As Norway's non-socialist coalition government has been settling in, I've been poking around in New Wind over Norway, an assemblage of sixteen essays "about freedom and responsibility" edited by Hanne Nabintu Herland, a historian of religion, and written by some of the country's more prominent non-socialist voices, including the heads of the two governing parties, Erna Solberg (Conservative) and Siv Jensen (Progress Party). Writing in Aftenposten, Knut Olav Åmås – who after the installation of the new government on October 16 left his job as that newspaper's opinion editor to accept an appointment in the Ministry of Culture – described the book as "an expression of the ideological mobilization that has taken place on the right in recent years, especially around the think tank Civita and the journal Minerva, but also in Christian conservative circles."
Ideological mobilization or not, it's not every day one reads a Norwegian book in which (among much else) leftist groupthink is condemned, the EU is called "morally confused," America's "pluralistic melting pot" and "American values" are celebrated, and writers like Tocqueville, Hayek, John Stuart Mill – and even Ann Coulter and Mark Levin (!) – are quoted respectfully. How cheering to read a Norwegian author (Herland, in this case) who actually recognizes how absurd it is that many Norwegian cabinet ministers "have never had an ordinary job but nonethless direct policy in sectors they have little or no education in or practical knowledge of." What a pleasure to see a professor from the University of Oslo casting a critical eye on the Norwegian political class's obsession with minimizing economic differences – and, by extension, with encouraging sameness and uniformity across the board. How remarkable to find a Norwegian writer who dares to suggest that socialists view freedom as "the right to take part in the development of socialist society" and that they regard their ideological opponents as "obstacles on the road to utopia."