I’ve told this one before. Back in 2005, Mona Sahlin, who from 2002 to 2004 had served as Sweden’s minister of integration, told an audience at a Swedish mosque that many native Swedes envied them, because, she said, immigrants have real cultures and histories while Swedes have only “silliness” such as the commemoration of Midsummer Night. Later that year, at a debate on integration policy, the Norwegian activist Hege Storhaug asked Lise Bergh, who had succeeded to the post of Swedish minister of integration, whether Swedish culture was worth preserving. Blithely, Bergh replied: “Well, what is Swedish culture? And by saying that, I think I’ve answered the question.”
Those two appalling comments reflect a mentality – one that is shared, unfortunately, by a great many Swedes – that goes a long way toward explaining the breathtakingly self-destructive policies that, over the last few decades, have sent Sweden barreling down the road toward cultural self-annihilation. Of course, other Western European countries are headed down the same road, but they aren’t moving quite so quickly and eagerly, and with such a fatuous, pathetic air of self-satisfaction, toward their grim fate. The difference lies entirely in that Swedish mentality. Even more than most other Western Europeans, Swedes, especially the self-consciously sophisticated urban elites, are possessed of a degree of self-abnegation that is nothing short of pathological.
Consider this. In the U.S., we have “Native Americans.” Canada has the “First Nations.” Australia has its “aborigines.” What all these peoples have in common is that they were there first. In Sweden, the native peoples, the ur-folk, are, needless to say, the Swedes themselves. There are ten million of them, and they’ve been there for millennia. But when establishment journalists and politicians in Sweden refer to their country’s “indigenous people,” they’re not talking about themselves. No, they’re talking about the 20,000 Sami (also known as Lapps or Laplanders) who live way up in the far northern reaches of Sweden, tending reindeer and wearing funny red outfits.