2012-06-12 WLC Q&A: Oscar Swartz

Oscar Swartz is a Swedish writer, entrepreneur, and Internet veteran. He founded Sweden's first independent ISP in 1994, has a degree from the Stockholm School of Economics, and was a Fulbright Fellow as a PhD student at Columbia University in New York. He divides his time between Stockholm and Berlin.

On 1 June 2012 Oscar released his book Swedish Sex to critical acclaim. The full title of the book is:

'A Brief History of Swedish Sex: How the Nation that Gave Us Free Love Redefined Rape and Declared War on Julian Assange'

Oscar researched the history of Swedish sex from the early 1950s and through to the arrest of Julian Assange in 2010. Written as a timeline, the book shows clearly how Sweden descended from one of the western world's most sexually liberated nations to its most repressive.

The full reality of what is going on in the 'duckpond' has been already reported to bring on Orwellian shivers. And when one finally gets to August 2010, it is hardly a shock to see what difficulties Julian Assange encountered and is still dealing with to this day.

Oscar's book cannot be too highly recommended. WL Central caught up with Oscar to get answers to a few key questions.

WLC: What prompted you to write the book?
Oscar Swartz: Sex is being increasingly used to control communications - and as a political weapon. A couple of high-profile cases took place in Sweden just before the Assange case broke. They are in the book.

I have long been a critic of Sweden's ever increasing fight against sexual activity which does not occur in a context that is regarded as romantically correct. Sex has come to be seen by the establishment as dichotomous: either it is connected with deeper feelings and then it is wonderful - or it is abuse and criminal and awful.

Sweden's use of legal means is commonly seen as overreaching in the Assange case. Why don't they just interview him at the Embassy or something similar, is a common question. It may however be logical given Sweden's official position on sexuality. Sweden is extremist. But internationally we still have a reputation from the 1960s and 70s as a sexually liberal nation. I want to add knowledge about the state of affairs in Sweden and add one perspective to other theories in the Assange case. People who read the book seem to be stunned. They should be!

WLC: What do you think precipitated the change in sexual politics in Sweden?
Oscar Swartz: It is clear, and here I have the great anthropology professor Don Kulick with me, that it is connected to 'feminism' in some sense. But there are wildly different forms of feminism. A dear friend and a feminist of my own kind, scholar and author Petra Östergren, is mentioned in my book. She went from celebrated to shunned feminist in Sweden when she questioned the radical feminist view that women must hate all porn and prostitution. Radical feminism is an extremist branch but in Sweden its supporters have filled the highest positions in society and have managed to control the discourse. Claes Borgström is one of them. People may be shocked internationally when they read all these mind-boggling quotes from speeches and writings by top politicians and legislators in my book.

WLC: Do you think the politics in Sweden now are anti-male... or anti-sex in general... or both?
Oscar Swartz: First: Do we believe there are average differences between males and females when it comes to sexuality. I do. It seems probable that males are less discriminating and have a higher capacity to separate deeper feelings from sexual expression. There is a political war on such sex. Therefore it affects males disproportionately.

WLC: Do you see the same kinds of attacks on homosexual sex as on heterosexual sex?
Oscar Swartz: The homosexual world is a culture filled with porn, escorts, quick sex without deeper emotions - all the 'bad' things according to official doctrine. But there are very few rapes or sex crimes. This is a phenomenon that radical feminism never addresses. Instead they regulate homosexual sex in the same way as they do heterosexual, despite their analyses being based on male dominance of women. Even those who believe in the radical feminist worldview should be honest enough to admit their intellectual failure. In the book we find e.g. the case of the Sex Purchase Act (unilateral criminalization of a person who pays for casual sex, while allowing anyone to charge for such sex) which was simply applied to homosexual sex although two governmental inquiries, preparing the legislation, concluded that homosexual prostitution works in an entirely different way.

WLC: What do you think it would take to change the direction that sexual politics is taking in Sweden... eg can Sweden be restored to the level of freedom that it experienced in the 1960s? What would it take to make that happen?
Oscar Swartz: I see no such signs. Sweden claims that males have power over females. Only. It lacks an understanding that females also have power over men, sexual power. Camille Paglia should be required reading. We cannot achieve a less hostile sexual culture until we acknowledge and discuss both men's and women's roles when it comes to sexual interplay. I think there are solutions based on knowledge about sexuality. But sex is strictly ideology and politics in Sweden today. I'd like to go into this in another book, a cultural critique of our view of sexuality.

WLC: Do you think that the change in attitude towards sex is a grassroots movement or a top-down directive from the government?
Oscar Swartz: There is radical ideology from the top. But not only. I show how the Penal Code is now used to enforce pure and simple morals. I am not talking about rape here (although we are in for the fourth redefinition of rape in 20 years now). Let me give a quote from the book to show what I mean. Ulrika Messing, the cabinet minister who formally presented the Sex Purchase Act that criminalizes anyone who 'obtains a casual sexual relation in return for payment'. Her private comment was: 'I don't believe that prostitution has anything to do with sex - at least not as I see sex, as something that belongs in a love relationship. Those who visit prostitutes obviously have a need for sex - but not for the kind of sex they would have with their wife or partner. It is slightly forbidden - and now it actually becomes totally forbidden'.

Visit the official website of 'Swedish Sex' for information on how you get your copy. Currently priced at £5/$7, the book is available as an electronic download, may be read on Kindle or the software equivalent.

You'll be scared!

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