Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Future of Swedish Democracy

The following editorial by Mats Tunehag appeared yesterday in Världen idag. It’s unusual for a Swedish media article to be so frank and realistic about the crisis of the multicultural project, and it identifies the key problems that Sweden and other Western democracies are now facing, including the assault on free speech and the erosion of civil society.

I’ve reproduced the entire piece below (in English in the original):

Is Sweden a democracy in ten years’ time?

Probably and hopefully, but not necessarily. Democracy (or dictatorship) is not a destination that you arrive to, but an ongoing journey. During this journey, democracy can be strengthened, weakened, or lost.

When these dear freedoms and rights have been won, it is easy to take them for granted. Will Sweden limit fundamental human rights? Yes, it could. There are many tragic examples.

Waves of democracy have often had a backlash and turned back to dictatorial regimes. When democracy is introduced through revolution, there is often a backlash: France, 1789; Russia, 1917; as well as many countries in Latin America during the 1800s and countries in Africa and Asia after the Second World War. Only 4 out of 17 countries which embraced democracy between 1915 and 1931 managed to retain it during the 1930s.

In general, countries with a Protestant tradition have better and stronger democracies. Islam still has to present one single practical evidence that it is possible to combine Islam and sharia with democracy. States which link ethnicity with religion often have difficulties with democratic development and/or religious freedom. It applies, for example, to countries with Orthodox churches: Russia, Serbia, Greece, Armenia, and Georgia.

There are essential pillars for the development and maintenance of democracy. Let me mention three which all are under attack in Sweden and the EU.

Firstly, freedom of speech and religion is decisive for democratic processes and for respect of the integrity and freedom of the citizens. Thus it is a backlash for democracy that these very two freedoms increasingly are being challenged and diminished in Sweden and in the European Union. The examples are many. In the name of tolerance, there are demands, legislative changes, and threats which decrease the freedom of speech and religion, often under the term hate speech.

These self-appointed prophets of intolerance stem from the same democracy-hostile soil but grow on different trees like Islamists, secularists, and gay lobbyists. The Labour Party in the UK wants to abolish the freedom of speech clause regarding homosexual lifestyle. A well-intended EU directive against discrimination is moving in the same direction.
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Secondly, the state shall not govern religious institutions, and religious institutions should not rule the state. The church should be a prophet in society, but not its king. And the state should be everybody’s servant, but not the high priest of the church. Major political forces in Sweden (and the EU) is trying to push the church out from the public arena, but want — on the other hand — to decide what the church must or must not do, like forcing the church to perform homosexual marriages. That is not democracy!

Thirdly, a strong civil society is crucial for democracy. There must be voluntary organizations which are independent from the state. They may be stamp or bowling clubs, Christian study circles, political youth organizations or trade unions. But EU’s Equal Treatment Directive (ETD) means that the independence of civil society is threatened. The European Parliament has already voted for it, but it needs to be approved by the Commission. According to the ETD, clubs and Christian organizations will not have the obvious right to define membership criteria. The UK is already struggling with this issue, due to their laws — which have given inspiration to ETD. For example, a Christian student union was closed down at a university since they required that its members should adhere to a classic Christian faith. It was viewed as discriminating.

The development in Sweden and the EU is worrying. It is high time for the Church to be a prophet!

Hat tip: Steen.


ɱØяñιηg$ʇðя ©™ said...

I'm not a christian myself. Nonetheless I'm willing to support the church simply because it is the better alternative compared to islam. As well as I'm willing to support any other religion, minor or bigger, just as long as it is not islam. Judaism, buddhism, paganism e t c is fine with me, just not islam and satanism. The last two I see more as two sides of the same coin.

Fjordman said...

The Jerusalem Post recently wrote an article about anti-Semitism in Norway, which unfortunately was poorly researched and thus backfired. A real scoop would be to have the JP interview somebody from the Sweden Democrats. The MSM in Sweden always claim that they are "Nazis." So let them talk to Jewish reporters. The one predictable thing about people who really are neo-Nazis is that they can never side with Jews under any circumstances. It's like asking vampires to drink holy water sprinkled with garlic. They just can't do it, and if they try, their internal organs will no doubt disintegrate immediately

Imagine if the JP could make an article about how political dissidents are actually treated in semi-totalitarian Sweden, with the Sweden Democrats as a starting point. The Swedish establishment would crap their pants. Imagine if they also made a series of articles about the rape wave in Scandinavia caused by Muslim immigration, and that the hypocritical Norwegian and Swedish establishment demonize the Israelis for defending themselves while their own daughters get raped.

This approach has the added bonus that it is, in fact, entirely true, and that they can attack the elites and at the same time stretch out a hand to common people in Europe who are concerned by Islam, too, and may be reached.

Egil said...

Mr. Tunehag expresses what we need very well. Its heartening to see a western European saying such things openly in this day and age. Many people seem to forget about the importance of his third point, which is essential for freedom, and for avoiding unhealthy dependence on the state. Tocqueville did a nice job also of appreciating the value of strong civil society in the 19th-century U.S. But we've seen a steady assault on freedom of association in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere in the West, in addition to assaults on freedom of speech and religion. I also think that Tunehag does an excellent job in his second point of stating what kind of relationship is needed between church and state for freedom to thrive.

Whiskey said...

The problem with Sweden is the problem with all of the West: the interests of men and women are not aligned.

In a zero-sum, winner take all game of political and social and cultural and economic power, women can only gain if men of the same ethnic/racial group lose.

The Liberal Elite has held power since 1945 across the West, more or less continuously, by allying women with the elites to increase their power by decreasing that of their peer men. The elites have been able to do so because marriage, the interest-aligning factor between men and women in the West, has fallen apart.

The solution to what ails the West is as simple as widespread marriages and the nuclear family, at young ages.

And tragically, THAT is as unlikely as Unicorns and Rainbows appearing in reality and not an Obama poster.

Sweden's future as a Democracy lies not in Freedom of Speech, or Religion, or any of those things, which can be taken away or not by various regimes, but the most fundamental building block of society: the nuclear family comprised of marriages based on love.

With that foundation, ANY nation can well endure almost anything. Without it, all the rights and freedoms of the world mean nothing because no one will fight for it.

Without marriage, women seek suppression of their male peers as economic and political and cultural competitors and threats, and ally themselves with anyone who is against them.

Contrary to Fjordman's suggestion, had the Israeli press done what he posits, the result would have been nothing useful in Sweden. Women already KNOW who their enemy is: Male Swedes in their age group.

What's wrong with Scandinavia has been a long time brewing. Anyone who has read Ibsen or seen films by Bergman knows well the collapse of the nuclear family preceded the collapse of Scandinavian will to live.

[I do not think in most Western societies the Nuclear Family will ever be restored. In it's place only single motherhood and a hodge-podge of polygamy and various other chaotic arrangements. Nevertheless, it is there, not outer political arrangements, where the rot lies.]

Alexis said...

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

In rural Protestant households in Europe, the nuclear family is not necessarily the rule. It is not uncommon for several generations to live under one roof. The eldest son will inherit the farm but he is also expected to take care of his parents when they get old. His parents also help take care of his children.

The modern "nuclear family" is a product of urbanization and industrialization; it is detritus from the collapse of the extended family, twentieth century "Norman Rockwell" idealization notwithstanding. One aspect of modern industrialization that has undermined family traditions has been the development of a "youth culture" that teaches children to hate their parents and parents to hate their children. Rejection of non-Nazi parents was certainly promoted by Nazi Germany’s Hitler Youth!

There is a massive difference between maudlin nostalgia that passes itself off as tradition and values that really are traditional in nature. When talking about family structure in the West, it is useful for a commenter to get his facts straight.