Authored by 'Ola Nordmann',
Despite Norwegian mainstream media and political establishment support for Hillary Clinton (They also supported Mark Rubio and Bernie Sanders when they were running), I would like to apologize for our politicians and voice my support for Trump. I believe that Americans need to think about what is at stake from lifelong socialists’ perspective. Despite what people read about Norway being the best place to live, it comes with a price. Everyone needs to mostly agree, not raising concern, even when feeling wronged. Going outside the line leads to ostracization. (It’s like being Amish in some ways.)
We are not that creative. We would like to think so, but compared to Minnesota, our American cousin (similar population, culture, and climate), we are far behind – left in the dust. Minnesota has many diverse and world class companies like 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing), Polaris (snowmobiles and motorcycles), and Medtronic (Innovative medical equipment). Our largest companies are mostly resource related: Statoil (state oil company), Telenor (our innovative phone company) and Yara (fertilizer). The government substantially owns many of them, not making them real companies that compete for their daily existence, like their Minnesota counterparts.
If you ever come to Norway, you will find around half the TV shows are American! We have Dr. Phil, NCIS, Cake Boss, Fast and Loud and so on. Our version of Cops and Storage Wars will put you to sleep. Recently, a major Norwegian media outlet launched a reality show, called Oslo S, about our central train station. The theme is bouncers and bums exchanging pleasantries – Yawn. Other shows come from Australia, Sweden and the UK. I wish we could be more American, in this regard, making our own entertainment to cover all the time slots, instead of importing it.
Our education system teaches conformity and compliance. It does not teach critical reasoning, questioning the system or exploring the media’s agenda. When you graduate, you will be unable to take charge and make a decision. (Good decisions always disappoint someone. Otherwise, the choice would not need arbitration in the first place) Instead, you will learn that everyone must be included, finding a compromise. This indoctrination process often leaves your team uncompetitive or product useless, falling short of market demands. It’s more important that everyone is happy than to remain profitable, which ensures long-term enterprise survival. The lack of confidence taught in our education system is crippling. This insecurity makes us somewhat socially retarded with foreigners. When we go abroad, we travel in groups, sticking to ourselves, not interacting with the locals. It may explain our unfriendly ranking.
Many well to do Norwegians acknowledge the systems shortcomings, opting for private education. Some even send their kids boarding schools in England and Ivy League universities in America. We have a hard time getting those kids to return home, leading us forward. Instead, they add to America’s vastness and achievements. Recently, private schools in Norway started to pick up.
Our Economy is equally as boring. After oil (65%), we sell fish and aluminum. Our Central Bank did such a wonderful job devaluing the currency, allowing the Chinese to buy our expensive water company. Many more of our unique companies are now vulnerable to foreign takeover.
Our technology sector will not save the economy after oil’s demise (at least not now). Although there are some interesting firms, doing cool stuff, they are no comparison to those in California, Boston or New York. We get good people, but America gets the best of the best, driven by a deeply human desire to succeed.
If we were truly innovative: we would have lured Elon Musk to Norway to make Tesla’s here (we are on a per-capita basis one of the world’s largest consumers of electric cars). It would have complimented our emission-free hydroelectric industry, which generates 99% of Norway’s power. We should have invested our oil fund money into becoming leaders in 3D metal and alloy printing. This technology would be an ideal complement to our small but highly skilled workforce, losing jobs in the oil industry. We could have been exporting commercial aircraft and car parts, made to order and on demand, diversifying the economy. Nevertheless, our leaders in the Central Bank and Politics learned to play it safe, avoiding risk and confrontation, all their life. They never learned that not taking risk is also a risk. We are experiencing that right now – the repercussions of doing nothing.
Our cultural basis comes from the Janteloven. Essentially if we see our neighbor with a new Cadillac, we get jealous, hastily concluding that he stole it instead of sacrificing to earn it. We will never openly express our distaste. We just hold it in and do something passive aggressive like reporting him to the tax office. When the American neighbor sees the luxury car, he gets motivated and works extra hard. Afterward, he buys a Bentley, one-upping the neighbor. Economies and innovation benefit from competition, not envy and passive-aggressive behavior mixed with feelings of inadequacy.
