HOW SHALL THE WORLD BE GOVERNED?: IQ, Desperate Games and the Sweden Democrats

Sometime ago, as we often do, I was with an old friend discussing the world problems, not the least we lamented the latest idiocies of US President Elect Donald J. Trump. It is hard to imagine that millions of people are still supporting an ego-tripped narcissist, whose inflated mediocrity and glaring mendacity pose a serious threat to our entire world.

Of course, I was not able to shut up about my views of the growing populist party called The Swedish Democrats. Who supports them? Welfare beneficiaries who fear that immigrants are threatening their economic support? Workers because blattar are threatening their job security? And what is wrong with people from Skåne? Why are compatriots from my home province considered to be the stoutest supporters of a party I despise? Why are so many of them enthusiastic about a manipulative, populist party? Perhaps because the Nazis unfortunately still are firmly rooted in Skåne´s fertile soil, the best in Sweden?

Today, Sentio, a reputable opinion poll institute based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, estimated support for the Swedish Democrats to be an unbelievable 26.9 percent. It makes me nauseous. There is no doubt that Swedish Democrats' raison d'être is fear of "the others" - those with different skin colours, other religions and other traditions. The blattar, spaggar and utbölingar who have sneaked into Our society and are threatening Our way of life; stealing, cheating, killing and raping. 

An English speaker probably needs some explanation of Swedish pejoratives. Blatte designates “a person with a foreign background and dark skin”, it originates from the Finnish Romani word blāto, meaning “blue”. Blue man was a Nordic Middle Age denomination for a dark-skinned person. Spagge comes from “spaghetti” and is a pejorative for people from the Mediterranean area. Utböling, actually means “born outside” and was in the ancient Swedish peasant society used to denominate the feared ghosts of murdered children.

In the fairy tale of H.C. Andersen there were not many who saw that the emperor was naked. Likewise, generally sane people, many of whom are good friends of mine, assume that Sweden Democracy is not a shabby, needle shedding Christmas tree from Anno Dazumal, which after being hailed and worshiped, thankfully was hidden away in a mouldy wardrobe after the national chauvinism of World War II had resulted in between 50 and 80 million dead.

After that disaster, it did not feel entirely alright to pay tribute to navel-watching patriotism, blended with religious fundamentalism and idiotic generalizations. Something that did not hinder that I as a kid in school had to learn a hymn that included a phrase like:

Being Christian and free is Sweden´s goal,

the nation´s law and belief.

A manly and Christian soul

keeps Sweden safe from war and grief

and King and people united.



This marvellous time seemed to have disappeared, when We Swedes were the strongest, the most beautiful, the noblest and most pleasant people upon the face of the earth. Certainly, could we sons of the Wasa Empire and bold Vikings in all our excellence still be prepared to fight for our beloved Fatherland, "the fairest land upon earth." “We” are the ones who have received the divine grace of having been born into this holy, glorious, high North, but in addition to that benefit we could also follow our proud blood line back to ferocious, but brave, barbarians:

Any foe is met with the same old story,

that we who fight for Sweden,

by our name and ancient glory

with blood will be watering our Eden.



Such a grandiose, brisk and healthy life! So far away from economic worries, lousy marriages, suicidal thoughts, unpaid bills, unemployment, alcoholism and all “other forms of boredom advertised as poetry”.  So wonderful it must have been to once have been a splendid Swedish Superman; fresh, strong and noble. Oh, those magnificent times - Let's make Sweden great again!!! Oh, you vigorous, genuine, beautiful Sweden, which now is being threatened by hordes of blattar.

Sweden, Sweden, Sweden, native land,

our longing's home, our place on earth!


Nevertheless, something has happened - more than a quarter of the brave Swedish people are now supporting the young mavericks who have been bold enough to pull the moulding, patriotic carcass out of the closet again. Now with pride and swelling breasts, without shame or hesitation, we can once again burst into the anthem of their favourite rock band, Ulitima Thule:

Here I want to live, here I will die.

Here I live in freedom.

Here I want to live, here I will die.

Here I live in freedom.



Unfortunately, I cannot participate in these songs of joy. I watch and listen to the leaders of the Swedish Democrats and assume I am witnessing lying, neurotic youths and superficial careerists, or insipid good ol´boys who scenting morning air have titivated the old chauvinist corpse with eye-catching adornments like Increased Safety, Law and Order, Swedish Values, Protecting the Wellbeing, Dignified Old Age, Lower Taxes, More Care Centres, Better Education.

