Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Moral Championship

Our Swedish correspondent Carpenter has translated a fascinating article from a Swedish magazine. Here’s his introduction:

I decided to translate an article by ethnology professor Karl-Olov Arnstberg of the University of Stockholm from the 7th issue of Axess — a Swedish magazine and TV channel — even though it’s two months old. The headline is “The Moral Championship”, and it’s about Sweden’s industry of solidarity, the moral elites, and the fact that there is no real debate about our completely insane immigration policies, only various arguments for its maintenance.

There’s no internet version of the article. But it is published in full over at the Swedish blog Robsten.

Why have I translated this? It’s perhaps the most unusual article of 2007 in Sweden, and therefore deserves an English translation. But it also shows that there are very lonely voices of political incorrectness, even in Sweden. And Arnstberg is one of them.

And now Carpenter’s translation of Dr. Arnstberg’s article:

The Moral Championship

By Karl-Olov Arnstberg
7th issue of Axess Magazine, 2007


To the new elite, it is more important to demonstrate its superior morals than to apply responsible economic policies. Critics of existing immigration policies are automatically labelled as prejudiced and racist.

During three months in 1992 buses shuttled between Kosovo and Sweden. Tens of thousands of Kosovo-Albanians were taken in without any restriction. There was peace in Kosovo, so the reason wasn’t that they needed asylum. On the other hand, they needed economic maintenance. There was no political idea behind the reception. It was simply clumsy, particularly since Sweden at the time was going through the biggest economic crisis of the post-war period. The crown [Sweden’s currency] was, for those who remember, in total decay, and government debt increased explosively.

Birgit FriggeboÅke Wedin, an associate professor of history, later wrote a letter to the then responsible Minister of Immigration, Birgit Friggebo, in which he asked a number of questions regarding the refugee policies during her time in charge. Among other things regarding these Kosovo-Albanians, to which she replied: “Thank heavens, I was in a government that didn’t let humanity follow the economic cycle. Economic cycles come and go, but humanity remains”

In other words: To Friggebo, it was more important to demonstrate that she belonged to the moral elite, than to apply responsible economic policies.

Social anthropologist Jonathan Friedman makes the following assessment:
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Jonathan Friedman
“The new elites, both the political and cultural, root their identity in series of metaphors related to openness, transnationalism, multiculturalism and globalisation. All of this is collected and made into a yet more confused notion of democracy. The new ‘democrats’ are elites, claiming to be democratic in every regard. In that way, democracy is no longer a description of a political process, but an attribute of individuals”

When it comes to immigration-related issues, the moral elite aims its criticism in two directions. When the representatives themselves are in the same boat, they criticize politicians and authorities for cruel, bureaucratic and insensitive handling of asylum-seekers.

The heaviest criticism, though, is aimed at the citizens who question applied immigration policies. They are only demonstrating their prejudices, and the loudest critics are labelled as racists.

Ottar BroxNorwegian social anthropologist and left-wing politician Ottar Brox, in a book released fifteen years ago, discussed how the moral elite of a nation functions when it comes to immigration. He presents the concept of “moral championship” and means that its foundations are the same as a sports event. It’s all about showing one’s moral qualities effectively as contrasted with other opinions. In a moral championship, the one who is most “good” wins.

Using Ottar Brox as the starting point, it’s possible to put together this sliding scale:

The finest are those who say the country must take its responsibility and help those most in need of help. Good people are altruistic. That means they are inaccessible to those who object. If we do not help other people in emergency, neither can we count on any help ourselves if we would be in trouble. The critics reveal themselves as short-sighted egotists.

Gustav FridolinWhen the estimated expenses for Sweden’s immigration policies passed three billion kronor [roughly $450 million] Gustav Fridolin of the Green Party said, “If it appears that we need more money, we are willing to listen to the Integration Board.” Kalle Larsson of the Left Party said, “A decent reception of new arrivals during their first time in the country must be funded.”

Second finest are those who talk about cultural diversity. The country ought to be saved from gray homogeneity and boredom, in favor of a diversity of cultural expressions, courses of food, opinions, etc. The country with many immigrants becomes a funnier and nicer country than the country with few immigrants. Diversity is an added value. The reason that this motivation is not listed as being finer than the first is that the goodness has to be motivated. Here, too, it is possible to raise objections. When it comes to consumption, diversity is attractive, it’s true, but when it comes to identity, it doesn’t work that way. It’s unambiguous that we — and any people, for that matter — prefer people of our own kind. With a perspective of identity, diversity isn’t enrichment, but social disintegration.

The demographic argument comes as number three. The country needs immigrants since our own population is getting old. Who will take care of the elderly in the future, unless we take in new people? The promoters have here taken self-interest as their premise, yet based on the recipe that immigrants as well as original citizens will benefit from it.

Number four is the argument that led to Sweden taking in labor immigrants, particularly in the 1960s: that immigrants will take the jobs that citizens of the country consider themselves too fine to do. Without immigrants, the country will cease to function.

It could be wondered: Do countries like Norway and Sweden actually cease to function without immigrants? Will the elderly die from mistreatment? Is it true that nobody will clean workplaces, unless there are immigrants here? Will restaurant kitchens drown in undone dishes?

As Ottar Brix comments: “Of course, it isn’t necessary to have a Nobel Economic prize to realize this is nonsense”

For the representatives of the moral elite, it’s difficult to appear in debates with their opponents and win. After Mona Sahlin had “taken the debate” with Jimmie Åkesson of Sverigedemokraterna, leading politicians seemed to agree that the debate should be a one-off event.

The argument as presented was that any movements that are hostile to foreigners should not be given any space in the media. What they didn’t say as clearly was that parliamentary politicians can’t manage to give satisfying answers to simple but weighty questions.

For instance: Why has Sweden taken in so many more immigrants than other European countries, in relation to its own population? Why hasn’t the extent of immigration been determined in a referendum? To what extent do immigrants in so-called exposed suburbs live on welfare? How well is integration going?

13 comments:

Homophobic Horse said...

A socialist society does not like facts. Facts have a certain value and thus can make people unequal. For this reason there shall be no facts.

Homophobic Horse said...

These Swedish politicians have eyes so soft and child like.

"Second finest are those who talk about cultural diversity. The country ought to be saved from gray homogeneity and boredom, in favor of a diversity of cultural expressions, courses of food, opinions, etc. The country with many immigrants becomes a funnier and nicer country than the country with few immigrants."

They are sensuous like children as well. I imagine them luxuriating in a chilli/curry/chinese flavoured bathtub of their own indolence.

Like the Portrait of Dorian Grey, they don't see their own moral corruption.

Alexis said...

Here's an argument concerning moral superiority. Isn't there anything morally superior about Swedish culture? If so, isn't there some chance that at least some immigrants move to Sweden because of its Swedish character? Then, why wouldn't Sweden seek to preserve its Swedish character so it can share its superiority with immigrants?

This is the beauty of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's activism; what's the point of leaving a living hell unless one sheds the bad habits that led the old country to become that living hell? Why should Sweden deprive its immigrants of the benefits of Swedish culture by creating an apartheid state? Reconstituting an Ottoman-style millet system or South African-style "separate development" is not progress.

One possible reform would be to teach all Swedish children classes about the basics of Swedish Lutheranism. Although Jews, Muslims, atheists, and pagans should not be expected to convert to Lutheranism, religious minorities ought to have at least some basic idea of what Swedish Lutheranism is.

Sweden, and Europe in general, have been unable to assimilate waves of immigrants partly because these immigrants have no clue about the native culture and especially the native religion. They are often oblivious to the existence of the native religion. Unlike the United States, the official religions of many European states constitute their core defining principles. So, loyalty to the crown would either mean loyalty to the state religion or loyalty to the state coupled with acceptance of the hegemony of the sovereign's religion.

Religious liberty cannot be separated from loyalty to the state, for disloyal demands for liberty never fail to foment civil war while demanding loyalty without religious liberty leads a nation to degenerate into a police state.

Dee said...

The demographic argument comes as number three. The country needs immigrants since our own population is getting old. Who will take care of the elderly in the future, unless we take in new people? The promoters have here taken self-interest as their premise, yet based on the recipe that immigrants as well as original citizens will benefit from it.

This is an incredibly rosy view that these leftists take.

If an Islamist majority were to gain control of a Scandinavian government via demographic expansion and unrestricted immigration over the next fifty years, then exactly why do the leftists think that an Islamist led government would bother to monetarily support a minority culture which it has already proven itself to be hostile to?

Lauri Olavi said...

Reconstituting an Ottoman-style millet system or South African-style "separate development" is not progress.

History is not about progress, it is about cycles. We are entering a new imperial era. The universal state is EU. Treaty of Lisbon makes European nations obsolete for good anyway. The model for our future is like the Roman or (even more so) Ottoman Empire, only with 21st Century technology.

Last_Norwegian said...

You're missing one crucial point in this matter. It's only indirectly a moral championship. For every Yugoslav sheltered in western Europe once could help an entire family in Yugoslavia for the same amount of money. For every African we feed in Sweden we could feed an entire village in Africa if the money was spent there instead. This has been pointed out by patriots many a time and is always ignored. So the helping people bit is just a smokescreen.