If you want to live in Norway, you have to be comfortable with complacency. Things are “great” because they don’t change, making life predictable. Norway is for those needing direction, protection, and an identity. It is for those who want to take it easy, seeking a steady routine, usually after they made it. For the outliers, ambitious and the hungry– those few who make the greatest contributions for posterity –America is your place.
In the American workplace, in general, respect is earned based on actions and not given. In Norway, we tell such anxious people to relax and not worry so much, subtly suppressing them. Americans, even if they don’t like you, will at least respect you if you’re productive.
I do not want to see America become Norway. First, it’s impossible. Our history and evolutionary paths are different. Second, the human species, as a whole, would cease to advance. We will never get the next iPhone, Tesla or action movie.
Below are my observations about Trump and why Americans, and the world for that matter, should consider him.
Trump is more Interesting than the Kardashians
The obnoxious family is popular here, polluting our airwaves daily. Trump is the first Presidential Candidate (based on observation) to get more press than them. People are talking about Trump, America and what’s wrong. Moreover, they are talking about “why.” Everyday people, who normally watch sports and reality shows, are having vigorous debates about real topics that affect their lives.
Trump made politics interesting to the entertainment drugged masses! His presidency would mean more democracy, not less. More people will start to pay attention to the government than Kim Kardashian’s backside. Everything usual will get disrupted. A new culture of calling things as you see it will rise (or return, depending on how long you have been around.
The media and public will scrutinize Trump’s every move. It will be interesting to know what he is up to. Everyone will be watching his speeches and commenting the day after. It will be far from routine. Democracy needs public participation. Good or bad: as the antics ensue, more outsiders will get energized and inspired, bringing new faces to politics.
Loathed by Billionaires, Goldman Sachs and Mainstream Media
I find it interesting that the very wealthy are suddenly vocal, vigorously opposing Donald J Trump’s presidency. Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and George Soros have all made statements against “The Donald.” Buffet, Gates, and Soros are avid supporters of Hillary Clinton. Goldman Sachs top management are not allowed to donate to Trump’s campaign.
As an average seventy-something Norwegian farmer, looking at American from the outside, I find the vigorous billionaire opposition “interesting.” Moreover, this is amplified by CNN (which we get here in Norway as part of our standard cable package). CNN used to be fact based news only. Now they morphed into the Clinton News Network, attempting to shape public opinion, garnering support for globalism.
Perhaps the billionaire’s enterprises benefit from bloated government spending (this is speculation and worthy of investigation)? These Billionaires are so rich that the interest earned on their idle cash and investments amounts to tens of thousands of dollars per day. What do they have to lose either way? Why is this so important to them? Maybe it’s to their advantage that the ladder (better known as the American Dream), where people can ascend through the rungs, achieving different levels of success through hard work, is broken?
Don’t Americans find it strange, despite technological advancements and increased productivity, that medical care, education, and housing costs are rising. I thought technology was supposed to make things cheaper, easier and more abundant. Remember when people went from horse and buggy to the Ford Model T – what happened? (A middle mobile middle class was born). Based on what I read about American life, it seems like now, when there is a new technology or innovation to make life easier, things get worse. Jobs become less stable than decades earlier. People are working longer hours for less. The housing standard is now a cramped condo instead of a house with a yard. It appears a lot of people are on edge.
American’s need to ask themselves, reflecting back one generation (20 years), how billionaires have made their lives better? Billionaires have substantially increased their wealth in the past 20 years, have you?
American’s have a history of being rebellious, unpredictable, self-reliant and wild, rooting for the underdog. In this case, the underdog is Trump. The world needs this from you: not to become “European,” stuck in discussion while opportunity passes.
