A little over a year ago, activist Jerry Coyne offered up the following Gnu talking point:
Nor should we worry that a society based on secular morality will degenerate into lawlessness. That experiment has already been done — in countries such as Sweden and Denmark that are largely filled with non-believers and atheists. I can vouch from experience that secular European nations are full of well-behaved and well-meaning citizens, not criminals and sociopaths running amok. In fact, you can make a good case that those countries, with their liberal social views and extensive aid for the sick, old and disadvantaged, are even more moral than America.
So is it true that atheistic Denmark, for example, is “more moral than America?” Consider this recent report from the Washington Post:
In a move that sounds straight out of Orwell, Amsterdam allocated 1 million euros last week to a plan that would relocate trouble-making neighbors to camps on the outskirts of the city, the BBC reports.
The “scum villages,” as critics have called them, would lie in isolated areas and provide only basic services to their unwilling residents. According to details of the plan reported by Der Spiegel and the BBC, residents will live in “container homes,” under the watchful eye of social workers or police. The residents themselves might not make very good company. According to the BBC, they’ll include families that engage in repeated, small-scale harassment, like bullying gay neighbors or intimidating police witnesses.
Under that plan, Dutch paper de Volkskrant reports, repeat offenders (and their families, if minors) would relocate to container compounds in isolated areas. Residents could only return to society after a proven period of work or study.
Ah, yes, the superior atheist morality at work. Some government worker will decide if you are a “troublemaker” and then relocate you and your family to some “container home” in isolated areas. Gnuptopia at last!
Here’s how the Huffington Post reports it:
The mayor of Amsterdam plans to exile nuisance neighbors and anti-social citizens to stark “housing camps,” where offenders would be housed under constant police supervision, the Telegraph reports.
Amsterdam’s plan is at the behest of the capital city’s Labour party mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, according to the Telegraph, who said his city fields close to 13,000 complaints of anti-social behavior every year. The program is slated to begin in January.
A special team of district officials will help identify offenders, and if their behavior does not improve they will risk being moved into the shipping container housing sites, according to Dutch News. Offenders would remain in the container camps under supervision for six months.
Wow. While the city may be, “full of well-behaved and well-meaning citizens, not criminals and sociopaths running amok,” it gets 13000 complaints of anti-social behavior a year. And it’s so bad that the state has decided its time to start relocating the “nuisance neighbors and anti-social citizens” to camps. Just how awesome is that atheist morality?