Friday, April 20, 2012

Sweden: The "Good" Socialist State?

Every time you talk to a soft-hearted, left-leaning liberal who thinks that the welfare state is the answer to poverty, Sweden comes up. If I talk about China, the USSR, Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Vietnam and North Korea, they want to point out that Sweden is democratic and free despite being a social democratic state. Sweden is the poster-child for "enlightened social democracy." This is a myth that needs to be exploded.

Lydia McGrew has an article on the growing state totalitarianism in Sweden in the area of education. In some ways, total government control of the educational system of a country is even worse than total government control of the economy since thought-control is worse than external control. Even prisoners in Soviet concentration camps were intellectually free so long as every aspect of their lives were controlled but they were left free to educate each other at night in secret: their minds were not taken prisoner.
Some of us have already heard about Sweden's totalitarian and utterly committed attack on home schooling. Home education is illegal, and that's that. See here for more links and information.
But mandatory daycare, too, is on the horizon if not already here. In this article, along with more details on the persecution of home schoolers, we learn this:
Parents are pressured to put their children in daycare at age one.
"One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, 'Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work,'" Himmselstrand told CBN News.
"The argument they give about this is that every child has a 'right' to daycare. This is not a right that parents are allowed to interfere with."
HSLDA translates from this link (which is in Swedish) the following argument for compulsory three-year-old daycare: “We cannot allow parents to deny their children the right to go to pre-school.”
The idea of children as free-standing actors in relation to the state, which enforces its own ideas of their "rights" against their parents, is not a new one. HSLDA has been warning about it for a long time. Sweden seems to have few qualms about a fairly extreme interpretation of the concept of the "rights of the child." A child has a right, in essence, to be separated from his mother.
As this article points out, the policies and attitude of the Swedish government are in violation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights signed in 1947.
Swedish human rights lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson calls what's happening in Sweden a "parental inquisition."
"Sweden's treatment of parents in the area of education is totalitarian, essentially. They want to take children from birth to graduation and control them," said Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
Donnelly claims Sweden's treatment of parents violates established standards of human rights.
"In fact, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights signed in 1947 actually says ... that parents have a 'prior right' to decide the kind of education their children should have," he explained.
Contacted for a response, the Swedish government replied in the haughty tone of an absolute monarch addressing commoners below his rank:
But Sweden's ambassador to the United States said, "The [Swedish] government does not find that home schooling is necessary for religious or philosophical reasons."
The arrogance is breathtaking: "The Swedish government does not find . . . " = diplomatic-speak for "Shut up, he explained."
Sweden has a number of problems including declining educational standards, an increasing trend toward single-person households, an unsustainable welfare state and increasing anti-Semitism among its growing immigrant Muslim population and Swedish officials who are afraid of Muslims. Sweden is a rich country and free market economics influenced the current structure of the economy to a great extent, which means that socialism will need more time to utterly degrade the economy than it needed in an economic basket-case like Imperial Russia or China. The social democratic experiment, however, is barely 50 years old at this point, so we need to give it some time.

But there likely is not enough time to play out the full economic experiment because economic collapse is just a matter of time anyway due to the population decline in progress. Like most European nations, Sweden only has a few more generations of existence anyway. The total fertility rate today stands at 1.67, which is well below replacement level. This explains why Swedes have no choice but to bring in increasing numbers of immigrants with a totally different culture, religion, politics and priorities.

The connections between post-World War II feminism and socialism in Sweden and the looming demographic nightmare are discussed in Allen Carlson's book: The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics: The Myrdals and the Interwar Population Crisis. The experiment is ongoing and the long-term results are not in yet.

Pointing to Sweden as "the great Socialist success story" is like the man who fell off a 50 story building saying "So far so good" to people as he passed the 40th, 30th and 20th story windows. That is the best you can say for Sweden's social democratic, post-traditional family experiment: "So far so good." But the ground (reality) is coming up quickly.

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