Following the September 2006 election, Fredrik Reinfeldt became Prime Minister of Sweden, presiding over a centre-right coalition government. This is, in my view, positive. Sweden has been described by some as a “one-party state,” since the Social Democrats have been in power for 65 of the last 74 years, and had more or less merged with the big labor unions and some government agencies. It is healthy that other parties are in power for a while.
However, the differences between the left-wing and the right-wing in Sweden are not always that big. The last time these parties were in power, under the leadership of Carl Bildt of the Swedish “conservative” party in the early 1990s, they presided over massive immigration, and have not been vocal in their opposition to the immigration policies since. They may be slightly more sensible in economic policies and thus alleviate some of the pressures on the welfare state, but I’m not sure they will be much better when it comes to Multiculturalism.
This suspicion was confirmed recently when PM Reinfeldt stated that the original Swedish culture was merely barbarism. “It can sometimes be good to humbly remind of the fact that a great deal of what constitutes Sweden has been created in [a process of] evolution, exactly because we have been open to accept other people and experiences.”
Reinfeldt said this following a visit to an area called Ronna in Södertälje, near Stockholm. One year ago a police station in Södertälje was hit by shots from an automatic weapon following a major confrontation between immigrant youths and police. Apart from police staff, two civilian women were in the police station. They were being questioned about a reported harassment earlier in the day. Three young men who had been identified by the women were suspected of making illegal threats. The three men were released in the evening, but the arrests provoked strong reactions. A group of immigrants advanced on the police and attacked them with stones.
The trouble in Ronna started after a Swedish girl had been called a “whore” and she reacted to this. Ethnologist Maria Bäckman, in her study “Whiteness and gender,” has followed a group of Swedish girls in the suburb of Rinkeby outside Stockholm, where native Swedes have been turned into a tiny minority of the inhabitants due to rapid immigration. The subjects “may encounter prejudices such as the idea that Swedish girls act and dress in a sexually provocative way or that blonde girls are easy.” Bäckman relates that several of the Swedish girls she interviewed stated that they had dyed their hair to avoid sexual harassment. They experienced that being blonde involves old men staring at you, cars honking their horns and boys calling you “whore.” The number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in a generation, with men from Muslim countries clearly overrepresented in the statistics.
Elsewhere, I have called Sweden a soft-totalitarian country, but I am sometimes not so sure about the “soft” part. Opinion polls have revealed that two out of three Swedes doubt whether Islam can be combined with Swedish society, and a very significant proportion of the population have for years wanted more limitations on immigration. Yet not one party represented in Parliament is genuinely critical of the Multicultural society.
Members of the Sweden Democrats, as small party that wants stricter immigration policies, can seldom hold meetings without being hassled. In one of many attacks, which extreme Leftists later bragged about on the Internet, around 30 members of the Sweden Democrats were attending a private party outside the town of Växjö. “To clearly demonstrate that the Sweden Democrats are not welcome in our area, about 20 anti-Fascists chose to attack the party.” The brave “anti-Fascists” smashed windows and threw tear gas into the building, forcing people outside where they were beaten with iron bars and axes. This was a peaceful, private party by unarmed members of a legal political party. Still, the Sweden Democrats’ press spokesman Jonas Åkerlund said such attacks have become less common, perhaps because the party is becoming more established.
Seemingly encouraged by the silence over these attacks from the political establishment, extreme Leftists have stepped up their attacks to also include mainstream parties. Two windows were smashed at the Centre Party’s offices in Stockholm. Several of the party’s offices around the country have been vandalized. A party representative said that they suspected that the attacks were in protest against the party’s proposal for special labor agreements for newly employed young people. A group of extreme Left anarchists claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Earlier this year, the Swedish newspaper Expressen warned against the “low-intensity terrorism” conducted by extreme Leftists and neo-Nazis. But they were honest enough to admit that the extreme Leftists have tended to get away with their violence because it has been directed against the despised right-wingers. Now, their violence is increasingly aimed at established political parties and state institutions, too. Political scientist Peter Esaiasson has done research into every election movement in Sweden since 1866. According to him, the organized attempts at disrupting meetings during the 2006 elections had no parallels in modern history.
