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“We get the country we pay for”

9 May 2012

When fellow American blogger Teresa Owens recently spent two months in Norway she commented — or rather sighed: “We get the country we pay for.”

Given that yesterday the State of the World’s Mothers Report awarded Norway with first place (for the third year in a row), I resurrect one of my favorite “Daily Show” pieces: The Stockholm Syndrome, from 2009. The Daily Show sent comedian and reporter Wyatt Cenac to Sweden in the hopes of waking the Swedes up from their “socialist nightmare.” It’s a hilarious look at the world of democratic socialism from, well, the eyes of a capitalist.

The video is in two parts and if you are in a hurry you can begin part 1 at 1:45. (And yes, it’s about Sweden, but we know the only real difference between Sweden and Norway is the vowels and the meatball recipes).


Vodpod videos no longer available.


Vodpod videos no longer available.


The U.S. was ranked 25th in the list of best places to be a mom, far below many other “first world” nations. I’m not Norwegian, so I cannot boast about this ranking, nor even the many other “best in the world” achievements that Norway has earned, but I do want to be proud of my own country. I grew up believing it was the best in the world, and maybe at one time it was.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. kutubuku permalink
    9 May 2012 09:53

    I would wish I could say the same about Denmark. As you probably know, we pay more tax in DK than people in NO and we naturally expect better services that follow.

    But with the schools & hospitals closing, teachers and doctors fired we begin to wonder where has the money gone?

  2. 9 May 2012 10:00

    Yah, you’ll notice I just mentioned Sweden and Norway. 😉 But I do worry that Scandinavia is only creeping towards the cliff edge that the US has already fallen off. An article in Aftenposten the other day said the “Right” (Høyreparti) might be poised to take over next year. People want to buy cheap stuff and have lots of money. That’s where it all starts to go wrong.

  3. 9 May 2012 11:36

    That was hilarious!
    Thats one thing you can say about America, they can laugh at themselves.
    I’m not sure Norway can do that…

    • 9 May 2012 20:24

      You know, I almost added to this post a paragraph about “janteloven,” but I’m thinking about saving it for a future post. Anyway, I teach university literature and we were talking about class and how Norway is supposedly “classless.” One of my students mentioned that while they *do* have first class compartments in the trains, no one would dare to ride in them. This statement garnered a whole classroom of laughter! 🙂

  4. 9 May 2012 16:14

    God forbid you get a Walmart invasion. That would be the beginning of the end. Maggie, we laugh to keep from crying;

    • 9 May 2012 20:26

      I’m getting worried, Jon. The first Subway sandwich shop just opened in Bergen. But Walmart? I couldn’t see it. They wouldn’t be able to afford to treat their employees as well as Norwegians would demand they be treated.

  5. 9 May 2012 16:29

    P.S. The Daily show did one on Iceland a while back. Pretty funny stuff.–1

    • 9 May 2012 20:31

      Hilarious! I’d never seen that one. I also didn’t remember that Iceland had only sent a single female troop! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  6. Teresa Owens permalink
    10 May 2012 15:58

    …Oh, and while I’m on my latest rant, yesterday, a baby was dumped outside a hospital here in Vegas. We have the “Safe Haven Law”, enacted in 2001, which allows parents to leave anonymously a child with emergency care providers within 30 days of a child’s birth. This was to counteract the incidents of people leaving their newborns in dumpsters. Now, they can lawfully leave them outside of police stations, fires stations, or hospitals. Nice, eh? Now that’s what denial of basic health care for ALL looks like in reality. It’s just like dumping your box of puppies off at the shelter. But vote for universal health care? Hell no! That’s socialism, or as that letter writer I mentioned a couple of blogs before, that’s “Socialism Light!”…..

    • 10 May 2012 20:09

      “Nice.” You know, I was thinking as I watched The Daily Show video how much Americans are opposed (or think they are opposed) to socialism while knowing so little about what it actually means. “Socialism” is basically equated with: 1) the government takes all my money and 2) communism. Did you see the Alexandrea Pelosi video on Bill Maher a few weeks ago when she went to Mississippi to ask people why they were against Obama? One toothless guy living in a shack said: “I don’t care for the govt. They don’t show me anything.” When Pelosi reminds him that he gets food stamps he says, “Ya, well, I think I deserve food stamps. I have no employment.” Here’s the link:

  7. Life's travails permalink
    11 May 2012 12:12

    Thanks for a good laugh. That was really funny!

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