Tag Archives: sweden

Derek Parfit

Take a Swede who is proud of his country’s peaceful record. He might have a similar divided attitude. He may not be disturbed by the thought that Sweden once fought aggressive wars; but if she had recently fought such wars he would be greatly disturbed. Someone might say, “This man’s attitude is indefensible. The wars of Gustavus, or of Karl XII, are as much part of Swedish history.” This truth cannot, I think, support this criticism. Modern Sweden is indeed continuous with the aggressive Sweden of the Vasa kings. But the connections are weak enough to justify this man’s attitude.

Derek Parfit, ‘On “The Importance of Self-Identity”‘, The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 68, no. 20 (October, 1971), p. 685

Gore Vidal

To deny inconvenient opinions a hearing is one way the few have of controlling the many. But as Richard Nixon used to say, “That would be the easy way.” The slyer way is to bombard the public with misinformation. During more than half a century of corruption by the printed word in the form “news”—propaganda disguised as fact—I have yet to read a story favorable to another society’s social and political arrangements. Swedes have free health care, better schools than ours, child day-care center for working mothers… but the Swedes are all drunks who commit suicide (even blonde blue-eyed people must pay for such decadent amenities). Lesson? No national health care, no education, etc., because-as William Bennett will tell you as soon as a TV red light switches on-social democracy, much less socialism, is just plain morally evil. Far better to achieve the good things in life honestly, by inheriting money or winning a lottery. The American way.

Gore Vidal, ‘A Corrupt System’, in Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers (eds.), Money and Politics, Boston, 1999