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Socialist scandals 1990s – 2000s in Sweden

1. 1994. Business minister and union leader Björn Rosengren went to porn Club Tabu using union money ($8000 for one night), claiming he did not understand what kind of establishment he gotten into so late at night. Evidence of him being with prostitutes at the time is still around but not substantiated.
2. Fall 1995. Mona Sahlin, labour minister and deputy prime minister by then, later party leader 2007- 2010, had to leave her posts when parliament discovered that she had used public cash to purchase private services and goods, paid nanny services illegally, not paying child-care fees, taxes, 98 parking tickets and TV/ radio fees in time forcing her to the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden). She had just accepted the post as party leader after Ingvar Carlsson in 1995 but left next year all political positions. She went during her personal crisis on a vacation to Mauritius with three staff members paid by government.
3. 1996. Public municipal employees’ union leader and Örebro county head Sigward Marjasin was charged with mismanaging public and private finances but later freed in court. Leading social democrats denounced him.
4. Winter 1998. Stockholm social democratic leader Mats Hulth had been buying drinks on taxpayers’ behalf for many years media reveals. Municipal rules for alcohol consumption had not been followed. Hulth was supported by the local social democratic club but had to resign.
5. 2000. Family ties within the social democratic party and sphere becomes obvious when the son Thomas of former minister Lennart Bodström and the daughter Brita of former minister Anna-Greta Leijon become ministers too. Families Nuder, Larsson, Toreson, Carlsson, Palme, Holmqvist, Damberg, Marén, Lindh and Holmberg were also using the social democratic party nespotic networks.
6. Winter 2001. Extraordinary rendition of two refugees after 9/ 11 by CIA at Swedish airport to Egypt without guarantees of the men not facing torture. UN, Human Rights Watch and Swedish parliament objected afterwards to the deportation. Responsible minister was the deceased Anna Lindh whom every involved social democrats conveniently later could blame.
7. Winter 2002. Prime minister Göran Persson’s wife Anitra Steen headed suppousedly unaware the Swedish alcohol monopoly Systembolaget when systematic corruption was revealed between suppliers of wine and liquor and the Swedish government buyers.
8. Spring 2004. Party leader Göran Persson bought a mansion with 500 acres for $2 million. Many hard working Swedes did not forget this, even if the purchase was perfectly legal.
9. Summer 2004. Finance minister and deputy prime minister Bo Ringholm was criticized for being lax in illegal wages paid by a sport club Enskede IF where he was president for ten years. Police investigation was started but shut down since crimes were done too long ago.
10. Fall 2004. Metal union officials went to sex clubs, bought liquor and dildos (to give to loyal women) for union members’ money in Trollhättan. One evening in Brussels three union officials spent $7000 on liquor and prostitutes.
11. Winter 2004. Prime minister Göran Persson was made honorary doctor at Örebro University on dubious grounds. The official motivation for his degree in medicine, science and technology (subjects which non-graduate Persson never had studied) could be viewed as a reward for his support of Örebro university college when applying for full university credentials. Earlier attempts had been refused by academic authorities but Persson made way for the new regional university.
12. 2005. Trade union LO fired two officials (Jan Edling and Olle Sahlström) when they wrote about how the union and socialists used false labour statistics (real unemployment 20 % rather than officially 5 %) and corruption in housing foundations meant for poor widows of workers’ families going to union officials.
13. Spring 2005. Gunilla Ekberg expert on sexual trafficking and prostitution at a government ministry threatened female journalist Evin Rubar and other women organisations, but minister in charge Mona Sahlin did not react.
14. Spring 2005. Social democratic parliament member Ola Rask forced to leave his leadership of socialist and union education center due to having two positions, and a pension, at the same time.
15. Spring 2005. Government Employment Agency in Nyköping threatened to withdraw benefits unless unemployed construction workers went to Stockholm to protest against budget cuts in unemployment benefits together with the union. The government Employment Agency official signed the letter together with union officials and both stated that the march was mandatory.
16. Summer 2005. Center Against Racism, created by ministers Jens Orback and Mona Sahlin, did not use their government grants properly and had little activity but many expenses on hotels and restaurant. The anti-racist center got new grants each year without control.
17. Fall 2005. Police used union officials when checking on foreign transport companies after a storm in southern Sweden. Unions checked for collective agreements (optional according to Swedish law) while the police looked at safety arrangements. Unions used the uniformed policemen to obtain secret information from foreign chauffeurs that they had no reason to give to union officials.
18. Fall 2005. Zakarias Winberg was fired from his position at a trade union after writing an article declaring his loyalty to Christian Democratic Party, not to the labour movement.
19. Winter 2005. School minister Ibrahim Baylan stopped a report from National Agency for Schools which had found that private schools made better results and that teacher qualifications did not matter. In Sweden agencies are independent from ministers, but Baylan made the agency remove the report from internet immediately. An edited version was uploaded later and Baylan had to explain his actions to constitutional council at parliament.
20. Spring 2006. Göran Persson was sentenced but with no punishment in court for illegal constructions at his mansion under the care of his brother. Neither of them knew that such constructions must be reported to municipality and a plan for working safety be prepared.
21. Fall 2006. Göran Persson threatened to withdraw government bonds in telecommunication multinational Ericsson because CEO Carl-Henrik Svanberg said that a shift of political power could be refreshing.
22. Fall 2006. Leading lady of Stockholm municipal social democrats Annika Billström lost her political position but used regulations to fund her private business while being supported by taxpayers after her lost election. Legal but immoral many thought.
23. Spring 2009. Union leader Vanja Lundby- Wedin did not act or understand when as board member of the union pension fund AMF, she supported its CEO with $9 million when he was laid off on top of the $6 million salary.
24. Fall 2010. Two local socialist politicians went to Stockholm, got drunk and brought prostitutes to the unions premises. Buying sex is illegal in Sweden and the legislation is heavily supported by the social democratic, feminist, green and left parties.
25. Summer 2011. Party leader Håkan Juholt got parliament to pay for his apartment while his woman stayed there too. He also mismanaged rented cars and travels to Belarus on parliament funds.

