Brexit and Norway: What to Avoid

Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at the Gatestone Institute. Below is a brief excerpt:

Brexit and Norway: What to Avoid

by Fjordman

Norway is the only country that has adopted all EU directives before their deadline. Norway, which is supposedly not a member of the EU, thus implements EU rules and regulations more obediently than do the founding members France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Most of Norway’s laws are currently written by bureaucrats in Brussels, not by elected parliamentarians in Norway.

The citizens of Norway rejected membership in the EU, twice. Opinion polls today show that a very large majority of Norwegians are against membership in the EU. Despite this, the nation’s politicians have made the country more or less a member of the EU, only without any influence or voting rights — in opposition to the popular will, and possibly also in violation of the country’s Constitution.

The British should study the case of Norway closely. But mainly as a negative example of what to avoid.

Read the rest at Gatestone.

For a complete archive of Fjordman’s writings, see the multi-index listing in the Fjordman Files.

11 thoughts on “Brexit and Norway: What to Avoid

  1. It’s amazing.

    Norway’s leaders have put Norway firmly under the control of the EU and its bureaucrats. This is in spite of the fact that the electorate has twice rejected joining the EU and presumably languishing under its control.

    The question is, how can this happen? How is it that the people don’t vote out the compliant politicians, and elect politicians who will act according to the will of the people? How is it that the politicians feel empowered to ignore the explicitly expressed will of the people? What motivates the politicians to cede power and legislative control to the EU?

    Is there a massive system of bribes? I doubt that it’s anything like straight pay-for-play. I suspect the Clinton Foundation is a more likely model, where promising social justice warriors are given a cushy job and career support, and retired social justice warriors are given very green pasture lands, dependent on the amount of favors they were actually able to grant. The whole enterprise is funded by companies and businessmen wanting government favors. It’s very much like the mafia: Your loyalty goes to the family, and your career and lifestyle come from the family. There’s no need for messy, explicit contracts for services that still have the potential to land you in jail. Everything is communicated through the media, and benefits and rewards are never explicitly discussed.

    • No wonder this mafia and the Muslim ummah so well understanding each other… as the saying goes: “dog does not eat dog”.

  2. The ides of remodelling of Europe into a single entity should be hardly surprising considering its history. The bottom line is that the ancient enmity between France, Germany andRussiathat resulted the mass slaughter of two world wars. The oppressive if not altogether understandable desire of Russia to maintain a buffer zone of countries, between itself and the West. Add to this, the re-emergence of the nation-states of the Balkans and it demands a realignment of the concept of what Europe actually is.
    What looked in the 1950s like a worthy idea to deliver peace and prosperity for all, is well past its sell-by date and far short of delivering peace and prosperity between component nations, having morphed into an unaccountable, undemocratic muddy blancmange of bureaucratic indulgence that even Orwell could never have imagined.
    The biggest losers in all of this is Open Democracy and political accountability and the rise of fly-by-night politicians. All this and more has been sacrificed on the altar of global commercialism and bureaucratic self-preservation.
    The economic dangers posed by Chinese influence in the West have not been addressed by the EU’s protectionist policies. Open borders and the disproportionate influence of Islam is now rooted so deep in general societies that increased crime and terrorism has become the almost acceptable norm.
    Britain is an island nation: it’s people have a cultural island sense of independence but within a couple of generations of peace and political correctness, that have dulled the minds of the young in failing to recognise the causes and sacrifices of the last century’s
    populations, to defend their identity and independence. This position is regarded now as tantamount to open racism, Islamophobia if not downright xenophobia and in breach of the stupid Hate Crime laws and thereby, closing down any discussion.
    Compressing a people’s identity into obscurity may take another generation to manifest itself as an aggressive form of nationalism, but human nature is driven by one factor only and that is to survive or die.

    • I think you’re headed in the right direction.

      The slaughters you mentioned in the world wars seem to be a general result of the globalization of local conflicts. It was treaties that turned a very local conflict between Austria and Serbia, a second and third-rate power respectively, into a larger, but still local conflict between Germany and France, and then into a global conflict involving Britain, Russia, and the United States. The mass slaughters of European youth are probably one of the prime causes of the current European decline.

      Unfortunately, the tendency towards globalization provides a siren-song of the benefits, without mentioning the resultant loss of sovereignty and local control. In retrospect, Europe would have been far better off without the network of treaties serving as a tripwire into global conflagrations resulting in hundreds of millions of deaths. Perhaps the model was the Franco-Prussian War, where Germany beat France, rearranged the borders somewhat, and then withdrew. It was humiliating for France, but no mass slaughters were involved.

      With globalization, you seem to develop a system of incentives and channels of power completely apart from local interests or control. In the United States, as documented by Refugee Resettlement Watch, the agencies driving unlimited immigration are government-funded, and have every incentive to increase the flow of migrants, regardless of the consequences.

      • More like taxpayer-funded, right?
        Where does the government get its money from? I think it is important to remind ourselves that we, the people, are the ones working and paying what the government is funding.

  3. So does this mean that the Counterjihad are starting to become Bregretters? 😉

    The easier question was “to Brexit or not to Brexit”? I know Brits of Hindu, Irish, Polish and African extraction who voted Out, because in their opinion, the EU was becoming an agent of Islam and leftism. I also know of devout Muslims who voted out – possibly because they think there’s too many Poles coming in, thanks to the EU. Then there are, of course, the Brits who have had enough of both Poles and Muslims, as well as Corbyn-style leftists who voted “out” because they think the EU is an agent of the Right! In short – everyone had their own Brexit…

    And now comes the harder question – what kind of Brexit? Essentially, the choice boils down to a “soft Brexit” – something a la Switzerland or Norway – or a “hard Brexit”, where Britain would have similar trading relations with the EU to, say, Russia, most of Africa or Latin America.

    The former means that Britain still needs to adopt EU regulations, allow freedom of movement and pay its fees. Essentially the same as today – but without any say in how the EU’s run.

    Meanwhile the latter means that much of the City of London, the source of most of Britain’s GDP, may move elsewhere, to trade with (what’s left of the EU). Say – to Ireland, or the Continent… if this occurs, expect a massive increase in Britain’s deficit and, possibly, mass unemployment.

    So, anything can still happen. And whether Britain’s vote in June is seen as a success in the long run may well depend on how fast the rest of Western Europe, especially Germany, progresses towards its seemingly certain Islamageddon.

    • You raise a great point on looking at the unintended consequences of Brexit, although I disagree with your conclusions.

      The question is, is a global market such as the EU, more efficient in any way than bilateral treaties between countries. Of course, as the number of countries involved increases, the necessity for separate treaties increases factorially. For example, in an EU with, say, twenty countries, the EU creates one set of standards.

      If you had every country in bilateral treaties with every other, you would need 190 treaties. In practice, the actual number would be much smaller: chances are, the smaller countries would “piggyback” on the treaties of the larger countries. Thus, Hungary would probably adopt the Austrian treaties, as long as they were reasonable.

      Similarly, with visas: theoretically, each country would have to have a treaty and visa system with every other, but in practice, countries would form informal associations, like Canada and the US. If one country started going off the deep end and admitting hoards of Muslims, the other countries would simply bring up formal visa and passport requirements, like Canada and the US have done. It would involve very little fuss, and would be quite efficient.

      In sum, globalization looked efficient at one time, but in retrospect, the benefits in efficiency are far outweighed by the losses in local control and checks on bureaucratic usurpation of power.

  4. “The question is, is a global market such as the EU, more efficient in any way than bilateral treaties between countries.”

    Given that it took Canada 7 years and a 1600-page agreement to obtain a treaty with the EU, I would say the answer is a resounding “yes”…

    This, for a country which has approximately 10% of its trade with the EU, as opposed to Britain’s 50%.

    Sure – in theory, one can have negotiators do bilateral deals with countries which may, in many cases, be copies of deals with other countries. But in practice, with Britain’s negotiators being largely retired, and with the EU loving its red tape, it may not quite be so simple…

    Naturally, I’m aware of all the EU’s faults – especially regarding migration and the security of its borders. Nonetheless – Britain has been a full member of the EU, and its predecesors, for over 40 years. For the last 12 years, Eastern European countries have also been members…

    If the EU institutions, and Western European governments, have been too much filled with multicultural leftists loving mass immigration, then Britain had many potential allies in Eastern Europe wishing to change that. Why didn’t it at least attempt to do so, and attempt to strike an agreement, instead of only making a noise about Poles claiming £30-a-week child benefit? (in any case, dwarfed by the welfare bills of the Anjem Choudhurys of this world. And also, if the child – shock, horror! – was living in Poland, then this would surely also help to alleviate the pressure on Britain to build new schools and recruit new teachers?!)

    Illegal immigration is an issue affecting the whole of Europe – and the citizens of most of Europe share the Brits’ concerns… So was there a need to go for the “nuclear option” of Brexit, instead of showing a bit of leadership within Europe, and acting as a counterbalance to Merkel and Juncker?

    Btw, I am also a Brexiter, but am left somewhat disillusioned by the ramblings of the likes of Boris Johnson, and the way the whole debate was presented. (“you’re racist Nazis!”, “oh no we’re not… Brexit will solve all our problems!”)

    • Haha. Noted.

      Like I said, you raised great points. And Britain’s problems with immigration and Muslims, so far, have been completely a result of British domestic policy, not the EU open borders mandate. The same holds for the deterioration of free speech in Britain, the explosive growth of British bureaucracy and welfare, an d the excessive regulation of business. The EU had nothing to do with the Pakistani Muslim rape gangs and the police and government cover-up of the obvious crimes.

      So yes, Britain is more than capable of becoming a third-world hell-hole completely on its own.

      But look at the nature of bureaucracies, particularly as described by James Buchanan’s “Public Choice” theory. The theory describes how bureaucrats act like profit-seeking businessmen, in taking actions to maximize their own profits, which in the case of bureaucracy, means getting more personnel, budgeted monies, and decision-making power.

      Recollect that these power-seeking bureaucrats focus their entire working existence on maximizing their scope, funding, and personnel. That means, when you set up an organization, it’s prime focus will be its own benefit. This is the nature of it. But in a small country, the mechanisms of voting and citizen input have a chance of keeping it in bounds.

      Not so when the organization gets very large. It takes a full-time professional simply to keep track of all the ways the organization is trying to co-opt power to itself. A good example is Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch, who has taken on the full-time job of tracking and publicizing the publicly-funded agencies continually lobbying and scheming for more refugees.

      This is where I’m going. By joining a mega-national organization with the power to write regulations, you’re setting up a potent mechanism to chip away at your national rights.

      If the British exit, and still enslave themselves, at least it will be the British who did it, and not some gray Belgian functionary.

      • “And Britain’s problems with immigration and Muslims, so far, have been completely a result of British domestic policy, not the EU open borders mandate.”

        Precisely! It was not the EU that forced Britain to “rub its noses in diversity” in the early 2000s, way before the rest of Europe had expressed a desire to do so – but Britain’s own government. And it was not the EU which banned Robert Spencer from entering Britain in 2013 – but none other than the Rt Hon Theresa May, now the Prime Minister!

        Therefore, how much does the EU have to do with Britain’s current Sharia problems? I’d say not a lot – although undoubtedly the EU’s thinking (or lack of it) on immigration was a source of concern for the British public.

        And I get what you say about the power of the EU bureaucracy. Still worse – I get the impression that the EU machine is operated by those who have become an “inconvenience” in their own countries, and as a result have got sent off to Brussels – out of the limelight of the national media… a great example being Britain’s Peter Mandelson – who was involved in TWO major corruption scandals, before becoming an EU commissioner!

        Nonetheless, vast bureaucracies can also exist at a national level (see France and Germany – one reason why I don’t think the City banks will be rushing to move to Paris or Frankfurt. Although they might just think about Dublin.). And they can also be fought – see Thatcher. It just needs a bit of resolve, and replacing some of the lunatics running the EU asylum… How does “Viktor Orban, president of the EU commission” sound?

        I’m fairly confident that in most EU countries, support for mass immigration is shrinking. User comments left on British, Polish and German mainstream media would, by and large, not look out of place on GoV. So… why not seek to convert that silent, but vast, popular opinion into electoral success – not just in Visehrad countries, but in the whole of Europe?

        But if the reward of Brexit is merely to be “enslaved” by someone other than a grey-haired Brussels functionary, then one might ask if this is worth the price of all the potential economic turmoil?

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