Thursday, November 4, 2010

Freedom Fries

ETA: No, I'm not bashing America. I'm just disagreeing with the notion that Americans are so free and Swedes so constricted. That's why this post contains examples of restriction in the US and freedom in Sweden. I'm not being anti America. This post also contains the following things: sarcasm, a touch of satire and rhetorics.

When Americans bash Sweden it's usually about our horrible socialism, our nanny state and our inability to smile or speak without massive quantities of alcohol. Some Americans say they don't feel as free in Sweden as they do in the US.

Hang on. Free to do what, exactly? Free to not have health insurance so that you will be completely and utterly fucked the moment it turns out you're not Superman/Wonderwoman? Free to be completely dependent on your car (since you can't get anywhere without it)? Free to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on college?

My fiance's school tried to force him to live on campus for his freshman year. What the fuck! He's twenty years old and even by American standards considered an adult. Why would his fucking SCHOOL try to decide where he lives?! That's just such a fucking joke.

You're not allowed to drink alcohol outside. Takes the fun out of picnics, to be sure. A passenger in a car can't drink either. Said 20 year old fiance of mine can't legally drink AT ALL. He can get married and drive, but have a glass of wine or a beer? Nope.

The only really bad thing about Swedish socialism in my opinion is the alcohol monopoly. The state controls alcohol, and its stores close at 2 PM on Saturdays. This truly sucks. But nowadays it is easy, cheap and legal to order alcohol online from stores in Germany. Anyway, the monopoly will most probably be gone in a few years.

Apart from that, I've never really felt restricted by the Swedish state. I've been pretty much left on my own since I turned 18. I've never heard of advisors at Swedish universities. Not that there's anything wrong with advisors, hell I wish I'd had one. I'm just saying, we've got as much individual freedom as you guys do, or more. Really. We're not being treated like babies. Yes, there is a safety net enabling us to get sick or hurt without ruining our lives forever, but guess what, the safety net is below us for IF we fall, not over our heads trapping us.

As for the economy and the Swedish shyness, I'll adress that in another post because right now I crave breakfast.

Disclaimer: I don't necessarily think Sweden is "better". My point, for now, is only this: the concept of "freedom fries" is bullshit.

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