They Got Little Cars That Go Beep, Beep, Beep


Reader Stephen Rynerson has the lowdown on how Norway takes care of its vertically challenged citizens:

He complained of bitter memories riding the school bus as a child, because of bullying and because he needed more time than his fellow passengers to go on and off the bus. Today he remains subject to anxiety attacks at the thought of riding the bus.

Local authorities in eastern Norway, where he lives, said this is a problem he must tackle himself. The special Norwegian court that decides social welfare conflicts nationwide (Trygderetten) disagreed.

The court sympathized with his claim, and ruled that society shouldn't expose him to the additional psychological burden of riding the bus. The court said he thus can demand that taxpayers finance the purchase of a private car for him.

A state-funded car, according to the court order, is the only way he could enjoy a relatively independent life.

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  1. Children are short people too.

    We need to provide them with vehicles so that they can have an independent life as well.

    For the children…

    All it will cost us is an extra 10 cents on latt?s.

  2. Russ: I have no children, and hearing about them all the time has given me anguish. Please add another dime to your latte to appease my childless suffering.

  3. But, Merovingian, you are missing out on the principled argument that no government should be able to do this, that majority will should not trump individual or minority rights every time. “Elect a different government” is not an answer to “no government should ever do this.”

  4. david f,

    Well, given my experience with Norwegians, I can say that this judgment probably has a significant level of support. Quisling was a Nazi toadie; somehow I think the comparison is unmerited.

  5. The car isn’t going to make this poor sub-man feel better about himself. What they need to do is spring for bone lengthening surgery. Or maybe just give him a pat on the head.

  6. ^Watch it, Captian Knee-brace! I’ve got a charlie horse with your name on it!

  7. Damn, I should talk about all the mental scarring I went through on the school bus… maybe I can get a free car out of the deal, too.

  8. hey Jean Bart!

    i know — it was fun working with norwegians, too. and yes — there are tons of pc notions that move through folketinget there. my experience can be summed up as: they’re so worried about people having “self esteem” they take away the real thing. the janteloven, their cultural “ten commandments” with the “thou shalt not think thou art special” for example really punishes those with positive ambition.

    men Du ved, hvordan “De” er….

    but you know what “they” are like…



  9. drf,

    Hmm, Norway is a fairly prosperous country, it doesn’t receive planes in every day feeding a starving population, and it has great cell phones and bio-technology, so its doing well enough I think.

  10. I’m just trying to envision what kind of car they give this guy.

    Would it be huge 4-wheeling SUV to help him overcome is “small man syndrome”?

    Or maybe something small and specially modified for him to see over the dash and reach the pedals at the same time?

  11. Gives new meaning to the phrase “riding the short bus.”

  12. Man, this guy isn’t just short like me (5′ 5″), he’s damn short. Does he qualify as a midget?

  13. There should be a effort to get MORE small people to ride public transit. You can fit more on the bus, and they are lighter, therefor more fuel-efficient. Fat people should pay double fare.

  14. The logical extension of the equation of compassion with statist solutions.

  15. Hey Cavanaugh

    I’m not smart enough to get the reference in the headline.

    What’s that from?

  16. Randy Newman song, maybe?

  17. Well, so long as this the sort of thing Norwegians want, I’ve no issue with it. Of course I am sure someone will try to link this to Stalinism sooner or later. 🙂

  18. Randy Newman it is. From a song called ‘Short People’, which my girlfriend of the time absolutely hated. She was short and a leftie.


  19. hey jean bart — what, now the frankish kings post vikings???

    what’s up with that?

    no — we won’t link it to stalin, but maybe quisling…

    must come from a Nynorsk region…


  20. Merovingian,

    Of course it doesn’t forewarn mass murder, but think about what it means to say it’s what Norwegians want. Every single Norwegian wants this? Since it was a court that ordered this, it could easily be the case that very few Norwegians want it. And even if it a majority have allowed the system to work this way, how about the rights of the minority who never wanted their government to work this way? Unless one believes that any individual’s assets belong first and foremost to the collective will, I would say it’s clear that many Norwegians are getting screwed over by their tax money being used against their will in such a manner. Howzat?

  21. Since the guy is short due to medical treatment that probably kept him from dying, is the car part of his “health care” package?
    Or, maybe the companies who pioneered the treatments which stunted his growth could be held liable for causing his current hardships.
    Or, Norway could make it illegal to mock short people…

  22. fyodor,

    Well, if the people are so upset about this, they can unite and elect persons to pass a law to get rid of such judgments. I think this is the basic point of my snarky comment.

  23. I guess if you’re gonna be a one-issue voter, this is as good of an issue to die on as any.

  24. To Anonymous at 10:14 am:

    The man’s height is given as 4 ft 11 in or 127 cm, but 127 cm is actually 4 ft 2 in. Assuming that the 127 cm is correct because a Norwegian would measure himself in centimetres, he is really a lot shorter than you.

  25. Sorry,

    His height is given as 149 cm (which is 4 ft 11 in) or 4 ft 2 in. Whichever figure is right, would he have any real problems in riding a bus, seeing that children do it all the time?

    Maybe I’m just jealous. No government is going to give cars to people of average height, like me.

  26. I’d be happy with an affordable car that will fit my 6’4″ frame, as well as my wife’s 5’1″ chassis.

  27. They could give him a nice little Oslo Accord. But maybe it would break down.

  28. nm156- Thank you!

    I’m 6’6″ and about 260 lbs. I shop for a car by trying them on for size like pants. I remember getting into cars and finding out I had to duck to see through the side windows or couldn’t put the thing in gear because of where my knee was. I’d ask for a cash settlement from the gov. but feel that being able to see a parades is compensation enough.

    I dated a girl who was 5’2″ once. She didn’t have any trouble in vehicles.

  29. Oslo Accord. Ha!

  30. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 09:11:40
    The superior man loves his soul, the inferior man loves his property.

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