In June 2004, an opinion poll revealed that 50% of all Swedes wanted a more restrictive immigration policy. In 2006, Sweden’s population has grown considerably, with immigration, especially from Iraq, being the main source of the growth. Sweden is generous towards its immigrants: They enjoy the right to vote in local elections, as well as speedy naturalization procedures and Swedish and mother-tongue language courses financed by the state.
Bye Bye Sweden
Meanwhile, journalist Kurt Lundgren commented on his blog that during the past five years Sweden witnessed the largest mass-emigration in the country’s history since the peak of the immigration to the USA a century ago. The people leaving are primarily highly educated, native middle class Swedes. Common reasons cited for leaving are rampant crime and poor political leadership. At the same time, Sweden receives a large amount of immigrants from Third World nations every year. Is this population replacement profitable for Sweden?
Lundgren states that it feels like “being spectator to a huge social experiment: The dismantling of an entire nation, one of the oldest in Europe, with all its traditions, its entire history for good or bad, the national awareness and the nation’s soul; all of this shall be eroded in a planned process. Nobody knows what will come instead of this, but there could be something monstrous emerging from this, something really terrifying...”
According to writer Mats Wahl, arson attacks on Swedish schools cost more than 300 million kroner each year. An unofficial survey among 52 Swedish municipalities indicated that at least 114 school arsons were registered so far in 2006, but accurate numbers were hard to come by because the problem has been hushed down by the authorities. At least 139 schools suffered arson attacks during 2002 alone. Björn Vinberg from the fire department in the Malmö area says it is degrading to put out fires again and again in the same immigrant areas, with school kids laughing at them and lighting a new one just afterwards.
Under the previous Social Democratic government, Sweden was accused by the Israeli authorities of being the most anti-Israeli country in Europe. The new Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt says the European Union should talk to a Palestinian national unity government, even if it includes representatives from terrorist group Hamas. As a UN Commissioner to the Balkans, Bildt called for recognizing Islam as a part of European culture.
Why is Sweden such an extreme case of Political Correctness? Well, a couple of things spring to mind, not the least the extremely intrusive state apparatus, its Marxist legacy and its aggressive strands of radical Feminism. The one Western country where people probably pay the highest tax rates, Sweden, is also arguably the most politically repressed nation with the least real freedom of speech. That should give us pause for some reflection. Perhaps limitations on bureaucracy and government influence are crucial for a functioning democracy.
Maybe Sweden and Norway will prove not only too small, but too regulated and too feminized to retain their economic system in a globalized world, perhaps even too Leftist to survive, which indicates that even if you manage to create a successful society, it won’t last because circumstances change or because people lose sight of what made them successful in the first place.
Norway and Sweden also suffer from the mortal sin of vanity, and some might add a touch of self-righteousness. We like to present ourselves as moral superpowers. Sweden is the whole world’s mother-in-law, as one French observer put it. Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg has stated that Norway should become “the most inclusive country in the world.” If suicidal Multiculturalism is what is trendy in the West, we want to prove that we can be more suicidal than anybody else. And we have made considerable success in that regard.
The problems that ail Western Europe are frequently attributed to exhaustion from the wars of the 20th century as well as a post-colonial guilt complex. Yet Political Correctness is strong in Norway, which has no colonial history, and Sweden, which has no colonial history and has also managed to stay out of all major European wars since Napoleonic times, a feat shared only with Switzerland on the European continent. But Switzerland has one of the most armed populations in the world, in contrast to disarmed Swedes who hardly have a credible military anymore. The Swiss also have a healthy tradition of frequent referenda and direct democracy, which partly prevents the elitist rule and suffocating Political Correctness of Sweden.
Perhaps one element in this is ironically the absence of war. Wars are brutal and painful, but they can also be a reality check. Western Europe has been living under American military protection for so long that we have forgotten how it is to protect ourselves, and have even indulged in fantasies that wars can be banned by international law. Is it just a coincidence that the one country that has avoided war for the longest period of time, Sweden, is also arguably the one Western nation where Political Correctness has reached the worst heights? The prolonged period of peace has created an environment where layers of ideological nonsense have been allowed to pile up for generations without stop.
I don’t know how Sweden will look like a generation from now, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be viewed as a model society. And if the absence of war is one of the causes of its current weakness, I fear that is a problem that will soon be cured.