Now the ruffled old boneshaker shines and glitters, while hatred, xenophobia and racism are hidden behind a bogus glitziness, which is enthusiastically applauded by more than a quarter of the Swedes. My frustration at this misreable spectacle makes me, like Cicero, want to break out in anguished lament, while accusing the Sweden Democract´s leader:

Quo usque tandem abutere, Jimmie Åkesson, patientia nostra? In the name of heaven, Jimmie Åkesson, how long do you propose to exploit our patience? Do you really suppose that your lunatic activities are going to escape our retaliation for evermore? Are there to be no limits to this audacious, uncontrollable swaggering? Look at the garrison of our Roman nation which guards the Palatine by night, look at the patrols ranging the city, the whole population gripped by terror, the entire body of loyal citizens massing at one single spot! Look at this meeting of our Senate behind strongly fortified defences, see the expressions on the countenances of every one of these men who are here! Have none of these sights made the smallest impact on your heart? You must be well aware that your plot has been detected. Now that every single person in this place knows all about your conspiracy, you cannot fail to realize it is doomed. Do you suppose there is a single individual here who has not got the very fullest information about what you were doing last night and the night before, where you went, the men you summoned, the plans you concocted? What a scandalous commentary on our age and its standards! -  O tempora! O mores! 

The Swedish citizen who reads these lines is of course, like many of my neighbours and comrades, free to think whatever s/he might want about the mendacious Sweden Democrats, support their policies, to believe in their Doomsday scenarios. Nevertheless, I prefer to think in another manner. That the ideology and politics of this pathetic political party reflect bad self-esteem, fear and a pandemonium based on chauvinism and cynicism. I consider that believing in and supporting such a party is a tragic result of what the Pope has described as the "Globalization of Indifference". Do not for a second assume that I would pay tribute to any kind of fundamentalism, intolerance and violence that tend to thrive within other self-honouring confederations, like all the fanatics who consider themselves to be exclusive representatives of genuine Islam. To me, such fundamentalists are fretful individuals caught up in what Peter Gabriel sings about:

Fear, Fear, she's the mother of Violence,

Making me tense to watch the way she breed.

Fear, she's the mother of Violence,

You know self-defense is all you need.

It's getting hard to breathe,

It's getting so hard to believe,

To believe in anything at all.



Just as I do not regard Christianity as the sole basis of compassion, I do not consider Islam to be a "religion of peace", like Christianity it is much more than that. But, I do believe in Jesus when he says, "The one who is free from sin shall throw the first stone," or Muhammad, when he states:

Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. (The Qur´an 5:32).

During our conversation, my friend repeated what he had said once before:

- I believe it would be a good idea to find a way to make it possible for sensible, wise people to be responsible for the destiny of the world. To create a brain trust of intelligent, knowledgeable people.

- How?

- I don’t know. I´m not a genius. Hard tests, recruitment from the best universities?

I smiled to myself. I did not want to tell my friend that for a number of reasons I thought it was a rather senseless thought. My experience told me that power can corrupt anyone in a quite perplexing manner. I have seen it destroying sane individuals, turning them into insensitive idiots. Victims to excessive power are often lured into believing that they are better than others. That an organization, even a country or why not the entire world, cannot survive without them. At the same time they may become hypersensitive to criticism and the threat of losing their privileged position. As Jimmy Cliff sang in 1972: "Yeah, the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all."

In whatever group I have ended up, I have imagined that I found the same distribution of dumb and wise people, regardless of social class, or work community. The opinion the Swedish chancellor Axel Oxenstierna shared with his son, when he was on his way to international peace talks after the Thirty Years War, still holds: "Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

As is the case with most fine quotes, these words were probably not uttered by the person they have been attributed to. A similar statement was documented in 1633, fifteen years before it was ascribed to Oxenstierna. It was a certain Vigilius von Zuichen who said something similar to a relative who assumed he was too stupid to join the City Council of Brussels. Nevertheless, Oxenstierna could very well have uttered the famous quote. He wrote several letters to his son Johan when he in 1648 participated in the peace talks of Münster. These letters are filled with sound advice from a man who by his contemporaries was celebrated as one of Europe's most skilful and intelligent diplomats.

When Oliver Cromwell in 1654 asked how his diplomatic envoy, Bulstrode Whitelocke, had been able to adapt to life in a country "said to be ugly, poorly cultivated and very cold," Whitelocke answered that it had been tolerable even if "in the summer their heat is so much stronger than by us and their winters much harsher”. Nevertheless, in the damp and dingy Stockholm Whitelocke had appreciated the stimulating company of the old gentleman Axel Oxenstierna:

With skill he spoke a quite beautiful Latin; and he was also fluent in French, though he was not happy speaking in that language, since he did not find it as enjoyable as the ancient tongue of the Romans, so much more beautiful and rich. [...] He often apologized for his great verbosity, which he himself characterized as a senilis garrulitias [an old man´s gibberish]. However, it was a great pleasure to listen to him while he, in everything he uttered, demonstrated a profound understanding and an extensive wisdom. [...] He is the wisest man I have ever met outside of England and his qualities do in all respects correspond to his great reputation.

