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Sweden’s cultural revolution The refugee crisis changed the country, and its politics, forever

Swedish social panic. Credit: Pascal Rondeau/Getty


September 22, 2021   7 mins

The West is currently undergoing a series of political and social upheavals. Attention tends to focus on America, where cancel culture and “woke” corporations are part of a process that’s pulling the country apart. From Sweden this all looks disturbingly familiar.

In 2015, we experienced our own form of cultural revolution, with many of the same symptoms as its more potent sequels in America, Britain and elsewhere. Before “Trump derangement syndrome” was a thing, people in Sweden were denouncing each other, unpersoning each other for wrongthink, and having frenzied public struggle sessions.

At the time heterodox or dissident Swedish thinkers (a group I certainly belong to), almost regardless of political background, thought of the dramatic social and political convulsions gripping our country as stemming from something particular and unique to Sweden itself.

This collective madness gripping Sweden between 2015 and 2018 seemed so uniquely Swedish, that we assumed something akin to it would be impossible to replicate outside of our country. In 2016 and 2017, this argument made sense. The refugee crisis, supposedly the underlying cause of it all, was a Europe-wide phenomenon. Yet our Scandinavian neighbours — our historical and cultural kin — seemed unaffected. They not only took in far less refugees than we did, but also seemed immune to the political polarisation and, quite frankly, the form of social psychosis that became very common in Sweden at the time.

The cause of Sweden’s “special period”, which lasted between late 2015 and late 2018, looked (superficially) simple: the refugee crisis, and the bigger issue of immigration. In this reading, the timeline is as follows: the death of the Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, and the spread of an image of his body washed ashore on a Turkish beach, helped light a humanitarian fire in Swedish society. This in turn caused increasing polarisation and anger directed at the selfish or “backsliding” Swedes who took a different position on refugees. They were too racist, too set in their ways, or too self-interested to heed the humanitarian clarion call.

In this telling, the tumultuousness of Sweden during these revolutionary years comes down to the refugee issue. The now familiar elements of a social panic that became a part of everyday life during those years, such as the public shunning of people over political disagreements, the doublespeak engaged in in order to avoid ending up as targets of social abuse, and the suppression of recent history in favour of constructing a sort of political “Year Zero” were all explained away as stemming from an overabundance of humanitarian enthusiasm. People really cared about refugees, and in their enthusiasm, things maybe got a bit out of hand. But is this really what happened?

There is a grain of truth to these claims of humanitarian enthusiasm. For a short period, donations to — and volunteers for — civil society organisations dealing with refugees exploded. Unfortunately, these explosions often turned out to be fairly shallow and counterproductive. Organisations were inundated with items like toys and clothing meant for small children, even as most of the people coming to the country were older men.

Pointing this out, however, was a risky proposition. The accusation of being a racist, and its attendant risk of social and financial ruin, loomed very large indeed. A lot of things became unspeakable during those years, including the question of demographics, to the immense financial strain that was being placed on various municipalities, to the larger question of what sort of negative consequences, the unprecedented pace and scale of migration to Sweden could lead to.

Ironically, one of the reasons Sweden is far less polarised today than many other Western countries is probably the belated discovery that these consequences of immigration are in fact very real, and that methods of ”shaping the narrative” cannot really change material reality.

More critically, there is the realisation that nobody — certainly not middle class progressives — wants to live with those consequences at all. Crime, overcrowded schools, social and ethnic tensions, and violence toward ethnic Swedish children committed by gangs of immigrants have all conspired to cool attitudes on the subject. Indeed, the word förnedringsrĂ„n (literally “humiliation-robbery”) has now entered the Swedish lexicon as a term for robberies that display a particular sort of sadistic cruelty, where the aim of the perpetrators mostly seems to be to inflict pain and humiliation onto their victims. As such, it is hardly surprising that the recent fall of Kabul to the Taliban was not in fact met with calls to increase Sweden’s humanitarian commitment, but rather with conspicuous silence, except for a speech by Prime Minister Löfven promising that the country would “never return to the days of 2015”.

With the benefit of hindsight, immigration now appears not as a question important in and of itself, but as a form of wedge corresponding to a very particular political moment of establishment fear and anger at parts of their own electorate. The Right populist Sweden Democrats entered parliament in 2010, but many were convinced they were a passing fad that would soon be gone. In 2014, however, they had more than doubled their vote share, becoming the third biggest party in the Riksdag. This caused an immense amount of political anxiety among the “chattering classes” in the weeks and months following the election, in a preview of the shock caused by Donald Trump.

Sweden entered a political and social state of exception similar to the one experienced by the US after the 2016 election. Rather than an explosion of blind humanitarianism, the way the refugee crisis affected Sweden should probably be better understood as an explosion of political anxiety of the urban middle classes.

The battle lines drawn up during the refugee crisis were very simple: on the one hand, you had the deplorables (though this term was not yet in use in 2015). They were the enemy. They hated immigrants, gays, and women. This hatred didn’t stem from being the losers of a particular set of economic policies. No, the “hatred” of “those people” came from a general odiousness, lack of education and moral fibre. The professional and managerial classes who opposed the plebs cast themselves as friends and allies of humanity itself.

Sweden was a portal into the future. The intense polarisation of 2015-2018 followed the now extremely familiar Western pattern of rural vs urban, “anywheres” vs “somewheres”. In 2015, the real fear and hatred of the (mostly imaginary) SD-voting country bumpkin could suddenly, miraculously be drawn in stark terms: good versus evil, humanitarianism versus selfishness.

But now, years later, we can see that these battle lines were a fantasy. The narratives of uneducated deplorables meanly trying to keep their children from interacting with immigrants have been replaced by the reality: Swedish middle-class families go to great lengths to avoid their own kids mixing with immigrants in school. They worry about the academic implications — not to mention the risk of violence and disorder — of letting the immigrants into “their” schools. Sweden’s permissive system of private charter schools, though often attacked for reflecting some sort of neoliberal logic, is in practice a way for many parents to self-segregate their children.

Sweden, being a historically egalitarian and homogenous country, never engaged in city planning meant to keep the poor from meeting the rich. The ability of the middle-classes to isolate themselves from the less desirable consequences of immigration has collapsed; with people living in extremely well-to-do neighbourhoods such as Stockholm’s StrandvĂ€gen now complaining about street racing, thefts, and drug dealing out in the open.

As a result, some of the fighters for the acceptance of refugees during the crisis years have later partaken in or even led local protests against mixing immigrant and native born students in the same schools. A decision taken in TrollhÀttan to bus kids from migrant areas to other schools met fierce protests in late 2020. One of the leaders of this revolt? The former liberal party politician, Rita Svensson, who had been on the record in 2016 as advocating for students to be given bus cards in order to break segregation.

Identifying the cause of fighting the deplorables with the cause of accepting immigrants backfired for the urban middle-classes. They find themselves caught between two imperatives. On one hand, the political ”interlopers” who do not share their own sensibilities (or their naked class interests) that have so ominously been ”emboldened” by the Sweden Democrats, represent a threat to the natural political order. Just like in the UK, everyone blithely accepted that globalisation’s losers would have ”no other choice” but to vote for the same parties that engineered their dispossession. On the other hand the middle-classes have discovered, like the parents of TrollhĂ€ttan, that they do not like the consequences of migration. Their genteel humanitarianism has vanished.

Today Sweden’s cultural revolution finds itself in an odd spot. An uneasy ceasefire prevails in Swedish society now. While the deplorables are still mocked, there is no bite to it anymore. SD voters are no longer at risk of having their careers cancelled. In 2021, an unspoken attitude of ”don’t ask, don’t tell” prevails.

In the areas in Stockholm where most of the country’s journalists live, it is probably less awkward to openly admit to sympathising with SD on immigration than it is to proudly proclaim that Sweden is far from full and ought to take in at least a million more Afghans in the next couple of years. The hard, eliminationist edge of Swedish politics is mostly gone; wrongthinkers should perhaps be subtweeted on Twitter, but they shouldn’t necessarily be fired, driven out into the wilderness, or subjected to violence.

In some ways, this turn toward ”moderation” in Swedish politics is a good thing. Outside of the inner core of the progressive sphere, such as NGOs and universities, you can no longer be summarily fired for sympathising with a party that has the support of between a fourth and a fifth of the nation. The radicals are slowly abandoning their old cancel culture methods, in favour of such quaint notions as having democratic debate (the horror!).