Socialist scandals in Sweden 1970s

SOCIALIST SCANDALS

1. Fall 1972. Croatian terrorists hijacked a plane at Malmö airport, asking for release of Yugoslavian terrorists that had killed an ambassador and occupied a consulate in Sweden and money. Minister of justice Lennart Geijer could not withhold against the terrorists and gave in to the demands.
2. Spring 1973. The labour unions own faltering construction company BPA was saved unconstitutionally by Olof Palme through a foreign aid project for Algeria, a corruption pattern that would unfold later .
3. Summer 1973. Bank robbery in central Stockholm leading to robbers holding hostages for five days. Sympathy arose between robbers and hostages leading to the Stockholm syndrome. Olof Palme emerged as soft on crime, talking to the robbers at their request for 45 minutes that was taped by the police. However 20 minutes remain lost of the conversation. Palme used the tense occasion when tear gas had disarmed the robbers to speak as a politician rather than a statesman and thereby using a crisis before the election.
4. Spring 1975. West German embassy occupied by left wing group Baader Meinhof terrorists which left four people dead and severely injured terrorists. The injured were immediately sent to West Germany in spite of doctors’ recommendations and with no negotiations with German officials. The minister in charge Anna-Greta Leijon was one year later hunted by same terrorists wanting to take revenge by kidnapping her, which did not happen due to clumsy planning by the terrorists. Swedish left wing activist Pia Laskar was sentenced in planning kidnapping the minister but later brought into social democratic and union circles as lecturer on queer and left activism .
5. Oct 1975. A spy working for the social democrat party was revealed at Gothenburg municipal hospital where he surveilled left wing activists. Two leading social democrats, police officer Hans Holmér and journalist Ebbe Carlsson, were involved but not charged. They were however charged later in 1980s for other illegal actions doing police work without legal authority.
6. Oct 1975. Pentti Ketola, Finnish social democrat, was stopped at Stockholm airport with cash coming from Germany to help Finnish unions campaign against communists .
7. Jan 1976. Hans Eriksson, leader of Transport workers’ union, vacationed in fascist Spain paid by employers in spite of the union blockade of Spanish general Franco’s dictatorship. Eriksson would later resign due to mismanagement of union funds.
8. Jan 1976. Ingmar Bergman, world famous film maker, were questioned by taxation authorities in front of actors during a rehearsal at National Theatre Dramaten and left Sweden for five years to Germany.
9. March 1976. Astrid Lindgren, world famous children’s author, had been double taxed with 102 % and wrote a satire in the largest tabloid about the greedy witch Pomperipossa in the land of money.
10. May 1976. Brothels with politicians, royals, judges, military officers and heads of government agencies as customers were linked to the social democratic party. Polish prostitutes associated with the communist country’s Stockholm embassy courted military officers and ministers. Under age girls were involved. Police investigation was hampered by leading socialist leaning police officers. Documents are still partly filed secret.
11. Aug 1976. Female clerk at parliament who took notes for ministers Palme et al. was cohabiting with important drug dealer who was given pardon by minister of justice Geijer. The woman was given new job in the labour movement .
12. Nov 1977. Geijer, by then former social democrat minister of justice, were named among other politicians including Olof Palme in the press for visiting prostitutes. Palme lied about Geijer and the whole affair in parliament and to media.

13. 1973 IB affair. public disclosure of a secret intelligence bureau, IB (Informationsbyrån) that without agreements from parliament and in opposition to routines of secret services, had registered and persecuted left wing activists and others that the ruling socialist party disliked or feared. The bureau did not exist officially in the intelligence services, so there were no laws on military or civil intelligence to follow.

Debatter i veckan

Sista ronden av Timbros arrangemang på Teater Brunnsgatan 4 gick av stapeln 9 maj. Det första gav goda skratt men lite substans. Jag gav mig ned till Brunnsgatan i tron att Johan Lundberg, Göran Hägglund och Åsa Linderborg skulle visa lite mer djup. Dessvärre var nog denna gång än tunnare soppa. Lundberg mullrade, Linderborg dinglade med kjolen och bara log när hon fick frågor om sin syn på Lenin från Lundberg (blog dan efter). Om någon höll måttet var det KDs Göran Hägglund som verkligen försökte tala om elitismen i kulturvänstern men pladdrades bort. Gratis underhållning och vin, tack Timbro och tack LO som hotade med strejk på 70talet så att SAF fick samla in fondmedel vars avkastning nu blev till Timbro.

