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King Charles III and the Swedish General Election

On metapolitics and impending doom

September 9, 2022

Author's note: A previous text, The Future of Open Source, was a digression. My original intention when writing it was to present some thoughts on the future of the tech business in general, but the unfolding of a collapse is both slower and faster than one might anticipate when watching it from the inside. I no longer think such an article would be interesting, especially not from a European perspective. Software is an abstract tool for abstract times, and anyone should be able to infer what harsh material conditions will do to abstractions. What really matters is firewood and porridge, and in the end, people will always act accordingly.

How did we end up here? Could it have been prevented? Does it matter at this point? Consider this text a eulogy in more ways than one.

Sic transit gloria mundi

In just a few days, Sweden will hold a general election for its national assembly, the Riksdag. The problems debated during campaigning have almost all been either created or severely exacerbated by the same people who now ask for our renewed confidence.

Like most Swedes, I too will cast my ballot - but I do it with a heavy heart and the realization that there is no quick fix for our current predicament. Many of the proposed solutions will without a shadow of a doubt deepen the gravity of our situation. The other ones will take a long time to accomplish and depend, to a large extent, on the assumption that things won't get worse (they will), that current allies will keep behaving predictably (they won't), that all Swedish institutions will comply dutifully (they won't) and that huge swaths of people materially dependent on the status quo won't put up a fight (they will).

Western ideals have now deteriorated to arresting citizens for posting online, and laughing at urgent warnings simply for being delivered by the wrong flavor of representative. This has been long in the making. Those who warned about Sweden's current problems during the last few decades - and they were many - were effectively silenced with accusations of fascism, alarmism, communism, racism or denialism.

Despite being right, they will have no vindication. There's no reason to concede when the effects of term upon term of mismanagement can be blamed on belligerent foreign autocrats - or on the decisions of a supranational union it was so important to join, all those years ago. Curiously, there's been very few accusations of opportunism.

The election comes at a time when Sweden, like the rest of Europe, stands on the brink of what will no doubt be the most harrowing time we've seen in a long, long while. So long, in fact, that few who remember are still alive. One of those who did remember, passed away yesterday.

Her ascension to the throne came in a springtime of unmatched prosperity, fuelled by cheap energy and the prevailing notion that all other continents, nations and peoples would soon fall in line and become just like us. Her demise eerily marks both a beginning and an end in more ways than one.

As liberal democracy fails to deliver on its promise, so dies its monarch. The end of an era, indeed.