Recently, a controversial commercial from SAS, the Scandinavian airline company, was published on social media. It attempts to portray Scandinavian culture as basically non-existing. The message is that because all typical Scandinavian cultural traits and imagery can supposedly be traced to external sources, Scandinavia has “nothing”, as the commercial repeats, in many languages. SAS obviously is trying to be politically correct in these globalist times, in which the Nation is looked down upon. At the same time it wants to encourage Scandinavians to use SAS to fly to faraway lands to bring back more valuable things (such as meatballs?), so these too may in the future be transformed and become part of what represents Scandinavia.
The main point is not that SAS issued this commercial; it could have been issued by any number of public institutions in Scandinavia, not least in Sweden, which is the most extreme of the three Scandinavian countries in terms of its embrace of multiculturalism and the denigration of its own national identity. It is a bit ironic, though, that SAS is being unpolitically correct when trying to get people to fly in this politically correct way. SAS has suffered from the new phenomenon of “fly shame” that is trending in Scandinavia. The goal of “fly shaming” is to make people feel guilty when travelling by airplane, because of the impact on the individual carbon footprint.
But to go back to main message in the commercial, it should be difficult to imagine, for example such a commercial by Iberia, the main Spanish airline, trying to prove that there is no Spanish culture; that everything Spanish comes from the Romans, the Catholic Church, the Moors, the Visigoths, and a few local ethnic groups. It is fully possible to argue along such lines. After all, what would Spanish culture be today if not for the massive contributions from these sources? But would the Spaniards ever dream of showing their culture in this light? Would the French? The Russians? Or most other cultures? Of course they wouldn’t; because it goes against the basic instinct of being proud of the uniqueness one’s own home to see one’s culture only as copying others.
Why should Scandinavians then see their own culture in the most belittling way possible? Why highlight just the side that diminishes one’s own culture, instead of being proud of it and trying to safeguard it? Culture and tradition is the fundamental glue that binds and unites a society, and makes living together smoother, simpler and more intuitive. This is true regardless of the relative value of each culture in comparisons with others. A society that disregards its culture and lets it be diffused in a morass of multiculturalism, leads to a citizenry that progressively loses its social bearings. It is well known that trust between citizens decreases when societies because more culturally mixed.
It is a truism that cultures are a product of interaction, that cultures develop through exchanges with other surrounding cultures. It is not necessary for SAS to tell us this. But culture obviously cannot be defined as simply the sum of all foreign cultural imports, thereby eliminating any kind of uniqueness. In reality, a culture comes from a people’s shared experiences and characteristics over the long term. In this sense, it should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with Scandinavia, that this region has a strong and particular culture, clearly distinct even from other European cultures.
This particular Scandinavian culture was a key factor behind the great economic and social development of Denmark, Norway and Sweden over the last century. This approach to culture could be emphasized instead, as other cultures naturally do all the time. The self-deprecation of the Scandinavian culture that is being peddled by a small group of trend setters is a political description of culture that SAS and others have been pushing. It is part of the ongoing and repeated globalist attempts to denigrate and destroy the concept of the Nation in every possible way, including culturally.
The picture painted by the SAS commercial is obviously not the right way of looking at culture, and this can be shown quite easily by pointing at the contradiction that is inherent in the message itself. For if Scandinavia has “nothing” and owes everything that it calls its “culture” from outside, then these external inputs must have come from cultures, for how could other societies have given anything to Scandinavia if they also have culturally “nothing” of its own? But if all of these external societies must indeed have cultures, then why does Scandinavia not have a culture? This logical knot arises because it is impossible to define culture in the way that is depicted in the SAS commercial.
This commercial is yet another sign of the social and intellectual collapse of a small group of fashionable elites in Scandinavia, mostly involved in politics, in the public administrations, and in the main stream media. And it is particularly acute in Sweden. When a society disparages and undervalues itself in such a way, it is a sign of a deep social and cultural crisis. In such cases, a period of decadence must be ended by a truly low point, which is then often followed by a cultural and intellectual rebirth. Let us hope that also will be the case for Scandinavia.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.