Is It Twilight or Dawn --
for Denmark?

Johannes L. Bjorner

]An article originally published in Criindskyld, October 1940. Translated by Grace Isabel Colbron and reprinted from Land and Freedom, January-February 1941]

For those who enjoy their pessimism and embrace their worries, the time we are now living in is a rather good time, and no one should prevent them from being as worried as possible provided they keep their pessimism for themselves and do not force it on their fellow-mortals. But for folks with a more wholesome point of view, it is good to look our times right in the eyes, to weigh advantage and disadvantage, and try to find some little profit in the accounting.

One thing can be looked on as gain, and that is that we are living in a very interesting epoch an epoch that can teach us much.

Most people can now see what many Georgeists prophesied -- that the Versailles Treaty was a bad mistake. The new boundaries drawn up in Versailles may in some cases have been better than the old ones in that they paid more heed to language and ethnographical boundaries, and the League of Nations was a step in the right direction. But the demand of the Entente Powers (especially France), that the more than two thousand miles of new borders should be tariff borders, tore the Versailles Peace in tatters. Tariff is war and war always results from it. This was one of the causes why Germany, for instance, and also England, were cheated in the disarmament issue; but it was the tariff which the munitions industry knew how to play as their trump card. That is how we can best summarize the position of today. And what now?

The war in Western Europe may be looked upon as over, for the moment. But can it not extend itself still further towards the West? Most certainly. There is space enough for a Thirty-Years' War for the sovereignty of the Atlantic Ocean, and still further but that is probably too big a mouthful for the war industries. And the people themselves may become weary of the war. The strongest probability is that the war will cease in a relatively near future. And then we'll have "peace"! Nothing more?

"Peace is not the best thing one could wish for." We should not struggle merely to keep peace. There's peace in the churchyard, the peace of the grave. Life cannot be supported on peace alone. The opposite of war is not merely peace, but co-operation, just as helping one another is the opposite to killing one other. Not just peace, but free trade, is the true opposite of war. Down with the barriers, then which means, down with the tariff!

What are the chances?

After France's collapse the government of Marshal Petain sent out the word: "France's recovery will come through a new economic system in commerce and agriculture, and industry shall learn to keep itself up by the quality of its production." In other words, away with Protection ... institute free economy!

And Germany? Alfred Rosenberg, on July 10th, called together the foreign press to give them a glimpse of Germany's future economic policy. Rosenberg pictured a Europe of independent States but without customs frontiers! And as there was some doubt later as to what he really had said. Two important dailies, the Berliner Bocrsenzcihthy on July 13th, and the Volkischcr Bcobachter on July 16th, carried long commentaries on Rosenberg's speech and ended with the following words, dealing especially with the North:

"Germany does not intend to pull down the Northern States, whose rich cultural wealth and historical tradition are perhaps nowhere in the world better known than in Germany. Living and working together, that is Germany's aim, not destruction of historical values."

But how much understanding has modern Germany about free trade? That is another question. Opinions differ in Germany, differ widely. Recently, Germany's plans for a future political ordering of German agriculture were announced. The Government seems to see clearly regarding the danger of the constant capitalization of ground rents and its attendant increase of price and consequent indebtedness of land property. But instead of meeting this problem with an effective land valuation tax, they are merely instituting any number of new regulations, old regulations and the like regulations that are the opposite of free trade.

But that is Germany's concern. But they must let the rest of us practice free trade.

It is high time that we gather our forces for a forward push. We had all the necessary conditions for making Denmark Europe's free port to our own advantage and as an instructive example to other countries. But we did not do it. Much might have looked better for us, but the majority willed it otherwise. Now, we've got our "cold shower." Let us hope that it will teach us to open our eyes and come together for a new strong policy.

What Lloyd George said in the House of Commons last May was quite true that England and France had only themselves to thank for Hitler's hard hand over them. And we can say that we have only ourselves to thank for much in our public policies.

Much has happened this year which may portend a new healthy popular uprising. We have seen the five democratic parties (in Denmark) unite in a concerted opposition to reaction. We have seen employers and workers unite to avoid future wages disputes. That is an important step! And many things point to a new awakening of national life. There were the 740,000 people who met on September 1st to sing the Grundtvig song. That could not have happened a year ago! And the feeling of fellowship that lay over the dedication of the Grundtvig Church on September 8th Grundlvig's Church the great work of a faithful disciple of Henry George, Architect Jensen Klint ... a landmark to the talent of our day. And on the latest occasion, September 26th, our King's 70th birthday, the wave of homage and fidelity that rolled out toward the King had an objective higher than the King's person. It was the cry of a people to Heaven, the cry of a strongly felt national unity. "We are Danes and we will always be Danes."

Will the Denmark of Valdemar's day, the Denmark of free trade and of the great land reformers, blossom again in a new national Spring towards the aim of The Earth for the People?

Does our day mean Twilight or Dawn?

It is Dawn!