But it’s doubtful that the Swedish example ought to inspire optimism elsewhere. After 2014 the “losers of globalism” made their play for political relevance, pitting themselves against the urban middle-classes who dominated the political scene. A year later, those same urban middle-classes had declared a no holds barred war against the “enemy within”. In Sweden’s case, the casus belli of that war — accepting a historically unprecedented amount of refugees in a very short time, without contemplating the consequences of doing so — created a situation where the issues of immigrant crime, cultural shock, and ethnic violence became more odious than the deplorables themselves.

Sweden was in many ways the first Western country to noisily declare war on a growing segment of its own population. In 2015, the social madness gripping the country made it seem like a fairly unique outlier, briefly confirming the deeply held national exceptionalism that makes up part of our country’s national ideology.

Today, it is clear that Sweden was simply the canary in the coal mine; just a couple of years later, many other Western countries would noisily be at war with their own homegrown ”deplorables”. Political demonisation against the internal enemy continues to grow. “The unmasked”; “the unvaxxinated”; “chuds”; “magatards”; “Brexiteers”. All of these labels, as it turns out, are incredibly malleable and thus politically useful.

And while that war has at least temporarily cooled down in Sweden itself, the way in which it did so looks likely to be the exception rather than the rule.


Malcom Kyeyune is a freelance writer living in Uppsala, Sweden

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J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Thank you for this article. Very interesting.
The ability of the middle-classes to isolate themselves from the less desirable consequences of immigration has collapsed; with people living in extremely well-to-do neighbourhoods such as Stockholm’s StrandvĂ€gen now complaining about street racing, thefts, and drug dealing out in the open.
This appears to be key to undoing the progressive agenda. The affluent have to start living with the negative consequences of their policies. I suspect, however, the author is correct that this process might be slow to take hold in many other western countries. As the author notes:
Sweden, being a historically egalitarian and homogenous country, never engaged in city planning meant to keep the poor from meeting the rich.
Most other western countries early on segregated rich neighborhoods from poor (even while, in America’s case, preaching egalitarianism). Increasingly we resemble Brazil where the 1% live in gated communities and the rest live in squalid favelas.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Increasingly we resemble Brazil where the 1% live in gated communities and the rest live in squalid favelas.”
Not in the US. Most crime ridden areas are barely distinguishable from normal middle class areas. There are youtubers making a living driving around the worst “hoods” they can find from coast to coast. With few exceptions, you’ll see nice cars and nice looking homes everywhere.
Poverty in the US is mostly about crime and other social ills, and has little to do with lack of money.

Fermented Agave
Fermented Agave
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Bryant might be dramatizing the 1% vs 99%, but that does hold true in many of our “blue” cities. Outside of the large “blue” metros, everything is fairly well distributed.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

Drive through the worst hood in LA, Oakland, Chicago, New York or any blue-on-blue city in the country and show me the broken down cars, squalid dwellings, scrawny decrepit people struggling to feed themselves. Good luck.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

I’m not from the USA, but I remember Douglas Murray saying last year after he had visited some blue cities in California, Pacific North West, Oregon – that the inner cities are starting to resemble third world cities.
I saw a video recently of Venice Beach (omg) and have heard SF has human excrement and needles lying on pavements where tourists used to meander,
A (Dem) friend in Seattle who travels a lot on business has said that she had visited many of the cities in areas I mentioned – she is amazed at the decay.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

True, but those are the homeless encampment areas, which are truly a depressing spectacle. We have literal tons of fentanyl and meth being imported into the country monthly, and that’s what you get.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Problem is Mo, that the homeless encampment areas are where tourists and locals used to go. They are under freeway passes and bridges, on beaches and sidewalks. You have a problem.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago

Mayor ‘Putz’ De Blasio filled a New York mid-town skyscraper smack right in a tourist area with ‘homeless men’ not even considering the ramifications for the surrounding stores and economy. USA Progressive government doesn’t work.

Last edited 2 years ago by Cathy Carron
Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

Where did you get the impression that I don’t think the homeless encampments are a serious problem? I have these people outside my home day and night in my otherwise nice neighborhood. Please stick to responding to what is said rather than whatever is in your mind.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mo Brown
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Mo I was definitely responding to you, so it seems you are arguing with yourself

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

Then kindly answer my question: Where did you get the impression that I don’t think the homeless encampments are a serious problem?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

Lesley, I was at Venice beach a few years ago, to go and use the iconic outdoor gym – I was shocked by how filthy it was: Needles on the sidewalk, homeless people pushing around their possessions in trollies, litter everywhere, and the stench of urine. I was left wondering how any rich nation could allow such squalor.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago

We, the people living here, wonder how this is happening. It started here in the US when some brain damaged lawyers thought it was a good thing for people with serious mental issues should be allowed to live where they want to, rather than being taken care of in government provided institutions. Granted, some of those institutions weren’t the best places to live, but now all you have to do Is look at the decline of our major cities and it’s coming to other cities as I write. We used to call people in favor of this insanity bleeding heart liberals. I love this country and we are being governed by daft fools, genuine idiots and morons. I really don’t think I’m over stating the case.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

It may be true that you are governed by daft fools, genuine idiots and morons but are you really saying that the homeless, jobless and others who are not coping with the stresses of life are all suffering from mental health issues?

dave1020email
dave1020email
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Judy, the comment from L Walker is absolutely correct. I live in San Francisco, it’s beyond depressing to drive (with doors tightly locked) into areas around downtown and see encampments populated by the deranged, the drugged out and otherwise substance abused individuals living permanently on the sidewalks, with all the squalor and dysfunction that such a life entails. I believe in medieval Europe the bourgeoisie made trips as entertainment into the local asylums to see the inmates. One has a similar feeling, accompanied by horror and disgust at the present time by what one sees.
Many decades ago, the right and the left in California came together (always a source of dangerous activity) and largely closed out the mental asylums. Saving money being the motivator for the one group and a push for freedom and having watched One flew over the cuckoo’s nest too many times on the other. The long term result, the disaster unfolding on the streets of American cities everywhere. One may well argue about the causes, but no one can argue about the horrors that have unfolded.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  dave1020email

That is interesting. I had heard that the asylums provided entertainment in medieval times.
In the UK I do not think that most people who are homeless are mentally ill. Homelessness is more often related to poverty.
I get the impression that in the US poverty is generally regarded as the fault of the person/people experiencing it; in England that is not so true. There are many reasons here for poverty and some people who work also experience poverty. It isn’t necessarily a result of ‘not trying hard enough’!!

Last edited 2 years ago by Judy Johnson
Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

In the US at least, homelessness commonly gets conflated with poverty, implying that it’s a problem of a lack of money. However a significant percentage (nearly all?) of the homeless people living on the streets have some combination of addiction and mental illness. Thus money will never solve it and mostly just makes it worse.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

It’s really gotten worse very quickly. We used to live in Seattle, and then after our first child was born moved to Austin to have our second, and then things got worse there so now live in a lake community in South Carolina. I’ve gone back to visit those areas and they are unrecognizable. Parks I used to push the baby carriage in are now homeless encampments, you can’t walk down the street without dodging needles and everything feels very unsafe, and I say this as a girl who grew up in Chicago. Real estate seems to be quite high in both cities though so I can’t quite wrap my head around that. Most of our friends who are not fabulously wealthy and able to avoid the decay behind gated communities have left. Who is buying these houses at rediculous prices?!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Apparently for the first time ever, the population of California is reducing. That is saying that people are leaving in droves because there is an influx of homeless people, so it has to be the middle class. High taxes and huge quantities of illegal immigrants?
My friend in Seattle had her house ransacked when she was away and the police could not come out – at any stage. Defunding the police working for sure.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago

Here in Florida we are picking up a seat in the House, while California is losing at least one. This is a big thing here, if you’re not familiar with how we get seats in the legislature.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Who is buying these houses at rediculous prices?!”
Ok, I heard an intriguing take on this general subject. The question was asked, why did the city governments in 2020 completely stand down and refuse to stop the rioting destruction of their towns? Why are the worst policies (such as encouraging the homeless to overtake all public areas) being aggressively implemented by these governments? The majority in even these very woke cities are not clamoring for more homeless people to move into their driveways, but it’s happening anyway and it’s deliberate.
The proposed answer was that the intent is to drive people away from the cities; to ruin them. Then mega developers and corporations will move in and buy up all the properties so that when people want to move back in, ownership will be impossible. We will become a nation of renters.
As the proponents of The Great Reset have openly proclaimed as their goal: “You will own nothing–and you will be happy.”

