A young married couple I know recently went on holiday to Finland. As someone who is fascinated by Finland, it’s people and culture, I was eager to hear what they had to say about it. Confirming my suspicions, they said it was a wonderful place where despite the wonderful subcultures that exist there (metal music is almost officially recognised as an export there), unlike in the Anglophone world people are not divided along those lines and no noticeable tensions exist. Hell, there seems to be a common morale there.

I attribute this to Finland’s relative homogeneity compared to more cosmopolitan states like the UK. One thing characteristic of cosmopolitan states is the atomisation of the individual (something your average liberal will say is attributable to many things and not one single factor, to avoid the notion that multiculturalism might have a part in it) stemming from the removal of common origins and ideals as a source of unity. People then begin to define themselves by subcultural affiliations and split people into good/bad and in/out on those lines. In Finland, subculture is almost analogous to finding a vocation, as if their subculture plays a different ‘role’ in the wider society rather than as an encapsulated ‘tribe’ – or at least, this is my interpretation based on what my friends have said.

Ironic that the male friend is a vociferous supporter of multiculturalism and recently said “a load of people I know are going ‘multiculturalism is not all it’s cracked up to be’ and I think that’s bullshit, multiculturalism is the best thing to happen to this country! National lines are arbitrary anyway etc etc” – I politely refrained from contesting him too much as he is of partial foreign ancestry (as is his wife) and he is not quite a lock-step liberal, thankfully. I can’t think of other clear reasons for why Finland is the way it is in terms of national morale and standard of living, when you consider other nations with a similar degree of homogeneity. Not to say there aren’t numerous other reasons, but I suspect it is a strong contributing factor.

~ by CallistoRising on November 24, 2011.

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