Veckans andra debatt var heldagsföredrag på libertarianska FreedomFest. Jonas Himmelstrands berättelse om hans flykt undan Uppsala kommuns socialförvaltning var gripande. Hans tre barn som varit i hemundervisning i sex år kunde inte garanteras säkra av socialtjänsten själva. De sade rent ut detta. Samtidigt hade familjen fått viten på över 200 000 kr för brott mot skolplikten. De flydde i feb 2012 till Åland.Se hans initiativ Rohus och Mireja. Libertarianerna i Mises Institutet och Piratpartiets Falkvinge berättade om statsmakt och frihetpatos. Som gammal folkbildare var det härligt att se unga och gamla samlas från 9 till 19 en lördag med att lyssna på ett tiotal tankvärda föredrag. Tror detta arrangemang uppfyllde alla regler för bidrag men inte tog emot några. Härligt.

Indian callings and entanglements by American- Indian authors

Two writers of Indian descent but brought up in USA has captured my interest, Anand Giridharadas and Sadia Shepard.

Anand was the first IHT correspondent in India in 2004 and wrote his narrative non-fiction India calling 2011. There he tells the story of his family leaving India in 1960s due to its poverty but also its traditions, rustic partiarchial life patterns and inability to nurture dreams. Anand did the opposite in re-entering India in 2004 to write about the emerging India for the world´s largest international daily. He gave a talk at Google recently about the background of the writing. The style is close to newpapers columns and very easy to take to, but there is a depth below the surface that gives a much more complicated feeling of what it is to live in India today with your eyes open.

Sadia Shepard has a more complicated family background that gives her reason to settle back in India (Anand is Tamil-Punjabi, stange but still imaginable): American Christan father, Muslim mother with Jewish roots. Sadia wrote in 2009 her book The girl from foreign about her search for the small Jewish congregation of Beth Israel, which are said to have come to India over two thousand years ago. She is a documentary film maker which gives her a reason to find her family roots around Pune and Mumbai, travelling with her brother and other film students. She was brought up in USA not knowing that her grandmother was Jewish until her late teens and the story unfolds into a remarkable identity puzzle. The style is personal but not sentimental, keeping the tearful American kind of huge feelings at bay.

Both books give new personal insights into the Indian identity as it expands into Western culture without losing its Hindustani distinct voice. Another generation of writers of Indian heritage has emerged, totally Westernized yet loyal to the land of their families.

Skolval och differentiering

Alltsedan 1990talets början då skolval infördes med rätt att välja annan skola än utifrån närhetsprincipen har denna möjlighet diskuterats livligt, ifrågasatts men något alternativ har inte presenterats. Skolvalet verkar ha blivit minst sämsta alternativ. Men det är väl tunt tänkt och mitt tidigare försök fortsätter med detta inlägg. Försök istället analysera skolvalets förutsättningar:

Om argumenten för att byta skola grundar sig på att eleven inte tros kunna få tillräckligt med utmaningar och kvalitet i den skola han/hon bor intill, tvingas eleven att helt byta skola för att få dessa behov tillgodsedda. Vad skulle ske om den närbelägna skolan hade möjligheter att differentiera elever så att fler kunde tänka sig stanna kvar?

1962 års nystartade grundskola hade det sista året uppdelat i flera yrkesgrenar och en gymnasieföreberedande, i enlighet med den sk Visbykompromissen, 8 plus 1, som liberaler och socialdemokrater enades om. I matematik, engelska och språktillval fanns särskilda och allmänna kurser. De särskilda kurserna behövdes för gymnasieantagningen. 1970 togs grenvalen bort, då alltför många elever valt den gymnasieförberedande grenen (i likhet med framgången för realskolan ett halvsekel tidigare). Ett decennium senare togs de skilda kursnivåerna bort i språk och matematik.

Sedan dess har grundskolan verkligen blivit en sammanhållen skola och ve den som ifrågasatt denna ambition (vilket skolvalet gör implicit dock). Sverige har en förhållandevis sen differentiering, vid 16 år men andra länder har krupit ikapp. Att sk homogena klasser med likartade elever i samma grupp skulle innebära en steg tillbaka och inte leda till bättre utveckling för alla slags elever framhåller Skolverket med bestämdhet i sin utvärdering 2009. Stigmatisering av de lägre kurserna och inlåsningseffekter blir följden, och ingen emotsedd utveckling i de högre antas ske om en differentiering införs. Skolverket har framför allt analyserat specialpedagogiskt motiverade grupper, dvs ”lilla gruppen” som ibland sitter i grupprum med outbildade extraanställda personer.

