Paradise in Norway: Stormclouds on the horizon

We can have the most talented people in the White House we can come up with. But if Americans don’t understand what’s at stake and are not pushing good people into government to do the right thing, eventually the moneyed interests are going to win out because there’s nobody else that is loud enough to be heard.

I started with something Robert Reich, author, professor at Berkely and former politician, said in an interview. It’s a reminder of our own responsibility. Many seem to suffer from the illusion that the world became less democratic with Trump in the USA, and the so-called populist wave in Europe. Everything was apparantly hunky-dory under the Bush family in the USA, and in the EU before the British voters decided to use their democratic right to take their independence back.

It’s a classic sign that you have something to hide. Imagine a scene from a crime show. The police are searching through the suspect’s apartment. He has hidden whatever the officers are looking for very well, so he remains calm. The police eventually come close to the secret storage and the suspect starts to sweat and get a very worried look on his face. He may try to divert the officers’ attention or even shout in panick as he realizes it’s too late.

That’s the way the world is run these days. An excessive amount of truth and democracy are dangerous, so authorities aim to reduce the extent of these concepts in society. They have hidden the true story. Socialism became a liability a long time ago, which means that the American dream is no longer a goal. Socialism and the American dream have a lot of things in common as both deal with distribution or redistribution. That’s basically what the American dream was about. You could start out poor and make a fortune, but a major part of the American dream was also about working less. Many had more time to do things with their families, which wasn’t an option before. It was also about not starving. People didn’t have to become rich to accomplish that, so socialism was a significant part of the Anerican dream. It was still possible to become stinking rich because the dream wasn’t about equal outcome. It was about equal opportunity.

Norway is a socialist country, but not the kind of socialism you hear about on Fox News. There is inequality here as well, and it’s growing. The official story was that we didn’t feel the financial crisis of 2008 at all, but according to a report from the Labour and Welfare Administration from December last year we are becoming less equal. The most disturbing trend is that people under 30 give up. They report that they are looking for jobs without actually applying for any. That is a problem because research and experience from other countries (such as socialist Scotland) show that poverty can be inherited. If children never see their parents go to work, or do anything productive, there is a good chance they won’t amount to anything themselves.

The former and present leader of Norwegian Labour, Jens Stoltenberg and Jonas gahr Støre. I wonder why they tend to remind me of Martin Sheen in The Dead Zone. Photo: Arbeiderpartiet via Flickr
The former and present leader of Norwegian Labour, Jens Stoltenberg and Jonas Gahr Støre. I wonder why they tend to remind me of Martin Sheen in The Dead Zone. Photo: Arbeiderpartiet via Flickr

It is still better to be poor here than in many other countries. We have programs that help people, but I think we are moving closer to an unsustainable society. The American dream was about equal opportunities, not equal outcome. That’s all we can ask for. That doesn’t seem to apply anywhere in the world anymore. Equal opportunity starts the year you start school. I think it’s fair to say that some schools have better buildings, better and more technical equipment, better teachers, and better food than other schools. By the time students apply for university, they are not on equal terms. It doesn’t matter how hard they work and how much they contribute.

It’s not on the same level in Norway as in the USA of course, but the financial crisis in 2008 may have changed my country permanently. We know that increased immigration adds to poverty, so this “everybody is welcome and they don’t have to work-attitude” is more than a little naive. There is a lot of potentially negative things connected at the moment. This is about the economy in most of the world, it’s about Trump, the future of EU, Brexit, a possibly Frexit, and it’s about NATO’s desire to fight democracy anywhere. We all talk about democracy, but the truth is that democratic governments don’t want democracy. It just gets in their way.

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