Selective History

Where I come from1, when the state of democracy and society is the matter in hand, people might still—though rarely—be heard invoking Mai 68. What I had never heard, however, is this fine thread of 20th century history echoing from Scandinavia:

How Swedes and Norwegians broke the power of the ‘1 percent’

I will let the piece speak for itself, and just add this remark:

In my mind, the Swedes and the Norwegians had always lived a [relatively] stable life, one of high societal standards, throughout the past century; there had never been major shifts, nor power struggles, such as the ones described; exaggerating this Mediterranean layman’s perspective, they had “always” been, as though by nature, members of a just and wealthy—by all measures, not just financially—civilization. I was naïf. But I was also the recipient, since my early school days, of a conveniently tailored history of the world.

And yet there’s profound value in this particular thread. Not just because one may extract hope from it, but because it shows how, repeatedly, aiming for anything less than a truly democratic2 society is a recipe for disaster.


  1. things are very bad in most of Europe, but the current Portuguese government gave its citizens front-row tickets to Let’s Destroy 40 Years of Democracy in a 4-Year Term. 
  2. in its etymological sense 

Author: Miguel Fonseca

Engineer at Automattic. Linguist, cyclist, Lindy Hopper, tree climber, and headbanger.

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