Or to be more specific, what is wrong with the way people think? I'm quite often confounded by the way something seems obvious to me, yet others - many others - perceive the same thing in a different way, and are then upset and/or even angered by this incorrect view. I wonder if there is any way in which this can be remedied ... eg, via the education system. Should we as a society be educating our children in logic and deduction?
For instance, there was the infamous hijab debate. Any Norwegians reading this, I'm sure you remember that kerfuffle ... and any foreigners who don't remember it, Google is as always your friend. ;-) (If you follow the label 'rant' under this blog post you will probably find some of my previous thoughts on the subject, too. ;-) People were all up in arms about it, and the debate raged for weeks. But it was mostly based on a false assumption. All these women who were talking about how they were being discriminated against and how it was so terribly unfair that the hijab was banned for police officers ... they were so totally missing the point that it was really confusing. Because to me it was so obvious.
The hijab isn't banned on the police force. Far from it. No headgear is banned. The point is that there is a certain uniform that is mandatory in that profession, and the wearing of this mandatory uniform means that there are a number of other things that the wearer cannot also wear at the same time. Eg, the uniform includes a cap, and therefore one cannot wear a hijab, a turban, a baseball cap, etc while in uniform. The uniform includes trousers, and therefore one cannot wear bermuda shorts while in uniform. That is a completely different principle from what we actually discussed in the hijab debate.
Now there's another similar issue. There's a new law in the works in this country which will make it more difficult for Norwegian citizens to bring spouses with foreign citizenship to this country. Or, rather, not foreigners, but people from outside the Schengen area. We already have a system where you have to prove that you can support the person you want to import ... now they want to establish a new rule which will mean that you will have to have been either working or studying for at least four years before you can import someone. You start 'working up credit' in this system when you start in our high school equivalent.
Of course the critics - more or less the usual suspects - have popped out of the woodwork. They don't like this because it's an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of the individual and bla bla bla. But again, there's this ... mental malfunction. They look at the issue from this totally weird angle which is so obviously wrong. The argument goes, Why does the government want to deny us the right to marry whoever we want? And that's just ... I mean, what?
No one's denying anyone the right to marry whoever they want. That would be something of an intrusion, if it were true. But it absolutely isn't. Everyone has, and should have, the right to marry the partner of their choice. However, not everyone automatically has the right to come live in Norway just because they want to. And why should they? If a Norwegian citizen marries a foreigner, why is it that they must live here? If some Norwegian-Pakistani girl is so desperate to marry her second cousin from the boondocks, then what on earth is stopping her from going to Pakistan to be with him? If it's true love, then why can't they wait until they meet the requirements? And in any case, the requirements are so mild. Regular high school + one year either at college or university or working, and you're done. With normal progression, by the time you're 19, you'll be set. Still too young for most people to marry, IMO, but they'll be able to. And let's face it, any Norwegian citizen who marries before they're 18 is a Near or Middle Eastern immigrant who is being either forced to marry or has had it 'arranged' for them (often just a more subtle form of force). And for them, this can only be good news.
Why is it a problem that people are getting the wrong end of the stick like this? Because it skews the entire debate. How are we going to get anywhere if we start off from the wrong - in fact, from non-existent - premises?
3 weeks ago