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

I was talking to a client of mine on Mercer Island in Seattle, and the entire demographics of the city changed with the coming of Tech, as she put it. Now, they don’t own homes or other roots in a community, but condo’s in towers and a laptop and clothes. They bring the ethos of the “noble savage” to the homeless population, as that is what they learned in university. And for all the well-wishing of social justice trends, all of these tenets have not been thought out as to repercussions.
As to politics in these cities, the hard left gets in and really does make it difficult to raise objections to these plans, in many cases through the exact methods used in Sweden; call everyone racist, sexist, homophobic, and so on. This, along with big doners and deep pockets of people not really affected by the issues going on political spending spree’s.
The first big pushback was Trump, and we all saw how the left reacted to that. It is only going to get worse, in the US at least what with tech companies all going to one side of the political aisle.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  aaron david

Why are people voting for the hard left? Is it linked to wokeism?

Norm Haug
Norm Haug
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Sorry, Mo, but I think you are delusional. The squalor and homelessness is impossible to miss in every American city. Even the cities in the “Blue States” are taking on the look of third world countries. Your country is deeply divided and it is going to end badly.

Norm Haug
Norm Haug
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Mo, all of the cities you mentioned have huge numbers of homeless people, even in the affluent areas. How could you miss them? Perhaps the problem has been around so long that you think it is “normal”.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Norm Haug

I posted a similar response to someone else, but seeing as you have called me out twice here: I am of the firm belief that homelessness roughly equals drug addiction and is really not a question of poverty at all. The number of “impoverished” people who are not addicted to drugs or mentally ill is roughly zero. So no, I’m not delusional as you suggest. I would suggest that I just have a different and much more detailed and accurate view of the situation than you, especially wrt all the cities I mentioned as I know them well. It’s a whole thing here, right in my neighborhood. I deal with it every single day. It’s very disturbing and really hurts the quality of life. You’re right that the country is deeply divided, but you don’t seem to understand why.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Recently I used google maps street view to look into an area of Washington DC that is “crime-ridden”, namely Deanwood. It is very difficult to get into my mind that that nice neighbourhood was problematic.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Exactly.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

The threat of China, the need for a physical barrier at the southern border, the terrible demoralising effect of political correctness/ woke on the American psyche, the futility of staying in Afghanistan and the now the fact that immigration is causing “no go zones” in Sweden.

Seems like another thing Trump was right about.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

I’m thrilled to read about what’s happening in Sweden today. It seemed inevitable back in 2015 or so, but you never know how much sh*t people are willing to eat to protect their egos. It definitely gives me hope for other nations that are going through their own, let’s say, irrational phases. The US will be a much tougher nut to crack, obviously.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Yes, it is hopeful. I have to admit to some (a lot, in fact) schadenfreude on reading of the middle class’s sharp u-turn having experienced the benefits of mass ‘third world’ immigration.

Last edited 2 years ago by Judy Englander
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
2 years ago

I don’t consider myself a Marxist but I do recognise that many of his insights, if not his conclusions, were legitimate and when it comes to immigration in the West, I believe it is true that contemporary bourgeoisie is employing the logic of reification hidden behind a cloak of humanism.

Community, culture, history are all irrelevant to them because it’s class, not nationality or culture that defines them. Existing populations can be replaced by immigrant ones, as long as the financial costs are lower. Humans under this model are interchangeable, the only value they posses is the labour they can perform and at what cost. If the population of a Northern European country, along with its culture, was gradually replaced by a Sub Saharan one, it would make no difference to the bourgeoisie, as long as the economic output was the same or greater and to say otherwise, is of course, racist.

This base is conveniently hidden behind the superstructure of humanitarianism multiculturalism and a general moral superiority, which allows an exploitative system to cloak itself in virtue. It is far easier to treat your neighbour with distain, if you tell yourself you’re doing so because of your greater love for all of humanity.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Levelling down is what happens. The US and Europe have to accommodate the whole of the Middle East, South America, Africa and some of the Far East.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

But why? Why is multiculturalism so important to the Western elites that they would sacrifice their own civilisation for it?? It’s madness.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Many of them thought of themselves as socialists , but have had to adjust to the political inviability of socialism in the real world (as well as it militating against their own interests )
They need to cling on to an ‘ethical’ substitute ideology . Multiculturalism and whitemanbad doctrine provides that. It doesn’t matter that they themselves are white men . More kudos to them for seeing the light .
See Peston’s grotesque witterings about one day having to give up his job to a properly bame person . Not yet though!

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Ignorant American here. Who is Person? Will also Google

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

Robert Peston. “Journalist”/”Economist”. Not even a nanoatom as good as he thinks he is.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  L Walker

Robert Peston is Brit political journalist .He was saying how all his underlings are no longer white males , thanks to him ,and he’s lucky to still have a job . No sign of him resigning though .

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Yes, would Peston and his ilk be so cavalier with their career ‘displacement’ if 30 years younger?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Here is why, imo. Multiculturalism (as a political tool, not actual multiculturalism) is their superpower. It allows them to fill their massive egos with righteousness while muffling any potential opposition. And, it gives them the huge power of that small percentage of hysterical first-worlders looking for something to be enraged about. As long as there is a sufficient population of guilt ridden white people, they’re in the driver’s seat. There is so much emotion involved on their side that rational discussion is not really possible. For them, the living is good and easy, as long as they don’t step out of line.
They do seem willing to sacrifice their own civilization, which is hard to comprehend even with all the short term gain they receive. I’m more and more learning to accept that they are just really bad people, and not at all normal. (Referring to the big power brokers here, not the average lib on the street.)

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Unholy alliance between globalists and the social justice warrior masses to promote repopulation – in the case of the former ro depress wages, and the latter to achieve the Marxist deconstruction of the “white patriarchy.”

RJ Kent
RJ Kent
2 years ago

Of course. But not Haitians, because…..

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Many of these bourgeoise probably see themselves as socialists .Or leastwise the journalists hanging on to their coat -tails.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

A closer comparison with, say, Denmark would be interesting. In Denmark pretty draconian immigration policies have been mainstream consensus for decades – anything else lost you lots of votes. So, no huge influx, and on sudden shock. Also no official refusal to gather statistics on crime by immigration status, ‘in case it be misused for racist propaganda’. Yet the starting point was similar, back in the 70ies and 80ies, with both countries seeing themselves as open, progressive and tolerant, racists of any kind being vilified, and tension beginning to appear once the people you had to tolerate actually started moving in. In Denmark a national-populist party appeared early, forced a debate, kept winning votes on being anti-immigreation, and in the end forced other parties to follow suit or lose, as popular opinion changed. In Sweden the ban on racist anti-immigration opinions seems to have held completely until 2015.

The (rather chauvinistic) Danish explanation is that swedes are much more submissive to authority and public opinion, so that underlying opinions were likely similar, but the correct, official opinions managed to maintain their dominance much longer in Sweden. It would be interesting to hear the corresponding Swedish explanation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It took Swedes longer to decide to make a new political party. Before then the idea that the existing parties would change their policies in the light of what was happening in the country — as opposed to denying that it was happening — had a lot of support.
It also took some time before many people who thought we needed ‘to be patient and help the immigrants assimilate’ discovered that a great number of them had no intention of doing so, and instead actively condemned Swedish society for being evil, as in ‘full of evil people who wanted them to assimulate and become evil’. A good many middle class people had no idea that they were hated, and found the idea quite unfathomable until they were forced to see it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

Swedes were quite happy to be seen as the paragon of socialist virtue and the model all would-be socialists worldwide liked to point to as their success story. I imagine the 2015 multiculti misery has been a very difficult and bitter pill to swallow for Sweden’s progressive elite.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Strangely, it is the progressive elite that now want to be the paragon of neo-liberal virtue (whatever that is). They badly preferred Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, for instance.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A close friend is in a relationship with a Swede, living in Sweden. He was with her during our December/January epidemic wave where there was no hard lockdown, but a ludicrous beach ban. They were having a holiday staying in a fairly remote location with huge empty beaches as a norm. People continued to walk on the beach and swim – it was ridiculous not to. One day there was talk that the local police might pay the beach a visit – so South Africans continued walking and swimming and the Swede sat inside the house. She tells me they are very rule bound – something like the Aussies.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The Danes are far more nationalist and ethno-centric than the Swedes are, for a variety of reasons: One being that Denmark is one of the oldest nation-states in Europe (only really following France and England). The Danes take their flag *very seriously* in a way that’s a little strange in the European context, and are un-embarassed by overt patriotism or even jingoism. And Denmark (like many other faded empires) has delusions of grandeur and nostalgia that manifest a chauvinism. The Swedes were also an empire in the Early Modern Period, but not before they were a subject people of the Danes and have a very characteristic independence founding myth. And the Swedes lost their imperial holdings, while the Danes have retained them to this very day. Denmark remained an absolute monarchy long after the liberal reforms of Sweden and many other Western European countries. And, Denmark (along with Norway and Finland) also experienced the full brunt of invasion and besiegement in modern times. The Swedes have been neutral and unscathed for over two centuries, making them either fond of the fruits of peace and cosmopolitanism or naive of the dark truths of the world, depending on your view.
I’m not Swedish, but I live in Sweden and am married to a Swede, and my (non-objective) view is that the Swedish way is superior and more realistic in the 21st Century. Denmark is far more reliant on the cursed foreigners than it would like to admit, and its fits of xenophobic pique certainly dissuaded me from working there and will increasingly divert many other foreigners with skills away, as jobs lie open and competitiveness decreases. If this is fine by the Danes, bless them on their way. But the costs will be significant.

Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago

‘will increasingly divert many other foreigners with skills’….Therein lies the problem – a lot of these ‘refugees’ don’t have any skills. The last figures I saw from Germany revealed that only 40% of the refugees actually work. Indeed only 21% of the refugees taken in by Germany are considered to be skilled workers. The same applies to the migrants arriving on UK beaches, if these people had any skills they could apply for visas to work here. The immigration system in this country costs the UK tax payer around ÂŁ1.3bn per annum, money that could be used to train UK nationals to fill the vacant positions.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Leon Wivlow

Well, this is why I take major exception to the simplistic way this essay is written and how we all here talk about “immigrants.” I’m an immigrant. I’m well-educated, well-employed, and well-compensated. I’ve worked on three continents in half a dozen countries. I could move tomorrow and be fine. But I’d love to stay here and form a life since I really genuinely love Sweden and have family connections (and now a half-Swedish son). I’m probably more enthusiastic about my adoptive home than my native-born Swedish wife is.
Most immigrants here that I know are the same. I just took a driving course to get my local license from a Kurdish immigrant who spent the whole ride praising Sweden to high heaven. I have tenants in Stockholm from Argentina who work two job, while studying, and have nothing but wonderful things to say about Sverige. Are these not the types of people a country wants? Really, the immigrants I know from non-Anglophone countries embarrass me in being far faster than I in learning the local language and hustling for under-the-table work while they waited out the glacial pace of bureaucracy (it usually takes 2-3 years for a refugee let into Sweden legitimately to even have the legal right to work… and then they are blamed for being underemployed!).
Now, many Swedes do think of me as “not an immigrant.” Since I’m white and American. (Swedes like Americans). Many Americans and Brits here don’t think of themselves as immigrants, either, even though we are. If we forget this fact, the immigration regime quickly reminds us. I am as affected by immigration policy as any other immigrant. I was treated like garbage by the Migration Authority here in Sweden, too. I am affected by the lurching reaction of migration policy. And also by the xenophobic rhetoric. Even if I’m not the target. There’s a whole movement here of work visa holders who are protesting the many cases of being deported summarily for minor administrative issues. Or, in Denmark, how it takes 10 years to become a citizen, after jumping through many many hoops and being on a year-to-year provisional status that makes normal life impossible.
So, if Sweden or Denmark wants a Canadian-style immigration regime where people with education and employability and youth get points, fine. But, until then, the Scandinavian countries throw immigrants like me right out with the “less desirables” when they get in an anti-immigration mood. And they also place a heavy burden on the vast majority of immigrants who may not have the degrees and fancy jobs, but do work hard, obey the law, follow the rules, love their adoptive home, and just want to be members of society.

Last edited 2 years ago by Geoffrey Greene
Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago

All immigrants aren’t equal. I, also, do not believe that it is any persons right to move to any country of the world that they happen to want to live in. The UK government’s resposibility is to the people who are born here.
Here’s a few UK stats for you:
BAME make up over 50% of the inmates in Youth Offender Institutes. Source The Times
(BAME make up c. 15% of the UK population)
Over 40% of the inhabitants of the high security prison, Whitemoor, are muslim. Source The Independent.
(Muslims make up c. 6% of the UK population)
Black men are more than 10x more likely to be murdered than white men. Source The Times
(Guess who is murdering them?
Black people make up c. 3% of the population)
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are the least economically active group in the UK, just over 50% of them work. Source The ONS.
I’ve plenty more stats, if you need any more.
As I said not all immigrants are equal.

Last edited 2 years ago by Leon Wivlow
Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Leon Wivlow

BAME are mostly minorities and not immigrants. So, if you’re going to blame them for the social problems (that fall most heavily upon them, in your telling), blame them as native-born Brits, not as immigrants. Or are you still an immigrant if your parent or grandparent was the one who emigrated? How far back does the sin go?
But let’s follow your logic fully… are you suggesting that Jamaican-, Nigerian, Pakistani-, or Bangladeshi-Brits are either biologically or because of reasons of deep, immutable culture, less-than-equal?
If so, what’s the actual mechanism for their inferiority? Are these unfortunate people racially inferior? If so, what races should we who worry about our futures be wary of? Blacks, (South) Asians, and Middle Eastern races/ethnicities, then, following the “BAME” acronym? So, no dice on second-citizenship in the UK, President Obama? Can we make an exception for Idris Elba, since he’s so very handsome? Should we perhaps let Priti Patel know that she is ironically unwanted in the UK, due to her less-than-equal background? How about ol’ Boris? He’s part-Turkish, you know! That makes him Middle Eastern!
Or, isn’t the issue biological and more cultural… are these undesirables irredeemable products of “backward cultures,” then? If so, which cultures are on the “backward” list? Religiously-speaking, you mentioned “Muslims.” So, I guess out goes that entire quarter of humanity. Sorry, Bosnians! You mentioned Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, but are Indians OK? Or only if they’re Hindu or Sikh and not Muslim?
South Asians are potentially suspect, but do you take exception to East Asians, as well? They aren’t Muslim, many of them, anyway. Should we reject all the Hong Kongers?
Or is it all less a matter of race or culture and more employment and credentials? A color-blind meritocracy! You don’t have an issue with a Nigerian doctor? And the Bangladeshi software engineer is kosher?
What does this group of less-than-equals have in common? And how are we to make sure that only the “good ones” get through?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

As always, a one-way discussion about migration. What opportunities do any of the other parts of the world you mention offer to those who wish to migrate there? Does India welcome African immigration? Does China open the door to skilled or unskilled labour from the Middle East? Of course not.

Many of those countries have overt or tacit policies to maintain ethnic, religious and racial purity. Economic and cultural opportunities are reserved for locals alone – unless you include the masses of dispossessed guest workers to be found throughout the Gulf countries who can be sent packing at a moment’s notice.

For them Western countries are a useful receptacle for excess population and source for remittances to underwrite their economies.

And you point the immigration guilt gun at open tolerant western countries? Get a grip.

Jim Cox
Jim Cox
2 years ago

Very interesting and thoughtful post. I think one of the factors governing hostility toward immigration is the amount of immigration. In the US now, the administration seems determined to let unlimited numbers of immigrants in, and is not backing up its own border patrol. A country cannot accept unlimited numbers of immigrants. The humanitarian aspects of the situation can’t be ignored, either. What is needed is a balancing of the plight of these migrants with the need of the destination country to retain its identity, with vetting of arrivals and regulation of immigrant inflow, with a reasonable immigration policy as the tool to make this balance possible.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Interesting account, You see the countries as surprisingly different. I would not have thought that a longer history as an independent kingdom (Sweden goes back continuously to the early 1500’s and was also independent before the temporary Kalmar union) would make much difference nowadays, but is seems like Sweden defines itself as having successfully rebelled against Danish domination. Denmark mostly sees itself as remaining peacefully where we are, and being bullied, beaten in wars, diminished, or patronised by the Swedish storebror.
Jingoism and delusions of grandeur? A few examples would help understanding – it is not Denmark who claims the right to be moral arbiter to the world or officially condemned the USA as ‘Goddamned murderers’ (Olof Palme).
Imperial holdings? Well Denmark retained Greenland when Sweden took Norway, mainly because nobody could be bothered to want it, but it hardly makes enough difference to give you an imperial mindset.
Denmark got its constitution in 1848 instead of 1809 (both after losing a war) and parliamentarism in 1920 instead of 1917, so not much difference there.
Neutrality, invasions and occupation, yes that makes a big difference.
As for the xenophobic pique – I am sorry if you actually lived in Denmark and people were nasty to you. Or is it just a political dislike? If Denmark is rigid with all foreigners, it is not from a dislike of Americans, but because you cannot in law discriminate between Americans and Pakistanis. Self-satisfied? Quite likely. Enamoured of our own way of doing things and uninterested in changing? Likewise. Unwilling to change from homogenous to multi-ethnic, and afraid that the high-trust, high-tax, high-welfare system could not survive the transition to a multi-cultural society? Absolutely. But just how different are the other Scandinavians?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Have you read the article?

