From Within the Socialist Depths
Granted, he’s a sympathetic journalist, but Jay Nordlinger’s profile of Norway’s Progress Party (which aligns pretty closely with the American conservative movement) paints an interesting picture, with some notable moments:
The next winter, Israel went into Gaza, to stop these rocket attacks. In Oslo, there were riots, as the Muslim community reacted. Jensen gave a speech outside the parliament building, in support of Israel, and in support of peace and coexistence in the Middle East. The mob — howling, armed, and violent — threatened her. (You can get a taste of this on YouTube.) But she carried through with the speech. She tells me, “That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was surreal” — Norway prides itself on being a peaceable country.
Rioting in Norway over the actions of Israel is like rioting in Rhode Island over the domestic policies of Alabama. One must wonder: For whom is the message of the riot intended?
So, Progress must be a fringe party, right? Just a curiosity, in this strongly socialist culture. Not on your life. The country is getting less socialist. Progress is the second-largest party in the Storting (after Labor). It has 41 out of 169 seats; in the elections of 2009, it garnered 23 percent of the vote.
One of my habitual questions, for these conservatives and libertarians, is, “How did you get this way? How did you come to think as you do?” And they almost invariably respond, “I grew up in a socialist country!” — as if that were all the explanation needed. They felt stifled, and were bursting to break free into a new way of living.
And now, the Internet and other playing-field-leveling technology has made it possible for such people to find each other, develop ideas and organizations, and bring their message to others. Nordlinger reports that the national media, in Norway, is overtly opposed to Progress. Until very recently, such opposition could keep reform groups at the fringe, even if their positions would have found majority support, if voiced.
Those with an eye on the trends of European demography might notice one dark spot, though. Nowhere in Nordlinger’s piece is there mention of children — as in of having them. However many Europeans begin to think it best to pull back on socialist modernism, their victories are sure to short-lived unless they expand their numbers the old-fashioned way.