I’d thought that the quadrennial ritual of sore losers from every election threatening to leave the country (while never actually doing so) was behind us. The list of Hollywood celebrities who were supposedly leaving for Canada, Spain, South Africa or Mars was lengthy, but in the end not a single one of them did it. But perhaps it’s not quite done yet. Lee Siegel at the New York Times resurrects that ghost this week, despairing over the tawdry state of our union and confesses that he’s been pining for the fjords. No… that’s not a Monty Python dead parrot reference. He’s literally thinking of moving to Norway… or at least he was.
This time around, though, I’m thinking of living again in Scandinavia more seriously than I ever have before. Something fundamental has changed in America, for the worse.
It’s not just Donald Trump’s volatility, or the unfitness of his cabinet appointees, or his possible collusion with Russia, or the certain prospect that everything from health care to quality education will soon be inaccessible to great numbers of Americans.
I probably wouldn’t have even noticed that article had Jim Geraghty not included it in today’s Morning Jolt newsletter. Jim is rather charitable to the author, claiming to have restrained himself from telling Siegel to not let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. And after noting some of the less savory aspects of life in Norway, such as the fact that they have to hold classes for new Muslim immigrants so they’ll know that it’s actually not okay to randomly rape women, Jim reminds the reader that everyplace has its own problems.
Every place has its problems, pal. You’ve just got to choose which problems you can live with.
I also can’t help but notice he’s eager to move to an ethnically homogenous oil-exporting nation with a national church.
As for me, I suppose I’m just far less charitable. I would invite anyone who is unhappy with the current state of affairs in our country to pack their bags and head out to Norway immediately. Or pick any other European “paradise” of equality and reasonableness. But I would remind you that these are also bastions of socialism with open border policies and some strange ideas as to who precisely merits their charity and good will. Let’s remember that Norway is such a hotbed of antisemitism that they’re currently considering banning circumcision.
But beyond that, you will quickly learn that socialism is almost the same everywhere you go. In addition to the aforementioned “quirks” you should keep in mind that it’s only a paradise if you are content with living off the dole. Should you be interested in working to be a success and gaining wealth, Norway is one of the most heavily taxed nations in the world. Their tax burden is right around 45% of their GDP and your personal income taxes (if you are foolish enough to earn even a modest amount of money) will be 55% or better. If you start a business your corporate tax rate will run from 28% to as high as 78% depending on how well you do.
Also, the only reason Norway can afford to exist as a socialist paradise is that the government owns the natural resources and they’ve got massive oil deposits which constitute the lion’s share of their revenue. Combine that with the fact that the amount of freedom allotted to the residents depends entirely on their retaining relatively benevolent monarchs and we are reminded that they are precisely one sustained crash of the oil market or one generation of “less benevolent” ruling party folks away from being Venezuela. You’ve heard how things are going there, right?
But, hey… have at it. I’m sure you’ll have a blast and life in Norway will be so sweet. Be sure to send us a postcard.