The high price of anti-elitism

There was once a time when that classic Swedish expression “lagom” (roughly translated as ‘moderation’) served as an explanation for Sweden’s prosperity. It was not just our language, as reflected in that awkwardly translated term, that constituted a unique resource. The very idea of “lagom-ness” was the essence of life, a tempered space where export figures and welfare indices climbed through the roof like beanstalks. Sweden was an oasis of moderation in a world of irrational, gun-happy, wild gesticulating foreigners.

That now seems just as antiquated as one of Jules Verne’s visions of the future. But it was not totally inaccurate. Swedes made a number of wise choices in the 20th century. Clearly, our eminence as apostles of welfare was exaggerated. Other Europeans democratised healthcare and their educational system according to similar recipes, and a lot of what we thought was unique could be found elsewhere, minus the ideol...

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Nathan Shachar

Journalist och författare.

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