COMMENTARY: True Finns have issues with reality
By Pekka Mykkänen
Timo Soini found fault with Helsingin Sanomat, Jussi Halla-aho criticised the President, and Reijo Tossavainen lashed out at the President, Helsingin Sanomat , the Centre Party, and the city of Kauniainen.
The interpretation of the True Finns party concerning the poll on racism published on Saturday by Helsingin Sanomat makes for frustrating reading.
It underscores the party’s attempt to turn its journey into a continuing narrative of victimhood, its inability to take the racism of many of its supporters seriously, and its tendency to place blame outside itself on everything that concerns the attitudes of the supporters of the True Finns.
Presidential candidate and chairman Timo Soini labelled the scientific poll, which represents the entire nation, as “tendentious”, and refused a request from Helsingin Sanomat for an interview.
An astounding 51 per cent of supporters of the True Finns agreed with the statement that “people belonging to certain races simply are not suited to live in a modern society”.
The percentages of the supporters of other parties agreeing with this statement were as follows: the Centre Party: 34%, the SDP 30%, the National Coalition Party 25%, the Green League 13%, and the Left Alliance 12%.
At its grimmest, the reaction of the True Finns points to a disappearance of a common foundation of reality and the atrophying of the ability to learn.
Polls conducted by TNS Gallup are among the most accurate surveys available in Finland.
In the United States, the tendency to reject science and reality is exceptionally strong at the moment.
In that country political decision-making is almost at an impasse.
Serious research is utilised selectively; inconvenient truths are tossed in the rubbish-bin or lost in the sandstorms of outcries raised about supposed scandals.
In the United States, the truths promoted by both conservatives and liberals alike are distorted by their own media outlets and research institutes.
When the shared building blocks of reality are rejected, society is placed on a crooked path.
Opposing sides in political disputes and in issues of values are content to buttress their own points of view in their own echo-chambers whose walls are further reinforced by the internet.
Debate, and as a consequence, society itself becomes balkanised, inflamed, and sick in matters of opinion.
The figures in the HS poll indicate that racism is a serious characteristic that affects society on a broad level, in which there is denial of the basic human value of people who are different.
It is not about one party.
Let us feel ashamed about our common racism, and let us do something about it.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 15.11.2011
Previously in HS International Edition:
Poll: Majority of Finns see Finland as racist country (14.11.2011)
Prime Minister, President, and True Finns politicians react to results of HS poll (14.11.2011)
PEKKA MYKKÄNEN / Helsingin Sanomat