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The Swedish Right’s moral panic over Russia Dissident intellectuals are copying the Left

A protest after the burning of the Koran in Stockholm - who is behaving irrationally now? (Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)

A protest after the burning of the Koran in Stockholm - who is behaving irrationally now? (Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)


June 20, 2023   6 mins

In 2015, a religious mania descended on Sweden, as long-simmering anxieties — about the growth of crime, the failure to integrate immigrants, and the collapse of the political centre following the rise of the Sweden Democrats — combined to create a spectacular moral panic. The tinder had been stacked for years, and was simply awaiting a spark: in this case, a photo of a young refugee washed up on a Greek shore. After that, the madness truly began.

The details of Sweden’s short-term embrace of open borders, as well as the idea that “Sweden” as a culture or a nation did not even exist, do not need to be relitigated here. Many things were said and done in those years that really shouldn’t have been; things which caused great damage to the country’s politics and society. Suffice it to say that the pressure to conform, to go along and to denounce traitors within the ranks, was simply too strong for many to resist. Anxiety, after all, is an insidious force. It eats away at us from within, until the only way to banish it is to attack the people next to us — to look for witches and traitors to burn.

By 2016, the opponents of this moral panic started to organise. Alternative media platforms such as Kvartal or Nyheter Idag were launched, re-launched or saw their subscription numbers grow dramatically. And as someone who contributed to the re-launch of Kvartal (which had a very similar profile to UnHerd in terms of its ambitions to challenge herd behaviour in media and public discussion), I had something of an “inside view” of Sweden’s intellectual dissident circles during the period.

Back then, people really did believe that this turn towards intolerance was unique to the Left. The hope was that, once the Left’s hysteria burned itself out, there would be no more bullying of dissidents, no more denouncing of those who thought differently as fascists, no more stultifying social pressure to mouth dogma that you knew deep down was incorrect and self-defeating. We were, as the saying in Sweden goes, incredibly naive to think so.

Today, the Left’s moral panic over refugees has largely evaporated. Yet far from ushering in a more healthy climate of debate, it merely gave way to another period of intolerance, one which is even more ridiculous than the last. To understand why, we have to talk about chocolate.

During the tail end of the First World War, a Norwegian chocolatier opened the Marabou factory in Sundbyberg near Stockholm. A century later, Marabou still produces its chocolate inside Sweden, selling primarily to the domestic market. And while other Swedish candy companies have decamped to other parts of the world where wages are lower, the Marabou factory — now located in Upplands-VĂ€sby — still provides well-paying manufacturing jobs to hundreds of workers.

In the last week, however, there have been coordinated attempts to boycott Marabou. The reason is simple, if comical: Mondelez, the American holding company that owns Marabou, also owns many other brands, some of which operate in Russia. Marabou itself does not operate in Russia, nor does it import from Russia, nor does it even sell to Russia, but that hardly matters.

There are, meanwhile, many national companies that do continue to do business in Russia, including the Swedish bank SEB and the state-owned energy company Vattenfall. Sweden also still imports Russian natural gas, while there remains an almost infinitely long list of companies who still sell to both countries. For those who want to make even a symbolic dent on Russia’s economy, it is clear that these businesses would provide more “logical” targets for a boycott. But logic has no part in these proceedings. Quite the opposite: to the extent that almost all of the “dissidents” from the 2015-2018 era are now copying the very Leftists they used to denounce.

In 2015, the moral panic around refugees had two phases. In the beginning, its social energy was directed outwards, and the belief that the world could be changed was the norm. For the first few years, people eagerly volunteered at various refugee organisations; they donated clothes; they raised awareness. Meanwhile, those who thought that accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees per year without an idea of how to pay for it were ridiculed, but this was also a means to an end. People genuinely believed that time and history was on their side; the “fascists” who didn’t understand were thus viewed with almost as much pity as hatred.

In 2018 and 2019, the tenor changed. The bad news — unprecedented economic trouble; stories about refugees engaging in gang rape; ethnic conflicts bordering on riots taking place inside schools — kept piling up, and became harder to ignore. In response, the moral panic evolved into its introvert phase, as the righteous shut themselves off to outside sources of pollution and sin. People no longer volunteered or donated clothes; they tried to police their own hobby groups or ban speakers from appearing at the local library. This was a retreat from politics into personal purity spiralling, and the more the activists lost their grip on the rest of society, the nastier they tended to become.

The Swedish Right’s implosion has followed a similar script. In the same week that Russia invaded Ukraine, the extrovert phase began: people donated money, organised galas and welcomed Ukrainian refugees. They also uncritically approved of Nato’s more far-reaching breach of international norms, the weaponisation of Swift and the seizure of Russian foreign assets. Those who said that these things could end up hurting the West in the long term were shouted down and ridiculed. The sanctions would work, the rouble would turn into “rubble”, and we’d prove once and for all that Russian energy was completely immaterial to the economic health of Europe.

Of course, just as with those predictions about uncontrolled immigration ushering in a golden era of economic growth, the reality turned out to be quite different. Today, Germany is increasingly deindustrialising, while the Russian economy hasn’t collapsed and shows no signs of doing so. Inflation is rapidly eating into the living standards of ordinary Europeans, and the upcoming winter promises to deliver even more crippling energy and heating bills than the last.

The boycott of Marabou is thus the Right’s equivalent to the Left trying to boycott and cancel speakers at libraries — it is the internal phase. The boycott is focused on a company that cannot decide to stop exporting to Russia, because there aren’t any exports to cut in the first place. While defenders of the boycott say that there’s a logic behind it, and that segments of the public boycotting Marabou will somehow lead to Mondelez being forced to shutter all of its interests in Russia, Sweden is a country of 10 million people and Russia is a country of 143 million. The maths simply doesn’t make sense. Again, there are many companies in Sweden that are directly guilty of exporting to or importing from Russia; boycotting one for what is essentially guilt by association in an age of multinational ownership structures is an irrational fight to pick.

But on a deeper level, the boycott of Marabou is in fact very rational, because it is no longer a fight about depriving Russia of anything. Rather, it is a fight about purity and righteousness, and of punishing the unrighteous and those who lack faith. As the West proves to be weaker than we expected, as our own economies enter crisis, punishment must be meted out. And it is because Marabou is a Swedish company, with Swedish workers, manufacturing for the Swedish market, that it is top of the list. This is the basic logic of witch trials: all the anxiety, all the uncertainty, all the cognitive dissonance that has been built up in a society can be solved, at least temporarily, by means of a social ritual that sacrifices the innocent on behalf of the guilty. Everyone agrees the workers at the Marabou plant in Upplands-VĂ€sby have done absolutely nothing wrong, but that is not the point.

Off the record, many people are starting to admit that this is all driven by “emotion” rather than “logic”, that one simply shouldn’t talk about certain things if they don’t want to be hounded and bullied. It’s not hard to see why: if 2015 was a tragedy, this is simply a farce. Even if the boycott is “successful”, the only realistic outcome is that Marabou closes or downscales its production and Swedish workers lose their jobs. On some level, most people surely know this; and that once the mania passes, the attempt to try to hurt the country’s manufacturing sector during an age of widespread deindustrialisation is something they will deeply regret. But, ultimately, the pressure to conform remains too strong.

In 2016, Sweden’s dissidents on the Right claimed to despise the routine virtue-signalling and bullying that had become so endemic to public life. And yet, far from being a product of “Leftist logic” or “cultural Marxism” or “wokeness”, this penchant for moral panic has revealed itself to be deeply human and seductive. All of which suggests something curious about Sweden’s intellectual rebels: they weren’t really interested in abolishing what they raged against — they were merely waiting for their turn.


Malcom Kyeyune is a freelance writer living in Uppsala, Sweden

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Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

Thanks for this interesting article, a good start to my Tuesday.
What occupies my mind after reading it – rather than considerations of moral panic – is to what extent citizens of the wealthy, pampered West have forgotten than decisions and actions have consequences.
With the migration crisis (which term I prefer over “refugee crisis”, as frankly most of the people who arrive aren’t refugees in the legal sense), so many people fell for the sugar rush of doing something good…and were then shocked to find out that letting hundreds of thousands of people from a completely alien culture into your country at once means taking on a huge integration task over DECADES. And that’s assuming that everybody who arrives behaves themselves and actually wants to integrate…which I can tell you is not the case, not by a long shot.
We’ve acted like children who are initially overjoyed to get a puppy for Christmas, then can’t stand it when the puppy chews our shoes and we realise we’ve taken on a huge, lasting responsibility.
Ditto with the Russia sanctions. First the pleasant feel-good hit of “Yay! European unity and down with the bad guys!”, then the realisation of what this approach entails.
To be clear, I do think that incurring a certain level of pain and disadvantage to fight for Ukraine’s freedom is absolutely the right thing, and in our own interests. What annoys me is again the shock and wonder that the actions we take have wide-ranging, long-term consequences…like the adjustment and transformation of our economies to deal with the new energy situation. Which means an extended period of difficulty.
Surely obvious to any rational thinker if you stop for 2 minutes to consider it…but emotion seems to trump rationality too often and our politicians avoid telling the children what the real deal is and what hard decisions/tradeoffs are in the offing for fear of losing votes or getting roasted on social media by the virtue-signalling puritans of the moment.
Long story short, we all need to grow up.

Peter D
Peter D
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Nailed it Katharine. Absolutely spot on. One knee jerk reaction after the other. The biggest trade off for taking in large numbers of migrants is that we get changes to our culture that we never wanted to change and if we say anything we get a side serving of vitriol.

Peter D
Peter D
11 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Nailed it Katharine. Absolutely spot on. One knee jerk reaction after the other. The biggest trade off for taking in large numbers of migrants is that we get changes to our culture that we never wanted to change and if we say anything we get a side serving of vitriol.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago

Thanks for this interesting article, a good start to my Tuesday.
What occupies my mind after reading it – rather than considerations of moral panic – is to what extent citizens of the wealthy, pampered West have forgotten than decisions and actions have consequences.
With the migration crisis (which term I prefer over “refugee crisis”, as frankly most of the people who arrive aren’t refugees in the legal sense), so many people fell for the sugar rush of doing something good…and were then shocked to find out that letting hundreds of thousands of people from a completely alien culture into your country at once means taking on a huge integration task over DECADES. And that’s assuming that everybody who arrives behaves themselves and actually wants to integrate…which I can tell you is not the case, not by a long shot.
We’ve acted like children who are initially overjoyed to get a puppy for Christmas, then can’t stand it when the puppy chews our shoes and we realise we’ve taken on a huge, lasting responsibility.
Ditto with the Russia sanctions. First the pleasant feel-good hit of “Yay! European unity and down with the bad guys!”, then the realisation of what this approach entails.
To be clear, I do think that incurring a certain level of pain and disadvantage to fight for Ukraine’s freedom is absolutely the right thing, and in our own interests. What annoys me is again the shock and wonder that the actions we take have wide-ranging, long-term consequences…like the adjustment and transformation of our economies to deal with the new energy situation. Which means an extended period of difficulty.
Surely obvious to any rational thinker if you stop for 2 minutes to consider it…but emotion seems to trump rationality too often and our politicians avoid telling the children what the real deal is and what hard decisions/tradeoffs are in the offing for fear of losing votes or getting roasted on social media by the virtue-signalling puritans of the moment.
Long story short, we all need to grow up.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Switzerland just had a its third Covid referendum, voting overwhelmingly to extend restrictions until 2024. I’m really starting to despair for the future of the west. The crazy train appears to be driven by the majority of people.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Fortunately the very heartland of Switzerland* the three ‘Forrest’ Cantons that formed ‘The Eternal Alliance of the League of the Three Forest Cantons’ (German: Ewiger Bund der Drei WaldstĂ€tten) in 1291, did NOT vote for this nonsense, nor for the accompanying Climate Change rubbish.

Sadly most of the rest did, which came as no surprise to me, owning a ‘hut’ in the place as I do.

This is a nation that gleefully squirrelled away billions of ‘Holocaust’ cash during the period 1936-1940, then flatly denied it had done so!
Eventually massive US pressure forced them scrap their fabled secrecy laws and disgorge their ill gotten gains.

So in short their ‘moral compass’ is non existent, but now sadly it seems so is their common sense.

Your final sentence is correct, and put another way means most of the ‘people’ are morons, always have been, always will be. One must act accordingly.

(*The land of William Tell as we used to call it.)

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

I’m not sure we would vote any differently on both issues in Canada. It’s very discouraging.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

I’m not sure we would vote any differently on both issues in Canada. It’s very discouraging.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

— H. L. Mencken

Last edited 11 months ago by Thomas Wagner
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Winston S. Churchill

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A very interesting comment when you consider what happened to WSC in 1945.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A very interesting comment when you consider what happened to WSC in 1945.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Winston S. Churchill

Tony Price
Tony Price
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I had to look that up. It appears that restrictions are not extended, but the legal basis for having them are should a resurgence occur and they are necessary. Seems fair enough to me. Here’s the link
And the climate stuff is about looking for net zero by 2050 – hardly radical!
And lots of posters on here think that ‘direct’ democracy by referendum is much better than representative democracy. I happen to disagree but if that’s what you want then that’s what you get!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I get the net zero thing. There’s never ever any costs or consequences associated with it. When that happens, people’s preferences change immediately. The Covid restrictions are discouraging though. The damage to the economy and society was so devastating, it’s scary to think people want more of the same. For the love of god, I hope I merely overreacted.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

so are the Swedes still dumb after this, full marks to Tony, clarification?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I get the net zero thing. There’s never ever any costs or consequences associated with it. When that happens, people’s preferences change immediately. The Covid restrictions are discouraging though. The damage to the economy and society was so devastating, it’s scary to think people want more of the same. For the love of god, I hope I merely overreacted.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

so are the Swedes still dumb after this, full marks to Tony, clarification?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Fortunately the very heartland of Switzerland* the three ‘Forrest’ Cantons that formed ‘The Eternal Alliance of the League of the Three Forest Cantons’ (German: Ewiger Bund der Drei WaldstĂ€tten) in 1291, did NOT vote for this nonsense, nor for the accompanying Climate Change rubbish.

Sadly most of the rest did, which came as no surprise to me, owning a ‘hut’ in the place as I do.

This is a nation that gleefully squirrelled away billions of ‘Holocaust’ cash during the period 1936-1940, then flatly denied it had done so!
Eventually massive US pressure forced them scrap their fabled secrecy laws and disgorge their ill gotten gains.

So in short their ‘moral compass’ is non existent, but now sadly it seems so is their common sense.

Your final sentence is correct, and put another way means most of the ‘people’ are morons, always have been, always will be. One must act accordingly.

(*The land of William Tell as we used to call it.)

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

— H. L. Mencken

Last edited 11 months ago by Thomas Wagner
Tony Price
Tony Price
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I had to look that up. It appears that restrictions are not extended, but the legal basis for having them are should a resurgence occur and they are necessary. Seems fair enough to me. Here’s the link
And the climate stuff is about looking for net zero by 2050 – hardly radical!
And lots of posters on here think that ‘direct’ democracy by referendum is much better than representative democracy. I happen to disagree but if that’s what you want then that’s what you get!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Switzerland just had a its third Covid referendum, voting overwhelmingly to extend restrictions until 2024. I’m really starting to despair for the future of the west. The crazy train appears to be driven by the majority of people.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

A fascinating essay on the nature of group psychology. Sadly, it suggests that if the tide ever does start to turn against the woke, they will enter their “introvert” phase and become even more spiteful.

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

A fascinating essay on the nature of group psychology. Sadly, it suggests that if the tide ever does start to turn against the woke, they will enter their “introvert” phase and become even more spiteful.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
11 months ago

Perhaps things are different where the author lives, but in my neck of the woods the objections to the boycott are coming from the right, not the left.

And it is because Marabou is a Swedish company, with Swedish workers, manufacturing for the Swedish market, that it is top of the list.

The only people I know who believe this are right-wingers of a particularly paranoid and narcisssistic bent — the ‘everything has to be about us and our policies’ end of the spectrum. Everybody else is perfectly well aware that Marabou is simply collateral damage in the latest ‘Let’s Boycott Something!’ offensive. Boycotting makes a lot of people feel good, but they aren’t primarily on the political right, who are feeling much better about lower grocery prices last month, and who really think they can get Vattenfall to build some nuclear power plants which will mean that we can become energy self-sufficient (or even a net exporter). We won’t have to choose between freezing + high energy prices and importing energy from Russia. Too bad we didn’t do this 5 years ago, but you take what you can get.
Should we buy back our chocolate factories? It’s been proposed. Not sure it can be done, but there are people who want to do that. I remember a time when the left would be all over the problem with the notion that we need to _nationalise_ our chocolate factories. I haven’t heard a peep from them this way so far, but my reading doesn’t extend to the more-Communist-left of VĂ€nsterpartiet. They could be chatting that idea up now for all I know.
Should we give up on boycott and sanction as a way to effect change? Lots of debate about that now, and about whether boycotts are even effective now.
And the anti-globalists are making as much political hay as they can right now, as well they should. They have got a example of what can go wrong with globalisation which everybody can understand. It’s hard to get Swedes upset about globalisation, because we are a net exporter, and the proseperity we have is dependent on having other countries buy our stuff, and everybody is very well aware of that.

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
11 months ago

Perhaps things are different where the author lives, but in my neck of the woods the objections to the boycott are coming from the right, not the left.

And it is because Marabou is a Swedish company, with Swedish workers, manufacturing for the Swedish market, that it is top of the list.

The only people I know who believe this are right-wingers of a particularly paranoid and narcisssistic bent — the ‘everything has to be about us and our policies’ end of the spectrum. Everybody else is perfectly well aware that Marabou is simply collateral damage in the latest ‘Let’s Boycott Something!’ offensive. Boycotting makes a lot of people feel good, but they aren’t primarily on the political right, who are feeling much better about lower grocery prices last month, and who really think they can get Vattenfall to build some nuclear power plants which will mean that we can become energy self-sufficient (or even a net exporter). We won’t have to choose between freezing + high energy prices and importing energy from Russia. Too bad we didn’t do this 5 years ago, but you take what you can get.
Should we buy back our chocolate factories? It’s been proposed. Not sure it can be done, but there are people who want to do that. I remember a time when the left would be all over the problem with the notion that we need to _nationalise_ our chocolate factories. I haven’t heard a peep from them this way so far, but my reading doesn’t extend to the more-Communist-left of VĂ€nsterpartiet. They could be chatting that idea up now for all I know.
Should we give up on boycott and sanction as a way to effect change? Lots of debate about that now, and about whether boycotts are even effective now.
And the anti-globalists are making as much political hay as they can right now, as well they should. They have got a example of what can go wrong with globalisation which everybody can understand. It’s hard to get Swedes upset about globalisation, because we are a net exporter, and the proseperity we have is dependent on having other countries buy our stuff, and everybody is very well aware of that.

Last edited 11 months ago by Laura Creighton
Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

The boycott is of Mondelez, and extends to Norway as well as Sweden. The company was blacklisted by Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. The boycott extends to Toblerone, Milka, Oreo, Daim and other Mondelez brands.
It’s a boycott being backed by major Swedish and Norwegian companies such as IKEA and SAS airlines – not really right wing – IKEA had already abandoned their Russian operations on their own volition. Marabou got caught in the cross-fire not because of what it sells, but because of the US corporation who owns it.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

‘Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption’. Someone is having a laugh.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

“because of the US corporation who owns it.”
And who the Swedes were fine with when this US were flattening Iraq, Libya,Afghanistan and Yemen

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

‘Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption’. Someone is having a laugh.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

“because of the US corporation who owns it.”
And who the Swedes were fine with when this US were flattening Iraq, Libya,Afghanistan and Yemen

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

The boycott is of Mondelez, and extends to Norway as well as Sweden. The company was blacklisted by Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. The boycott extends to Toblerone, Milka, Oreo, Daim and other Mondelez brands.
It’s a boycott being backed by major Swedish and Norwegian companies such as IKEA and SAS airlines – not really right wing – IKEA had already abandoned their Russian operations on their own volition. Marabou got caught in the cross-fire not because of what it sells, but because of the US corporation who owns it.

Maurice Frank
Maurice Frank
11 months ago

Interesting piece! Sorry to nitpick, but where is the proof that Germany is rapidly deindustrialising? A tiny dip in growth is more like it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

I don’t think you’re nitpicking. Whilst there is some reduction in industrial strength (for many complex reasons) across not just Germany but the West, to paint this as “rapidly deindustrialising” is typical of the overblown language used throughout the essay. The author has a case, but he’s guilty of the very same rhetorical distortions he seems to wish to rail against.

Contrast this, with the rather more mature Swedish response to Covid that had most nations scratching their heads in wonder. That doesn’t sound like a society in the midst of a collective nervous breakdown, even if there is some cultural skirmishing similar to other western nations.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

No it’s a bit more serious than that. German industrial actors are currently lining up to vent their frustration at the state of Germany as a location for business and are threatening to leave or at least only open factories elsewhere in future. Crippling energy costs, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, crumbling infrastructure, a lack of skilled labour…it’s all stacking up and you’d be silly not to see this as the start of deindustrialisation. Scholz keeps waffling about how the Green transition is going to usher in a new industrial revolution but do far this is just words and industry needs more than that. The truth is that Germany’s economic model is outdated and needs replacing, but the politicians can’t or won’t be honest about the difficulties ahead, either because they are unable to conceive of solutions or they don’t want to have to tell the wealthy, comfy Germans that stuff is about to get tough. See my comment above.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

Although Germany has not rapidly deindustrialized today, many are legitimately worried about its future. Economy Minister Robert Habeck has recently said that Germany may be forced to wind down or even switch off industrial capacity if Ukraine’s gas transit agreement with Russia isn’t extended after it expires at the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim called Germany the “big loser” of today’s global economy, placing it 18th out of 21 industrial countries in its competitiveness ranking.

The state-owned bank Kreditanstalt fĂŒr Wiederaufbau has warned that Gemany faces “an era of declining prosperity.” And Yasmin Fahimi, the head of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), warned that the energy crisis would lead to deindustrialisation and massive layoffs.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Arthur G
Arthur G
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Germany’s energy problems have almost nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with insane Green policy Germany could reopen its nuclear reactors and have plenty of energy. Or import gas from the US.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

They won’t do that! They’re too busy trying to be good little Germans, as ‘pure as the driven snow’.

Presumably they think the rest of us have LOST our memory?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

They won’t do that! They’re too busy trying to be good little Germans, as ‘pure as the driven snow’.

Presumably they think the rest of us have LOST our memory?

Arthur G
Arthur G
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Germany’s energy problems have almost nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with insane Green policy Germany could reopen its nuclear reactors and have plenty of energy. Or import gas from the US.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

I don’t think you’re nitpicking. Whilst there is some reduction in industrial strength (for many complex reasons) across not just Germany but the West, to paint this as “rapidly deindustrialising” is typical of the overblown language used throughout the essay. The author has a case, but he’s guilty of the very same rhetorical distortions he seems to wish to rail against.

Contrast this, with the rather more mature Swedish response to Covid that had most nations scratching their heads in wonder. That doesn’t sound like a society in the midst of a collective nervous breakdown, even if there is some cultural skirmishing similar to other western nations.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

No it’s a bit more serious than that. German industrial actors are currently lining up to vent their frustration at the state of Germany as a location for business and are threatening to leave or at least only open factories elsewhere in future. Crippling energy costs, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, crumbling infrastructure, a lack of skilled labour…it’s all stacking up and you’d be silly not to see this as the start of deindustrialisation. Scholz keeps waffling about how the Green transition is going to usher in a new industrial revolution but do far this is just words and industry needs more than that. The truth is that Germany’s economic model is outdated and needs replacing, but the politicians can’t or won’t be honest about the difficulties ahead, either because they are unable to conceive of solutions or they don’t want to have to tell the wealthy, comfy Germans that stuff is about to get tough. See my comment above.

Last edited 11 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Maurice Frank

Although Germany has not rapidly deindustrialized today, many are legitimately worried about its future. Economy Minister Robert Habeck has recently said that Germany may be forced to wind down or even switch off industrial capacity if Ukraine’s gas transit agreement with Russia isn’t extended after it expires at the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim called Germany the “big loser” of today’s global economy, placing it 18th out of 21 industrial countries in its competitiveness ranking.

The state-owned bank Kreditanstalt fĂŒr Wiederaufbau has warned that Gemany faces “an era of declining prosperity.” And Yasmin Fahimi, the head of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), warned that the energy crisis would lead to deindustrialisation and massive layoffs.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Maurice Frank
Maurice Frank
11 months ago

Interesting piece! Sorry to nitpick, but where is the proof that Germany is rapidly deindustrialising? A tiny dip in growth is more like it.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
11 months ago

I don’t know too much about Sweden, but have to conclude from this article that “Sweden’s dissidents on the right” are closer to the received views of the Biden administration and media establishment than to anything remotely describable as ‘dissident right’ in the Anglosphere, who generally advocate a negotiated settlement that respects Russia’s legitimate security concerns.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
11 months ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

I think that whoever wrote the headline just botched it.

Peter Spurrier
Peter Spurrier
11 months ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

I think Ukraine’s security concerns are rather more legitimate.

David Wildgoose
David Wildgoose
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Spurrier

You support Ukraine’s right to shell their own (ethically Russian) population for 8 years?

Russia finally entered Ukraine by invoking the UN charter giving it a “right to defend”.

I think Russia’s security concerns about neo-Nazis with a proven genocidal intent towards ethnic Russians are the ones “rather more legitimate”.

David Wildgoose
David Wildgoose
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Spurrier

You support Ukraine’s right to shell their own (ethically Russian) population for 8 years?

Russia finally entered Ukraine by invoking the UN charter giving it a “right to defend”.

I think Russia’s security concerns about neo-Nazis with a proven genocidal intent towards ethnic Russians are the ones “rather more legitimate”.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
11 months ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

I think that whoever wrote the headline just botched it.

Peter Spurrier
Peter Spurrier
11 months ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

I think Ukraine’s security concerns are rather more legitimate.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
11 months ago

I don’t know too much about Sweden, but have to conclude from this article that “Sweden’s dissidents on the right” are closer to the received views of the Biden administration and media establishment than to anything remotely describable as ‘dissident right’ in the Anglosphere, who generally advocate a negotiated settlement that respects Russia’s legitimate security concerns.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago

And in other news
..the world continues to spin out of control, like it has for millennia.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago

And in other news
..the world continues to spin out of control, like it has for millennia.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Holy holy crap!!! This is so bizarre I can hardly believe it. Maybe the author is mixed up somehow. WTF is going on? People are literally going mad. Words cannot express my profound confusion about this kind of behaviour.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Holy holy crap!!! This is so bizarre I can hardly believe it. Maybe the author is mixed up somehow. WTF is going on? People are literally going mad. Words cannot express my profound confusion about this kind of behaviour.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
11 months ago

Interesting observations about the Swedish mindset. By contrast, in the US it is the left in general which supports most strongly the Ukraine War – not least because it is under Democrat leadership that it is being fought as a proxy war against Russia. Those who have pled for a less emotional and less bellicose policy tend to be conservatives, and are routinely denounced as “Putin’s puppets.”

The desperate urge for conformity seems widespread in Western nations, and those on the left have claimed the moral high ground, denouncing dissenters to their policies with a religious vehemence – essentially branding them as unfit for participation in society. This is what banning, silencing and cancellation are about. Religious orthodoxy has never tolerated debate, as this leads to heresy – and the current left is no exception. The author displays their stages of reaction to the flaws in their canons in a way that is recognisable elsewhere in the West.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
11 months ago

Interesting observations about the Swedish mindset. By contrast, in the US it is the left in general which supports most strongly the Ukraine War – not least because it is under Democrat leadership that it is being fought as a proxy war against Russia. Those who have pled for a less emotional and less bellicose policy tend to be conservatives, and are routinely denounced as “Putin’s puppets.”

The desperate urge for conformity seems widespread in Western nations, and those on the left have claimed the moral high ground, denouncing dissenters to their policies with a religious vehemence – essentially branding them as unfit for participation in society. This is what banning, silencing and cancellation are about. Religious orthodoxy has never tolerated debate, as this leads to heresy – and the current left is no exception. The author displays their stages of reaction to the flaws in their canons in a way that is recognisable elsewhere in the West.

Sophy T
Sophy T
11 months ago

‘they tried to police their own hobby groups or ban speakers from appearing at the local library.’
Which speakers were they trying to ban?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
11 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

Teachers saying ‘we cannot work under these conditions’, for instance.

Tony Kilmister
Tony Kilmister
11 months ago

Fascinating witnessing all manner of digitally-savvy opinion outfits across the spectrum, and across nations, retreating to what is essentially a mediaeval-style intolerance of dissent and debate.

More alarming still is how many among those most inclined to view opposition as an existential threat are the expensively educated progeny of the existing upper orders.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago

Theater of the Absurd:

”The plays focus largely on ideas of existentialism and express what happens when human existence lacks meaning or purpose and communication breaks down”

Characters”The characters in Absurdist drama are lost and floating in an incomprehensible universe and they abandon rational devices and discursive thought” ” Many characters appear as automatons stuck in routines speaking only in clichĂ©”

Language”Despite its reputation for nonsense language, much of the dialogue in Absurdist plays is naturalistic. The moments when characters resort to nonsense language or clichĂ©s—when words appear to have lost their denotative function, thus creating misunderstanding among the characters—make the Theatre of the Absurd distinctive”

Plot”Traditional plot structures are rarely a consideration in the Theatre of the Absurd. Plots can consist of the absurd repetition of clichĂ© and routine,” ”Often there is a menacing outside force that remains a mystery;”

(1) Replacement levels of Migration, (2) the great Plandemic, and (3) the Insane Western Proxy War

A nightmare Play we cannot wake up from.

”“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”

”“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”’

”“ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this.
VLADIMIR: That’s what you think.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”

”“Estragon: What about hanging ourselves?”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

haha

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

haha

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago

Theater of the Absurd:

”The plays focus largely on ideas of existentialism and express what happens when human existence lacks meaning or purpose and communication breaks down”

Characters”The characters in Absurdist drama are lost and floating in an incomprehensible universe and they abandon rational devices and discursive thought” ” Many characters appear as automatons stuck in routines speaking only in clichĂ©”

Language”Despite its reputation for nonsense language, much of the dialogue in Absurdist plays is naturalistic. The moments when characters resort to nonsense language or clichĂ©s—when words appear to have lost their denotative function, thus creating misunderstanding among the characters—make the Theatre of the Absurd distinctive”

Plot”Traditional plot structures are rarely a consideration in the Theatre of the Absurd. Plots can consist of the absurd repetition of clichĂ© and routine,” ”Often there is a menacing outside force that remains a mystery;”

(1) Replacement levels of Migration, (2) the great Plandemic, and (3) the Insane Western Proxy War

A nightmare Play we cannot wake up from.

”“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”

”“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”’

”“ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this.
VLADIMIR: That’s what you think.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”

”“Estragon: What about hanging ourselves?”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot ”