquaintances. In a civilized situation, strangers are welcomed, fed, housed, etc. Read some of Robert Smith Surtees’ books, Handley Cross, for instance, and see how civilized people treat strangers.

    • ronster12012 said, on February 4, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Tom

      What time limit are you suggesting is appropriate for hospitality to strangers? A week, a month, a year, a decade or forever?

      I read ages ago that the Bedouins offer total hospitality to strangers….for three days. Any more is a burden on the hosts, any less is rude. Guests , most likely from the same culture. understand this and know when it is time to go.

      Nothing breeds resentment like people overstaying their welcome….

  2. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 30, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    • ronster12012 said, on January 31, 2016 at 9:12 am

      AJ

      Ah yes, David Cole….the very brave jew who help destroy the holohoax by showing that the Auschwitz ‘gas chambers’ were in fact fake. He had to lie low during the latter part of the 1990’s due to threats against him for spilling the beans… I noticed awhile ago that he is writing for the eternally unPC Takimag.

  3. ronster12012 said, on January 31, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Michael

    The first point that needs clarifying is that many reports refer to these ‘refugees’ as ‘migrants’. Which is it…refugees or migrants? If they are migrants that seems to negate all your points above,no? And opens up a whole new argument about governments rights to fundamentally alter their societies, the limits of government power and the people’s right to revolt.

    As I have said before here, I do not believe that theses refugees/migrants should be going to Europe…it seems like a deliberate plan to destroy European societies as the results are too easily foreseen.

    Evidence for that position is possibility number 1…let the Saudis put them up. They are behind the destabilization of Syria, they are a .moslem country and they have the facilities to host 3 million hajjis when they arrive for the haj. They can be accommodated with the least disruption there….so why are they not?Therein lies a clue to the plan.

    Another alternative would be to lease a greek island. The Greeks would be happy as they are so skint ATM. Temporary accommodation could easily be provided as Europe has the resources. So the first requirement of care for refugees would be provided, a safe place. Providing food,accommodation and even wifi would be quite cheap compared to the damage they are doing to European societies. Why is this not even discussed?

    A straight question while we re at it…do you believe that the European peoples that are having these refugees/migrants foist on them by their elites have a right to resist the destruction of their societies up to and including a race/religious war? Bearing in mind that your country was founded on a tax revolt. If your founders were legitimate in their right to revolt then surely the European are right to revolt against their elites ill founded plans, no?

    And one other point that needs to be made as it is IMO fundamental to the whole discussion, and that is that most of these ‘refugees’ come through Turkey(NATO member, buyer of ISIS oil and financier of terrorists). Turkey is a safe haven. As soon as they reach Turkey they are no longer refugees but economic opportunists….as simple as that. So we cannot talk of them as refugees(because they aren’t) but as economic migrants.
    Unless you provide a decent counter argument, then all of your refugee analogies are invalid, no?

    • WTP said, on February 6, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Maybe you could bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West?

      • ronster12012 said, on February 7, 2016 at 6:28 am

        WTP

        Sorry, but your “Wicked Witch of the West’ reference went right over my head lol(was it from The Wizard of Oz? I never saw it, we are culturally deprived here, you know).

        Am I being impolite by asking obvious questions that are rarely addressed by our host? And if so, which should win out, truth or politeness? One would assume that philosophy is all about truth.

        • WTP said, on February 7, 2016 at 9:51 am

          Yeah, a bit of a stretch, but with three Jameson’s under one’s belt it fits.

          More the opposite. You asked some good questions over a week ago but no response from the man in the ivory tower. I know why he doesn’t respond to me, or I should say his excuses for not responding to me. otoh I don’t see how he has no truck with you.

          BTW, of all the American you know, I’m kinda surprised a guy from Oz hasn’t seen Oz. well worth your time especially if you have kids.

          • ronster12012 said, on February 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

            WTP

            The guy from Oz hasn’t seen Oz ………………..very good lol . Actually my absolute favourite fairy tale is The Emporer’s New Clothes. Not aimed kids but adults…and we are living it now..

  4. TJB said, on February 4, 2016 at 8:10 am

    True refugees do not shop around for the country with the highest welfare payments. If you are in a war zone in Syria, it is not obvious to me that Denmark is the first lace that would pop into your head to seek safety.

    • ronster12012 said, on February 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

      TJ

      We had the same situation here before the current government stopped processing ‘refugees’ in Australia(with all the legal shit that the special interests have installed) and they now are proceesed in Nauru or Manus Island(off PNG). The usual suspects have just lost a High Court challenge to this process.

      As plain as it is that as soon as these ‘refugees’ leave the safe haven of Indonesia where they fly to, and embark on a people smuggler’s boat, they are no longer ‘refugees’ but economic opportunists, the refugee industry will not recognise this simple fact.

      As regards Denmark and Europe, any resentment towards ‘refugees’ now is nothing compared to what is to come when they bankrupt the various countries’ social welfare systems….and rightfully so. If I pay taxes all my life to support a system that all of a sudden isn’t there when I need it because politicians gave it away to a mob of parasites they invited … I will not be a happy boy.

  5. TJB said, on February 6, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Mike, any comment? Does it matter if German culture survives?

    • ronster12012 said, on February 7, 2016 at 6:14 am

      TJ

      As the caption on the vid says, Merkel the traitor pig can’t stand the Germans either…

      As to your question re german culture….to the elites running the show, the answer is no, it doesn’t matter…but to ordinary germans, pending on their cuckedness, the answer is yes. Pegida gives me hope for them.


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