Government & Opportunity
Unlike Libertarians, I do believe the government has a role in the private sector, ensuring competition exists and industries, serving national interests, are secured. (It would be crazy if the American army bought guns and tanks made in China to save money.) It is important that America secures its’ ability to produce heavy machinery, rockets, automobiles, high-tech, food, and medicine. However, this doesn’t mean the government support monopolies.
In the past, the American government would break up monopolies to ensure competition which also pushed innovation. In the past, they broke up the railroad, oil, and telephone monopolies, leading to innovation in energy, transportation, and communications. Since the failed attempt to break up Microsoft, the US and many world governments seemed to have looked the other way while corporate conglomerates keep on growing. The unchecked growth leads to corruption and stagnation. These mega companies can exert influence over local, state and even national governments who inadvertently put all their eggs in one basket. Even worse, when the mega corporation gets in trouble, they extort governments to bail them out, at taxpayer expense, otherwise threatening a crisis or mass layoffs.
Hence, governments must act like icebreaker boats, breaking down the massive ice flows so all can pass through the channel, not only the big boats. This observation was especially true with the bank bailouts. When they got in trouble, the big bank CEO’s claimed the fallout would be on the order of a natural disaster. Although Americans have a history of resiliency, bouncing back stronger from disasters, the US Government bailed the failed banks out while the people, owning homes and banking products, lost out. (Many Norwegian towns lost a lot, believing in US Mortgage securities during the 2008 crisis). The government, supposedly elected by the people, should have let the banks fail and help the victims of the systematic and institutionalized fraud, keeping them in their homes.
The Glass–Steagall Act was enacted in 1933 after the 1929 stock market crash to separate investment and commercial banks. Hence, the act limited the size of the banks and therefore limited the risks to the market. In 1998, Bill Clinton stated that this act was no longer relevant, and Congress repealed it in 1999. Many argue that Glass-Steagall would have averted the 2008 financial crisis. When Trump proposed to reinstate the act, Wall Street jumped on him.
American’s should think long and hard about whose side Wall Street is on.
Right vs. Correct
The big problem in the World today is the lack of honesty: objective and fact based. Without proper facts, it’s difficult to make good decisions. Europe, Norway included, has embarked down the Political Correctness (PC) path. So much so that people waste a lot of time deciding how to say something in a polite and “correct” way, often sacrificing the truth. This behavior leads to bad decisions or none at all. Instead of listening to the raw content, meant to help reach a good decision, PC people focus on the tone and word choice, missing the main point altogether.
Often the liberals will call you a sexist, racist or narcissist, responding to a direct and logical challenge that questions a popular assumption or long held belief. In Norway, we mandate that corporate boards have a set percentage of women. In technical companies, it is difficult to find qualified women, so ones from outside the profession are assigned. Sacrificing needed knowledge and experience for “correctness,” often leads to sub-optimal performance. If there is a woman on the board of an innovative American company, it’s because she is qualified and not to fill a quota. She worked hard, putting in the hours, getting her to the top. (I recently saw a post where someone posted a list of company ranking them from highest to lowest regarding women on the board. When I asked them to post the margins compared to their global competitors, Someone rebuffed me as a sexist.)
Instead of doing quotas, the government should focus on recruiting more women into the profession and ensure all the barriers are removed. Anyone, regardless of gender or background, should be able to excel in the given profession based on merit. No one should be blocked because of race. In essence. all obstacles should be cleared from the roads so that everyone can get on the highway, reaching their full potential. The focus should be on getting access to those who don’t have it in the beginning and not forcing quotas at the end.
Recently, we had a situation in Norway where a Norwegian Bank employed the services of an Indian IT provider, bringing people onshore to build a payment app. During the development process, the Indians worked outside the regulations, putting in a lot of extra time under duress. The Norwegian managers apparently did not have knowledge that their Indian management counterparts were breaking the law. In my opinion, I believe that the Norwegian managers may have been too afraid to ask difficult questions to the Indians, fearing a PC backlash and being branded a racist.