It is very likely that Axel Oxenstierna was one of the best statesmen Sweden have had; a very knowledgeable, skilled and efficient strategist. After her father´s death in Germany, Oxenstierna governed Sweden until the princess Christina was old enough to become queen. This enigmatic lady has been the object of several international biographies and movies, especially the one from 1933 with Greta Garbo in the leading role. Oxenstierna and Christina often had violently opposed views, particularly about her refusal to marry, her conversion to Catholicism and finally her abdication from the Swedish throne. Nevertheless, he served as her mentor and she had an enormous respect for him. In her autobiography, which she wrote in Rome twenty-seven tears after her chancellor´s death, she wrote:

It was from him I learned everything I know about the art of ruling. You have wished, Lord, that one of the greatest men in the world would be my teacher and for this I owe You the greatest gratitude. [...] For me it was an indescribable pleasure to hear him speak and there was no book, no game or pastime that I did not leave for the joy of listening to him. He, for his part, found enjoyment in teaching me, and we often spent three, four hours and often more in greatest satisfaction with each other. [...] He possessed a great depth of human understanding and a profound knowledge of the affairs of this world. He knew the strength and weaknesses of all nations in Europe. He possessed wisdom, extraordinary care, a wide-ranging ability and a great deal of greatness. [...] Moreover, he was vain, but faithful and incorruptible, though somewhat slow and phlegmatic.

That I in secret smiled at my friend's opinion that the world ought to governed by an intelligent cabal of women and men does not mean that I do not believe in the existence of capable politicians. Lately, I have been reading Tage Erlander´s memoirs, which occasionally proved to be quite boring. Erlander became with his 23 years as Swedish prime minister one of the longest-running heads of government in a democratic state. While reading his detailed memoirs it becomes evident that Erlander was an over-sensitive hypochondriac and a very self-reflective individual. Along with his easily intensified anxiety and querulous outbreaks Erlander comes forth as an imaginative and sharp intellectual, who methodically studied and processed both his own weaknesses and those of friends and opponents. Time after time, Erlander makes very accurate interpretations of difficult situations and is able to make the right decisions. Always on the look-out for people´s inner drive and motivations: "It is hard to try to figure out what people really mean, the essence and incentive behind their acts." His world view was essentially pessimistic. Unsentimentally, Tage Erlander noted deficiencies of both opponents and supporters, observing their "indecisions, recklessness, and hunger for prestige and rewards". He considered himself to be a person who suffered from exactly the same shortcomings.

As I read about such a knowledgeable, ideologically driven and largely honest politician as Tage Erlander and his cooperation with Gustav Möller, the architect of the Social-democratic, Swedish welfare state, I shiver at the confrontation with the superficial, distasteful and deceitful appearance of Swedish Democrats. Not least, their unpleasant abduction of the Social Democrats' catch-word The People´s Home. I was utterly disgusted when I, a few days ago, heard how Jimmie Åkesson in one of his a speeches no less than 40 times mentioned The People´s Home, while attacking the Social-democratic Government:

Fellow Swedes, visitors to Almedal [during a week every summer Swedish politicians come together at this place for speeches and debates]. Now, we are going to rebuild what you have destroyed. Now we are going to rebuild The People´s Home that has been torn apart. Our home is divided. I belong to those who are concerned. Sweden has become unhealthy. We have to put a stop to all that. Now you have been experimenting far too long. Now you have caused enough wreckage. Now, we are going to rebuild what you have destroyed. Now we are going to rebuild The People´s Home. This concerns those who want to contribute to the common good, not those who want to destroy it. It is about those who build the cars, against those who burn them. If you intend to settle yourselves here, you must have the will and ambition to become one of us. If you are not prepared to accept the requirements we make, then you have to live elsewhere.

Mene, mene, tekel parsin! Do we not see what's written on the wall! "Become one of us" shouts Jimmie Åkesson. Would I really like to be like Jimmie Åkesson and his companions? No thanks! To me it is quite clear that the gibberish that pours out of the mouth of populist, semi-educated, self-glorified and notorious liars like Per Jimmie Åkesson and Donald John Trump may well lead us all into destruction. However, a quarter of the Swedes do not seem to believe so.

