Mischief on the Norwegian right

Jay Nordlinger’s analysis of Norway’s Progress Party is off, because he takes everything they tell a foreign conservative writer at face value.  He doesn’t consider that maybe they’re popular because they have multiple faces, and the “Reaganite, Thatcherite” face he describes is only one of them.

But he does capture something Norwegian commentators usually miss: Cultural markers, a taste for mischief.  Rockabilly, Coca-Cola aka “capitalist water”, Ayn Rand.  Potatoes from Israel, a bust of Reagan, posters of Churchill and Barry Goldwater.  He’s pointing towards something interesting, and that something is what divides those who read that list and smile and think “that’s hilarious”, from those who react with a stern “oh dear”.

I don’t mean that politics is all about cultural gut reactions, but sometimes they’re what originally motivate people to abandon their ideological safe zones.  A sense that a main problem with social democracy is its dullness, that its undeniable successes conceal cultural and intellectual decay. Follow that line of thought and you discover that social democracy isn’t dull, it’s hilarious, with its earnest pretensions and absurd side-effects and “this time it’s really going to work” government programs.  And then you can’t stop laughing.

It may or may not “begin with Ayn Rand”, but it continues with the realization that about the most provocative thing you can do in Norway is to have a Reagan bust in your office.  And that’s funny because it is silly.  The fun doesn’t make it right, but it makes it fun to be right.  Viva la Reagan revolucion!

3 Responses to Mischief on the Norwegian right

  1. Konrad says:

    It would not be accurate to call Nordlingers text an unbiased report, it’s largely a summary of how the Progs like to appear.

    I also agree that political sympathies are to a substantial extent guided by cultural “gut reactions” and identity (who one identify with, self-identity).

  2. Konrad says:

    Mr Nordling don’t even get the most trivial facts right. He claims that there are 8 % muslims in Norway, the true figure near 2 %, and 25 % muslims in Oslo (which is also widely exaggarted). He also claims there where muslim riots.

  3. Well, there were riots, anyway. But yeah, he gets the important things wrong. But he gets some very interesting unimportant things right.

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