I have posted numerous times in the past about the persecution of the Finnish writer Jussi Halla-aho for posting a “racist” entry on his blog.
For a long time Mr. Halla-aho received virtually no support from the Finnish academic community, but that has changed. A prominent university professor has now spoken out on behalf of Jussi Halla-aho and the right of free speech.
Professor Timo Vihavainen:
Finnish intelligentsia silent on immigration issues
Timo Vihavainen: “You hardly need to be clairvoyant to figure out that a large proportion of the immigrants our own intelligentsia is so keen on embracing into this country, will be comprising the population of our future slums.”
You could run into such a text on an “immigration critical” web page, but rarely in a professor’s essay collection.
This is a portion from Timo Vihavainen’s recent book “The West’s Destruction” (Otava). Vihavainen is the Helsinki University’s Russia research professor, who last startled Finns in 1991, with the release of a book, “The Nation on its face, a short history of Finlandisation”.
The book that appeared during the Soviet Union’s demise launched the debate on the trouble spots in Finland’s recent history. Vihavainen describes the tragicomedy through examples of a culture in which self-censorship flourished and points were collected in appeasing the totalitarian system of the neighbor to the east.
Vihavainen in recent years, has published mainly on the works concerning Russia. In the Kanava (Channel) magazine column, he has revealed his perceptions of cultural decadence, which according to him, as a subject, has become completely unfashionable. Values have changed so completely that no one attaches any attention to it.
The column gives birth to the idea of the destruction of the West, which Vihavainen paints the history of ideas with a wide brush. In addition to the western classics the text is studded with Russian thinkers and writers.
According to Vihavainen’s main thesis about culture — the desire for truth, goodness and beauty — has been replaced by an insatiable consumption. The New Man, a narcissistic lout, has taken to a nihilistic doctrine, which defines everything through pleasure. Our culture has dug its own grave by the loss of basic values.
And the nation is again on its face, especially the intellectuals.
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“It is a typical story of the intellectuals, going on the cheap. Finnish intellectuals awhile ago took a wrong step into Stalinism, but it has not learned anything,” says Vihavainen.
Post-modern intellectuals emphasizing pluralism deem all of equal value and hush critical debate in the name of political correctness. Before, there was an enforced silence due to the Soviet Union. Now there’s silence, for example, due to feminism and immigration.
“Feminism is certainly a taboo. It is very similar to that of socialism at some point. Everyone said that I’m some kind of socialist, because socialism meant all the best of what was invented in the world,” says Vihavainen.
According to him, feminism and women’s studies are immune to criticism. “It’s like the communist ideology at one time, which proved itself to be true and made it impossible to criticize, because from outside the system, it could not be criticized.”
Then an even more profound issue, immigration is reached. Vihavainen labels immigration in his book, as “a suicide of the Western culture.” Immigration to him is like a Jubilee march of the mad, in which the turmoil is already known in advance. Still, it’s gone along with, because no one wants to look the truth in the eyes.
What’s in question is such a big taboo, that the options are not discussed. Vihavainen argues that the prevailing doctrine is that it’s wrong and discriminatory to assume that immigration could give rise to persistent and unwanted results for Finland. According to him, the truth is that the difficulties have begun in every European country where the number of immigrants has increased over a certain thresh hold.
“We have this righteous perception that immigrants come just to take care of the elderly, and fill the other low-paying jobs and to serve the consumer society without consuming from the society very much themselves.
Unless immigrants learn the language properly, they remain second-class citizens and bitter. The result could be riots in the suburbs, in the French or Swedish style.
Most of the problems are, according to Vihavainen, due to Islam.
“Islam’s basic message is very aggressive. Islam is a living religion which is taken very seriously in some circles. People who come from the world’s most primitive places- Somali has always been at the bottom end of the meter — are culturally, terribly far from the western world.” The culture shock is huge, “says Vihavainen.
He predicts, that soon we will be living in Finland more and more on Islamic terms. “The most active group dictates its conditions to others. We have a similar experience from the “taistolaisuuden” or “Leftist” period.
The reactions from the Danish cartoons are a good example.
“It was outrageous when you think about how a sacred of a thing freedom of expression is to us. It aroused a huge wave of sympathy that “surely we must not offend religious sensibilities of immigrants.”
Islam should, according to Vihavainen, in its new environment, be Europeanized, that Europe would not be Islamized. For example, Sikhs or Hindus hardly cause problems. Let alone the Chinese. “The Chinese adapt terribly well and very quickly. More generally, there are no countries which have had problems with the Chinese, except that they are doing better than the parent population.”
Vihavainen takes a reluctant view even of asylum seekers. “Political asylum is a right historically for a persecuted people. As is their duty to go back when asylum is no longer necessary.”
According to Vihavainen, the Russians would be the most appropriate immigrant group for Finland, because they are culturally the closest to us. The problem would be that the Russian leadership would probably use the Russian minority as a policy tool.
Russian immigrants might, according to Vihavainen, adapt to Finland within a generation. Russians would have a lot to offer Finns.
“Russia holds the values of honor. No one doubts, for example, that high culture would be better than a low-culture.”
“There they really debate without taboos, just about anything. In that sense, Finnish culture is much more distressing. We have an enormous amount of things that can not spoken about without a muzzle. Nor can those things even be thought about.”
According to Vihavainen the Finns’ notion that Russia does not have freedom of opinion or freedom of expression, is completely wrong. However, a more liberal climate of opinion is not true when it comes to the criticism of the Kremlin.
He is at times concerned about the direction of the neighboring country. “Russia’s ‘sovereign democracy’ does not mean anything other than the fact that, international norms are being ignored.”
The person who opens the debate on the price tag concerning the consequences of immigration and the alternatives, according to Vihavainen, runs the high risk of being profiled as a racist and as a spittoon. Taboos are immune to criticism as Finlandisation, during a time when the label of “extreme Right-wing” was sensitive, and was quite absurdly used against those who were actually demanding a normal democracy.
I wonder what he thought of Jussi Halla-aho?
Vihavainen deems Halla-aho’s fine for breaching the sanctity of religion as “outrageous.”
“He is a speaker of truth, who will not find a place of refuge. But regardless of that he wouldn’t keep quiet.” Vihavainen equated Halla-aho with Tuure Junnila, who was branded in Kekkonen’s Finland as a right-wing extremist, even though he represented Nordic democracy.
Would the 62-year-old professor, who holds the highly politically incorrect opinions, Vihavainen himself, want to become the nation’s spittoon? He is the first heavyweight academic of influence, who so bluntly criticizes Finnish immigration policy.
“At this age I should not be afraid anymore. I am no longer of striving for anything. I have the pension already in the pipeline, if I want to leave.”
Previous posts about the persecution of Jussi Halla-aho: