Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

"Benevolent" socialism shows it doesn't work either
Oak Lawn (IL) Reporter ^ | 5/9/02 | Michael M. Bates

Posted on 05/07/2002 5:48:44 AM PDT by mikeb704

Whenever one cites the dismal record of socialist countries such as Russia, China, Cuba, and all the other wretched failures, there’s always the rejoinder of, "Look at Sweden. Now there’s an example of how socialism can succeed if given the chance under the right circumstances."

I guess it depends on what your definition of success is. Certainly, Sweden hasn’t resorted to mass murder and the other terrors associated with dictatorships to impose their egalitarian paradise. Sweden is a democratic country.

At the same time, it’s apparent that state planners there at a very early stage were concerned about what happens when too many people are on the dole. Years ago it was revealed that tens of thousands of Swedes with government-determined undesirable traits such as poor eyesight or low IQ or "Gypsy features" were involuntarily sterilized beginning in the 1930s. Indeed, that particular collectivist benefit remained on the books well into the 70s. Another innovative program involved giving large amounts of sweets to the mentally retarded in order to study tooth decay.

No, Sweden didn’t have gulags or firing squads or planned starvations. On the other hand, it was never the ideal model of a welfare state as Leftists have claimed.

For seven decades, Sweden has managed to endure government redistribution of wealth. How? Perhaps it’s the small population; Sweden has fewer people than Illinois does. Maybe it’s the homogeneity of the society. Possibly it’s because Sweden sits out wars, saving huge amounts of money. Whatever the reasons, most Swedes are apparently satisfied to set aside their independence - and pay huge taxes - in exchange for some perceived economic security.

The late Astrid Lindgren wrote children’s books, including the Pippi Longstocking stories. That success brought her a tax bill from the Swedish government claiming 102 percent of her earnings. Even a Swede earning much less, slightly more than the equivalent of $19,000, is in the 50 percent tax bracket. And that’s after the conservative party, in office for a few short years in the early 1990s, slashed the tax brackets.

The standard argument is that high taxation and social welfare engineering have brought Sweden economic prosperity. Yet reality is very different.

As reported by Reuters this week, "Swedes, usually perceived in Europe as a comfortable, middle class lot, are poorer than African Americans, the most economically deprived group in the United States, a Swedish study showed on Saturday."

The report went on to note that if Sweden were a U.S. state, it would without doubt be the poorest one. The median American household income in the late 1990s was more than $39,000. In Sweden, it was the equivalent of under $27,000. The study’s authors noted that if the present trend continues, "things that are commonplace in the United States will be regarded as the utmost luxury in Sweden."

The cradle to grave welfare state heaven is coming apart at the seams. It’s had a considerably longer run than most other socialist experiments, but fail it must. And it will fail for the same reason all the others have: Penalizing ingenuity and effort while at the same time rewarding indolence and mediocrity doesn’t work. It’s contrary to human nature. It cannot be done indefinitely.

Sporadically, Sweden has made small steps away from a command economy. Reducing taxes a little here, lifting some regulatory burdens to help enterprises start up there, and whittling down the national debt temporarily slowed Sweden’s economic deterioration.

But now it must move toward individual responsibility if it wishes to turn things around. Sweden is most emphatically not an example of how socialism can work. Remember that the next time someone suggests it is.

TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: economy; socialism; sweden

1 posted on 05/07/2002 5:48:44 AM PDT by mikeb704
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mikeb704
But my Saab 99 was the best damm car I ever owned....7 years..165,000 miles..I wish I'd kept it
2 posted on 05/07/2002 5:54:38 AM PDT by ken5050
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mikeb704
The late Astrid Lindgren wrote children’s books, including the Pippi Longstocking stories. That success brought her a tax bill from the Swedish government claiming 102 percent of her earnings.

We better hope the Democrats don't read this---it will give them ideas: "Hmmmm. Who says tax rates have to stop at 100% of income? Maybe we can raise the rates to 200%?"

