Mother of Mercy, Is This The End of the Scandinavian Welfare State?

by |
09/14/2009 5:03 PM |

Scandanavia, Norway, welfare state
  • Pictured, The L’s resident late-capitalist xenophobe Norwegian, Hank “Henry” Stewart.

Like all America-hating coastal elites, we here at The L live in constant envy of the Scandinavian welfare state, what with all its free healthcare, permissive social attitudes, generous creative subsidies, and eight-foot-tall women riding vintage bicycles.

We especially envy Norway, which, like Alaska, is riding out the global recession on sweet sweet petrodollars. And yet, we learn from the Times, Norwegians went to the polls today, and there’s a good chance they’ll bounce the ruling Labor Party. If you remember Larissa Kyzer’s recent L Mag piece on the growing social fissures informing Scandinavian crime fiction, it won’t surprise you to learn that this is in no small part due to the anti-immigrant sentiment stirred up by the far-right Progress Party (which has proposed “Norwegian internment centers in Africa, where asylum seekers who come to Norway would be flown”). Homogenous societies have been known to panic over immigration, Le Pen and Haider both say hi (or was that heil?), this is nothing new—but the Progress Party also supports cutting taxes and fueling new spending with the money currently used for pensions for the elderly. Have Norwegians learned nothing from Iceland’s disastrous foray into the global late-capitalist free market?

The point is, why are Norwegians doing this to us? All we want is a stable, sweater-wearing socialist country we can threaten to move to on days when America is acting particularly obnoxious.