Here, courtesy of today’s Aftenposten, is the Norwegian cultural elite in a nutshell.
Stein Lillevolden, born in 1958, is a longtime member of a radical youth activist group, Blitz, who’s been arrested for throwing bricks at police officer in Gothenburg, hurling paint at the gate of the Israeli embassy in Oslo, and interfering in an arrest at an anti-U.S. demonstration – in short, an honored member of the Norwegian cultural elite. Who better, then, to write in Norway’s most conservative (!) major daily about a new book by Flemming Rose, the brave Danish editor behind the Muhammed cartoons? Rose’s book is an urgent defense of freedom of expression; Lillevolden scorns that freedom (for which the European left, of course, has little affection), accusing Rose and others of exploiting it to prosecute a cruel “witch-hunt against Muslims.”
OK, so much for free speech. But that’s not all! Today’s Aftenposten also offers an op-ed by mommy blogger Kristine Grav Hardeberg proposing that Norwegians adopt the Muslim practice of arranged marriage. “There’s a lot of wisdom,” she argues, “which we have lost on the way to absolute individualism….Perhaps it’s time to turn around our stubborn notions and see that we have a lot to learn from other cultures….Why should we cling for dear life to this individualism?” At first I thought this was a joke, like Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Apparently not.
For the price of a newspaper, then, you get not one but two full-throated attacks on pillars of Western civilization: free speech and individualism. Way to go, Aftenposten!