Jante Law

Danes tend to believe in something called Jante Law, which has 10 rules all around the idea of accepting the average.... Jante persists in the culture in every way and, according to Ourhouseinaarhus, even affects the school system. There is no competitive school system, no advanced programs for gifted learners. The schools must all be equal, and the students must help each other rather than vie for 'the best.' There are no rewards program, no trophies for the students who graded better. As the blogger commented, the Danish children learn early on about Jante.

The laws themselves are simple. They all encourage the idea that you are average, and that's just fine.

1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
8. You’re not to laugh at us.
9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
There's an American version of this, but it's a little different in its purpose.


J Melcher said...

"Oh, the cowboys and the farmers should be friends. Oh... Now I won't say I'm better, than anybody else-- but I'll Be DAMNED if I ain't just as good."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The context for all Scandinavian groups, however, is that their nation is superior to others in the way that it does things. All Swedes are equal, but Sweden is superior. This is very powerful, and they officially consider this to be a result of the very moral decisions they have made over the last century (after all their poor people moved to North America). If you get a few drinks into them, however, they ( maybe 50% of them) clearly believe it is at least partly a racial superiority, though they won't say that.

Their egalitarianism is real, and more intense than ours in one way, but not very strong at all in others.

You wouldn't believe what old Norwegians tell my son #4 in private. He is Romanian-American, USMC, and not fond of gypsies. The old guys really open up to him.

jaed said...

Sounds a little like Japan.