3 posted on 05/07/2002 6:02:41 AM PDT by 07055
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 07055
Socialism cannot be nor can it become benevolent.
4 posted on 05/07/2002 6:16:32 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: mikeb704
Maybe it’s the homogeneity of the society

Can someone explain this? How have Scandinavian countries managed to escape the hordes of immigrants from 3rd world countries that have invaded other European states? Too far north? Too cold? That can't be, look at Canada's high immigration numbers.

I suspect the answer is that they simply do not allow immigrants into their country. I know this is the case in Iceland - immigrants are not welcome. What I cannot figure out is, why haven't all the good little leftists risen up and destroyed college campuses and cities demanding that their governments open the borders and fill their countries with immigrants?

5 posted on 05/07/2002 6:41:19 AM PDT by PLK
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: mikeb704
Excellent piece and a great find; thanks,
7 posted on 05/07/2002 7:13:42 AM PDT by TopQuark
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mikeb704
I dealt with a guy from Norway on ebay. He turned out to be a conservative (rare in Norway!) He told me that he had bought a $2 VHS tape from ebay, but the customs didn't believe the amount. So he had to wait 2 hours on line for customs to check it and then pay a $15 customs fee to them for the "service". He asked me to send him a Bush sticker but I didn't have any at the time!
8 posted on 05/07/2002 7:22:22 AM PDT by I still care
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

They do have immigrants.

Here's one article:

Saturday, 26 January, 2002, 08:36 GMT

Young Kurd's murder shocks Sweden
Fadime Sahendal, who was killed at her sister's flat
Swedish TV highlighted Fadime Sahendal's case in 1998
The murder of a 26-year-old Kurdish woman in Sweden has shocked the nation and triggered calls for urgent action to protect young immigrants who fall out with their families.

The murder, was allegedly committed by her father, Rahmi Sahendal, as an "honour killing" because of her relationship with a Swedish man.

He was arrested soon after the shooting in the city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and has been charged with her murder.

He is reported to have wanted her to return to Turkey and marry a Kurdish man in an arranged marriage, which Fadime refused to do.

"For my family the purpose of my life was that I would marry a Kurdish man. Suddenly I was transformed from a good Kurdish girl into a wasteful whore."

Fadime Sahendal

Fadime became a symbol for the vulnerability of immigrant women after appearing on television to campaign against "honour killings" and her death has dominated the Swedish media.

Flags have been flying at half-mast in Uppsala and activists have held memorial services to remember Fadime in several towns across Sweden.

Immigrants' groups have called on the government to pass urgent legislation to protect the rights of immigrant women.

Since her death, the Swedish Government has accepted that parts of its integration policy have failed and has promised to change the law so that young immigrant women under 18 will now require permission to get married.


Fadime's killing followed years of threats and harassment by her father and brother.

In a highly publicised trial in 1998, her father was given a suspended sentence and a fine for threatening to kill her, while her 17 year-old brother was sentenced to probation for one year.

Her brother was later sentenced to five months in prison for continuing to abuse Fadime.

Fadime's Swedish boyfriend, Patrik, died in a car crash shortly after that trial. The police have now said they will re-examine the circumstances of the accident.


In November last year, Fadime addressed the Swedish parliament on the problems facing immigrant women.

Fadime was just 26 when she was killed
Fadime's murder has sparked an outpouring of anger
"I don't feel bitterness, but I think that it's important to learn from what happened to me", she said.

"I think that it's important not to shut your eyes to immigrant girls."

Speaking to a women's group's conference last autumn, she said: "I have had to pay a high price. My friends have become my new family. I do not regret leaving my family, but I feel sad that I was forced to do so. My family lost both its honour and a daughter.

"For my family the purpose of my life was that I would marry a Kurdish man. Suddenly I was transformed from a good Kurdish girl into a wasteful whore."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

9 posted on 05/07/2002 7:58:06 AM PDT by Kermit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: semper_libertas
Good job semper

How's this for a second, stand alone, cut?

Traditional American culture [does not] succumb to socialism. [To gain and keep control of the number one power on the planet], that culture must be destroyed. All who support that culture must become outnumbered and overwhelmed by immigrants who readily accept domination.

10 posted on 05/07/2002 8:08:21 AM PDT by Avoiding_Sulla
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson