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Make the United States More like Norway!

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In recent comments about US immigration policy, President Trump indicated a strong preference for Norwegians over immigrants from various countries closer to the equator. "We should have more people from Norway," he declared, not from "shitholes" like Haiti, El Salvador and African nations. Not lost on observers is the fact that Norway is 99% white while those other countries are heavily populated by people of color. Also not lost is Trump's documented history of racist actions and comments. [1]

But why would any Norwegian want to immigrate to the United States? In 2016 a mere 362 Norwegians immigrated here, from a country of 5,232,930. [2] And that should come as no surprise: By almost any measure, Norwegians enjoy a higher quality of life right at home than they would here in the US. Consider these international rankings:

Prosperity. Norway is the most prosperous nation on earth while the US ranks only 18th. [3] In quality of life Norway exceeds all other 38 OECD countries while the US ranks ninth. [4]

Happiness. According to the World Happiness Index, Norwegians are the #1 happiest people in the world while Americans rank only #14. [5] This should come as no surprise, as Norway is also best in the world in human development. [6]

Democracy. Norway is also the #1 most democratic country in the world, while the US comes in at #21. [7] In fact the Economist Intelligence Unit now ranks the United States as a "flawed democracy." This is due in part to perceived corruption, with the US ranking only 18th in the world on that score (compared to Norway at #5).

Gender equality. Norway is a particularly good place for women and families. It ranks number 1 in the world on the health of mothers and children index, [8] and number 2 in gender equality (vs. the US at #49). [9] The country is led by a female prime minister and half the cabinet is comprised of women.

Income inequality. Income inequality correlates highly was a host of social ills including obesity, drug use, infant mortality, reduced life expectancy, teenage pregnancy, social immobility, mental illness, high rate of incarceration, etc. [10] Not surprisingly, the US, which has the highest degree of income inequality in the developed world, [11] suffers from all these ills. Norway, meanwhile, has the lowest degree of income inequality and the highest degree of corresponding benefits.

Press freedom. Norway has the most press freedom of any country in the world; the US ranks only 43rd. Even such African 'shitholes' as Burkina Faso, South Africa, Ghana, and Namibia have more freedom of the press than we do! [12]

Freedom. What about freedom more generally, including political rights and civil liberties? Aren't we at least the "land of freedom"? That's what our politicians and mythmakers keep telling us. Unfortunately, Freedom House's 2018 rankings put the US at only 53rd out of 210 countries, a status surpassed by most Caribbean island nations and even several former Soviet republics, among others. [13] Who's number 1? Norway, of course!

Given such facts, it's hard to imagine why many Norwegians would want to emigrate to the United States, even if Mr. Trump opened the gates wide to them. Thus, instead of encouraging Norwegians to come here, what he should do is promote changes here at home that would make the US more like Norway! Things like affordable universal healthcare, free public education, more progressive tax policy, and better worker compensation. Or more gender equality. If women had more political power we might well have better healthcare, public education, tax policy and worker compensation. And if we did, we would no longer have the worst income inequality in the developed world and all the ills that come with it. If we enacted some controls on corporate money in politics, we would have less corruption and more democracy. If we had stronger environmental protections, we would have a healthier citizenry. If we had a peace-oriented foreign policy, we would engender less violence at home and abroad and have a happier, more peaceful citizenry.

Unfortunately, based on past performance, it's unlikely that Donald Trump cares about any of these things or will do anything about them. His comment about wanting "more people from Norway" was likely inspired by the simple fact Norway is one of the whitest countries in the world. For a racist like Donald Trump, that may be all that really matters. And with Congress being controlled by Trump supporters and enablers, it's hard to see anything changing anytime soon.

Author bio: Tom Huckin is an emeritus professor of Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah and a community activist in Salt Lake City. He specializes in the study of contemporary US propaganda and has authored numerous scholarly papers and book chapters on the subject. He can be reached at

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Tom Huckin is a professor emeritus of English and Writing at the University of Utah, specializing in the study of modern propaganda. He has co-authored five books on academic subjects and written some 90 scholarly papers, including a chapter in (more...)

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