PC can snuff out the truth, blocking people from doing the right thing. Being correct over being right can suppress expression and push negative sentiment underground. People cannot express legitimate concerns because they are more afraid to offend someone, even if they need it. In a sense, this is discrimination. Is it only white males that get to hear the honest and raw truth while everyone else gets the sugar coated and often distorted version of it? Perhaps this explains the rise of nationalist parties.
Some nationalist parties are extreme and irrational (Golden Dawn in Greece) and others address legitimate concerns (UKIP). The mainstream media does not differentiate. Being in a democracy requires a lot of work, on the individuals part, collecting and analyzing the facts for yourself. Remember that ad revenue powers mass media. Perhaps people should think twice before thinking mainstream media outlets are benevolent.
Focus on success has been America’s edge: greed and the desire to make money trumps personal feelings, race, and gender. American’s simply want the best people on their team, seeing only green. In this sense, greed is fair and democratic, rewarding merit while blind to other factors. Last time I was in America, I noticed that people go pretty far when they are good at something they enjoy.
The world is counting on the American ideal that “right is might, saying it like it is.” Being right over correct gives us the data in the purest form, free of distraction, allowing for the best possible decision.
Globalism vs. Nationalism
Being proud of your country and voting for politicians who put national interests ahead of global ones is not racist like liberal mainstream media would like you to believe. Racism is when you institute policies to block certain people from opportunity or services, based solely on their genetics, personal beliefs, ethnic background or religion. Sexism is when you do this based on gender.
It is not racism to be opposed to helping those outside your borders when so many inside, who paid into the system, need help (education, medical care, access to basic services, etc.). BREXIT highlights this prioritization very clearly. Countries can grow, add diversity and obtain skills with a proper immigration and integration policy.
The American’s have done so much to help the world, twice saving Europe from self-destruction. Instead of rebuilding themselves in full force, the rebuilt the conflict perpetrators.
The American system, based on the premise of strong individuals (families) and weak government, yield self-determination and personal responsibility. Based on my reading of the American system and Constitution, states should take more responsibility for themselves, minimizing the role of the Federal government. This way the people have more say about the spending of their tax contributions. The further away the money goes (to DC vs. the state capital), the less the taxpayer sees regarding benefits. It appears that a lot of money “gets stuck” in Washington DC. Many in the EU feel that a lot of money gets stuck in Brussels (Although Norway is not a member of the EU, we still pay the membership fee and follow the rules. We agreed to this to save our fishing and oil industry).
It’s easier to help others and save the world when your situation is stable. Moreover, stability and prosperity lead to more openness and acceptance of outsiders.
Trump is right to put Americans first, especially if they are paying taxes to the American government.
Failures vs. Success
Everyone is criticizing Trump about past failures. These are probably the same people that say failure is part of success, which is true. Here is an example of someone who failed a lot and then succeeded as president. He was also considered a bit wacky back in the day:
I am far from being a Russia fan. I am just stating the facts, hoping the Americans can see this issue from another angle.
Although Norway’s experience with Russia during WWII was positive, helping us drive out the Germans and then leaving afterward, many do not have a positive view of them because of the media. They did not occupy us, and we later became trade partners, mainly exchanging fish for metal.
However, Trump is right to reach out to Vladimir Putin. We have a terrorist problem in the Middle East caused by faulty American and Western European policy. The USA, UK, and Russia were allies in WWII, defeating the Nazi’s. The Russians lost the most people in the conflict, created by Europe. Are they really so bad?
The US and Europe created the current situation in Ukraine, making empty promises to the opposition, hanging them out to dry when Russia responded via proxy. Putin hacked NATO by supporting rebels not wearing national uniforms, taking advantage of the EU’s bureaucracy. They are still debating: invasion or insurgency? Europe remains naïve to many things. All the while Ukrainian corruption rages on no matter who is in power. In fact, they cannot get their top leaders to comply with reporting, which is a pre-requisite to a visa-free regime.