Om vi går tillbaka till enhetsskoleförsöken under 1950talet, som gjordes för att pröva fram den nya sammamhållna grundskolan på 1960talet, då svenska folkskolor, realskolor, fortsättningsskolor, nya enhetsskolor experimenterade med nivågruppering så finns en del att tänka på. Skolmannen Nils Erik Svensson som analyserade Stockholmsförsöket 1961 i en doktorsavhandling tog miste på resultaten från lägre och högre klasser. Sambandet var inte alls de han framförde som verkade leda till att sk heterogena klasser (dvs med både studiebegåvade och mindre studiebegåvade) skulle vara bra för båda grupper. Tvärtom hämmades de snabba och de långsamma fick ingen sporre framåt av att läsa tillsammans.

Detta kom inte fram förrän våren 1962 då opponenten Karl Georg Ahlström från Uppsala universitet påpekade missen. Till sommaren 1962 beslöt riksdagen ändå att införa grundskolan med sammanhållen klass till åk 8. Några år senare 1967 skrev professor Urban Dahlöf, och kollega till Svensson, att resultaten från enhetsskoleförsöken var ”skrivna i lösan sand”. De gick inte att tolka i någon bestämd riktning alls vad gällde uppdelning och differentiering. Statsvetaren Karin Hadenius nämner detta i sin avhandling från 1990 om målen för frihet och jämlikhet i den svenska skolan men sedan dess har differentieringsfrågan fallit i glömska. Till nu då bland andra historiedidaktikern och professon Hans Albin Larsson skrivit en ny skolhistorik med uppskattning av Hadenius forskning.

Variation är ett annat ord för differentiering som pedagogen Peter Nyström använder i sin studie från 2003 av matematiklärares inställning till att dela in gymnasieelever efter kunskap, intressen, ambitioner etc. Svaren är intresssanta och inte alls så enkla som Skolverket förmedlar senare i sin utvärdering. Nyström hänvisar till den populära jämförelsestudien ”The teaching gap” 1999 av matematikundervisning i USA, Tyskland och Japan. I det senare landet ses variation som en möjlighet för elever att finna sin plats i systemet, inte som ett tvång eller stigmatisering.

Kan skilda kurser locka elever att stanna vid sin grund-eller gymnasieskola ? Den skola jag var bitr rektor för 2004 -05, Hjulstastkolan i nordvästra Stockholms tyngsta område, Tensta, hade ma/no klasser som nog kunde sägas ha den funktionen. I viss mån räckte dessa klasser för att hålla tillbaka en del studiemotiverade elever men vad innebar uppdelningen för andra ämnen? En slutsats som differentierings- och intelligensforskningen kom fram tid på 1950talet (Dahlöf, Husén, Härnkvist m fl) var att personer sällan är begåvade inom alla ämnen. Med dagens skolvalsystem tvingas elever att inte bara söka till en särskild klass (ma/no, som om just dessa ämnen tydde på sk formalbildning) utan till en helt annan skola. Att diskutera kursindelning vore intressant men jag ser få forskare och lärare som verkligen tar upp frågan. Lite i periferin till min kollega Elisabeth Hultqvists genomgång av skolans legitimitetskris utfrån dess sekularisering och modernisering. Hon skriver:

Läraren ser sällan premieringen av ”de bästa” stå i motsättning till principen om ”en skola för alla”. Motsättningen mellan att tro på en jämlik och rättvis skola och uppgiften att klassificera och göra eleverna ojämlika hanterar lärarna genom att hänvisa till omständigheter utanför skolan: skiftande begåvning, olika förutsättningar och bakgrund, osv. Dubet kallar detta för ”nödvändiga fiktioner”. Även om man som lärare mycket väl vet att alla inte har samma chans skulle arbetet bli outhärdligt och cyniskt, (Varför ägna sig åt elever som ingenting fattar?) och helt förlora sin mening om man avvisade tanken. Värden som ”En skola för alla” eller ”Skolans likvärdighet” har länge setts som oantastliga eftersom de givit legitimitet åt läraren att tillrättavisa, men framför allt att betygsätta. Även om lärarna verkar för att ge alla en lika chans vet de nu att det inte längre är möjligt.

Om inte den sammamhållna klassen fungerar, och skolvalet kan leda fel som bl a sociologen Nihad Bunar hävdar måste vi utveckla nya alternativ. Även om de prövats i en annan tid kan de åtminstone tas upp till diskussion igen.

Neuropsykoanalys, barns utveckling och hjärnan

Kvällsföredrag på ABF huset i Stockholm om samband mellan neurovetenskaper och psykoanalys. Egentligen hade nog läkaren och analytikern Magnus Kihlbom tänkt tala om kropp och själ, medvetandets materiella sida osv, men jag ställde en fråga om aktuell hjärnforskning som ledde till att diskussionen efteråt gick oss till huvudet. Kihlbom var god nog att låta andra läkare ta över hjärnforskningens vindlande men vi enades om att träffas och tala om barns tidiga utveckling utifrån ankytningsteorier och neurovetenskap där Allan Schore verkar vara den främste just nu. Se intervju och hemsida.

