The Associated Press is reporting with some relish that Iceland limits the names that people can have. If you have a baby, you are limited to 1,712 boy names and 1,853 girl names. So if you want to name your baby son “Snorri,” you can just forget it! Actually, I’m kidding: “Snorri” is on the list. The article claims, “In a country comfortable with a firm state role, most people don’t question the Personal Names Register.” I see this as a little bit snarky.
This is very American. In America, we are all free to name our children whatever we want! Yes, that’s good government policy: let the proles have some meaningless right; it will distract them from all the important rights they don’t have. In America, you can name your child anything but you can’t marry whoever you want. In Iceland, it is the opposite. Who is more free?
I am reminded of Anatole France who said, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” The Associated Press might put it differently: “The law, in its majestic equality, allows the cold, poor, and sick to name their children anything they want!”
Just count your blessings that you don’t live in a fascist country like Iceland. Long live Dweezil!