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Literature / The White Men

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The White Men (Danish: De Hvide Mænd) is a Dystopian novel by the Danish author, Kenneth Bøgh Andersen, published in 2003.

In future Denmark, the country is ruled by a Fascist government that came to power after an Overpopulation Crisis. A one-child policy is strictly enforced, the possession of drugs, including alcohol is forbidden, and if you are in any way handicapped, chronically ill or crippled, over the age of 65, or fail to get a sufficiently high grade at your final exams, you are considered amongst the weak and unwanted and will be summarily executed by the titular White Men's Corps, the sinister and brutal enforces of the government's vicious laws. But all of this are just necessary steps to get Denmark safely through the crisis, or so claims the government.

Our protagonist, Edwin Georg Normann, is a 21-year-old former model student. Highly intelligent and once staled to pass his exam with the highest possible average, he finds himself plagued by doubt in the righteousness of the oppressive society and hunted by the ghosts of his past, and his grades is slowly slipping towards the lowest allowed average.



  • All Crimes Are Equal: The fascist government seem to punish any kind of lawbreaking activity, no matter how petty, with death. Your only chance to get out of this is apparently indicate someone else in a worse crime.
  • Arc Words: "You are exactly what this society needs."
  • Broken Pedestal: Edwin finds out that his grandfather, the person who planted the ideas of a more open and tolerant society in him, had been a member of the White Men's Corps in the past.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Even if the inhumane and draconian laws that the Fascist government originally was founded on was once a necessary evil to counter the overpopulation crisis, it is made quite clear that it is no longer the case (if anything the country currently suffers from being vastly underpopulated), and that their only reason for upholding them is that the fear they instil in the population is a very effective measure of control.
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  • Downer Ending: Edwin joins the White Men's Corps to ensure the survival of Lykke and his unborn child, but it turns out that it was for naught. As he is about to execute Lenny, who failed his exam, Lenny informs him that Lykke was killed while trying to escape across the border.
  • Overpopulation Crisis: What let to Denmark turning into a fascist state, and the justification from said fascist state why they continue to uphold their brutal and inhumane policies.
  • Morton's Fork: "So what you choose Mr. Normann? To die... or to die?"
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: As he is confronted by the fabled leader of the White Men's Corps, Edwin notices he is very obviously over the maximum age of 65.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Lenny, of the Betrayer Barry model. He squeals on Edwin's attempt to save an old man from his "retirement", to get around his failing exam. Edwin only escapes any kind of punishment because the old man chose to give himself up.