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Mencius Moldbugman
In honour of Greta Thunberg’s odyssey across the Atlantic, I would like to present some notes taken from 2015 when I spent some time in Sweden and concluded it was hell on Earth. (Not claiming to be an expert on Sweden if there are any errors. These were just my observations)
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Important point: I was in Sweden during the winter. The winters are, obviously, brutal in Sweden with about four hours of sun and freezing temperatures. If I had visited in the summer I may have had slightly more positive feelings about the country. I doubt it though.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Sweden was cold, dark and depressing. We were getting about 5 hours of daylight from 10am till 3pm, and when I ventured up to the frozen wastes of Lapland I was getting about 3 and a half hours of daylight only. Maybe fun for a winter holiday, but I was there to work.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
It was freezing, though I found the slightly warmer temperatures of Stockholm (minus five roughly) harder to handle than the snowy Lapland temperatures of minus 25 simply because the cloud cover and the light reflection from the knee deep snow in Lapland made me feel warmer.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Let’s State this from the beginning though: it was neither the cold not the darkness that depressed me during my stay in Sweden. It was Sweden itself that was the killer.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
First of all, it is ludicrously expensive. I’m not short of a dollar or two but every time I bought something I genuinely felt like I had been gang raped by a squadron of socialist accountants. Beer: $15 USD a glass 3 stops on the Stockholm metro: $8 McDonalds meal: $10
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
You get the idea. Just simple acts like getting on the bus had to be weighed mentally on their costs and whether it was worthwhile or not. Sadly, even simple public transport didn’t seem worth it considering how it was full of inhuman horrors from the world’s biggest shitholes.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
The expense of Sweden segues nicely into my next point as I believe the two are related: I have never met a more depressed or miserable people. Again, I issue my caveat that I believe most of my observations may only be true in winter - but by Odin the Swedes are a miserable lot.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Walk around Stockholm and everyone looks like they're about to kill themselves. Crucially, everyone looks fucking poor. Everybody walks around in the same shabby, slightly-worn utilitarian winter clothes of baggy black, brown and grey.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
The general impression I got was that there is a deliberate government policy to make everything so expensive that it impoverishes all and brings everybody into a ghastly egalitarian median. Ghastly egalitarianism would be the main feature of my trip.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
There are no grand displays of wealth and few options to jettison yourself above the likes of even the most prole of basic travelers - even if you're ready to splash the cash. Sweden is a society that seems to really attempt to pull everybody and everything into a grey middle.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
This means that although you don't see some of the poverty of London/Paris, you also don't get the nice contrasts either. It's kind of hard to summarise, but if you went you would see it immediately. I guess nobody can demonstrate their wealth when they are paying $15 for a kebab
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
This ghastly egalitarianism runs deep in their psyches & especially into their woeful customer service. Sweden makes Eastern European customer service look good. Servers seem to think “we’re all the same” so treat you like shit cos otherwise would imply you’re better than them.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @rooshv
This cultural attitude is called Jante's Law and is endemic in Scandinavia. once wrote extensively about it. Here's a link:  Here are some examples of how that plays out:
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
1. Nearly every request made to someone in customer service is met with "do it yourself". In my Stockholm hotel this reached ridiculous levels.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
They messed up our booking and had us in for 3 extra nights than we were actually there. Rather than actually address it themselves, they told us to our face to go onto their website and change the booking ourselves manually.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
They refused to do it even though they were sat on the reception desk 2 inches from my face with the booking system open right in front of them. When we asked if we could use their PC to change the booking, they said no and highlighted that wifi cost $4 a day.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
2. In the same hotel, I left something in the bar. I went to reception to ask if the cleaner had picked it up or if anybody had handed it in; the receptionist told me "You can go back to the bar and look yourself. Or you can call the cleaner and ask her if she has it!”
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
3. I know people will question this but it is true. In some hotels in Sweden, the hotel tells you to put the bedsheets over your bed/duvet/pillows yourself each day. They don’t do it for you. Interesting fact: all bedsheets in Sweden are white with zero exception.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
4. At check-in at Stockholm Airport, the check-in woman had a rant at me for having the audacity to ask for help checking in - and by "help" I simply mean "doing her job and checking us in".
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
She kept saying that I should pay to go online, check in manually, weigh the bags myself, print out the tags and then deposit them at a drop off. Now, she had the ability to check me in, she just didn't want to do it. She actually said "Why should I do something that you can do?”
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Coming from Asia (though I admit it isn’t much different in the rest of Europe) there is absolutely NOTHING to do after 5pm which is when EVERYTHING closes. These lazy socialist opening hours permanate all of Sweden.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
The only thing open late are bars: that’s if you don’t mind spending the price of a New York condo on a pint of beer. Even in the fucking airport there is nothing open in the evening. Odin help you if you are flying a red-eye flight.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Ok - that’s the basic stuff about Sweden out of the way. However, this all pales into insignificance when you stay there for an extended period and are eventually forced to deal with the absolute worst and vile feature that embodies everything that is wrong with Sweden...
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
... I’m talking about washing machines. That’s right. Washing machines.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
It’s not well known outside of Sweden but their washing machine culture epitomises everything wrong with that society. A worthier writer than me - perhaps a Scandinavian Houellebecq - needs to write a drama based around Swedish washing machine practice.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
It’s called the Tvättstuga (“Laundry Room”). In Socialist Scandinavia, it is unseemly to have something as bourgeoise as your own personal washing machine. Stated simply, it’s communal laundry facilities in apartment blocks.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
Most Swedes live in Soviet style concrete blocks and the individual apartments are not even set up to allow the installation of individual washing machines. Instead, each complex has a designated washing room which has washing machines and drying facilities.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
To use the washing machine, you have to sign up for a 1 to 2 hour slot which typically involves a 1/2 week waiting time. So you can only do your washing during these pre-arranged appointments. Obviously competition for the top washing spots at the weekend is fierce.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
People often have to take days off work in order to do their washing because they have not been able to do their washing in the evening or at weekends for months - months! - on end. Some people resort to booking slots at 3am and setting their alarms to wake up on week nights.
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Mencius Moldbugman Aug 30
Replying to @moldbugman
You have to PHYSICALLY be in the room to do your wash otherwise the sensor turns everything off. People have huge arguments when others are late for their slot/do too much washing/don't clean the washing machine afterwards (you’re obliged to clean the machine fully after use).
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