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Adalheid Friunt
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 04:55 PM
An odd little article I just stumbled across...

http://politics.pagannewswirecollective.com/2011/02/18/socialist-vikings/


The Vikings are thought of by most people as barbaric invaders, pillagers, and looters: violent, greedy, and wanton. Of course this is a caricature — the Vikings did more trading, exploring and settling than anything else. But there’s no denying that the Vikings inflicted great damage on the peoples of northern Europe and Russia, and their habit of attacking Christian holy sites made them seem especially fearsome.

Even after the Nordic nations became Christian, they had a reputation for their ferocity. During the Thirty Years War in the 1600′s, Swedish armies destroyed about one third of all the towns in Germany.

But now things are different. Today the five “Nordic” countries — Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland — have planted themselves at or near the top of most measures of human happiness for decades. None of them have invaded any other nation in modern times. They are not pagan, but neither are they particularly Christian — Norway has the lowest number of people calling themselves “religious” of any Western nation (36%). They are peaceful, free, and prosperous, with low crime rates, low infant mortality, high employment, universal medical care, low personal and institutional debt, and excellent low-cost furniture.

How? Socialism.

Socialism! It’s harder to imagine anything further from that old Viking spirit. Instead of trading, exploring, and settling, or even a little pillaging on the side, prosperity and living standards are kept high by strong governments, thick and hearty safety nets for the poor and elderly, and tax rates close to 60% of income.

At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. But a recent paper presented by the five Nordic countries at the Davos World Economic Forum challenged that notion. Instead, they say, the secret of the Norse is actually their particular brand of rugged individualism:

…it is the combination of extreme individualism and a strong state that has shaped the fertile ground for an efficient market economy: Less tied down by legal, practical or moral obligations within families, individuals of both sexes become more flexible and available for productive work in a market economy. Gender equality has resulted in both higher fertility rates and higher female participation on the labor market than in other parts of Europe. (from the introduction to the report)

The paper goes on to argue that strong government programs like universal health care, easily accessible child care, and retirement benefits allows individuals more personal choice and freedom. With health care taken care of, the sick and elderly have more choice of careers; with child care taken care of, more professional women can enter the workforce; with retirement benefits, people don’t have to scrimp and save all their lives, but can spend their money when they earn it. (Good thing, too, if they’re only keeping 40% of the check…) All of this, it’s argued, levels the employment playing field and allows more actual freedom — freedom for both men and women to get sick, have children, and grow old, without worrying unduly about employment.

The Nordic countries, they say, place their faith primarily in two loci: the state and the individual. The state is there to balance inequalities of opportunity, so that each individual has the maximum freedom to order their lives as they see fit.

The report also compares the Norse societies with those of Germany and the United States. Germans, they say, place their faith in different loci: the state and the family. German culture extols the virtues of family life, and compares the family to the state. The individual is important only insofar as the duties they have to the state and to their families. The state and the family will take care of you, and you owe them allegiance; your personal desires just aren’t as important.

The US, on the other hand, places its faith in the individual and the family — no state is involved. Americans don’t trust their government at all, and if you’re sick, old, or need child care, you should either take care of it yourself, or get your family to help you. The state owes you nothing, and shouldn’t be trusted with those responsibilities anyway. Do you want Obama telling you how to raise your kids?

If this report is anything like accurate, it means that the Nordic model of society isn’t really available for export. Germans can’t adopt the model, because they don’t trust individuals enough to place society’s burdens on them. (Of course, individuals aren’t given the training and resources to earn that trust.) The US can’t adopt the model, because Americans don’t trust the government enough. (Again: the government isn’t given the authority and resources to earn that trust.)

The authors of the report compare the rugged individualism of the Nordic countries to the heroine Pippi Longstocking, who is “the strongest girl in the world and an anarchic individualist who lives without parents in her own house, with only a monkey, horse, a bag of gold and a strong moral compass for company.” (Quoted from the Economist.) This seems a little odd to me — if she’s an anarchic individualist, how does that square with state-sponsored health care and so forth? But I think the intent of the report is clear: the people of the Norse countries use their governments to allow them to be rugged, anarchic individualists. At least, that’s how they see it.