Soviet Soldiers are buried in Norway – Memorialized for their sacrifice.
I am upset that our government blindly follows Obama, regarding this issue. Russia is our neighbor, and we have a long-standing relationship. Ironically the trade sanctions we imposed, on America’s behalf, hurt us more than them. Our exports to Russia fell while theirs to us rose markedly in 2015. Now is bad timing, considering that the American frackers are destroying our offshore oil industry, albeit fair and square by “building a better mousetrap.”
Norway has to stop being pathetic, acting like an American lap dog. We need to be more “American” in the sense that we make our own decisions and determine our destiny. Norwegians know all about America, but most Americans don’t know we exist. Therefore we must take care of ourselves, not depending so heavily on others for our protection. If the Finns managed to hold back Russia in 1939-1940, we should be able to do the same if an unlikely event were to happen.
The greater issue is that Europe (EU) needs to grow up. How does a country (Russia) of 143 million with a GDP of $1.2 trillion nominal (smaller than California) stare down a federation with over 500 million people and a $19 trillion economy? WTF right? We have not taken responsibility for our own lives, crutching on America.
Trump is right. NATO is outdated and requires re-evaluation. America, being the World’s babysitter, has done so at the cost of their own people and prosperity. By breaking up NATO, perhaps we can organize with Sweden, Finland and Denmark a robust defense alliance. But then for what? Russia has never intended any harm to us. (The antics with airplanes flying close to the border don’t count. Everyone does that on both sides.)
The Border Wall
Trump is right. A nation is defined by borders and rules. There are people in the country who pay taxes and follow a law, expecting security in return. In light of the recent migrant crisis, we also built a wall.
The wall with Mexico is more of a metaphor for an advanced border control system than an actual concrete structure. The actual wall could be built with drones, robotic and sensor technologies offered by FLIR Systems in America and Kongsberg Gruppen in Norway. Our defense company is an expert in sensor technologies and remote weapon systems. Our leaders should be getting in good with Trump to line up some business. Participation in the border wall project would stimulate innovation in Norway, which we dearly need.
I personally feel that when the EU parliament and Angela Merkel, unilaterally decided to let in massive amounts of refugees, they inadvertently endorsed dictatorships and terror groups. They allowed ISIS and other dictators to seize abandoned properties, assets, and agricultural lands, strengthening their hold. Maybe like Castro in the Mariel boatlift in 1980, the regimes sending us refugees emptied out their prisons on Europe. We will never know until it’s too late, manifested as horrific crimes and gang activity.
I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with bringing in refugees and immigrants. It just has to be done in a proper and controlled manner, not to overwhelm the system or society. Otherwise, legal immigrants get short changed. The legal immigrants often wait in cues, sometimes for years, having earned outstanding credentials, only to start over when they arrive in a western country.
Western countries have to acknowledge and deal with the ideological conflicts, assimilating the people to western standards. Otherwise, you get Sharia courts and back alley law, enforced by intimidation and risk of family ostracization. If the West really wants to fix the problems, the feminists should fight for the rights of Muslim women in their home countries, many of which are western allies.
The American way, teaching people to fish, is better than the European way, giving the fish outright, on refugee integration. Work defines your character, and it is what defines an American regardless of background, belief or gender.
Don’t try to be like us, blindly helping people and giving them a lot of “free stuff.” Prolonged destitution leads to self-loathing, mutating into resentment against the host. Mixed with idle time and the fact misery loves company, results in the current European situation. Listen to Ronald Reagan instead.
Trump Care vs. Obama Care
America’s biggest problem is obesity. It’s destroying America from the inside out, more so than any terrorist organization or other external threats. When people don’t feel good physically, they lose it mentally and spiritually. America’s greatest power, more than flags, history, land, guns, and innovation is its’ spirit. The American soul, defiant, driven, determined, brave and wild is unique. It’s what makes American unmeasurable and surprising.
