If you took the writers at NRO’s “the Corner” to Iceland, they would spontaneously combust.
I have a feeling that most of the NRO people, especially those strongly against undocumented immigration, would say this is a product of the homogeneity of the population. Since most are of the same stock, all have the same values and so the nation can afford to be so free with itself. But with the multicultural nightmare that is the USA, of course you can’t expect people to be so open! You must make every effort to be a single people by restricting immigration, forcing everyone to learn one language, be of one religion, etc. Only this way can Americans (fuck yeah!) be happy! And then they will go on a rant about California’s outrageous judicial activism and Barack Obama’s elitism and John McCain’s traitorous attempts to allow the reconquista and deal even half-heartedly with global warming.
I don’t know NRO from jack, but I have to wonder whether the factors that the article downplayed may have had a larger role than discussed. The article seems to imply that the WWII Allies built much of the physical infrastructure at no cost to the locals, and it seems to me that much of their idealism would be hard to maintain for European countries close to 18th, 19th, and 20th century expansion-hungry nations.
Just saying. There is much to be admired about Iceland, but much of it wouldn’t immediately work if adopted by other nations worldwide. Their approach to using natural energy is one I’ve long admired, but what of nations (and I’m not speaking of the North American nations, since I think much of their approach is feasible for us) that don’t have those natural wonders simmering beneath or around them? Also, it seems that their socialism works because of a depth of national character, something that government programs cannot easily create. Instead, Iceland spent centuries developing an admirable social ethos and then built a welfare state (not using that term pejoratively) for citizens who are productive and caring.
It’s not that it can’t be done in other nations, it’s that it can’t be done in four years, or ten years. People need to shift their very consciousness. This, I think is one of Obama’s strengths over Clinton. Clinton is emphasizing people’s right to certain things that conservatives can arguably demonstrate are not unequivocally rights, and she’s talking about short-term measures that may or may not pay off in the long-term. While I have many disagreements with Obama, I think his speeches are taking more and more an edge of how “Yes We Can” means not “Yes, we can grab free government cash,” but “Yes, we can reshape our national ethos.” Cooperation to provide for greater security and health, not a “give to me” mentality but a “I will profit as I give to others” non-zero mindset. I think what made Ron Paul popular with a small but vocal segment of conservatives and independents was a similar spirit, though the particulars of his message were obviously much different. He was advocating changing the system. McCain is sending out the neo-con message, or at least I am reading his talk as this, “everything is fine, let’s keep it up.”
Hence why Clinton and McCain support things like a gas tax holiday, and Obama rejects it. Short-term fixes are not what the United States needs. We don’t need something to alleviate short-term crunches, we need a shift in our national consciousness.
I lean conservative, free market, I find Zerzan appealing, but I don’t think socialism is inherently impossible or vulgar. It requires a new approach to social ethos, however. If the United States could change our attitudes (and perhaps, one might argue, bring them in line with the more community-focused aspect of early Judeo-Christian communities), we could make any number of political systems work. A welfare state didn’t work for Rome because it was designed to profit only the core citizens, and was built on the backs of the provinces. It also gave much without asking much from the citizens. However, Icelandic socialism is the result of self-sufficiency and voluntary cooperation blooming into a tight-knit, cooperative society.
Blah, blah, blah.
There seems to be a consensus shaping up, and I agree with it. The fact that Iceland works so well is due to her people and their values. It’s a peculiar situation which happens to have played out fantastically well. Good for them.
Not to derail the thread (too late), but a few posts back you mentioned that while you vote NDP, there are elements of the party you’d like to punch in the face. I’m also Canadian, and I also vote NDP. I’m just curious as to which elements of the party you’re talking about. Would you mind elaborating?
Evan: Buzz Hargrove.
Also, Buzz Hargrove.
Heh. Mr. Hargrove is certainly a prime candidate for face-punching. Few will argue that he doesn’t deserve it, and I’m certainly not one of the few.
Honestly, my thoughts after reading this article were as follows:
1. Damn, I need to move to Iceland. Babies and a career-yay!
2. Somehow I doubt the weather and long periods of darkness will help my bouts of severe depression.
3. Bah, this whole thing was probably financed by Iceland’s government anyway.
Rationalization and cynicism will reinforce the status quo any day of the week 😉
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