Perhaps it’s not so different from Viking times, after all. The Nordic system allows individuals to sail away into the life or career of their choosing, to trade, explore, and settle as they like, unencumbered by family obligations, ill health, or fear of old age. Looked at that way, the government isn’t a thief taking 60% of their income for its own purposes, but a knarr, a seaworthy merchant ship, which opens up the sea of possibility and opportunity to every citizen.

(But a 60% tax rate?! …Well, those ships were mighty expensive…)

Given all of this, I’d like to invite any willing Heathens to comment. If you’ve lived or worked in the modern Nordic countries, would you say this portrayal of them is accurate? How do you think it squares with the pagan Norse societies of a thousand years ago? And does the modern American Heathen conception of the state / individual / family triad owe more to ancient pagan belief, or to modern American cultural biases?
..

Méldmir
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 05:17 PM
Alot of BS. Comparing paying taxes to a ship on the sea? The autrhor is going over his head to draw parallels between the Viking society and modern socialism. Unlike modern people, the Vikings didn't sit around worrying about old age and disease, they instead grabbed their destiny and moved towards it without (or even with) fear. Thus they didn't need any help or nursing from some "state". The Viking society (and all old Germanic societies) were obviously more like the US system (even though that has been corrupted in latter decades), where personal resposibility and individual strength was important, as well as working for the community/family. Paying taxes in the Viking age was something conquerred people did. You won't be free by taxes, you will only be free when you shape your own fate, which is much more difficult when you have to give away your income to the governemnt.



It is the combination of extreme individualism and a strong state that has shaped the fertile ground for an efficient market economy: Less tied down by legal, practical or moral obligations within families, individuals of both sexes become more flexible and available for productive work in a market economy.

This is the sort of individualism that will kill all sort of tribal thinking, where people see the state as their surrogat-mother, and their own family becomes meaningless and family matters none.
Mix that with hating your own culture and you have a recipe for disaster.


Gender equality has resulted in both higher fertility rates and higher female participation on the labor market than in other parts of Europe. (from the introduction to the report)

Fertility rates have gone up? Oh maybe because of the muslims. Because women working doesn't ring true with having more kids to me. And what has females working to do with the Vikings exactly?

Ţoreiđar
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 06:32 PM
I have to agree with Méldmir. The article is full of all sorts of half-truths and one-sided, self-beneficial perspectives.

Obviously, the Norse people of the old times lived nothing like how we do today. I have long wondered, though, how such a strong, proud and self-dependent people got turned into such a bunch of meek clinchers to the nanny-state. The belief-system of Christianity may perhaps be to blame, as the loss of an organized religion left a void in society that needed to be filled, which was gradually taken over by the state, in many aspects.

Sigyn
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 06:42 PM
This article does make some interesting points, although much of it looks like a bunch of half-truths and facts skewed to fit a political agenda.



Obviously, the Norse people of the old times lived nothing like how we do today. I have long wondered, though, how such a strong, proud and self-dependent people got turned into such a bunch of meek clinchers to the nanny-state. The belief-system of Christianity may perhaps be to blame
I'd also blame Christianity for part of it, although it's mostly got to do with the fact that Scandinavians lived in peace and never had to fight many wars in the last couple hundred years. I mean, us Swedes were fairly aggressive from the Vikings all the way until the imperial era of Karl XII (the "Romans of the North" and all that), only to suddenly fall into apathy and nanny-statism. By the start of the 1900s, we had become "meek clinchers" as you put it.



Fertility rates have gone up? Oh maybe because of the muslims. Because women working doesn't ring true with having more kids to me. And what has females working to do with the Vikings exactly?
Maybe because the Viking women were actually working? Who else do you think was doing the work while the male Vikings were on their ships?

Méldmir
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 06:45 PM
Maybe because the Viking women were actually working? Who else do you think was doing the work while the male Vikings were on their ships?

That is hardly enough to make any sort of connection from the old Norse societies to modern feminist "equality". Females, both human and animal, have always done their share of work, but where exactly is the connection from the female part of any species doing work, to modern Scandinavian equality? That was my question.