Let us for a moment leave this sickening spectacle and go back in time. My hometown Hässleholm, sometime in the spring of 1968. I finally managed to sneak in to watch my first “adults only” movie. I was bewildered by the fact that the mightily feared accountant Fäldt, who worked at the Savings Bank and moonlighted as a movie theatre usher, did not stop me. It was not the first time I tried to watch an “adults only”. Perhaps he assumed I had just become fifteen years old, though that would not happen until a year later. Maybe it was because Bo Göransson, who was bigger than me, partially had covered me up. Unfortunately, I had not avoided the attention of accountant Fäldt. The next day he had phoned my father and asked if I really was fifteen years old. When Father came home from work, he made me feel ashamed for having lied so brazenly. Though, to tell the truth - I did not actually feel any shame at all. The film had been excellent and even if it is now almost fifty years ago I watched The Planet of the Apes, I still remember much of it. I had never seen anything like that – the movie had not only been amazing and thrilling, but also thought provoking.

When I was on my way up from Rome I had at the airport spotted a cheap pocket book called Desperate Games and bought it at once. The cover informed that its French author, the war hero Pierre Boulle, earlier had written the novel Planet of the Apes. I read the short novel during my flight and the train trip up to Hässleholm. It was no masterpiece; Boulle´s descriptions of persons and the settings are rather flat and superficial, yet it was a fascinating novel, especially if considered as a novel of ideas.

The novel was written in 1972 by an author who not only wrote the The Planet of the Apes, but also the The Bridge over the River Kwai, which also inspired an unforgettable film. Desperate Games reminded me of a host of films depicting an apocalyptic world where grisly gladiator games have become mass entertainment. By decades Boulle antedates several movies and books with a similar theme - Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, Mad Max, The Running Man, Fight Club and Amores Perros, to name just a few, apart from a swarm of video games, which describe a perverted future where people's greatest pleasure derives from the excitant experience of watching fellow human beings torturing and killing each other.

Most remarkable with my book finding was that one week after I had read Boulle's novel, the conversation took place during which my friend expressed his opinion that a world government of geniuses ought to be established.

Boulle narrates that in a not too distant future, just as now, the world continues to by devastated by a reckless overexploitation of its natural resources, brazen nepotism, corruption and absurd armed conflicts. Scientists constantly call for moderation and sustainable development, while pointing to the fact that most misery originates from short-sighted power abuse by idiotic politicians, who do not realize that there is no other way to avoid a complete collapse of human existence than an immediate application of the knowledge that we already possess and concentrate all resources to the achievement of a fair and unbiased resource distribution and a sustainable use of the world´s natural wealth. Science has solutions to most problems, a knowledge that must be used to save our planet and the life it sustains, a process that unfortunately is stalled by the short-sighted behaviour of power drunk and outright stupid politicians.

Against all odds the scientists succeed in reversing the catastrophic development. As members of a global community they obtain, with the help of a comprehensive network created by skilled and manipulative psychologists (a foreboding of the rising power of social media?), a strong global support for their initiatives. Under the threat of uncontrolled rioting, humiliated politicians realize, one by one, that they have to surrender their power to the scientists. The researchers do, within an unusually short space of time, create a new and improved United Nations, cleansed from power-hungry politicians and meaningless memoranda, a far cry from its fumbling and toothless predecessor. Now the world is led by intelligent and capable scientists, who serve no other purpose than the best interest of the general public.

A cabal of so called Nobels, i.e. influential Nobel prize winners, are set up to choose the women and men who, on a strict scientific basis, will lead the fate of the world. The Nobels develop a carefully designed and implemented international test package that eventually leads to the selection of a brainy, global leadership. The result is far beyond the most optimistic expectations. Within a couple of years starvation and poverty are exterminated. Global cooperation eliminates armed conflicts and all available resources are put in place to protect what remains of the world's natural resources and to maintain them in as sustainable manner. Throughout the world, education and health care are in their entirety funded by the expanding wealth of the global Government, which is capable of achieving an efficient use of natural resources, ever more advanced technological innovations, better communication systems and an ever-expanding general knowledge. Based on human collaboration and within a surprisingly short time period a perfect Utopia is created.

Nationalism disappears almost overnight and an effective propaganda machinery fosters global solidarity, which is growing ever stronger through the rapid and positive changes that every, better educated, global citizen experiences and contributes to. All people enjoy greater prosperity and shorter working hours. Lots of resources are provided to libraries, museums and high-tech theme parks, all built up in accordance with a principle aimed at stimulating people's interest in education and science.

