My first encounter with SocialismOslo Girl's first encounter with Scandinavian Socialism:
My first encounter with Socialism
The year is 1984. I am a skinny ten-year old with long blonde hair and an almost equally long face and I've just moved from Long Island, NY to Oslo, Norway. I fly through the assignments and am impatient to learn more. I eagerly raise my hand and announce that I'm done and may I please start the next chapter? "No, Elise," I am told by the teacher whom I quickly grow to resent. "Not everyone has understood division yet. We only move ahead as a class." I protest, say I can do it on my own, can I just advance a few pages? To no avail. I am to wait patiently until everyone in the class, including G. who I suspect is mildly retarded, has understood it. It takes fucking forever, and I make sure the teacher knows I think so by rolling my eyes fairly often. In pretty bad taste I know now, but hey, I'm ten. Over the next three years until I move back to the States, I get used to the system and learn how to take advantage of it. I rarely do homework (we don't get grades, anyway) and only do the bare minimum of what's required of me. I guess you could say I am temporarily denerdified, although I fear I was on the verge of losing something far more important.
I have no idea if my experience is typical for Norwegian schools. As far as I know, I was just unlucky and had a bad teacher. I have, however, come to recognize my teacher's attitude as similar to one that is typically demonstrated (consciously or unconsciously) by the Norwegian Labour Party and the Socialist Left: There is no reason to work hard to achieve anything because the State will take care of your ass regardless. There is also no reason to assume any more responsibility than you need to, because the State knows what's best for you anyway. Forget about a social contract or any form for individual responsibility-- just lean back and enjoy the ride. I know it's a very complicated problem, but I sometimes wonder if there isn't any connection between this form of socialism and the fact that Oslo is the heroin-addict capital of the world?
Community sentence for torture
Political debate seems certain to erupt after a controversial sentencing decision where a man convicted of brutally torturing a victim received 90 hours of community punishment.