The culture that is Icelandic horse nationalism

by on August 30, 2017 at 10:18 am in Current Affairs, Law | Permalink

Recently, the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Association (FEIF) passed a new law stating that Icelandic horses may not be named any name not registered in the WorldFeng database. If a horse owner wants to name the horse something else, their suggestion needs to be approved by the horse naming committee.

According to Vísir, a horse farmer in Skeggsstaðir farm, Guðrún hrafnsdóttir, suggest the name Mósan for her mare. The committee rejected the name since it doesn’t conform to Icelandic name traditions.

The Icelandic Ministry of Industries and Innovation is currently investigating if rulings of the horse naming committee are legal or not. So far, Guðrún has waited for 5 months for a reply from the ministry, Vísir reports.

The link adds a nice photo, via Ted Gioia.  ” Keeping Iceland Icelandic” — whatever you think that is supposed to mean — is arguably the number one issue the country faces right now, given the continuing influx of tourism.

1 Matt August 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

In many, many parts of the the world (maybe most, though I don’t know for sure) where there are breeding registers for horses, it’s very common for a horse to have an “official” name, in the breeding register, and then a name that everyone actually calls it, typically a shorter, less obnoxious one. That seems like the obvious answer here.

2 Charlotte August 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

I agree. This is about horse culture not nationalism.

3 Mohammad September 2, 2017 at 7:37 pm

We have that for children here in America, where the kid has an official name and then what their black parents and black friends actually call them–normally “my nigga”.

4 prior_test3 August 30, 2017 at 10:36 am

‘given the continuing influx of tourism’

But not immigration, as Iceland is exceedingly strict in that area, even considering that EU/EFTA citizens are treated differently –

5 Dan Wang August 30, 2017 at 10:41 am

Don’t committees determine which names are acceptable for people as well?

6 Axa August 30, 2017 at 11:11 am

the enforcement of community rules……

7 prior_test3 August 30, 2017 at 11:12 am

Lots of place in Europe do that too, Germany most definitely included. For example, male and female names have to be distinct (with an exception made for ‘Maria,’ particularly for Bavarians, apparently).

8 Thiago Ribeiro August 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

It is sad to see a populace enslaved by an all-powerful state.

9 dearieme August 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

It’s their state.

10 Thiago Ribeiro August 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Is it? Or are they the state’s property?!

11 dearieme August 30, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Have you met many Icelanders?

12 Thiago Ribeiro August 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

No, but Brazilian authorities are trying to reduce immigration, there are already many Venezuelans and Hailitians in Brazil.

13 JWatts August 30, 2017 at 10:51 am

“Everything which is not forbidden is allowed”

It looks like someone is taking that as a challenge.

14 NPW August 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Everything which is not forbidden is mandatory.

15 Moo cow August 30, 2017 at 11:27 am

Wonderful country. Great place to visit. When I was there last time I learned that the horses can leave Iceland (for shows, etc) but once they leave they can never return.

16 Mark Thorson August 30, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Is that a measure for the health of the animal population, for example to prevent importation of horse diseases? Lots of places have such measures, especially islands.

17 Hazel Meade August 30, 2017 at 11:31 am

Mandatory LARPing for all. Everyone must be in period dress.

18 Tarrou August 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

There is a wonderful cognitive dissonance whereby the “elites” love this sort of provincialism in their tiny vacation spots, but rail against it in their home countries. By all means keep Iceland Icelandic, and Monaco Monegasque. But France French? Britain British? And this is all before we get to the true horror that might be American social traditionalism. An interesting phenomenon. Someone less charitable than I might start to think that the elites are actually trying to deconstruct their own culture, secure in the knowledge they can always move somewhere they haven’t destroyed yet, leaving the poor and middle class to fight over the shattered remnants of a once-great society. Venezuela for all!

19 Hazel Meade August 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

There’s different kinds of elites, but I see your point. It always annoys me the way the organic/non-GMO crowd seems to believe that third-world countries should preserve their quaint “sustainable” agrarian cultures. All those cute little farms are associated with a lot of starvation and malnutrition and they could benefit enormously from the mass industrialization of agriculture.
But there are some people who are consistent that everyone should be allowed to progress towards modernity.

Incidentally, I kind of doubt that Britain will stop being British. Cultures evolve over time and always have. It’s a mistake to try to preserve your culture in ice. If your culture isn’t evolving, it is a dead culture.

20 P August 30, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Attempting to ‘mass industrialise’ the quaint little has almost always ended in disaster. Eg. villagisation in Tanzania, Ethiopia and other parts of east Africa after independence, not to mention Soviet and Chinese collectivisation.

Sure, some people tend to romanticise traditionalist methods, but by and large things are done the way they are done for a reason. What works on an industrial scale out in the prairies doesn’t necessarily translate elsewhere, and crash modernisation often does more harm than good.

James Scott’s ‘Seeing like a state’ is a popular book which describes a lot of these attempts at mass industrialisation.

21 Hazel Meade August 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I’m not suggesting that anyone be forced to industrialize.
Mostly, things are the way they are because they can’t afford to buy tractors or pay for their fuel or upkeep. Subsistence farming isn’t usually the pareto optima.

22 Tarrou August 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm

I was speaking more specifically about advanced countries, not subsistence agrarian ones. Small, insignificant countries are encouraged to maintain their sense of nationhood, their sense of community and their distinctive culture. Large, consequential countries should eject their culture, stop enforcing their borders, import a whole new population, and grant it legal immunity for the depredations it commits against the previous inhabitants.

23 rayward August 30, 2017 at 11:37 am

I understand that Trump is recruiting the chairman of the horse naming committee to head up hurricane relief efforts in Houston.

24 Sam Haysom August 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I’m sorry for your sake that the villain of the storm has been a Democratic mayor for your ask too. Generally when you get weepy you get even more wordy and self-indulgent.

25 FYI August 30, 2017 at 11:37 am

The stupidity of certain government rules is so apparent that comments are not needed. I think the real challenge we have in the world today is to figure out which stupid rules are harmless and which are harmful. Trying to get rid of most stupidity is just not in the cards.

26 Ryan Reynolds August 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Just to take the (implied) counter position, but if you have a country which enjoys a high and profitable tourism industry, effectively an intangible economic asset, is it rational at all to look to maintain the aspects of that intangible asset which keep it earning money for you?

Obviously this gets a little uncomfortable with freedom of expression. But this might explain the motives here.

27 Anon August 30, 2017 at 11:29 pm


28 mike August 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Name the horse by law and call it whatever you want to. The horse won’t care.

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