Per Wirtén

Founder and former editor-in-chief of the Swedish magazine Arena. Among his publications are Europas ansikte (2002), Populisterna: en berättelse från folkets århundrade (2000) and Hellre fattig än arbetslös? (1997).


Too many Europeans have too long avoided the question of Europe, says Swedish writer Per Wirtén. To prevent the EU from turning into a “post-democratic regime of bureaucrats”, intellectuals need to stop mumbling and take the fear of Europe seriously.

It started as an act of radicalism. Anne Sofie Roald and Pernilla Ouis adopted the headscarf back in the 1980s at the same time as political Islam began to grow. Now they are part of a global trend towards secularisation in which more and more women are shedding their headscarves and veils.

Impoverished German children dream of the USA; one Greek person in four is behind with their most basic bills; sixty per cent of the poor in Romania have outdoor toilets. Cracks are appearing in Europe’s beloved image of itself as the egalitarian alternative to the United States, writes Per Wirtén.

Doing the world differently

In defence of multiculturalism

Multiculturalism, long the bête noire of the Right, has come under increasing attack from the Left. But whether multiculturalism is a threat to Enlightenment values or not, the real debate must be over how we understand the term itself, writes Per Wirtén. A cosmopolitical interpretation of multiculturalism, in which social cohesion arises from the common solving of common problems, must replace the pluralist paradigm.

När vänstervågen äntligen börjar rulla upp i strukturer och samtiden känns mognare än någonsin springer radikaler in i barnkammaren. Det är ett sorgligt reprisbeteende.

“Cosmopolite” was once a pejorative code word used to denounce Jews, anarchists, pacifists and others who refused to accept the call for fixed borders coming from the nation states. Now, in another historic turning-point, cosmopolitanism makes a comeback. Per Wirtén discusses what it means to be cosmopolitan both today and in historical terms. Religion has successfully been separated from the state, he argues. The same should happen to the nation.

Det finns en del radikala tankar om europeisk demokrati efter att nationalstaten tappat greppet. Per Wirtén sorterar och diskuterar de starka viljor som just nu florerar på kontinenten – och i Sverige.

The New Paradox

USA: just a country among others?

We may, writes Per Wirtén, be standing before a big paradox: the globalization that many Europeans view as Americanization might in fact lead to a situation where the USA is transformed from the one and only empire to just one country among others.

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