The difficulty of being good and uphold dharma in the modern business world

Gurcharan Das is an Indian intellectual and businessman that makes you test your present ethical choices against the Mahbarat tradition of Krishna and the family feud of 2500 years ago. His book The difficulty of being good was an introduction to Hindu ethics for me in 2010 when I worked under his leadership at CCS, a liberal think tank in New Delhi. I was reminded of him last night and listend to an interview with him that is a good introduction. Das was CEO of Procter and Gamble in India but left early to pursue his spiritual and scholarly ambitions. Thank you.

Swedish self – images, state individualism and my writings

I have written earlier here and here about the book I am writing on about the Swedish self- image that partly will be a reply to the influential concept of ”state individualism” in the 2006 book ”Är svensken människa?” by historians Henrik Berggren and Lars Trägårdh.

Historian Lars Trägårdh has become a source for the new moderate government polices to ensure continuity with the welfare state of earlier leftist years. The Guardian let him explain his views when Cameron was here and as well as the moderate daily Svenska Dagbladet and the very useful web discussion forum Newsmill let him speak for an influential audience recently.

Below is an expanded draft plan of the book that will amount to a critique of Berggren’s and Trädgårdh’s optimism of their coined concept of ”state individualism”, see the links above for presentations.

Draft of writings on Sweden – an outline:

Introduction

Sweden the last century is a microcosm of the affluent West, modernity and individualism. The last decades have been tougher but still the Swedes make it well in most global market indexes, except for primary education.
This study will tell both the success story of the welfare state and its downfall. The two theses I will pursue are that the Swedish welfare state has given rise to an unfettered individualism supported by the welfare state. This statist individualism is cherished by all political parties and has deep national roots. Secondly, radical policies to correct and nurture the Swedes’ behaviour and minds in good directions are sprung from belief in expertise, science and government. The isolation of Sweden outside continental Europe has been crucial for nurturing exceptionalism during the Swedish Empire 16-18th centuries and in its unique leap from a poor rural economy with peasant democracy to a modern welfare state in very short time in the last century.

This study will try to link the welfare state with the unique domineering politically correct policies in 21st century Sweden, where the most embarrassing is not doing and thinking what is correct, from sorting out the garbage to memorizing with ethnic groups could get offended by speaking one’s mind. The Swedes must collectively be made to make the right choices by political campaign, ideologist state apparatuses and benevolent media when buying alcohol, deciding on child care, caring for oneself when unemployed, sick or old and finding a place to live in. The centre-right parties in 1990s and since 2006 have reformed some welfare state mechanisms with great excitement together with the centre-left parties with less excitement. But all parties want to use the enormous state apparatus and its experts to control choices, processes and outcomes.

I will argue that this belief in the good state and its well meaning civil servants was accelerated by leftist policies since 1968. With a vocal intellectual bureaucracy under PM Olof Palme elected 1969 the Swedish welfare state changed from a modest reformist state handing out pensions to an aggressive Moloch that interfered with not only your wallet, taking two thirds to itself, but also your values and self-respect. What distinguish Sweden during 1960s – 1980s from other nations were the ability, need and desire to employ loyal teachers, doctors, lecturers, bureaucrats and PR agencies in municipalities, ministries, government monopoly media etc.

The results are still with us whenever we enter public spaces or deal with the government. We are the children, the government is the adults. The legendary social democratic PM Per Albin Hansson created used national romantic term “Folkhem” (People’s Home”) in 1928 to describe his social utopia. In this national home, everybody should be treated equal. No bullies, no favourites, no downtrodden children. The nostalgia and force of the term Folkhem is still in repressive use after its heydays 1930-1970.

Earlier research and commentary

Earlier research and journalistic commentary has been done successfully by foreigners like R Huntford, M Zaremba, M Rojas, M Alapoeus, A Brown, N Sanandaji, M Karaveli but also by self-critical Swedish scholars and authors like V Moberg, S Rydenfelt, S Burenstam Linder, T Segerstedt, H Zetterberg, J Norberg, B Sundberg Weitman, A Edwardsson, M Henrykson, S Fölster, P Engellau, B Rothstein, A Lindbeck, PT Ohlsson, J. W.F. Sundberg, C Arvidsson, L Trägårdh, Å Daun and KO Arnstberg along with proceedings from Axess seminars on Swedish history and modernity. My contribution will be to condense these findings and draw conclusions that will bring contemporary perspectives. Little has been published in English with a comprehensive narrative of the particularly Swedish road to modernity and individualism. My approach will be to tell the history of Sweden trying to explain how the distinct features of Swedish nationality made the late 20th century welfare state to implode yet without any sound and fury.

The findings so far seem to be that the Swedes wilfully accept living in a state with little respect for rule of law, with little knowledge of individual rights against authorities, paying over 60 % of wages in taxes, fees, VAT and payrolls and succumbing to a nationally correct culture and media. Swedes are simply not interested in much else than consumption, security and efficient government. Humanity, integrity, religiosity, moral values and individual responsibility and courage are not popular issues and make them nervous. I may accept that being somewhat bland, anxious and with few human traits common to other cultures and peoples is the pale Swedish prerogative but then we should not be proud of being sheepish. Swedish politicians and representatives usually take a very high moral ground with little base. Our history of forced sterilizations in 20th century is enough to prove out incapacity to both being the epitome of modern welfare state and an example of scientific rationalisation, eugenics, social conformism and mental hygiene going mad.