Soon, however, the governing geniuses find that something missing. Levelling and lethargy make people demanding more and more activity and entertainment. Apathy and worse - suicide - become common. Psychologists conclude that human nature is not content with knowledge, pleasure and harmless adventures. A perfect society does not evoke neither excitement, nor violence. Poets and writers turn into pseudo-revolutionaries nursing a nostalgia for barricades and civil strife, but for what purpose?  Without salt and fervour art is dying and cannot evoke any strong reaction and passions. Utopia needs no poets, the perfect cannot be completed by adding new, unnecessary values. Citizens long for the unforeseen, for passion, for violence.

However, passion and unprovoked violence are chaotic and dangerous, as well as they might be fatal. Most consumers like to watch violence from a safe distance, though to be excited about it many want it to be real; Movies and books do not cover such an urge for excitement. Soon, the huge, impressive spectacles that were staged to promote peace, science, fellowship and cooperation lose their interest. Instead, in front of jubilant spectators, both male and female gladiators battle for life and death during state endorsed shows. A thriving, high-tech entertainment industry is built up around raw and brutal murder, which only affects those who have volunteered to take part in such public butcheries, which are astonishing many, because the blood-soaked victors are hailed as heroes.

The ruling scientists are caught up in a spiral of violence leading to increasingly sophisticated gladiator battles, not in the sense that the brutal violence becomes more refined, it remains at the same utterly, ruthless level, but the shows are becoming increasingly extensive and with the help of high tech innovations the violence and suffering become more tangible for the enthusiastic masses. The gladiator fights turn into huge battles where everything is done to increase the spectators' experience and total commitment through three-dimensional representations, complete with sounds and smells. Blood baths are staged on giant arenas and distributed to a global audience through ever more sophisticated means of communication. Eventually, the fierce battles are transferred to strictly demarcated land areas, while peace and security rule within the surrounding communities.

To increase thrills and tension, two global teams are formed – Alphas, also called Physics and Betas, also called Biology. Through this polarization, the majority of the world population and their ruling scientists soon became attached to and familiar with one or the other camp. After being committed to support the general well-being, scientists soon end up as supporters of one or the other of the two battling teams, supporting it through lies and manipulation, at the same time as they more or less secretly provide them with increasingly sophisticated means for killing their opponents.

Soon, such historical battles as Waterloo and Somme, with the same macho force and brutality as before, were enacted while adhering to the limited means of destruction available at those times, though spiced up with some discrete additions. The victims were still volunteers who put their lives at risk to counteract the meaningless existence they experience beyond the bloody games.

While supporting their respective team the enlightened scientists soon became as bloodthirsty as the general public and the ancient war madnessis soon repeated. The biologists’ team tried to annihilate Physics through biological and chemical warfare, while physicists reintroduced nuclear bombs. Soon the earth had ended up in an even worse murderous chaos than before.

Having read Boulle's novel, it is easy to agree with Mark Twain's observations in his essay What is Man? from 1906:

I am aware that when even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. We always get at second hand our notions about systems of government; and high tariff and low tariff; and prohibition and anti-prohibition; and the holiness of peace and the glories of war; and codes of honor and codes of morals; and approval of the duel and disapproval of it; and our beliefs concerning the nature of cats; and our ideas as to whether the murder of helpless wild animals is base or is heroic; and our preferences in the matter of religious and political parties; and our acceptance or rejection of the Shakespeares and the Arthurs Ortons [a con man who made an aristocrat believe that he was his long lost son and only heir] and the Mrs. Eddys  [Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christan Science, believed that sickness and death were just illusions]. We get them all at second hand, we reason none of them out for ourselves. It is the way we are made. It is the way we are all made, and we can't help it, we can't change it. And whenever we have been furnished a fetish, and have been taught to believe in it, and love it and worship it, and refrain from examining it, there is no evidence, howsoever clear and strong, that can persuade us to withdraw from it our loyalty and our devotion.

Once again an issue of the individual and the flock. The crucial feeling of belonging or not. It is a prevalent belief that through my attachment to a tough group of people I might become both strong and unique. The more unsuccessful I feel, the more comfort I may find in a feeling of being like "everyone else" or, on the contrary, feel alone and shunned because I  am unique, or even superior to “the others”. My outstanding insights and extraordinary intelligence may induce me to assume that I am an exceptional person. I might even be an unnoticed member of the exclusive group of geniuses. A self-deception that may lead to extreme positions. Perhaps I might convince myself that I am some kind of spokesperson for a silent majority. That I dare to express opinions I share with like-minded, but muted equals. A lone ranger. As the great apostle of lonely geniuses, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote in his Beyond Good and Evil: "In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."