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago

This what you wrote here would’ve been my impression about Denmark as well without having lived there, but observing/hearing things from others. With that, and seeing some reaction to you, I’m guessing you’re being down-voted for the last few sentences.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I was interested to see how Danes treated immigrants while taking them aboard a ship (almost all said they were under 18 despite obviously being older). The doctor examined their wrists and made a decision, which was then acted upon. Contrast that with the policy adopted in the UK; ‘if a person claims to be under 18, this must be accepted’. This daft policy is incredible when Conservatives have held power since 2010, indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if it hadn’t been introduced during that time. I suspect it damages the morale of those having to execute the policy, and I also suspect that it may have come about because immigration judges interpreted law differently to those who legislated it. Whatever, why don’t voters get the policies they want?
We’re the world’s biggest suckers.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Just examined my wrists 
.!

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

We’re at a point in history where it’s finally starting to dawn on traditional leftist supporters that it — history — never actually ends, it doesn’t have a direction and it’s not going anywhere. The truth is what we’ve been told it is in every generation up to the 1960s, namely that everything is cause and effect and if you make bad choices you’ll get bad results. And even if you make good choices today, you’ll still have to make them again tomorrow. And making good choices is nearly impossible when you have destroyed the philosophical foundations of your society in the cretinous belief that you don’t have to try anymore because it’s the current year. To quote Thomas Sowell, life doesn’t ask you what you want, it just gives you options.

Last edited 2 years ago by Francis MacGabhann
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Well put – it seems to me that most people under the age of 50 ? no longer have the ability to comprehend the laws of cause and effect and seem to have a disconnected belief that as long as they support what seems to be the ‘right thing’ of the moment that everything will magically ‘be alright’. These days I cannot help but recall the aphorism ? ‘one day all the unwise decisions that you have ever made will get together and have a banquet in your honour ‘ !!

Fermented Agave
Fermented Agave
2 years ago

It’s good for us to hear what is going on in other countries, not from our own media lens.
If from Sweden, please do comment to let us know what you think of this article.
It’s a hot mess here in the US and would love some reassurances.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

I’m from Sweden. One thing that we have going for us, which the USA does not, is the ability to have non-professional-politicians as political candidates, and the ability to rapidly create new political parties, whenever people feel the need. So when none of the existing political parties was willing to represent those who were opposed to immigration, Sweden just went and created one, which immediately received a lot of votes.
Meanwhile, as I look at the USA, I find that the Sanders-socialists are trying to take over the Democratic Party, while the Trump supporters have succeeded in taking over the Republican party, though who knows for how long. I keep thinking that Americans would all be a whole lot happier if, instead, you had 5 or 6 significant political parties, and actually had to work together and form coalitions in order to get legislation passed, and could stop this ‘vote for us, we may be rotten, but we aren’t as rotten as those other rotten folks’ which just makes people hate each other.
I think there is enormous appetite in the USA for liberation from the political classes altogether. But unlike here, people cannot just form the ‘A Plague On Both Your Houses’ party, and see how that goes.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
2 years ago

You’re right – the question for me is why Sweden has >2 significant parties and those of us in the USA are stuck (in practical terms) with bad or worse. Throughout our history 3rd parties have arisen but instead of remaining at 3 or more significant parties we always condense back to two. Our constitution and republican structure is likely a primary cause – I’m not optimistic there is an easy fix

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

The first step is to give up first-past-the-post elections and put some sort of proportional system in. I hear that lots of people would vote Green in the USA, except that this is ‘throwing away my vote’ for instance.

Alan B
Alan B
2 years ago

The main reason is that most of our elections are SMDP, a system that consistently crushes third parties (due to the spoiler effect). It is also the presidency itself, which nationalized the 2 party system over this one great electoral battle. So we’ve had Rs and Ds since Lincoln, but as that man noted, our parties have a tendency to fight until they wind up in one another’s coats.

The main problem with a multiple party system in the US is that the presidency will still be there. If our legislators fail to form coalitions this would only augment the executive’s claim to further institutional and personal power. We’d end up with something resembling Brazil more closely than Sweden.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

Totally agreed. But for that to happen, the US would have to have a parliamentary system. It’s inevitable that in a presidential democracy with first-past-the-post voting like in the US, you have only two parties. No other party can get enough of an edge in to enter government. Those that try just end up splitting the vote and spoiling a win for one of the two parties instead of winning themselves (as in 1992).
American Democrats are like some strange coalition of the Swedish Moderates, Liberals, Social Democrats, Left Party, and Greens. The American Republicans are the Swedish Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Center Party. In Sweden, these groups have a hard time agreeing. And so it is within the “Big Tents” of American political parties. Urban professional Americans vote Democrat, but if they were Swedish, they would vote Moderate. And they have about as much in common, class-wise, with the Bernie Sanders “Socialist” wing as the Moderates have in common with the Left Party.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Saying that though, in the UK with our FPTP system look how much influence a party like UKIP or The Greens can have on the conversation and the policies of the 2 main parties. They don’t get the actual power – but can anyone say Nigel Farage didn’t, and doesn’t, have a massive influence on the Tories?? The LibDems now appear to be as ‘progressive’ as Labour so is there any need for them at all apart from to give the Tories an occasional bloody nose in areas where Labour have no real traction?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Interesting. In general, I am, or was, in favour of ‘first-past-the-post’, mainly because it delivered us stability for a very long time, and reduced the chance of a minority party extorting execution of an unpopular policy as a condition of coalition, but I am beginning to wonder, given the success of The Brexit Party which had zero effect within the Commons, and especially with the example of the schism obvious in the USA between Republican and Democrat, which seems to get worse with time.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Instead, I see it that minority opinion holders in the 2 parties can and do extort the execution of unpopular policies as a condition of bringing in the vote, (as opposed to staying home). Doesn’t look like that large a difference to me.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago

It’s a well balanced and correct article on a national and societal level, without going into the practical details of the current situation. The crime levels in the cities and larger towns are reminiscent of my picture of Chicago in the 20’s and 30’s, drive by shootings, t*t for tat executions, but with more explosives and hand grenades used (only a few days ago, thrown in the wrong apartment), mostly in the many no-go areas but sometimes spreading further afield.
What Sweden hasn’t seemingly grasped is that the unfortunate refugees taken pity on become a social problem and financial burden as soon as they arrive, at least for 70-90% of these who have no serious prospects of gaining employment or integrating into society. And only a minority are refugees in the true sense. 40,000 young afghan women fleeing persecution and oppression seeking a better life might have been more welcome than the 40,000 young afghan men posing as teenagers and children who arrived in 2015/16. Once immigrants have been here long enough to become Swedish citizens they will vote for the parties prolonging these welcoming and naive policies and the conservative/SD block will never regain power.
I suspect that most affluent and middle class Swedish people directly unaffected by the consequences don’t really care too much about the situation, as long as they continue to be unaffected, and the woke section of the population have their heads in the clouds anyway.

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen archer
Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

I live in Stockholm (as an immigrant among many others in my area) and this essay is extremely spurious. There was a brief panic in Sweden over immigration following the Syrian Refugee Crisis and unprecedented migration to Sweden in 2015, invited in by the previous Conservative government (an irony lost to history). The “Swedish Democrats” (SD), a formerly obscure Neo-Nazi party rose to prominence thereafter. The very next year, the immigration gates were again closed by the following Social Democratic government (in another irony that confounds the narrative). SD has since waned in influence. Immigration isn’t anywhere near the animating issue here now as the author contends. This pattern of change and reaction is very normal anywhere, including the US (where I am from). Now that every part believes in “moderate migration,” SD will fade from the scene, as a single-issue party whose single issue is no longer distinctive. The Conservatives are trying to make immigrant crime the theme of the next election, but that’s not getting very far so far. Flogging this issue is evidence of parties that have run out of ideas.
The difference between the US and here is that Swedes aren’t exactly dealing with a “migrant horde.” Even at the peak of immigration, there were about 165,000 immigrants who entered Sweden (among them Finns and Brits, who remain top nationalities of migrants here). Since 2016, the annual immigration numbers are down to around 26,000 a year. Don’t tell that to the people acting like Sweden’s dealing with a Mongol invasion! And almost all the immigrants here are “legal,” since it’s practically impossible to enter the country illegally, unlike in the US with its large land border with Mexico.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Around here in Göteborg, it seems to me as if it is the immigrants who want to make immigrant crime the political issue. They’re sick of being preyed upon by a criminal class that happens to share their ethnic heritage.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

Well, that’s the thing. Any gang crime ultimately falls on the immigrants themselves, mostly, and not the white Swedes who are clutching their pearls at the spectre of immigration. Violent crime is hyper-localized and almost all victims of violence are other gang members.
Is it nice to have mayhem in “Vulnerable Areas?” No. But the same was occuring in the early 1990s, when murder rates were MUCH higher and immigration rates much lower. Sweden has had a drug/biker gangs problem for decades.
To solve that, the government needs to start resourcing the police more. Neither the Conservatives nor the Social Dems were willing to do that, since they wanted to spend on tax breaks or voter-pleasing projects of other kinds.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

But to the wider population why should there have to be these crime ridden ‘vulnerable’ areas full of immigrants in the first place?? What benefit is it bringing to the locals apart from a larger welfare bill and diverting police attention elsewhere?

