Why I am a Monarchist and Social Democrat

How can somebody with socialist inclinations believe in Monarchy?

King Haakon the first monarch of a free and independent Norway. The king that defined what the Norwegian monarchy should be about.

A Die-Hard Advocate for Capitalism Goes to America

I was reading Adam Smith the Wealth of Nations, Milton Friedman and many other advocates of free market economics in my early 20s. I visited the first time US back in 1995. I was blown away by the high rises of New York. The big cars. The wide selection of stuff. The energy. This was the land of my dreams I thought. My native Norway seemed old and out of date. Social democracy in my mind was almost like some Soviet anachronism.

Culture and Consumerism

Before coming to the US, I had thought of society as simply about making efficient systems. My own language, Norwegian, I viewed as just a waste of time. Let us all just speak English. America seemed to deliver on this kind of front. Massive stores like Wall-Mart were a study in efficiency in rationality. Every side aisle has one category of products. Shopping felt so easy in the US, and you could get anything from guns, video games and eggs in the same store. Was this not the future?

“Why Do you Talk Norwegian?”

I think the moment or perhaps one of the moments that made me wake up or snap out of the American delusion I was living in was when a Chinese-American friends asked my why I was speaking Norwegian to my friend. I had a Vietnamese-Norwegian friend in the US. For us it was natural to speak Norwegian as we where both from Norway and that was our native tongue. It was also kind of funny, because most of my American friends seemed to think that everybody in Norway was blond and that Norwegians with immigrant heritage such as Vietnamese-Norwegians could simply not exist.

The Great Unifier

The king demonstrated time and again that he was the great unifier. In the 1920s Norway could easily have spiraled into civil war as the Norwegian labour party gained power for the first time. It was a party that had been explicitly communist an part of Komintern, meaning they swore allegiance to the USSR. Norwegian conservatives were horrified. They expected the King would never allow these communist revolutionaries to gain power. Revolutionaries who had explicitly stated that they wanted to end the Norwegian monarchy.

Why I am a Social Democrat

The reason why I am a social democrat is ironically related to why I am monarchist. It is this recognition that life is about more than just efficient market calculations. It is hard to quantify what a Monarchy means in numbers. Likewise it is hard to quantify what it means to know that you will always have access to health care no matter how poor you get or that your children can always take higher education free of charge.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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