By Enrique Tessieri
When I was a kid growing up in California we used to say phony baloney when a fellow classmate exaggerated or lied. If we look at the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s mindset and claims on immigration, I would certainly be one of the first to let out a vociferous cry: “Phony baloney!”
Here are ten common phony why-we-should-not-trust-the-anti-immigrant arguments by the PS:
1. The people voted for us because they want tighter immigration laws.
Counterargument: Eighty-one percent of Finns voted for traditional parties. Anti-immigration PS candidates like Jussi Halla-aho and others got a fraction of the total votes. When the PS states that it is the “will of the voters” to punish immigrants they are really pushing it. A minority (19.1%) voted for them. They speak, however, as if the majority of Finns have the same opinions as the PS.
2. Tighter immigration laws will solve the problem.
Counterargument: Talk of tighter immigration laws is a red herring used by the PS to hide their contempt for groups like the Somalis. When they bash one group it ends up spilling over on all the rest of us. It poisons the air. Tightening family reunification rules are one underhanded attempt to make life as difficult as possible for certain immigrant groups living in Finland. A 150 years ago when Finns emigrated to the United States, they brought their families and friends. Building social networks is vital for immigrants.
3. Our integration program is a failure.
Counterargument: Is it a failure or do too few have access to Finnish-language courses? A Mipex survey (www.mipex.eu) showed that Finland’s integration program was the fourth best after Sweden, Portugal and Canada. Anti-immigration groups are unimaginative. They use the same arguments in every country they churn public opinion. Some of their favorite adjectives before the word immigrant or immigration include: uncontrolled, mass, unadapted, illiterate, barbaric etc. They are, however, making the following argument: Since this group of people are so different from us they can never live in our country. Our hatred and racism is therefore justified.
4. Islam is a religion of violence.
Counterargument: As mentioned, anti-immigration groups are intellectually lazy. One of the things they like to do is over-generalize about groups. Even though they claim that they have individuality and freewill, people from other groups supposedly don’t, according to them. They just walk around and receive orders from their culture like zombies. They even stay that way for generations!
5. I can insult any ethnic group I please. I would never speak this way to my people. I am exercising my right to freedom of speech.
Counterargument: Since when was insulting and acting rudely exemplary behavior never mind protecting freedom of speech? Anti-immigration groups hide their racism with this argument. What they are not telling you is that if they were ever in power, they’d be the first ones to silence you by force or with the help of social- media lynch mobs that roam the net today.
6. We are against multiculturalism.
Counterargument: What does multiculturalism mean to the PS? Does it mean that they are against our cultural diversity? If they are what do they plan to replace it with? All you hear is whining but no concrete proposals. Why? Because they have none to offer or because their proposal(s) if ever known to the public would frighten sensible people.
7. We must stop the growth of cultural diversity. There is no racism in Finland.
Counterargument: Here is the mother of all arguments used by some anti-immigration MPs like Jussi Halla-aho. They are not only denying who we are but encouraging hostility towards people who are immigrants or multicultural Finns. They read people like Alfred Rosenberg and David Duke because they are the antithesis of cultural diversity. Since Finland isn’t culturally diverse there can’t be any racism, right?
8. We are not racists!
Counterargument: Just like anti-immigration groups don’t recognize that Finland is already culturally diverse, they similarly deny that they are racists. Behind their destructive ideology you will find a person who is challenged on many fronts, especially living in a culturally diverse society.
9. Racism is patriotism.
Counterargument: Racism and insulting behavior towards immigrants and minorities has nothing to do with patriotism never mind showing our respect to our fallen veterans. Their racism, which is dressed up with the help of quaint words and arguments, is nothing more than nationalism. For some, patriotism means a sense of community and acceptance. Nationalism, on the other hand, is a hostile ethnocentric view of the world.
10. We are natives and immigrants the colonizers.
Counterargument: Believe it or not, this is one argument used by some Finns in 2011 Finland. What they don’t know is that every time they speak of themselves as a tribe they are flirting with racism. Finns are not a tribe!