I have to agree with Méldmir. The article is full of all sorts of half-truths and one-sided, self-beneficial perspectives.

Obviously, the Norse people of the old times lived nothing like how we do today. I have long wondered, though, how such a strong, proud and self-dependent people got turned into such a bunch of meek clinchers to the nanny-state. The belief-system of Christianity may perhaps be to blame, as the loss of an organized religion left a void in society that needed to be filled, which was gradually taken over by the state, in many aspects.

One must not forget of course that this is to an extent not just a Scandinavian phenonema, but a European (as opposed to American). Christinaity must surely be part of it, in which religion one is supposed to be submissive to something big and abstract, that cannot be seen. Then of course the Socialist movement of the turn of the century added to that. The Americans were probably spared from the latter since they do not trust strong governments because of their ancestors religious and political persecution in Europe, and Socialism of course advocates a strong state.

Sigyn
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 06:48 PM
That is hardly enough to make any sort of connection from the old Norse societies to modern feminist "equality". Females, both human and animal, have always done their share of work, but where exactly is the connection from the female part of any species doing work, to modern Scandinavian equality? That was my question.
No, that was not your question at all.
This is what you said:


Because women working doesn't ring true with having more kids to me. And what has females working to do with the Vikings exactly?

And I replied that women did, indeed, work during the Viking age. And they had kids. The whole connection to modern feminism was entirely your idea.

Méldmir
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 06:55 PM
No, that was not your question at all.
This is what you said:



And I replied that women did, indeed, work during the Viking age. And they had kids. The whole connection to modern feminism was entirely your idea.

I thought that when I said "women working" just after the article mentioning "equaliy", was going to make it quite clear I was referring to "women working the same way as men (ie equality)". But if you didn't find I was clear enough I apologize.

Do you not think I know that women did household work, and even worked on the fields? Hm...

Ţoreiđar
Monday, October 31st, 2011, 09:07 PM
One must not forget of course that this is to an extent not just a Scandinavian phenonema, but a European (as opposed to American). Christinaity must surely be part of it, in which religion one is supposed to be submissive to something big and abstract, that cannot be seen. Then of course the Socialist movement of the turn of the century added to that. The Americans were probably spared from the latter since they do not trust strong governments because of their ancestors religious and political persecution in Europe, and Socialism of course advocates a strong state.I believe the cause for the difference between Europe and America in this regard lies in the fact that the Americans never had a powerful and authoritarian institutional Church the way Europe did. Although Christianity as a religion may contribute more to the submissive mentality that is prerequisite for implementing a 'nanny-state' than what Heathenism does, I think the majority of the cause lies in the institutional nature of Christianity in Europe in the past.

For example, In stark contrast to Europe, the majority of the self-dependent and conservative people of the American population belong to the more religious layers of society.

Gugnir
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011, 03:07 AM
Here's the thing: Both "socialism" (though I often use the word in a positive context, but I mean the NS form of it of course) and American capitalism are BS systems. Extremist socialism leads to ruin and depreciation, and American capitalism leads to poverty and hell. What we need is to stop seeing the government, businesses and people as separate entities, but as united in the State. The State will make sure that private corporations exist for the benefit of the whole nation, and cannot pawn off poison and bad merchandise or ideas to the Volk, yet there will be the possibility of private initiative, as long as you're not going against the national interest. Only NS can save us and bring us what we truly, truly need.

-Gugnir

Ţoreiđar
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011, 03:02 PM
Only NS can save us and bring us what we truly, truly need.This NS chauvanism is growing ever so tiresome...

Sigyn
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011, 03:15 PM
This NS chauvanism is growing ever so tiresome...
Part of why I like this forum is that many people of many different ideologies are members here; we just share the desire to preserve our ethnic group. Some are NS, others aren't. I've even seen libertarian members here. :P I don't have a problem at all with people being NS within the wider nationalist movement, but it does get very annoying when the Hitler fans show up and turn completely unrelated topics into threads about NS and/or World War 2.

Anyways, now I'm derailing the topic myself. Back to the discussion about socialist Vikings...