American Speeches Don’t Belong In Sweden

It is interesting, if a bit tragic, that even a political scientist with a focus on the United States, is for all intents and purposes anti-American. Nationalism in Sweden is fervent and boiling, yet hidden right beneath the surface. We don’t say “God bless Sweden” or show off our flag. Rather, we have a smug, quiet feeling of inherent superiority.

Ask virtually any Swede, and they will have a few things in common. They’ll believe the world would be better if it were more like Sweden. They think Sweden, aside from the climate, is the best place to raise children and live. The fact that America, the world’s greatest democracy, chooses not to be like us is confounding and infuriating to Sven Svensson, the average Swede. Why would anyone choose not to live in a social democratic welfare state?

And so, our academics reinforce their chances for large government grants with some more smug anti-American tirades, this time with an article about how religious and patriotic political speeches like in the US would be suicide here, as we are far more civilized, and far more secular.

It’s just… exhausting. I can try and ignore the propaganda, the knowing smiles as the communal identity is reinforced in a brutal “us vs. them” pattern, and the quasi-intellectual debate around the coffee tables. But it’s slowly driving me insane.


~ by Escaping Perdition on February 18, 2009.

2 Responses to “American Speeches Don’t Belong In Sweden”

  1. For me it’s about ‘religious maniacs vs. the rest of us’. The fact is that an atheist can’t get elected for president in the US. That’s a bad thing. Now, I’m not patriotic, because I don’t really believe in such a thing, but I do think that Sweden is better when it comes to religiousity. That is, we have less of it. I think it’s good to celebrate the things that are good about the place where you live, and critisize the bad things about it, as long as it doesn’t become blind patriotism.

  2. Even only speaking as a European (i.e. not identifying myself as a ‘Swede’) I certainly feel that I have very little in common with the average American (and I studied there for a year), so I do understand the “‘us vs. them’ pattern” that the author fails to comprehend; if you [the author] truly believe that the “American way” would or (heaven forbid) should work here in Sweden, then I suggest, if you haven’t already done so, that you move and settle down in, as you refer to it, “the world’s greatest democracy”.

    I truly believe you would be *much* happier there.
    And if you do already live there (or any other place than Sweden, really): thank you!

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