The real aim is simply to make our societies less western. What we see today is really a reaction to naziism. Where the nazis paraded and proudly celebrated their heritage, our current leaders have gone to the other extreme in denouncing our culture. Letting outsiders take over our countries is how they prove to themselves and eachother how different they are from the nazis. They are not competing in being humane, but rather compete in hostility to their own countries.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Northern California has a huge population of muslim immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. I used to know a few socially, so I recognize the sound of their language, and the headscarves on otherwise Eastern European looking women are another indication. It seems strange and out of context to have them here, when we fought a war to protect them over there, so why do they also need to be here? I wonder if there are an equivalent number of Serbs here? Let me guess: no, because they'd fit in better, and that's the last thing our government wants.

As for the benefits of diversity, I have anecdotal evidence only. There's a little grocery in my neighborhood run by a Bosnian family, and when it first opened, I immediately started shopping there, because I love that type of food. After a few visits, I stopped going, because I felt unwelcome. So, how does this diversity benefit my neighborhood, if the people who live here can't shop in that charming store with wonderful food unless they're muslim? And I used to know some young Bosnian guys who had soccer scholarships at a local college. How did that benefit anyone but them? It only prevented less talented American players from getting those scholarships.

Kate said...

Superior morals do not extend to sleeping with as many people as you please, bothering to get married, and having children out of wedlock, nor is it hubris to criticize America at every turn. Just wanted to allay any concerns you might have that taking the higher ground of ultra-morality might put a crimp in your self-centered, hedonistic, godless lifestyles.

Chalons said...

The theory of a 'moral superiority contest' sounds entirely plausible. We see this 'moral superiority contest' mentality at play in other communities and venues as well - people in a completely narcissistic competition to prove they are more devoted to their neo-religion than the next person. It's a psychological disorder that seems to be spreading. The correction for it will be most unpleasant.

Homophobic Horse said...

I wrote a tale of science fiction about a planet which achieved perfect bliss. It describes how the people of this planet were thereby degenerated and made ready for slavery and how the most barbaric and least "comfortable" element enslaved them.

Lessons to draw from this parable? One must avoid achieving perfect bliss. For the regime of perfect bliss is not sufficiently rigorous. It makes weak. It makes stupid. It makes lazy. Only a morality which preaches to the muscles, which develops the moral muscles, has any future in it.

The doctrine of progress conceived the development of sensual bliss instead of moral muscles. Under this doctrine: rather than exerting one's powers in the cause of self-restraint, one always gives in to one's desires. The spirit, placed in this situation, quickly loses its masculine aspect. It grows flabby, weak, and incapable of thinking painful thoughts. Ergo, it loses the power of self-examination and self-rectification. In fact, it becomes incapable of any genuine thought whatsoever. Therefore one acheives, in all actuality, a regress and a downgrading of human character, where people become immoral as well as stupid. . . Do you imagine that politics and morality are easy? Do you imagine that solutions to human problems ask no blood, or fail to demand the spitting-up of various and imaginary happinesses? And wasn't it Christ who Himself paradoxically argued that the first shall be last and the last shall be first?--which is to suggest that men have always misconstrued the very essence of that which is good and desirable. It seems that we cannot help asking for good things which are not really good. At the same time, we avoid those necessary evils which lead us to suffer for a better end.

DP111 said...

For the liberal elite, it is all a matter of feeling good about themselves. In the UK, the same holds in the upper reaches of the Labour party. If they feel that they are doing good, then no matter how many are opposed to them, it does not matter. Their sense of self-righteousness is in direct proportion to how many depraved terrorists and criminals they allow into the UK. The known fact these people are going to be a nuisance, to put it mildly, is neither here-nor-there.

In much the same way, our current and past PM, drop hundreds of millions pounds to any passing African or Muslim leader, as a sign of the kind and generous spirit of the PM. It is a way of gaining credit with the UN, EU and other fellow liberal elite. The fact that it is not their money to hand out, and so they have no reason to bathe in moral self- adulation, never occurs to them.

Jocke said...

Karl-Olov Arnstbergs article is really true, but it leaves out one important detail: fear. Fear of deviating from "approved" views, especially among the creerists in the media political complex. But this fear of deviating, a particularly significant trait among Scandinavians, also explains why these collaborators are not ousted from power, which is even more scaring. So "democracy" locks up whole countries in self destructing policies, apparently until either one of two equally gruesome events occur - either the country is completely run over with terrifying results for the "natives", or something suddenly causes all built up tension to snap free in one instant with a terrible war but with a chance to survive. I'm sure that we are much closer to have several failed states in North Western Europe than anyone would admit.