John Derbyshire On Helsinki's Angels: Way To Mess Up A Quiet, Homogeneous Little Scandinavian Country, Guys
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

I was just reading this MailOnline article about Finland, headlined (and it's a long headline): Nazi daggers, SS hats and a hangman's noose: On night patrol with the "Soldiers of Odin," neo-Nazi led vigilantes vowing to "keep Europe's women safe from migrant sex attacks". [By Jake Wallis Simons, February 4, 2016]

That's the headline. They don't stint on headlines over there at the Mail.

The Daily Mail story concerns that group mentioned in the headline—the “Soldiers of Odin.” It's a vigilante group that's come up in response to Finland taking in 32,000 illegal immigrants last year, most from Iraq.

Imprimis:  Just a couple of queries here about these Finnish vigilantes, the Sons of Odin.

440px-Ekman_VainamoinenFirst query: Odin was a Norse god, a god of the Germanic people. The Finns aren't Germanic. Their language is not even Indo-European. The hero god of the Finns is actually a chap named Vainamoinen, conceived in Ilmatar, Goddess of the Air, by the East Wind.

I think what we have here is a case of Cultural Appropriation!

Second query: It's commendably thorough of them to have had those T-shirts made up with the words DEFEND FINLAND printed on the front; and those windbreaker jackets with the words SOLDIERS OF ODIN printed on the back, and the caps printed with S.O.O. for "Soldiers of Odin," but…why are all those things printed in English?

If Google Translate can be depended on, "Defend Finland" translates into Finnish as Puolustaa Suomi. "Soldiers of Odin" would be Sotilaat Odin—although, as I just pointed out, Sotilaat Vainamoinen would be more ethnically authentic.

So for a group claiming to defend their people and culture, I must say, I think the Sons of Odin are putting on a pretty poor show.

If they want to get some properly authentic T-shirts and jackets printed up, I know a firm in Sacramento that could use the business.

I'll just pause to note how many that illegal alien influx into Finland is: 32,000 in a country whose entire population is less than 5½ million.

That would be like the U.S.A. taking in two million in one year.

And that understates the case. Finland has been far more homogeneous, racially and culturally, than the U.S.A. ever was. In the country profile at the CIA World Factbook, on figures dated from 2006, the ethnic breakdown in Finland was: Finns 93.4 percent, Swedes 5.6 percent, all others one percent—mostly Russians.

Imagine that: your only significant minority group is Swedes!

But the Finnish politicians, like their clueless counterparts elsewhere in Europe, hung out the welcome sign to illegal immigrants. In fact in September last year the Prime Minister of Finland did so well-nigh literally, offering to open his own country house to the illegals.

Reality seems to have taken a grip, though. Last Sunday the Prime Minister withdrew that offer, quote, "because of security concerns." [Finnish PM drops promise to let refugees use his home , Guardian, February 2, 2016] Wednesday this week the President of Finland—that's a different guy, and in fact from a different political party—told the country's parliament that too many illegals were claiming asylum and most were just economic migrants. Now the Finnish government is talking about deporting two-thirds of the 32,000. [ Finland's president says migrants are threatening Western values and many are not fleeing danger but just looking for an easier life, by Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, February 4, 2016]

Anyway, back to that original story about vigilantes. Not surprisingly—unless you're as stupid as a European politician—this flood of tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims, mostly obstreperous young men, into Finland's exceptionally homogeneous society, has generated a reaction. These Soldiers of Odin are part of that reaction.


A hardened cynic like your correspondent here naturally rolls his eyes at words like "neo-Nazi," mention of the SS, and so on. The threshold for being called a neo-Nazi is just too low nowadays. The Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to will call you a neo-Nazi if you disapprove of Affirmative Action.

finnheadI must say, though—and even taking the MailOnline story with a pinch of salt: it's a tabloid newspaper, after all—the Soldiers of Odin look like an unsavory bunch. Beaucoup tattoos, criminal records, and yes, Nazi memorabilia.

What really caught my eye in the story, however, was this line: "Fewer than 8,000 police officers are employed in the country, making it one of the smallest forces per capita in Europe.”

That took me off on a tangent, wondering how policed different countries are.

With 8,000 cops for 5½ million people, Finland has 143 officers per hundred thousand, against a world median of around 300. So yes, Finland's is a low number. The U.S.A. has 256, eighty percent more than Finland (though still below the median). Russia has 546, nearly four times as many as Finland.

Those are numbers I got from Google queries; goodness knows whether the counting methodologies match up. Scanning comparison tables, in fact, you don't see much correlation between how policed a country is and one's general impression of its lawlessness. Places like El Salvador and Colombia have sensational homicide rates, but policing densities not much above the world median.

The lowest number I see there is for Mali, 48 per hundred thousand. I wouldn't say that Mali is my notion of an exceptionally law-abiding country—but what do I know? I've never been to Mali.

I guess there are several variables in play there. The meanness of cops, for example. Really mean, corrupt cops, in a country that allows them to be mean and corrupt, has to have more deterrent value than a friendly, unarmed bobby on a bicycle.

And then there's how urbanized a country is; and how much crime citizens are used to, or willing to put up with; and whether citizens are armed…Many variables.

spanishmasftiffBut all right, Third World aside, by European standards—First World standards—Finns don't need much policing. Or didn't, before they laid out the welcome mat. Now they've got thirty thousand leering, groping Muslims and skinheads with whole-body tattoos and Rottweilers out on patrol.

Finland then: A quiet, homogeneous nation of industrious, well-behaved people that didn't need much policing.

Finland now, or soon: Another doomed experiment in multiculturalism, with unassimilable Muslims demanding privileges, angry disaffected underclass natives breaking windows, and decent people staying away from public spaces.

Way to mess up a quiet, sleepy, homogeneous little Scandinavian country, guys.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He's had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at

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