According to this champion of paradoxes, true knowledge demands doubts and constant contradictions. Only knowledge which is able to incorporate opposing views is, according to Nietzsche, true wisdom. He is generally remembered as a proponent of supermen and "blond beasts", but it is then forgotten that Nietzsche was an antimilitarist who despised the German Emperor and his chauvinist admirers, while he praised France, Switzerland and Italy, where he spent most of his adult life. Nietzsche did not believe in any Aryan superiority, instead he asserted his Polish ancestry.

Nietzsche wrote for and against Judaism, for and against Christianity, for and against racism. An obstinate openness made him realise the real raison d'être behind xenophobia. According to him, anti-Semitism is the losers´ revolt, people who do not realize the depths and complications of existence, an indication of the cowardice and jealousy that Nietzsche hated and deplored. According to him, an anti-Semite considered "Jews" to be privileged strangers with power and money, at the same time as s/he reluctantly recognized the Jews' “superior spirituality and knowledge”. He stated that anti-Semitism is the religion of losers, the faith of the underprivileged (the Sclechtweggekommenen).

A denial of intellectual inferiority and failure seems to be a driving force behind several populist politicians, who seldom miss a chance to emphasize their own superior intelligence. Donald Trump claims:

Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault.

Time and again, Trump refers to his high IQ as he compares himself to people he routinely declares to be idiots. However, there is no evidence that Trump has ever obtained an IQ score.

Alleged IQ levels are also thrown back and forth in the miserable debate caused by Swedish Democrats - "Swedish Democrats have lower IQ than the Swedish average", alternatively "Africans and other non-Europeans have lower IQ than Swedes", the latter allegation has been propagated by the web publication Fria Tider, Free Times, which ideologically is close to the Swedish Democrats. The assertion spread rapidly within the Swedish-democratic circles, for example, did the Swedish Democrats' leader in my hometown of Hässleholm recently refer to an article in Fria Tider, which based on dubious reserach claimed that "the largest immigrant groups have a lower IQ than ethnic Swedes" and added that "many African countries have such low IQ that it could be classified as 'cognitive developmental disorder'." I do not know how to rank Ulf Erlandsson, but I am not afraid of classifying him as a deplorable and badly informed nuisance.

In his court defence, the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who relentlessly murdered 77 completely innocent people, most of whom were children and adolescents, also revealed a fixation at IQ tests, as well as his hatred of the "cultural elite".

Norwegian media and prosecutors have argued and will continue to argue that the reasons I executed the attack were random, and because I was a pathetic and spiteful loser, that I do not have integrity, that I am a notorious liar, lack morality, am insane and that I am therefore forgotten by other cultural conservatives in Europe. They will say that I fell out of the workplace, and socially. All this they have claimed. They also claimed that I am a narcisstic, antisocial, have a phobia for germs, have gone with a face mask for many years, and that I´ve had an incestuous relationship with my mother. They also claimed that I am a child and baby killer, despite the fact that I have not killed anyone under 14. It has been argued that I am a coward, homosexual, pedophile, psychopath, and Nazi. All this has been claimed. They also claimed that I am mentally and physically retarded, with an IQ of around 80. I am of course not surprised by these characterizations. I expected this and wrote down in advance what would be written, and  it turned out to be true.

Like so many others who have slipped into fanaticism, Breivik seems to have evolved into an extreme narcissist, obsessed with his own body, building up his physique with the help of anabolic steroids, taking selfies with himself equipped with imaginative costumes and even undergoing plastic surgery. He enjoyed being at the centre of the world's attention. Despite, or rather because of, his repeated failures and persistent shortcomings, he built up a personality that demanded the lime light of press and TV. In his defence speech, Breivik paid homage to another racially motivated murderer, the Swede Peter Mangs, who was convicted for two murders and guilty of a series of assassination attempts: ”It is important that more patriots in Scandinavia and Europe take responsibility as I have done, as Peter Mangs of Malmö has done”. During a later interview Breivik repeated his admiration for the same lunatic:

Peter Mangs used an intelligent strategy. His murders put the blame on several others, it caused concern and was thus one step closer to the war.

In his book Det svenska hatet, The Swedish Hatred, the journalist Gellert Tamas describes how many extremists, Islamists as well as Sweden Democrats, seem to share a deep sense of exclusion and take refuge in the comfort of being unique personalities, endowed with greater sharpness and intellect than people around them. Among such people we find, for example, Kenth Ekeroth, one of the most important ideologists of the Swedish Democrats, who like many of his comrades in the party leadership, has confessed that he during certain periods of his life had been bullied and marginalized. A frustration that in many people may result in social dysfunctions. Sune Mangs has stated:

To me, all other people appeared to be narrow-minded and socially inbred. I could not stand other people, they all felt like as if they belonged to inbred groups.

