It was not the Swedes who built one of the richest countries in the world until the 1950s, with strong industry and a world-class air force, any more than it was the Greeks who built the Parthenon temple and calculated the circumference of the earth. It was a rather small elite that did these things, both in the Mediterranean but also in the cold north. Most Greeks and Swedes kept to themselves and contributed little or nothing to this marvellous development.
In the true spirit of universalism, we often attribute a nation’s success to its entire population, but this is wrong. We should honour those who should really be honoured. The wise, fair-minded and inventive people who built our countries. The ones who drew the lines, the ones who put the shovel in the ground, the ones who set the course.
These are a handful of people in business, academia, research and politics. They created our successes. Not the farmers in the fields, the workers in the mine or the factory. Farmers and labourers did their job, often tenaciously and under great hardship, but they were not the ones who lit the spark or built the very foundations of prosperity. What would workers be without the factory or the mine, and farmers without good seeds and crops? Jonas Alströmer introduced the potato in Sweden, and Carl Holmberg built factories and connected the country with railways. Then Lars Magnus Ericsson made us communicate via telephone lines. Just to mention a few names.
This is not to belittle the work of ordinary people. Community building is of course a group effort, but it is always the case with collective endeavours that some contribute so much more than others.
The elite is important. We are so marinated in the western democratic mindset, people seriously believe that everyone is involved in everything, by putting a paper in a box every four years. Or by going to work and contributing their oh-so-small piece of the social puzzle. That’s not the case, of course; it’s still a small elite that moves society forward, inventing computers, apps, social media, etc. They also set the trends in fashion, music, culture, etc. And the rest of us follow suit, or whinge about how that app wasn’t good enough.
And now for the conclusion. Today’s elite is inferior. There is nothing wrong with the system; there are rarely any fundamental flaws in administration, social functions and the legal system. Even if many say that it is rotting from within. It is the elite that is at fault. I don’t really want to use too strong words here, but society is led by idiots. Everyone is silently aware of that. And this is consistent in politics, industry, academia, etc. Our development and direction is not a problem of political orientation or some kind of ideological crisis. No, many countries were better led by social democrats in the 1950s (including Sweden) than by today’s fine liberal bourgeoisie or woke left.
If we are all to move forward, we need to nurture a better elite. Articulating the problem, and finding the solution itself, is difficult, as many do not even dare to recognise an elite. Until then, we are stuck in the mire, with stagnation, polarisation, increased crime, insecurity, etc, etc.