From Iceland — Haukur’s 17th Editorial

Haukur’s 17th Editorial

Published November 12, 2009

So, they’re throwing this National Assembly event next weekend. The idea is to round up a random selection of 1.500 folks and attempt to siphon from them an idea of Icelanders’ shared core values, beliefs and ambitions for the future of their nation, so as to decipher what sort of society the people wish to build. They then plan on devising how we can best achieve these shared goals and visions for a mutual future.

The organisers pledge to make the outcome easily accessible and publicly available, so politicians and authorities can consult with it when forming policy. The idea is to try and build a better society, one that reflects the shared goals and ideas of its citizens.
I don’t know about the methods they plan on using, and I’ve no idea if this assembly will produce valuable – or indeed any – results. In fact, some of the terms they’re using to promote the event (‘Open Source Government,’ and ‘The Wisdom of the Crowd’ for instance) sound like empty catchphrases or vapid pop psychologies.

I’m not really sure what to think about any of this. I have my doubts. I still gladly support this experiment, and I really do hope it provides some results we can work with. Because frankly, we need all the fucking help we can get here. Right. Now.
Let me elaborate: I cannot imagine that anyone that has been closely following the discourse in Iceland – whether it takes place in Alþingi, in the news, on blogs or at the bar – is able to do so without turning hopeless, apathetic or outright nihilistic.
Every politician seems to be working strictly under the M.O. of securing and safeguarding PARTY INTERESTS and their own position, of gaining or retaining power, of scoring points and winning arguments. Of course there are exceptions. They are not many.

Every pundit seems intent on ignoring what every other pundit has to say, to type louder than the next one, to align him or herself with a faction of choice and upholding their line or their PARTY INTERESTS without any attempt at discussion at all. Of course there are exceptions. They are not many.

Of course this isn’t news to anyone over the age of twelve.

Repeated exposure to all this begets an urge to turn on, tune in, drop out. To retreat to slackerdom, to empty cynicism, partying and bullshit (as if my generation could retreat even further into those areas – I suppose it’s possible). To abandon all ideas of seeking social justice, of building a fair society, of any sort of vision for the future.

To lock the doors, pull the drapes, shut the blinds and try and forget about the rest of the world.

If you cannot turn down the static, maybe create some of your own.

I seriously hope this National Assembly event yields some results. Or that something yields some results. Anything at all. That we can once again instil faith in our people that someone out there isn’t solely motivated by self-preservation and the will to power.
For if we carry on the route we’ve been treading for the past year, future generations of Icelanders may become even more cynical, jaded and indifferent than the current ones.
And that would be totally uncool, I guess.
Learn more about the National Assembly at

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