Confident about his own intellectual brilliance, Mangs participated in Mensa's entrance exams, but obtained 117 in IQ and was thus not eligible to become a member of this association for people with an intelligence quotient of over 130, which is reached by only two percent of the world's population.

It was very difficult for me to receive that message, I cried. Partly because I had overestimated my abilities and had mocked ´the stupid ones´, a group I now officially belonged to. But it also felt like a dejection that I now was excluded from yet another social group. My intelligence was the same as before, it was only my self-image that had been corrected.

Mensa? Is that not a place where we might encounter the intellectual titans who my friend would like to see as directors of the fate of the world. But, within this illustrious society we obviously find as many, or perhaps even more, persons who consider themselves to have been dejected and thus nurse bitterness towards an ungrateful society. A former Mensa member has observed:

Apparently these high IQ people felt persecuted in some way. Misunderstood from a young age onwards, many Mensans saw themselves as left out of ‘normal’ society, unable to connect with their peers and struggling to conform to society’s norms. They felt themselves as being ‘different’ and often bullied because of that.

I have no idea about my own IQ and am furthermore completely uninterested in knowing what it might be. I have like so many comrades of my own generation been exposed to the so-called Raven´s Progressive Matrices. These were introduced in 1936 by the English psychologist John C. Raven, and now form the basis for most IQ tests. I remember them from my 1973 obligatory, military recruitment muster and my IQ is thus listed somewhere among the Swedish state archives and it would surprise me if it is particularly impressive.

What exactly do these IQ tests measure? Probably what Stephen Jay Gould described as:

...the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups—races, classes, or sexes—are innately inferior and deserve their status.

A definition that fits well with the "experts" frequently quoted by xenophobic racists who, for example, read publications like Fria Tider. Particularly appreciated within such circles is Richard Lynn's and Tatu Vanhanen's book IQ and the Wealth of Nations from 2002, where the two professors, based on IQ tests, present their “evidence” for the superior intelligence of "white" Europeans and Americans. The authors have probably tested their own intelligence and it would not surprise me if it resulted in the high IQ quotas that, for example, allowed Professor Lynn to propose, in my opinion, downright idiotic schemes, like the opinion that the United States have to be split up be in accordance with racist criteria:

I think the only solution lies in the breakup of the United States. Blacks and Hispanics are concentrated in the Southwest, the Southeast and the East, but the Northwest and the far Northeast, Maine, Vermont and upstate New York have a large predominance of whites. I believe these predominantly white states should declare independence and secede from the Union. They would then enforce strict border controls and provide minimum welfare, which would be limited to citizens. If this were done, white civilization would survive within this handful of states.

This while the second author genius, Tatu Vanhanen, claimed that the more ethnic heterogeneous a nation is, the greater is the risk for violent internal conflicts, regardless of economic development. I suppose that Vanhanen's views are not actually substantiated by any "neutral research results", but like so much else in the murky area of scientific racism more likely based on personal and generalizing gleanings motivated by the author's chauvinistic views. For example, his "scientific evidence" does not seem to apply to heterogeneous states like Canada, Australia, Barbados or Singapore.

In their book Fult folk, Ugly people, a word play on the Swedish expression Fint folk, Beautiful People, which is used about celebrities and the cultural elite, the authors Emil Schön and Linnea Nilsson present interviews with several Swedish Democrat voters and reach the conclusion that the traditional political parties, who generally regard themselves as upholders of a fair social system and being mouthpieces for the less privileged, have failed to represent all Swedish citizens. According to many Swedish Democrat voters, there exists an elite of Fint folk who through their "political correctness", performance anxiety and worries about their privileged stature is driving Sweden into the doldrums, while marginalizing “ordinary Swedes”.

In Elsa Beskow's multi-layered fairy tale The Flower´s Festival from 1914, the artist and author makes the flowers come alive on Midsummer's Eve. Garden - and meadow flowers come together with pot - and vegetable plants to sing and feast. However, the weed want to break through the garden gates to participate in the sumptuous party. The philanthropist-minded Rose, the queen of all flowers, does not want to use any violence against the weed, despite the fact that the vegetables, represented by the chubby Mrs. Beetroot, appeal to the Rose Queen pleading that such a "beggar horde and ragamuffins" should not be allowed to attend. The Rose´s compromise suggests that the weed can sit on the road bank just outside of the flower garden, where they receive food and drinks and listen to the flowers' song contest.

The Flower´s Festival is behind its fairy tale veil a story about social exclusion and frustration. We may imagine that the weeds symbolize both disgruntled voters for Sweden Democrats, or marginalized immigrants.

