Our Finnish modern-day eugenicists are no different from the past

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Who are those modern-day eugenicists breathing life back into this disgraced pseudo-science whose aim was to create a master white race by wiping out other ones? If we look at Europe and the Nordic region today, we can find many politicians with the same nineteenth-century agenda but in a different context. 

Some may rightfully argue that eugenics is long dead. True, but what hasn’t died is racism that manifests itself in new forms.

In Finland, you will find them in groups like Suomen Sisu, Suomalaisuuden liittoneo-Nazi Suomen Kansalinen Vastarinta, in parliament and city councils as well as in all walks of life in Finland.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-2-17 kello 11.21.50
Suomalaisuuden liitto, or the Association of Finnish Culture and Identity, is one of many eugenicist-spirited associations in Finland that want to keep Finland white.

They are present as well in anti-immigration right-wing populist parties like the Danish People’s Party, Sweden Democrats and Progress Party of Norway. While these types of modern-day eugenicists can be found throughout Europe in parties like Golden Dawn of Greece, Hungary’s Jobbik and the National Front of France, their message is the same: We must keep our country white.

What these anti-immigration and xenophobic groups haven’t told us yet is how they plan to keep their countries’ white. Is it only a matter of time when they’ll begin drafting legislation to deport Muslims and other visible minorities to where they came from? Think of the consequences to our democracy and way of life if we permit this type of hatred to get the better of us.

When I moved to Finland permanently in December 1978, the first matter that surprised me was prejudice. It seemed that the only contact some Finns had with blacks was through Archie Bunker’s TV series. Finns were not only prejudiced to outsiders but placed labels on themselves as well.

If Finns housed such views of themselves, one can only imagine how they saw non-Finns like blacks and Southern Europeans.

The same idea, that we are being invaded by criminals, was evident in Finland’s immigration policy. Finland got its first Aliens Act in 1983, about 66 years after independence. Immigrants had no rights before the Act and could be held indefinitely and deported by the police without a fair trial.

The answer to how some Finns saw foreigners can be found in popular culture and in Irwin Mutakuono ja lakupelle (Mudfaces and n-clowns). The lyrics were written by Veikko Salmi.

Another racist hit by Irwin Goodman was Marcello Macaroni. The song was sung as well by Esa Pakarinen, a Finnish movie star.

If you check out former song on YouTube, it has over 1.2 million hits.

At the time when Goodman turned this racist song into a hit, Finland had about 18,000 immigrants living in the country, accounting for 0.4% of the population.

One of the fears we had back then was what would happen if the foreign population of Finland grew significantly in the future. What kind of xenophobic backlash would hit immigrants in this country?

Part of that answer can be found in the rise of intolerance during the first decade of this century and in the PS election victory of April 2011, which turned it into Finland’s third-largest party in parliament with 39 seats.

Eugenics and the Finns

Just like a pseudo-science like eugenics came into being in the late-nineteenth century as a justification to exterminate “less advanced” ethnic groups and exploit them, it would be wrong to blame only the Nazis for putting into practice their mass-extermination policy of the Jews.

The so-called father of eugenics, Francis Galton (1822-1911), was an Englishman and Charles Darwin’s half-cousin.While social Darwinism tried to justify the extermination of ”primitive” groups in favor of  expansive white northern Europeans like the English, Galton was busy trying to figure out how to deal with the threat of the ”lower-criminal” classes of England.

Francis Galton is considered the founder of eugenics.

He asked how was it possible that these “lower-criminal classes” were surviving better due to higher birth rates than the middle-classes.

Just because a person has an academic degree doesn’t mean he won’t commit mass-murderer. Look at the history of racism since Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492, the expansion of the British and other European empires as well as the Wannese Conference of January 1942, which started the mass and systematic extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany.

In all of these you will find people with PhD’s who should have known better but didn’t.

What are we supposed to think if a senior lecturer of Aalto University, Kyösti Tarvainen, claims with the help of his pocket calculator that it is only a question of time when Muslims will take over Finland and Europe? What about if Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen claims that there will be a ”war of cultures” in Europe between Christians and Muslims?

What about if PS MPs Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Juho Eerola and many others, claim to be fighting to preserve white Finns from groups like the Muslims? What about those Finns who don’t say anything but think like them?

The answer can be found in Galton, Nazi eugenicist Eugen Fischer, whose main point was that ethnic mixing was always bad, European colonialism, slavery and mass extermination of non-white humans in  regions like Tasmania and the former Belgian Congo, where half of the 20 million inhabitants died to feed King Leopold II’s  greed.

The answer is in our shameful history and we should never erase it from our collective memory.


Sources: The history of racism by the BBC

Part I

Part 2

Part 3

  1. Farang

    You have misinterpreted Irwin Goodman’s song. The point of the song was to sarcastically laugh AT those Finns who wanted to kick all immigrants out. It was an anti-racist song.

    It’s hard to understand the song if you are not a native Finnish speaker.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –It’s hard to understand the song if you are not a native Finnish speaker.

      You don’t have to be a native speaker to understand the song. It’s disgraceful and insulting.

      That is why, Farang, we should be careful what we say. In the future some might read what we thought and wonder, how could people think that way.

  2. eyeopener

    Dear Enrique.

    Farang is not able to even see your point in argumentation. In another comment I have asked Farang to go back to school to understand texts better and to learn concepts.

    Well, the effect up and until now is minimal. Let’s say: NOTHING.

    His problem is the “nitwit” problem. He (she??) always knows better, has better informed and therfore id always right.

    He is a good student of dr. Joseph Goebbels. Who’s that guys??

  3. Joonas

    You have misinterpreted Irwin Goodman’s song. The point of the song was to sarcastically laugh AT those Finns who wanted to kick all immigrants out. It was an anti-racist song.

    It’s hard to understand the song if you are not a native Finnish speaker.

    I know that Wikipedia is not the absolute truth, but this is what it says about the song (same thing can be found from the interviews as well):

    “Kappaleesta nousi julkaisuaikaan kohu, sen sisältämän sanoituksen vuoksi. Kappaleessa satirisoidaan suomalaisten maahanmuuttajavastaisuutta.

    Sanoittaja Vexi Salmi on jälkeenpäin maininnut “katuneensa” kappaleen julkaisua. Julkaisuaikaan Vexi Salmen puoliso oli ehdottanut, että kappaleen sanoitus kiellettäisiin, mutta Salmi otti riskin ja julkaisi kappaleen. Hän on saanut sanoituksesta vielä nykyisinkin palautetta.”

    Almost all Irwin Goodman’s songs were satires of the Finnish culture and politics. However, with this song they were really breaking the boundaries of a good taste back then, even the write’s wife knew it. But it’s still a satire song according to them.

  4. jotainjotain

    Why do you bring up Suomalaisuuden liitto, even though eugenics has mostly been promoted by svekomans like Freudenthal? RKP even gives out a medal named after him.
    Fennomans have historically been AGAINST eugenics, since it was used by Finland-Swedish racists to classify Finns as a “lesser, Mongoloid” race.