Jante

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He is also hampered by the extreme cultural differences between the Latin-based culture of Hispanic Floridia-Carribeans and the Scandinavian-based culture of the Cruzans. If there is one negative cultural trait that the Virgin Islanders (both *here* and *there*) have inherited from Scandinavia, then its envy. The reason behing the intense envy towards Hispanics prevalent in the Cruzan Islands can be found in the Jante's Law mentality, which was described by the Dano-Norwegian author, Aksel Sandemose, of consisting of the following ten commandments:

  1. Thou shalt not presume that thou art anyone important.
  2. Thou shalt not presume that thou art as good as us.
  3. Thou shalt not presume that thou art any wiser than us.
  4. Thou shalt never indulge in the conceit of imagining that thou art better than us.
  5. Thou shalt not presume that thou art more knowledgeable than us.
  6. Thou shalt not presume that thou art more than us in any way.
  7. Thou shalt not presume that that thou art going to amount to anything.
  8. Thou art not entitled to laugh at us.
  9. Thou shalt never imagine that anyone cares about thee.
  10. Thou shalt not suppose that thou can teach us anything.

These ten laws stand as a fairly accurate depiction of moral code in Scandinavia as well as the Cruzan Islands today. It can be said that many Cruzados live by these laws, consciously or not, and embrace them deeply. Envy, despite being a Christian sin, is a principle part of Jante's Law. Breaking this social code means that your neighbors will despise you for your individuality, uniqueness, or an excess show of wealth. In fact, one could venture to say that in Cruzan society, breaking Jante's Law is in and of itself much worse than committing the sin of envy.

Despite the fact that the Scandinavian Realm is a monarchy where a couple of states even have a ruling nobility, Jante's Law ensures that all states are largely egalitarian. The royals and the nobility do not flaunt their wealth and status as much as in other monarchies, and the monarch has been reduced today to a symbolic head of state with virtually no powers.

What purpose does Jante's Law serve in Cruzan society today? Sandemose wrote, "By means of Jante's Law, people stamp out each other's chances in life." This cruel statement taken by itself paints a harsh and unforgiving picture of Cruzado society. Yet, the laws serve a purpose deeply rooted in historical background. In early provincial Scandinavia and its former colonies, strong community solidarity was necessary to tie people together and to survive as a collective. The survival of the community as an entire entity was more important than any individual member, and thus the moral code behind Jante's Law was formed. Very provincial.

When emancipation was granted to the Cruzan Islands in 1849, Jante's Law became more prevalent in the Cruzado society, and the disparity between incomes gradually grew lesser. The Cruzan Islands was well on its way to becoming an egalitarian state after it recieved its independence in 1937. The Cruzan Islands were in the process of dismantling the old plantation system and introducing the homesteading system. However, this development was suddenly interrupted ten years later when Florida invaded the islands and reintroduced the plantation system where rich Floridian hacienda owners took over the remaining plantations and bought out the homesteaders.

It should come as no surprise that Florida's violent way of annexing the islands has left a deep seated grudge with most Cruzans: "Florida shall not presume that it is anything important to us, as good as us, wiser than us, etc.". Alonso Rivera's laissez fare style of governing the islands worked well for Florida in so far as it allowed the Cruzans to govern themselves with no interference from Florida. But the grudge against the Floridians was always there, particularly against the rich Hispanic plantation owners.

After the Floridian Plan went into effect, the Cruzans became more confident to decide over their own affairs and to express more openly what they think of the Hispanic population. When the homesteading system was reintroduced, the Hispanic population really began to feel pursecuted by the Cruzan population.

[KJ]

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