It is not my belief that a globalized world empire ruled by intelligent leaders would be able to solve the world's problems. I assume power tends to corrupt its practitioners, but it might also, of course, contribute to the creation of a more equitable society, based on compassion and a conviction that the wellbeing of my neighbour benefits me as well. What fascinates me with The Flower´s Festival is that Elsa Beskow does not provide any solutions to how the conflict between weed and garden flowers can be resolved, but that does not prevent the author from giving the weed a voice in a gutsy song:


We are just the common weeds,

not deriving from any noble seeds,

but we are bold and strong;

just listen to our song.

Yes, just listen to our song!

With spit and spear they hack us,

With spade and hoe they whack us;

Misery and death they bring,

both in autumn and in spring,

Yes, both in autumn and in spring.



But even if they fight and uproot us,

they can never mute us

Boldly we lift our flowers towards the sun.

each spring and summer this is done,

this is always done.

Yes, always done!

You garden plants, you hate us

and do not want to mate us,

but we are not sour.

We will have our hour.

Yes, we will have our hour!


You cannot stand the slightest cold;

are burned by sun, while rain brings mould,

while we, the weeds, do well,

Our buds and leaves do swell,

Yes, our buds and leaves do swell!

We laugh at all your grieving

and your wealth we´ll be stealing.

One day we´ll be in the lead,

we, the weed.

Yes, we the weed!




Boulle, Pierre (2014) Desperate Games. Croydon: Hesperus. Breivik, Anders Behring (2012) “Opening Statement (Day 2)” Counter-Currents Publishing  Buckley, Veronica (2004) Christina: Queen of Sweden. London: Harper Perrenial. Cicero (1989) Selected Political Speeches. London: Penguin Classics. Gilbert, Sophie (2013). ”Talk Nerdy to Me: My Year in Mensa,” Washingtonian, 5 December. Gould, Stephen Jay (1996) The Mismeasure of Man. New York: W.W. Norton. Lynn, Richard and Tatu Vanhanen (2002) IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Westport, CT: Praeger. Mark Twain (1973) What is Man? and Other Philosophical Writings. Oakland CA: University of California Press. Nietzsche, Friedrich (2003) Beyond Good and Evil. London: Penguin Classics. Nietzsche, Friedrich (2017) The Will to Power. London: Penguin Classics. Seierstad, Åse (2016) One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway – and Its Aftermath. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.




As a teacher for young women and father of two daughters, I have, despite the fact that I am a man, assumed I might have some understanding of how transformative it can be for a female child to suffer from the bleeding that introduces her sexual maturation and long menstrual cycle. My oldest and...
Som lärare för unga kvinnor och far till två döttrar har jag trots det faktum att jag är man trott mig förstå hur omvälvande det kan vara för ett kvinnligt barn att drabbas av de blödningar som inleder hennes könsmognad och mångåriga menstruationscykel.   Min äldsta och konstnärligt begåvade...
To me, Flaubert's  The Temptation of Saint Anthony early on opened the doors to an aspect of History of Religions that I only had suspected, but which now interests me more and more, i.e. the religious, often violent, clashes between various sectarians that repeatedly exploded during...
Some time ago it was Easter. What touches me during this holiday is not the cosmic, abstract-theological drama, but the personal tragedy. An attempt to come to terms with life, to accept my fate.   As far back as I can remember I have been fascinated by religion and have of course been asked:...
ör mig öppnade Gustave Flauberts Hjärtats begärelse, La Tentation de Sainte Antoine tidigt dörrar in mot en aspekt av religionshistorien som jag endast kunnat ana, men som nu intresserar mig alltmer – det religiösa tumultet som gång på gång exploderade under den Helige Antonius...
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During a weekend, when I was not travelling to my family in Rome, I did one early morning in Paris wake up with a desire to do something unexpected, something spontaneous. I dressed quickly, took the metro to La Chapelle, a café au lait and a croissant at a bistro...
Under en helg, då jag inte rest till min familj i Rom, kände jag en tidig morgon i Paris att jag borde göra något oväntat, något spontant. Klädde mig snabbt, tog métron till La Chapelle, en café au lait och croissant på en bistro i Gare du Nord och sedan...
At the same time as I write my blog essays, I occasionally write an entry for my column on the site of an international news agency, Interpress Service (IPS). About a month ago, I wrote a comment about the attack on the US Congress and what I assumed to be its historical background. An...
Samtidigt som jag skriver mina bloggessäer skriver jag emellanåt en och annan betraktelse för en internationell nyhetsbyrå, Interpress Service (IPS). För någon månad sedan skrev jag en betraktelse kring attacken på USAs kongress och dess historiska bakgrund. En anonym person skrev då...
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In Spite Of It All, Trots Allt