Fat acceptance is about as sensible as condoning drunk driving. It tells those in question that it’s ok to give up on themselves, endangering their own health. This view may not be “correct” but it’s factually right, regarding public health.
Healthcare is something we get right in Norway. So here is some advice.Public health starts with the lifestyle and eating habits. If Trump wants to solve the American health care crisis, he needs to take on the food industry the same way he took on John McCain and the Republican party, laying them to waste. If government must provide free medical care, then it must, through policy, steer people towards healthy eating and fitness. Recently, retired US military leaders stated that the obesity epidemic poses a risk to national security, making it difficult to recruit qualified people.
Perhaps, Trump Care should invest part of the defense budget into a network of sports facilities, making all the Olympic sports accessible to everyone. Inner city kids could take up rowing or learn cross country skiing. Rural Americans can get more access to swimming pools and Soccer. Not only will America rack up more medals but the Army would have a greater pool which to draw. This initiative would be a far better investment than supporting other nation’s defense programs. I am confident Trump Care could bring the cost of medications for the public through bulk buying like the Canadians do. The savings from preventative medicine (proper eating and exercise) along with reduced obesity rates would lead to substantially lower private health insurance costs, making emergency room visits possible for everyone without experiencing bankruptcy afterward.
Norwegians want Americans to live long, healthy and happy lives so they can come and visit us, enjoying our natural wonders.
Trump could surprise everyone, becoming a great president. He is already turning the American political system upside down. Or, he could be a much-needed stick of dynamite applied to an unmovable obstacle – the political system. (When explosives are used to remove obstacles, they are consumed in the process. After detonation, the obstacle is cleared and the explosive is gone.)
The worst case is that Trump will be a one term president. However, he will destroy a lot of bad institutions in the process by shaming them on national TV, causing people to take action at the polls, by protesting or through non-compliance – real democracy. Imagine if Trump started calling out specific government officials, regarding project cost overruns and wasteful spending.
Perhaps Trump will Pardon Edward Snowden and offer Julian Assange free passage to California to spite his rivals? I would like to see them pardoned so they can come to Norway and accept long overdue Nobel Peace Prizes (when the committee comes to its’ senses).
If Trump’s presidency is a catastrophic failure, the collateral damage would also take out the two party system in the process. The US Election of 2020 may well consist of four to five political parties vying for power vs. two, giving Americans more choice. There is really nothing to lose. This Trump statement applies to everyone not just black people.
Many Europeans, Norwegians included, compare Trump to Hitler. This comparison is nonsense. Trump grew up in a family and went to an Ivy League school, married and fathered five kids. Hitler was an utter failure at life, pushed up on a wave of fascism. Europe is the continent that produced 20th-century dictators, not America. It is Europeans who blindly follow like lemmings, not Americans. They are, in general, too unruly, varied and wild for a dictatorship to take hold.
Moreover, there are plenty of checks and balances, including his own family and the US Military. The American military people I have met are very human and have a high standard when it comes to moral law. They would never enforce Third Reich edicts.
Nevertheless, Trump could learn some diplomacy, perhaps from Nigel Farage (who sounds nice even when insulting people). It will also be impossible to ban people based on religion. Religion is a personal declaration that can be changed. (I once met some Iranians who converted to Christianity, getting baptism papers, successfully obtaining refugee status in America). Instead, the immigration process should be a uniform and rigorous process, consisting of background checks, psychological exams, and extensive interviews, verifying the applicant's legitimacy and intent.
America needs to take care its’s own and the world needs to grow up, taking control of their own destiny. Americans need to remember, they as individuals are very powerful, unique and yet compassionate people. They must not depend on large corporations and mass media but their instincts and values. It will never be boring with Trump in the White House. Hence, why Kim Kardashian endorsed Hillary Clinton. Is it so bad that people will leave reality TV behind? Is it a bad thing that people find politics interesting, something that affects their life?
Please ask yourself: do you really want to be like us (socialist)? Then make your decision. Good Luck in November.
Ola Nordmann from Norway.