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American Porch Talk About Iceland

Posted by Bob on January 30th, 2011 under Bob, Coaching Session

The great thing about Porch Talk is that one does not have to worry about one’s qualifications. It is useful to hear a smart old man talk about what he remembers. In fact, some of the most useful things in Porch Talk is the misconceptions one gets to hear.

Porch Talk gives you the “take” of the older person on a time he lived through. On the porch, he isn’t trying to impress you or give you the Final Truth.

To me, Creator’s being in Iceland brings back a lot of memories of the things I heard, from decade to decade, about that country, without any particular coherence, but just as they reached us at random.

For instant, I seem to remember that when the post-war European population bust really got under way, Iceland still had a uniquely high birth rate, which at one point was estimated at a natural increase of once every 31 and a half years.

I also remember that in 1959 I was at a refugee conference in Berlin and was at a table where a Dane, a Norwegian and a Swede were talking very easily together, each in his native tongue. But Icelandic, they told me, was a very hard language for any of them to read.

I was also told that Icelanders would take foreign words and try to make them into a word deriving from Old Norse. They their origins seriously.

But mostly, I came to a deduction about the Althing, the Icelandic Parliament. Unlike the Greek democracy, where all the citizens sat around and shouted at each other, the Althing was set up in 920 AD as a unique representative democracy, meaning they elected representatives rather than the whole population assembling as in Greece.

But accepted history said that the Althing was INVENTED in Iceland. Actually the first Christian king of Norway was also known as the first KING of Norway, a single ruler totally alien to the earlier tradition of Old Norse society.

It seemed to me more likely that Althing was what the refugees from the first real king of Norway set up the way a group of runaway Americans would set up their own representative government.

Accepted history did not want that to be true because democracy had to traced to the East or at least to Classical Society.

Iceland was also known to have the highest book readership of any country on earth, including Japan.

One more thing that one heard about Iceland was that it first founded by Celtic monks, and that the population was Celtic-Norse. This was third-hand information, so one naturally had no explanation of how monks had descendants.

Pretty confused stuff, sort of like ea European whose only knowledge of the American South comes from talking with other Europeans who read Gone With the Wind.

Being a geography buff, Iceland fascinated me because it was both in Europe and in America. The Monroe Doctrine covered Iceland when it was already a Danish colony. Yet it is and is not part of Scandinavia.

But there is no doubt about which side of the White Line Iceland stands in OUR minds.

  1. #1 by BGLass on 01/30/2011 - 4:28 pm

    “…Iceland was also known to have the highest book readership of any country on earth….”

    Iceland was a dream in Appalachia–for when we could leave America; of everyone, we thought Icelanders might like us. People on t.v. never mention the connection between Protestantism and reading, like in the context of the excellence of the old schools in U.S.., which always surprises me–and Iceland had Luther as a state religion.

    We’d been against state religion in the constitution, but maybe it was a mistake we shouldn’t make again, if we get another chance. Other populations can be totally illiterate and still highly religious, but we can’t, and not naming a state religion in u.s. didn’t stop religious persecution, anyway.

    I studied with Jews instead of christians when in places with no prot churches, which freaked catholics out— but orthodox jews seemed more like us, with study tradition, study-hall type environment, unadorned worship area, close fundamentalist reading, racial community, even if not our own (and communist atheist jews would, in fact, read Bible regularly). That’s not to say they didn’t openly hate us, lol, but then everyone does.

    Anyway you cut it, our deal was never of any interest to others, which seemed odd, since how could you understand things s/a the constitution without asking about our religion. But we were relegated to goy (jew speaker), heretic (catholic speaker), stupid racist redneck (political correct speaker), infidel (muslim speaker), etc.— and so on a level, it was all same.

    At “civil rights” Jews and CAtholics had their own schools, and as schools got worse —to get out of public school—meant getting sent OUTSIDE your religion, but nobody talks about that aspect. So, “civil rights” coincided with breakup of religious practice, choosing between blacks and catholics in school, or else maybe you went away to school and had family separations then.

    Some chose school with blacks, to avoid religious classes that taught Bible based religion as schism, heresy, etc. Less annoying to fight a few blacks than get tested on how satanic you were.

    It seemed like this to us: 500 years ago, we started reading our own Bibles back in someplace called Europe (the new media of its day). Then we escaped europe and made a constitutional republic more like Althing, not Greece, like they have now. (Where violence is proof the system is working) Now— we were surrounded by Doctrinal Supremacists of many kinds and many committed to non-white demographics.

    And Iceland seemed like a real possibility for white flight.

    Joe Sobran’s letter in 2003 about prots was one of the few statements I ever saw of someone who understood we actually existed— not as a symbol in somebody else’s mind, or as something in need of conversion, but as rather intelligent and deeply religious people, having a Reality of their own, totally outside all these things that are always said about them.

    The impression has always been strong that the country just has no use for us. Even “well-adjusted” folks, working in very good jobs, etc., would think it was stupid to vote, that kind of thing.

  2. #2 by Creator on 01/31/2011 - 10:44 am

    Some foreigners that have gotten to “know” Icelanders have stated “the World is very grateful that Icelanders are ONLY around 300.000”

    In the old days, that is still going, you better have something to read when holed up for days or weeks during harsh winters. And then when the weather was right….you better work at maximum speed for as long as you could stand to survive the coming darkness….
    That combinations breeds some interestingly extreme people.

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