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

The benefit was that these were the areas where housing was cheapest in major cities. So the government resettled the refugees there and just turned around and forgot about them. Nothing new. The indigenous locals were just as forgotten by the state and society as the new arrivals.
In the countryside and smaller urban areas, the situation is very different: immigration has brought many “Rust Belt” towns and rural areas back to life and locals are very supportive. Many such towns are found in my wife’s home province. Formerly vibrant cities and towns emptied of people in previous decades by urbanization and the consolidation of manufacturing. Now they have a lot of immigrants who live in the formerly empty houses and apartments, refill the schools, and set up businesses on formerly derelict high streets.
My mother-in-law is a kindergarden teacher in one such small town. Her classroom is mostly immigrant kids now. Without them, the preschool would be almost empty. She’s learned some Arabic to speak with them and is very happy to have children in the town again. God knows the native Swedes aren’t making them!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

Why do you necessarily need to “refill” abandoned towns? Especially when it’s unskilled labour from countries with different cultures that don’t appear keen on the original culture.

What happens when the replacement for the “children the native Swedes aren’t making” grow up…kids who need their teacher to learn Arabic, and presumably have attitudes towards women, rights, marriage, sexual freedom etc that are also rather more Arabic than Swedish?

Last edited 2 years ago by Samir Iker
Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Exactly right. He states how much he loves Sweden but then is quite happy to see its culture change beyond recognition.

Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago

‘The indigenous locals were just as forgotten by the state and society as the new arrivals’. Except the indigenous locals were paying taxes to their government who should have been looking after them.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

It is amusing how easy it is to label political parties that merely want to curb immigration as “neo-nazi”….
While, say, certain religious groups that are supremacist, consider any other faith to be untermenschen, have a warmonger racist prophet, etc….are to be considered completely normal and acceptable.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Thanks for bringing balance to the debate Geoffrey – great having someone ‘ on the ground’.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

This is an intriguing article. Thank you.
I had quite a few waves of Swedes rent a cottage from me in Zimbabwe while they rotated through internships at the Swedish embassy.
I was amazed by how full of self hatred they were. Not one of them even regarded themselves as legitimately Swedish. They insisted that they were colonists who had dispossessed “indigenous” Swedes some hundreds of years ago of their lands. Since they themselves were invaders, they argued, how could they complain about the invasion by others?
I asked one intern whether she would allow refugees from places that didn’t believe in democracy to arrive in enough numbers to vote out the existence of democracy. “Yes”, she said, “I would.”.
And as with the Tsar families of Russia who disguised themselves to dance and make merry with the Russian poor who they felt captured the “essence and spirit of Russia’s soul”, so the Swedes frequent local beer halls where they can dance and make merry with working class locals they seemingly have nothing in common with.
I’m pretty sure such people remain in their ideological cocoons until such time as they experience serious crime, because without such a reckoning with reality, there would be no need to see it.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Blatant and blinding hypocrisy is the hallmark of America’s “soccer mom” upper class. They have signs on their front lawns that read “Hate has no home here” to virtue signal their acceptance of all immigrants….up until the very moment that one of them rapes their daughter or steals one of their $80,000 autos.
The issue for me is the fact that many of today’s immigrants, legal or illegal, don’t want to accept the culture of the host country. This is unlike the great immigration that took place with previous generations and the cause of much of the issues.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

Yes, America worked as a melting pot because immigrants wanted to be American – and were expected to as well. I’ve always thought that was deliberate from the start, hence the high value Americans traditionally placed on the flag, the anthem and the pledge of allegiance. They had to make this a primary ritual in order to give the nation of immigrants cultural cohesion. I remember back on the 90s when I first started hearing the term ‘hyphenated American’, putting emphasis on where you came from rather than where you were. I knew then that was a BAD mistake and sadly I’ve been proved correct.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

The key to the change of attitude appears to hinge on the opinion forming/higher educated classes encountering the downside of immigrants with different cultural norms becoming a significant presence in their society. In Sweden this seems to have occurred quite quickly. I suspect it will take longer in England.
As a professional living in the North of England where the immigrant population is comparatively low my encounters with immigrants is almost exclusively confined to meeting and mixing with Indian doctors and their families and a couple of professional Nigerian families whose children are clearly better behaved and more intelligent than the majority of the local indigenous population. I suspect many who proclaim their liberal views regarding immigration have similarly narrow social contacts.
In the circumstances it is easy to view immigration as a benefit to society. Whether I would take the same view if I lived in a poorer area in the Midlands and South of England where drug related and gang crime, sex rings and terrorist offences “seem to be “ disproportionately connected with immigrant populations may be open to question. I recall being shocked by someone posting on Facebook an anti-Muslim cartoon but he explained that while he had Muslim friends his daughter’s best friend had just been killed in the Manchester Concert bombing and it was this outrage that had provoked him to post in anger.
Perhaps the downside of immigration will remain “noises offstage” for many of us.
A few generations back my own ancestors fled from a civil war in France but, of course, they were happy to assimilate to the extent that my mother was unaware of the circumstances of her great grandfather’s immigration.

gavin.thomas
gavin.thomas
2 years ago

What’s happening in Sweden is similar to what has happened in the Democratic controlled states and cities of the U.S, where liberal-left-wing voters have installed ineffective local governments. These have allowed unchecked immigration and they are experiencing rising crime, homelessness, drug abuse, state bankruptcy and calls to ‘defund’ the police.
Many of these ‘liberal voters’ are fed up with the mess they’ve created and they are moving to Republican states and cites – where they all vote Democrat – again!
Look at what’s happening in places like Idaho, Texas and Florida.
The same is happening (to a lesser extent) in the rest of Europe where overwhelming immigration is leading to the subversion of many European cultures and large ghettoes have been created where non-integrated mono-culturalism exists.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  gavin.thomas

Immigration is most well-supported in the American states with the highest percentage of immigrants. Same in Sweden. Go figure.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

Those sake states also happen to have the highest income inequality.

Which explains why to a great extent. Those same immigrant living Californians and New Yorkers would never allow millions of educated Indians and Asians to come over, because they want cheap labour, not competition for their own jobs.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
2 years ago

What does positive assimilation look like in the West as far as the recent immigration of Muslims from the Middle East and Africa is concerned, based perhaps on immigration to Britain from Pakistan as seen in West Yorkshire or Lancashire? I’m asking this as a genuine question, hoping for an answer based on serious studies. If, for example, a Muslim is forbidden to marry a non-muslim or to leave the faith, with consequences ranging from social exclusion to honour killings, what does integration genuinely look like and how far are values dangerously opposed to western ones (if there are any) actually removed (in contrast to values or beliefs that are just different)? Is harmony possible or are we left with separate communities with very different values, in a strange co-existence that occasionally flares up? What is it truly possible to work towards? And can the different needs and desires of the various populations of differing origin all be met in a way satisfying to their constituents? Many needs and desires are mutual (income, education, work, friendship, food, leisure activities etc) but some are mutually exclusive (everyone should become a Muslim/irreligious/, everyone should marry someone of their own background/be free to marry whoever they want etc). Forgive me if I’ve offended anyone by using a particular faith as an example, I’m talking from my own no doubt limited perspective and stand to be corrected by those more knowledgeable than me.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

Good questions. I have no answers, just a comment. Rather than a prohibition on marrying outside the faith (I have met both Turkish and Iranian women in mixed-religion marriages), I suspect it is the push to marry cousins or other people from back home that holds integration back. Marrying someone form the home village gives an extremely valuable entry to a western country, keeps the morals of the next generation in sync with the parents (‘not like these westerniesed kids they have here’) and means that the children remain second-generation immigrants from one generation to the next.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
2 years ago

Unherd running articles covering the wide and largely taboo subjects of why media producers and politicians hate their own countries. It’s going to be a busy old day in the comment sections.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
2 years ago

“The cause of Sweden’s “special period”, which lasted between late 2015 and late 2018, looked (superficially) simple: the refugee crisis”
This can be traced back to the German government under Merkel arrogantly and unilaterally dissolving Europe’s southern borders in 2015.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago

What an incredibly interesting article. I note it was written by a person of colour. I wonder whether it would have been possible for a white Swede to publish such a piece?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Certainly in Swedish in Swedish newspapers.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

“They not only took in far less refugees than we did”

  • Fewer.
Paul Fraser
Paul Fraser
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

”Less” has been used with count nouns throughout history. Google “Robert Baker 1770” and you’ll see that this less/fewer hypercorrection is based on little more than one man’s passing observation.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Fraser

“Less” has been misused with count nouns throughout history. Google “Robert Baker 1770” and you’ll see this less/fewer hypermistake persisting since at least the 18th century.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Fraser

But it is amusing in an article about Sweden, where the distinction between ‘countable’ nouns and ‘uncountable’ ones is baked into the language.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I would have used ‘fewer’, but in spite of that, the meaning was clear.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago

I see in Sweden systems slowly building to separate the rich neighbourhoods from the poor, the middle class from the undesirables, private schools to educate the privileged all the while clinging to their ideals of equality and some fighting back.
And what you get in the end is Britain. So, I suspect a process of Britannisation of Sweden must be happening now.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Emre Emre

The ‘privately run but state funded’ schools have been part of Sweden since 1992. So, not exactly new. The Social Democrats (ruling party) plan to campaign on forbidding them to make a profit, for the elections next year. Should make for interesting times, as there is widespread consensus that the schools are not performing well, and Swedish international testing scores have dropped compared to other nations. Now, as to why this is so, there is nothing but disagreement.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Emre Emre

The “neoliberalization” of Sweden has been well underway since the recession of the early 1990s gave the Moderates their in to privatize everything, cut taxes, and reduce social spending in the name of competitiveness. Since then, even the Swedish Social Democrats have been like “Third Way” Liberals, as influenced by Thatcher or Reagan as their Conservative counterparts. The current PM describes himself as a “right-wing Social Democrat.”
And, indeed, the endpoint is the UK (or the US). Swedes don’t remember what that was like because Sweden has been a Nordic Model utopia for so long. It maddens me that they take what they have so for granted. Fewer and fewer join unions and those unions are more and more shy about taking any labor action. The parties are dominated by the professional upper-middle-class instead of workers. Stockholmers can be segregated into nice neighborhoods far away from the “poors.” And then these Swedes who have drawn from the social welfare account for their entire lives want to just make money! They’re horrified when they move to the US or UK to be in Big Show and are aghast at what people there like them actually have to put up with.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

I am all for having a few mandated classes for school age children about ‘Successes of the Labour Movement’ and ‘Really Horrible Things that Happen to Workers in Other Countries that Don’t Happen Here’ and ‘Dangerous Violent Criminals — They Really *Aren’t* Like the Rest of Us’. I am sure we can find some other good ideas. Somehow, the political classes around here got the strange idea that it was shameful for Swedes to think that a big multi-generational effort focused on making a better society could have, you know, produced a better society.
Meanwhile I keep hearing Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ in the back of my head.
Don’t it always seem to go — that you don’t know what you’ve got — ’til it’s gone.
I don’t know about you, but I am trying to save the good bits and improve on the parts that aren’t working so well.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

I lived in the Netherlands for much of my adult life, and while I enjoyed it, I emigrated to the US ‘just to make money’. The thing about socialist utopias is that you eventually grow out of them. There are too many rules and conventions that keep one ‘in their place’. I loved living there, but working there was infuriating as wasn’t much in the way of originality or opportunity outside prescribed social conventions. There was also very little room for personal ambition and most of my salary was going on taxes. For a long time I felt like I was pretending to work, and pretending to get paid. The US, in contrast, is far more haphazard, but I feel like you get what you put into it, although that might be changing under this weird new regime we are under…

Last edited 2 years ago by Julian Farrows
Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I see your point. But I would suggest that the US is “The Big Show” for the minority of people of sufficient talent, means, and ambition mostly because of its size and unique status as a country that is both wealthy and large. So, the US can support the biggest companies and the biggest culture products and the biggest everything in a way that the Netherlands (or Sweden) never could.
Europe can’t, and that’s not because it’s too Socialist or suffers from the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” or Jantelagen (if we’re talking Scandinavia), but because it is a fractured market of 27 countries and multiple languages and (despite the dreams of the most ardent EU Maximalists) manifold systems.
This is more important than progressive taxation or other aspects of European Social Democracy for putting a lid on people who “grow out of it” and yearn for bigger things.
The evidence of that is how many very rich people there are in Sweden (like the Netherlands). Sweden has as many billionaires per capita as the United States does (and has a similar rate of “unicorn” tech companies, too). Sweden has massive wealth inequality–the highest in Europe. Its income inequality is low, yes. But rich people don’t make wealth from income, do they?
And the highest paid individuals don’t really pay as many taxes as the government might prefer, do they? The founder of the most Swedish of companies, IKEA, has run his company as a foundation in the Netherlands since the 1970s, taking advantage of the many perfectly legal means of tax-dodging that have long been a specialty of the Dutch. Even if you’re not that audacious, you can, perfectly legally and rather easily divert income to pension (like Peter Thiel in the US, who has $5 billion in his 401K) to lower your income tax and capital gains exposure to a very modest level.
So, this excuse that you cannot get rich here because of all the Socialism is just bogus.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Actually, aside from VĂ€nsterpartiet (The far left party) the political classes were all falling over each other in the hurry to get rid of the wealth tax, even after prominent wealthy people around here came out in favour of it. I don’t see anybody promising to put it back, either.
Some people were claiming that the money that was leaving Sweden to avoid the wealth tax reduced tax revenues by more than the wealth tax brought in, but I never saw any figures to back up that assertion.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

A wealth tax is so difficult to actually execute, whatever its utility for policy goals. How do you count it and then, worse, value it? Market value of all equity holdings or business equity? SV and other tax authorities do already do this for property taxation, updating your tax burden based on market value. But making it exhaustive seems practically impossible.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Just because ‘the best’ is difficult to execute doesn’t mean that we should give up on ‘the good’. I’m with Watson-Watt and the cult of the imperfect on this one:
Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.”

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago

For what it’s worth UK and US are very different systems and countries. Despite its participation in neoliberalism UK continues to retain a high level of idealism – one of the most socialised health systems in the world to start with.
Sweden can do a lot worse than becoming similar to UK.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  Emre Emre

…for now. I think the pandemic has given the English a renewed respect for the NHS, but it’s suffered underfunding and increasing privatization for years now. I’d still take the NHS over the cruddy American healthcare system (and I assure you I have very personal reasons for that), but I wouldn’t bet on its viability in 10-20 years time.
And beyond the NHS, the social welfare system in the UK is a shambles. Childcare is as expensive and crappy as in the US. Housing is a hyper-inflating nightmare. Eldercare is nearly as bad as the non-existent system in America. Public schooling is actually much worse than in the US, and an embarrassment compared to Western European norms. Higher education is excellent at the few top schools and an (increasingly expensive) embarrassment any further down the list. I don’t say that with any schadenfreude or post-Brexit European snark. It genuinely makes me sad, as I have family there who agree with my assessment.
So, I hope for Sweden’s sake they never sink as low as the UK has. And I hope for Brits’ sake that they can rediscover what was, once upon a time, a model system of pairing the dynamism of capitalism with the prerogatives of social welfare.

Last edited 2 years ago by Geoffrey Greene
Fermented Agave
Fermented Agave
2 years ago

Curious Mr. Greene why you left your country of origin to move to Sweden?
You do seem to well formed opinions about your new home country.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago

Some of this goes back to the very start of this thread of discussion, and some of it is about individual experience or priorities.
Judging by PISA rankings for schooling quality, UK comes out between above Sweden and below Finland near the top. Looking at the QS rankings 40% of the top 50 universities in Europe are in the UK. I wouldn’t write off UK any time soon.

Last edited 2 years ago by Emre Emre
tamritzblog
tamritzblog
2 years ago

The last lines of this article are a disaster that eliminates the value it has as a good article. There is an unforgivable comparison between being anti-vax, a terrible, crazy, selfish anti scientific position and being anti 3rd world immigration which is a completely rational and honest position.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

Neither position is rational or irrational.

It’s stupid to be against a seasoned, proven vaccine like polio.
It is stupid to be against legal migration of 3rd world immigrants who value education and try to integrate and respect the host culture.

It is perfectly valid to be sceptical about a rapidly created, untested vaccine based on unproven tech that is being imposed on young adults with minimal covid risk.
It is perfectly valid to be against massive, largely illegal immigration if uneducated migrants from cultures that hate western civilization and values.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
2 years ago

Surely a Scandi-noir television series, replete with oh-so serious detectives – would it hurt to crack even the faintest hint of a smile? – is already in production with the working title FörnedringsrĂ„n.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor, I have watched The Bridge and many other Swedish productions and, unlike British shows in the main, I have been staggered as to how many foreigners, immigrants and gang members of non Swedish background feature as criminals. This wouldn’t happen in Britain, where anyone can be portrayed as a criminal. I think tv series are ahead of the game!

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

I think you should put “pending approval”, not “awaiting for approval”. Displaying “awaiting for approval” is just like saying “pending for approval”. Mama Mia!

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

Started long before 2015, more like 2000 ish

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

In this essay, your views on Stockholm and immigration read like a rant from somebody who doesn’t bother to take the pendeltĂ„g down from Uppsala often enough to know anything about the city in question. Most bizarrely, you contend that:

Sweden, being a historically egalitarian and homogenous country, never engaged in city planning meant to keep the poor from meeting the rich. The ability of the middle-classes to isolate themselves from the less desirable consequences of immigration has collapsed; with people living in extremely well-to-do neighbourhoods such as Stockholm’s StrandvĂ€gen now complaining about street racing, thefts, and drug dealing out in the open.

Are you claiming that poor Afghanis and Syrian refugees are the ones street racing expensive Italian exotics along StrandvĂ€gen, where almost no non-native Swede lives? Or are these dog-whistle “street racers” (are we to imagine them to be swarthy and menacing?) actually the rich white Swedish kids of Östermalm (or, more likely, Lidingö)? Are the drug deals perhaps actually selling cocaine to kids with back-slicked blond hair, queuing up for overpriced drinks in Stureplan?Are you actually furthermore claiming that Stockholm is not easily one of the most segregated cities in the world? And that, indeed, that’s very much by design? May I direct you to a map of the “Vulnerable Areas” in outer suburban ghettoes that are created by government planning, exactly? And how the public services there (not the least, public schools) are demonstratively poorer quality than elsewhere, even without the “white flight” toward private schooling? Where gangs have, indeed, taken root, but mostly because there is no local work, the underfunded police vacated the premises, and the government integration policy has been a total failure, leaving refugees in legal limbo actually prohibited from working for years.I live in a dĂ©classĂ© neighborhood in “Söder om Söder” that does have a large plurality of immigrants living in it (in marked contrast to Östermalm, where I work, and everyone is comfortably wealthy white Swedes). There’s no drag racing in our hood. Or evident drug dealing. Or thefts out in the open. There are plenty of drunks, yes, but they’re mostly the lower-middle-class white Swedes who dominated my area a generation ago. Like in Sweden, generally, my 40%+ immigrant neighborhood has some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Am I saying that immigrants don’t cause social issues and cultural panic? No. It is obvious that immigration causes angst. And you’re right in pointing out that the political climate in Sweden doesn’t allow candid discussion of those problems (and the solutions that exist to them). But you’re wrong in only offering false-choices and extremes. You’re only furthering stereotypes with a very superficial discussion of the root problems. You are merely reflecting here the reactionary panic of a class of Swedes and other xenophobes in other countries (“deplorables,” if you prefer) who are most often ironically found in the areas with the *least* immigration. Who talk of all immigrants as a monolith and a problem. Despite the vast majority of them being well-adjusted members of society. Despite the evidence that drug gangs and violent crime in Sweden long predated waves of migration (the peak of violent crime was in the early 1990s, even before any Yugoslavians came). So, is it actually crime or social problems of migration that are the issue here? Or is it actually just a cultural panic about keeping Sweden white? Why isn’t SD getting votes in my diverse Söderot area, if the white Swedes there are so inconvenienced and frightened of the new arrivals? Why aren’t the Neo-Nazis running the show in Malmö and Göteborg, if the new arrivals are such an issue? Why are the people angriest about immigrants found in the regions of the country with the oldest, whitest populations? Just like UKIP in the UK and the most regressive branch of Trumpian Republicans. The reaction is against “immigration” and not against actual immigrants.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

I mean, sure, let’s look. It peaked in 1991. And went down after the biggest migration year in 2015. https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/SWE/sweden/crime-rate-statistics

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Hi. Thank you for your detailed, informative posts here. But could I ask you what you might make of, from the article, “
 the deeply held national exceptionalism that makes up part of our country’s national ideology”. (3rd para from bottom). Does every European country have its own kind of national exceptionalism and national ideology? Are these the appropriate terms?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Swedish exceptionalism is special. 🙂 Throughout the cold war there really were a lot of people who wanted ‘capitalism without the exploitation’ and ‘socialism without the totalitarianism’ and paddled Sweden through a middle course. Which meant that Swedes could then point their fingers at the rest of the world and say ‘they’re all crazy’.
In the 1990s this was tough for those neo-liberals who didn’t want any Swedes questioning whether neo-liberalism was a good idea in the first place. So they have done their very best to make Swedes feel properly ashamed of any exceptionalism. ‘We’re just as rotten as everybody else around here’, was their rallying cry. So, at least in the circles where I travel, ‘Swedish exceptionalism’ is not viewed positively. Except, you know, by immigrants like Geoffrey Greene and me, who have a better idea of ‘how bad it could get/already is’ in other places.
I don’t think it is a national ideology. It’s part of the ‘our history’ and ‘stories Swedes tell about themselves’, but I think you need more than that for an ideology.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

Spot on there. I often say that the Swedes need to state out loud what is the “Swedish Dream,” and actually celebrate and promote it.
Especially to immigrants and new arrivals like myself. That’s the secret to integration. State who you are, and welcome others to be that. You cannot be angry at guests who don’t follow the host when the host isn’t clear about what they’re even doing.
Because The Swedish Dream as I know it is quite appealing. It’s not a Utopia. Utopia is nowhere. But it’s very very good. And I’ve been many other places. For some, perhaps it is even more appealing than the American Dream, which has suffered tarnish, of late.
Swedes like to fly their flags on special occasions, but are horrified by the suggestion of patriotism. They are too shy to brag, but quietly think themselves best. They deny their weirdness, and yet have a very dense system of implicit rules and very strange cultural mores.
Unlike Americans, they don’t realize that they are exceptional, for better or for worse.

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago

I do agree with our author and Laura there. Sweden has a “deeply help national exceptionalism.” And that’s not a universal trait of countries. Americans like me certainly cherish our exceptionalism (but only the positive aspects, of course). The French are famously exceptional in self-concept. The Brits are a little less unabashed in their own national exceptionalism, but it’s there.
I don’t have a rigorous schema for what the nature and qualia of “exceptionalism” is here, but I don’t detect this as much in Germans, Austrians, Italians, Belgians, the Spanish, Portuguese, Czechs, et al. A sociologist, historian, or political scientist would have a better answer than I do about the why.
And, in the Nordics, there are marked differences between countries: the Swedes and the Danes certainly consider themselves exceptional. The Finns and Icelanders, less so. Norwegians somewhere in between.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

And why all the downvoting ??

Geoffrey Greene
Geoffrey Greene
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

“Unherd” not as advertized when it comes to readers’ tolerance for any opinions outside of their own preferences 🙂

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

The most popular comments have 150-200 likes which is a fair indication of the active number

His comment was disliked by about 10% of the commenters.

Leave aside his strawmanning, name calling or obfuscation of facts.

If you post the reverse on the Guardian, going against the house view, you won’t face 15-20 downvotes.
You would face deletion of your comment, and possibly an account ban.

That’s the difference.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Tolerance means reading what you say, and respecting it. If I then decide to agree with you, that’s nice, but if I don’t, it doesn’t mean I’m any more intolerant than you are.
For the record, I neither agree nor disagree with you on this subject, I really don’t know.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Because Geoffrey’s opinions are his own and not necessarily representative of the facts and truth. Most of the downvoters are probably not Swedish residents but from one who is and has been since the 80’s I could write scores of text contradicting and questioning his assertions but these comments threads already have enough text. I have posted some of my views earlier on.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Why are the people angriest about immigrants found in the regions of the country with the oldest, whitest populations?”
Why is it that the only people on the planet that are not allowed to be proud of their heritage and accomplishments are old, white people of Western European decent?
And yes, I find it extremely offensive when “immigrants” come to MY country and change the language on their storefronts to their home country’s language, fly the flag of their home country and advocate for the schools to offer lessons in their language. And then have the audacity to openly hate MY country and call me a racist, all the while living a life style, which MY country provides, that is 1000 times better than the hell hole they came from. (Many on my dime too!)

Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

Excellent.