Let me start with a photo of Tanja Bergkvist, the conservative Swedish blogger. Why is she making a point of holding up a Swedish flag? Because it was recently Swedish National Day. Tanya pointed out at her blog that some political Swedes have been unwilling to celebrate their national culture. One newspaper recently tried to reassure them that it was OK to do so:
... Long established common frame of reference that creates belonging and security. Herring, Midsummer, Lucia, meatballs and the right of public access. That some of these things are also available elsewhere is less important. For many, they are equal to the place on earth they call home. It is Sweden.
The Swedish culture is just as rich, exciting and worth protecting as Somali dance, or Persian New Year. Especially on a day like June 6. Being proud of their country's history is not the same as to violate others'. So let us celebrate Sweden tomorrow. Without anxiety. She is the host, Mother Svea.
Well, at least one newpaper is encouraging Swedes to celebrate their own culture. That's a big improvement on an article printed on Swedish National Day back in 2001. Birgitta Ohlsson, the current Swedish EU Minister, used the day to promote the abolition of Sweden:
Swedish Minister for World State
Blue and yellow banners, royalist significant fjäskeri and patriotic whirl of happiness. Today in the Swedish National Day, we are supposed to be good citizens to pay attention to our nation. The most enthusiastic become pilgrims to the homesteads, sing the national anthem and celebrate as if it were a close relative who completed the 50th. But what is celebrated, anyway? Democracy and openness that characterizes this part of the world? By no means. Rather, we see an automatpatriotism and conservative passion of the nation state. Despite that chance determines where a person is born, a nation-state is rarely the ideal decision-making level and the world becomes more globalized keeps mankind desperately stuck in the nation. This phenomenon has downsides. "Nationalism is a children's disease, the measles of mankind", said Albert Einstein . Einstein was a convinced world federalist, an idea from ancient times to explain that people are members of a universal community.
It is time for us who call ourselves citizens of the world to dust off world federalism as a vision for a more just world by pursuing a global union of federal government. Every country must give up parts of their national sovereignty. Through a global legal order can people conflict be resolved peacefully. A global law be passed by a democratically elected world parliament, and upheld by the World Police. The idea of peace is central in world federalism as well as the belief in international law and our common responsibility to ensure that human rights are respected everywhere.
Albert Einstein's analogy between nationalism and childhood diseases is apt. They are both difficult to cure. We may disagree about what means to use in battle. But we know that in both cases await any healthier in the end. The World Federation is not a utopia - but a goal of practical politics. Maybe I'm a naive reformer.
Federal Chairman of the Liberal Youth (LUF)
You might think that writing such stuff would disqualify you from representing your country. Not so in Sweden. Birgitta rose through the ranks of the Liberal People's Party to become a minister in the current coalition government.
The Liberal People's Party is strongly in favour of the European Union. But note that in Birgitta Ohlsson's case this is not because of a love of Europe but because of a belief that society should move from nations to a world government. She sees herself as a citizen of the world rather than as a patriotic Swede.
Anyway, Sweden needs more of the Tanya and less of the Birgitta. Let's hope it moves in the right direction in the years ahead.