Gnutopia and Its Scum Village

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?

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14 Responses to Gnutopia and Its Scum Village

  1. Crude says:

    I like the bit about how this plan is very similar to a plan a Denmark politician proposed, except he wanted to put unruly muslims there. In fact, maybe it’s the same plan, papered over.

  2. The Deuce says:

    It doesn’t get much more cosmically ironic than a bunch of libertine secularists recreating the basic premise behind Escape From LA.

  3. Tim Lambert says:

    I’d like to see what constitutes “bullying”.
    I wonder if “disagreeing with” would be considered bullying.

  4. Bilbo says:

    Chazing, fascinating article.

  5. Bilbo says:

    Yes Crude, it sounds like the “trouble-makers” are Muslims:

    I think I would want to know more about this situation before I decided if it supports a favorable or unfavorable view of secular society. Come to think of it, isn’t Amsterdam in the Netherlands? Is that country equally secular with Sweden and Denmark? And are they really secular?

  6. Bilbo says:

    Assuming Wikipedia is correct (always risky), if we include belief in God with belief in some sort of spirit as being religious, then religious views are in the large majority in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands:

  7. ChazIng says:

    Coyne does not factor in the prior Christianization of the countries he mentions nor does he use North Korea as a stellar example of practical atheism. And if Bilbo is correct, would these countries really be atheistic?

  8. Tim Lambert says:

    Bilbo, I don’t know many people who would consider Denmark a religious country.

  9. Bilbo says:

    Tim, are you challenging the accuracy of Wikipedia?

  10. Crude says:

    I think Denmark, etc, are complicated situations. But insofar as Denmark is held up as a ‘non-religious country’, pointing out these and other laws do seem like a warranted response.

    I myself have said it’s not so simple, and I’m sure Mike’s aware of as much.

  11. Michael says:

    I myself have said it’s not so simple, and I’m sure Mike’s aware of as much.

    Of course. But if the Gnus want to hold up Denmark as a Gnutopia, then the Gnus own the forced ghetto camps. It fits quite well, if you think about it, with all their demands to make a religious upbringing illegal and their desire to ban dissenting voices.

  12. Cale B.T. says:

    Mike, have you heard of Liberal, Missouri?

  13. chunkdz says:

    Watch that number 13000 double in the first year.

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