Sunday, February 15, 2004

Conservative, me?
It is a shocking thought. Politically and personally I have always been in favour of change, progress and the search for a vision of a better world for all of mankind. Lately, I have however found myself to be conservative. One consolation though: on the other side, the side of radical changes and the dismembering of standards and values are the same people I have always opposed, those who are considered politically conservative, the blue wing, the right wing, yes, the conservatives. So I have not switched sides, the sides have just changed places.

I am talking about the reform of the Norwegian educational system. In the autumn 2003, a comittee called "the Ryssdal Comitte" submitted their advice for a reform of the ownership structure of the Norwegian educational system at the higher levels: changes to the law on universities and colleges. In short: the majority of this comittee wanted universities and colleges to be privately owned, a minority wanted it to continue to be owned by the state. This suggestion was sent to all the involved parties to be assessed. It met with a massive no. Norwegian academics do not want to compete and fight over students. We want to pool the scant resources of this small country, and educate for diversity, not popularity and profit. (If you read Norwegian and are particularly interested, the respons from the Norwegian council of Higher Education is here.)

My point in this is that the minister of education who has been trying to force this change on us, this dramatic attack on important, established Norwegian values like the right to free education for all (gratisprinsippet) is not a damned red revolutionary anarchist and iconoclast, but a right wing so-called conservative. The hungry masses don't exist in this country, and so the revolution is aimed at getting inquality back into the system.

I find myself to be a conservative. And what I am afraid of is elegantly expressed here, by an other left-wing, environment-friendly conservative. So I may not agree with all these views (I do, for instance, not hate Deleuze), but University Diaries is an interesting read. (By way of Invisible Adjunct.)

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