The current situation

What has accelerated the inner contradictions of the Swedish welfare state is the inability to speak openly about any of these matters in media and research. Slowly the intellectual debate will change but new areas since 1980s have replaced the older socialist paradigm, e.g. government versions of feminism, multiculturalism, child care, security paranoia etc. With state controlled media, education and weak parliamentary system with little civil society backing, the executive branch of government runs the country like a corporation. No matter if the CEO is socialist or not, the state machinery runs effectively in praise of the meek citizens.

Table of contents

Prel title: Swede land

Introduction
Part 1 History: hubris, humility and hubris again
History 1000 – 1930
Hubris 1930 – 1970
Humility 1970 – 2000
Hubris again 2000 – 2012
80 pages

Part 2 Anxiety, conformism and policies
Schools
Academia
Gender
Immigration
Culture/Media
Legislation
Foreign policy
Business/Economy
Welfare
Anxieties
180 pages

Part 3 Alternatives, ideologies and national mentality

70 pages incl references

Total 330 pages

Part 2 will cover the current debates in these policy areas after year 2000; with some exceptions (the mad 1970s in foreign policy and primary education will not be forgotten). Part 3 will conclude with references to current political philosophy and ideological debate in Sweden. Liberalism and conservatism has been revived since 1980s by liberal minded publishing houses (MTG, Axess) and think tanks (Timbro, Ratio, SNS) and will be considered along with useful studies by young writers like Hadley-Kamptz, Bard & Söderkvist, Norberg, Olsson et al. Little discussion on the particular issues, more on the national character of political culture and thought in Sweden. Debates in UK and USA on communitarianism, civic humanism and contemporary liberalism may be included.

Kultur nej, debatt, nej men ganska kul underhållning

I röd täckjacka främst i kön sedan 16.30 kom jag in till teater Brunnsgatan 4 där en utsåld kulturdebatt gick av stapeln. Martina Montelius och Marie Söderqvist vimsade med fyra personer som hade erfarenhet från kulturpolitik, produktion och organisation. Bitvis sade Joakim Berner t ex något vettigt (”Sam Nilsson” – doktrinen och Bosse Strömstedts bredsmala tabloidtänkande) men mest roades jag och säkert många andra av Montelius gränslösa skojigheter. Jag gillade allt som kom ur munnen , även hennes Breivikande som gick som en stöt genom publiken, men inte ledde deras samtal kulturdebatten framåt, bara underhållande. Synd att inte Leif Nylén eller Lars Nittve var med. Lite rustik rebellism och fakta hade behövts.

Dagen därpå skrädde inte Anna Klara Bratt orden i sin än mer surmulma krönika än Svelands. Bratt menade att det hade varit tjänstefel att inte hänvisa till Breivik som Sveland gjorde apropå meningsmotståndare till höger om vänstersossarna. Fredrik Eklund hade just hyfsat DN debatten liksom Bo Rothstein, Gina Gustavsson och Dilsa Demirbag Sten men segt vänstervirke sedan 1970talet (oavsett när man föddes) förgås inte så lätt.

1980 pågick en liknande kulturdebatt, initierad av Jan Myrdal, Sven Fagerberg, Lars Gustafsson och Sven Delbanc. De kritiserade från skilda håll en ”massmedievänster” som inte tålde kritik och som stöddes av offentliga medel och etablissemang. 13 juni 1980 skrev Fagerberg att en opinionskantring var på väg. Alla fyra var ense om att en okritisk samling ”intellektuella”, ”nya herrar”, ”vänsterfascister”, ”politiker, ombudsmän, byråkratier, massmediemän, akademiska lärare” osv dominerade kulturdebatten. Gustafsson betecknade dem som ”Medievänstern. nya klassens vakthund”. Dess funktion var terapeutisk och avledande i syfte att skydda dess ”problemformuleringsprivilegium”.

Idéhistorikern och biblioteksmannen Anders Frenanders avhandling Debattens vågor : om politisk-ideologiska frågor i efterkrigstidens svenska kulturdebatt från 1998 ger en bra bakgrund till vad som skett i kulturdebatten sedan den 4 jan 2012 då Bengt Ohlsson startade allt med sina slängiga ord och starka erfarenheter av kulturlivet på och nedanför Söders Höjder. Tack Benke

Skoldebatt vi gärna glömmer men inte alla kan

Lärarförbundet och Miljöpartiet gick ut i veckan med ett inlägg i DN som vi i skolvärlden helst bläddrade förbi. Jag ska inte orda mer utan i sak eftersom Helena von Schantz och Jan Björklund redan sagt det mesta som gick om denna tunna gröngrå röra. Vi glömmer alltså och går vidare, och tackar Helena för gott tankearbete.

Debatt kan vara bra men forskning kan ibland fördjupa. I nr 3/2011 av Pedagogisk Forskning finns ett par artiklar som partiföreträdare inom utbildningspolitiken bör ta del av. I synnerhet Elisabeth Hultqvists intervjustudie med lärare, ”Om lärares förändrade yrkesvillkor”. De lärare hon möter vittnar om att kommunaliseringen 1991 som skulle innebära ett större frirum och dencentralisering förbytts i ökad styrning. Fokus på resultat har ökat pressen, vilket ökat sedan 2006 med Björklunds alla reformer i ett läge där svensk skola stått stilla sedan 1980talet och sjunkit i alla index sedan 1990talets relationsinriktade skola. Mer resultatfokus alltså, men också mer relationsfokus – det som Richard Sennett kallar ”intimitetstyrranni ” sedan 1990tal, före internet och sociala medier (se Etik i professionellt lärarskap och en ”semiofficiell” krönika om läraretik på nätet)!.

Hultqvist ser det dilemma som inleddes 1962 med en gemensam skolgång för alla barn utifrån vår meritokratiska värdegrund – de som klarar sig premieras men alla ska med. Paradoxalt. ”Ju mer skolan betonar ‘en skola för alla’, desto mer tvingas den följa upp och dokumentera, klassificera och nivågruppera” (s. 209). Franske sociologen Francois Dubets böcker Faits d’école och Le déclin de l’institutions visar på liknande tendenser menar hon. Med ökade krav blir utopien att alla ska klara kraven på t ex godkänt i grundskolan mer ouppnåeligt än någonsin, men få lärare och forskare vill tala om pinsamheten att vissa inte kommer nå ända fram (Björklunds förslag om korta yrkeskurser på gymnasiet fick dessa förväntade reaktioner). Den avideologisering och avstånd från utopier och auktoriteter som skett i postmoderna teorier sedan 1970 har satt sina spår men att helt avstår från hopp om att alla elever ska klara sig leder till cynism.

Johannes Åmans ESO rapport är viktig för att rätt förstå lärarna i Sverige i detta sammanhang men vi lämnar den till en annan bloggpost för tillfället.

Två övriga artiklar i detta nummer är intressanta, om än inte i lika hög grad som Hultqvists. ”Förändringar i kommunskillnader i grundskoleresultat mellan 1998 och 2008 ” av JE Gustafsson och K Yang Hansen analyserar vad som skett med vissa kommuners skolresultat där vissa positiva tecken kan skönjas men mer grundforskning måste göras.
”Den entreprenörskapande skolan” av M Dahlstedt och F Herzberg är dock mest en tradig disciplinärretorisk kritik av reformer och förslag om företagsamhet i skolan. Att se kunskapers och undervisningens värde i ekonomiskt hänseende är en styggelse och gammalmodigt enligt författarna. Astra Zenecas flytt från Södertälje lär följas av fler om de får råda. Helena von Schantz har också invändningar, liksom näringslivet så visst kan idéer om att öka företagandet från dess låga nivå i Sverige förbättras på andra sätt än diffusa skolämnen som entreprenöriellt lärande. Men som son till en småföretagare och en bonusson som utnyttjade UF maximalt för att skapa flera företag, se här och här , tror jag att vi inte ska läsa mer om begreppet governmentalité av Michael Foucault, även om jag själv översatte denna uppsats till svenska artikelförfattarena refererar till, utan hellre läsa Hayek och Henrekson.

Economic freedom index event


Johan Norberg commenting on Swedish economy

Monday 20 feb, 2012, at the liberal think tank Timbro in central Stockholm, the latest world report from Heritage foundation on index of economic freedom was presented by economist and report editor Jim Roberts.
Sweden’s position at 21 was discussed in more detail by Stefan Fölster from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and Johan Norberg.
Both stressed the need for reforms of labour laws and deregulation to stimulate entrepreneurship, albeit Fölster was more optimistic. He viewed the latest polls and voting in southern Europe (sauf Greece) where more moderate calls for tax cuts and reforms to promote business showed that even Europeans are responsible when needed. But Norberg was more pessimistic and saw little action in promoting better business policies and but government spending from the centre- right cabinet.
A good discussion and fun to see Norberg again in his home environment, a former Timbro fellow, now with Cato and an independent writer.

Sweden and its past – a place for ideological innovation

Recently two texts have caught my attention. The first text is the Fokus´ article about the New Moderates usage of Henrik Berggren and Lars Trädgårdh´s thesis about the ”state individualism” in Sweden.The second text is by Nina Samandaji on the Swedish Model reassessed

Both texts try to wrestle the history of Sweden from its social democratic dominance. They seem to say that Sweden was already on its way to the welfare state, building on liberal values, protestant work ethics and market economy. Nima Sanandaji is a young liberal conservative who started his own think tank Captus, while Henrik Berggren is social democrat, looking backwards. Lars Trädgårdh has been associated with the Christian college Sköndal. What divides them is their usages of the new and ideological innovative Swedish history. Berggren and Trädgårdh seem stuck in their preservation of a exceptionalist story of Sweden, even if they broaden the story to be founded on pre-socialist principles. Sanandaji is looking both to the history, but he sees Swedes moving to USA making a better life for them there than other nations. The exceptionalism is not nationalistic. His hope is to the future of Sweden, building on what has changed since 1995 in business life, slimmer government and social reforms to enhance work rather than benefits. Berggren wrote recently a biography of Olof Palme. He has not left him yet. Others have.

Folkpartiets landsmöte

Jag åkte till Karlstad i en oktoberhelg 2011 for att besöka landsmötet inom Folkpartiet. Här finns några rader.

Partistyrelsen lyckades trixa fram ett svar om marginalskattenivåer som räddade FP från en syn på välfärd som alltid ska innebära höga skatter. Märkligt att det 2011 i Sverige upprätthålls att ett samband mellan höga skatter och hög välfärd alltid gäller, även inom borgerligheten. I Europa finns flera länder med lägre skatter men snabbare och bättre vård t ex.

Det blir en grannlaga uppgift att tala med folkpartister om detta men jag ska försöka. Här finns några argument från Timbro om välfärdens framtida finansiering, här om fler företagare (som genererar mer skatt till välfärd) från Fores och här historisk inspiration från landsbygdsliberaler. Bara sätta igång !

Sweden and the Swedes 1900-2010. Outline of book idea

I am currently planning to write a book on Swedish political history and lives in the welfare system. Here is ToC

Table of contents

”Sweden and the Swedes 1900-2010.
The ambition and failure to care for, control and develop bodies and souls”

Preface

1. Samples of welfare state lives and individuals 2011

Part 1 Hubris. 1900-1986.
Introduction

2. History of the welfare state 1900-1986. Myrdals. Statist individualism 19th century. Child rearing, modernity, control.
2.1. Birth of welfare state 1900, 1906, 1932, 1945, 1957
2.2. Critique. Early social democrats, liberals, conservatives. Lindbom, Moberg.
2.3. Olof Palme 1969. LO, wage earners funds. Law 1974. Repressed culture.
2.4. 1976. Centre-right govnt. Crises. Literary criticism (Fagerberg et al)
2.5. 1982-1986. Palme back. Downfall

Part 2 Modern, rational and correct individuals and policies.
Introduction

3. Education
3.1 Schooling
3.2. Higher education and research

4. Gender, families and sexuality

5. Security, clientelism and morals

6. Immigration and integration

7. Foreign policy.
7.1 Säpo, KGB

8. Business and economy

Part 3 Humility. 1986 – 2010
Introduction

9. Economy and politics 1986- 2010
10. Community and individualism.
11. Social media opposition and new liberalisms.
12. Still corrected, still modern, still life
.
Eplilogue

The last part 3 will be hard to picture but little has happend in the lives of citizens that really has given them more freedom. Security is the overall ambition yet. Trying to combine more freedom with individual responsibility is not seen yet.

Lazy but dangerous thinking on 9/11 in Swedish media

The main dailies Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter were cordial but did not go into excuses for Bin Laden’s 10th anniversary today, but socialist tabloid Aftonbladet could not let off a lazy lecture by F Wirtanen. He rants of about Colin Powell’s speech in UN Feb 5, 2003 when the defense secretary explained of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq under Sadaam Hussein. There were chemical, biological as well as efforts to get nuclear weapons from North Korea earlier. Israel bombed already in 1981 a nuclear reactor build the French but Hussein was on the dirty bomb market ever since in  order to get plutonium and technology, just as Libya and Iran was. Aftonbladet cannot stay of the anti American trend in Swedish media and invites the great journalist and writer Jan Guillou later this eve for chat with readers. Guillou wrote a few days after 9/11 2001 that Bin Laden had right demands on the US, but was a fanatic. Guillou wrote en eulogy 1975 on Hussein’s Iraq. btw. . .

The liberal tabloid Expressen is  relativising the number of victims in NY 9/11, almost 3000, in relation to the 35 000 that has been jailed and/or sentenced for terrorist crimes since then. ”Hubris and revenge” characterized the US reaction after 9/11 the commentator writes. Yes indeed, revenge after the largest number of dead at any single terrorist attack is quite understandable. This kind of comparison is also taken on the death toll of Afghanis and Pakistans due to terrorist attacks which now go over 20-30 000. Many commentators write as if the US started the war by responding to the attacks, not the opposite. Truth is that Al Queda started the war on terrorism by 9/11  (and a lot earlier already by 1993 but leave that for now) and the South Asians and Middle Easterns should blame their Saudi villain for their problems and deaths, not US.

Simply Evil. Christopher Hitchens states the facts behind the attacks ten years from today.  The role of the intellectual is to introduce complexity into a discussion, the Hitch starts but goes on. ”But what I learned in a highly indelible manner from the events and arguments of September 2001 was this: Never, ever ignore the obvious either.” Blair says similarily that  it was ”deeply naive” to believe the west’s response had radicalised extremist Muslim factions.

US did not deserve 9/11, nor did it start the following war on terror but was forced to react and no one can deny that the Al Queda and similar terrorist networks and states (including Hussein’s Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Quadaffi’s Libya and to lesser extent Venezuela and Cuba) were and are threats to freedom, stability and human dignity. The leftist defence of dictatorships culminated in the post 9/11 frenzy on security and surveillance but must be blamed for what it is: lazy and dangerous thought. Swedish media makes this day harder to bear, not lighter.