The Democrats’ dirty tricks on personal-income-tax returns have made me think of Norway. If you look into the Nobel Peace Prize, you have to look into Norway. The peace prize is “in the gift” of the Norwegians (to use an expression our British senior editor, David Pryce-Jones, taught me). The Norwegian parliament appoints the peace committee. In writing my history of the prize, I duly looked into Norway.
As you know, Norway has a long history of social democracy and collectivism. “Social solidarity” is highly valued; individual distinction is not valued, even looked down on. I have generalized, but it is a permissible generalization, I think. I could give you example after example (as could anyone who knows about this society).
In Norway, everyone’s tax return is published on the Internet. Think of that. It’s a recipe for social turmoil, or at least unease. As an expert in Oslo explained to me, “You look down on anyone who makes one crown less than you, and you resent anyone who makes one crown more than you.” Norwegians go to great lengths to hide what they have, if they have any money.
Norway is a wonderful society in many ways, but not in this one — not in my opinion. Envy, resentment: These are such destructive qualities. America has been relatively free of them (with the emphasis on “relatively”). We are a society that has celebrated others’ success, in part because we know that others’ success helps society at large. Is this recognized by the modern Democratic party?
You won’t be surprised to hear that Norway likes Obama a lot. Hey, didn’t they give him the Nobel Peace Prize? Can’t quite remember. I do have a memory from the spring of 2011. This was not long after Obamacare passed. Learning that I was an American, a hotel worker in Oslo said to me, “Congratulations on your new health-care system. This is a happy time for you.” The Norwegian media would not have told her otherwise.
By the way, don’t you think it’s strange — just a little weird — that President Obama doesn’t mention his health-care transformation, probably the most important thing about his term as president? Shouldn’t he be heralding that in speech after speech? Maybe some of the rest of us should “herald” it for him.