For the last 21 years I have been apolitical, meaning I have kept right out of politics. Only now, with our family's - and lots of other families' - way-of-life coming under threat from some totalitarian-minded politicians (and those backing them), have I temporarily entered the arena again, though not representing any political party in Sweden or indeed any political system other than what may broadly be described as democracy, pluralism and libertarianism. That is all I am here to represent.
Previous to my emigrating to Scandinavia I was involved in British politics first as a Conservative and then as an activist in the newly-formed but short-lived Social Democratic Party (SDP) before it merged with the Liberals. When I arrived in Scandinavia (and in particular Norway) I was amazed to see how similar all but the extreme right- or left-wing parties were, a situation I later found duplicated in Sweden. This made it impossible for me to vote for any Swedish political party based on any ideological grounds since in reality the ideology was almost identical. The situation in Great Britain has now become, politically-speaking, as it was (and still is) in Scandinavia today. Somehow the parties have all become alike, retaining the outward form of democracy yet in truth representing a system which has gradually evolved - and is still evolving - into "something else" whose philosophy may best be described as CONFORMIST UNIFORMITARIANISM - everything being the same to which everyone is forcibly conformed or brainwashed into accepting in the impressionable years while at school. But what is that "sameness"? And are the interests of the people truly being represented (on everything but a superficial level)? Or are we, the people, serving the interests of key politicians who are themselves being steered by others whose support they rely on in order to retain or obtain power?
Currently Sweden rates internationally as the most democratic country in the world, a notable achievement if it is accurate (depending, of course, by what criteria you measure 'democracy'). As the map below shows (palest colour = most democratic, darkest colour = most totalitarian) democracy is not something we can take for granted - totalitarianism ever threatens our way of life globally:
The map does not, of course, indicate the individual national status of homeschooling. Were such a map to be compiled, the USA would be the palest (most free and democratic), with Great Britain close behind, with Germany being black (least free and undemocratic) along with other totalitarian countries like China - Sweden would be a very dark colour with the proposed new Education Law turning it black like Germany. What we need to do is make Sweden democratic on the educational front like the USA and UK.
I had not intended to write about politics on this website until I read an article in a Swedish newspaper in which the Stockholm Municipality announced that it not only wanted a more authoritarian Education Law than the one proposed but was apparently already taking steps to implement the proposed new Education Law (which is the subject of discussion of this website) even before Parliament has democratically voted to accept or reject it! (the vote is not due until the spring of 2010). In other words, they are putting into operation a law which doesn't yet exist but which they fully expect to be. How can they be so sure it is going to become law even before the politicians have voted on it? Or do they have some inside information which the public does not? Logically we can only draw one conclusion from this preciptous action: the Swedish parliament will be rubber-stamping a directive that is coming from somewhere else.
Such an attitude is intolerable in a democratic state. But is it a truly democratic state? Democracy is excellent if it extends to all levels of society. But what use is democracy if it functions at all levels of society except the top? Then you have top level dictating what we are allowed to vote between, as happened (and still happens) in communist countries. And if Sweden is no longer truly a democracy, then what is it? And what are people (and especially decent politicians) prepared to do about it? I for one have no intention of being steam-rollered by closet fascists who have a lot of explaining to do. And as I have already mentioned, the Homeschooling Issue has much more to do with mere homeschooling but our entire political process. I maintain that we are no longer living in a true democracy and we are at a critically important crossroads between democracy and totalitarianism. And what is the philosophy that is driving this covert system? It is what many are calling EUROPEISM (see article by Czech President Vacláv Klaus). And what troubles me the most about this 'Europeism' is that it is pretending to be democracy when it is not. The European Union, which Sweden and all the other member-states ill-advisedly (like my own country, the United Kingdom) joined under the lure of financial prosperity and an anti-war ticket (themselves admirable ambitions), is guided and run by an unelected, unaccountable and secretive cabal through a vast bureaucracy who have consistantly lied to us since the European Community was formed. Worse as far as personal interests are concerned, this EU bureaucracy only plays a flat 10% tax rate while the rest of us pay ~33% and more. I find this very worrying and hardly fair.
The proposed new Education Law, which Stockholm Municipality has deluded itself into thinking is already law, is going to be used by Swedish municipalities (kommuns) to flex even more autocratic political muscle to force us into a single mindset by the indoctrination of our children. We have already been given a taste of what is to come in the state abduction of Domenic Johansson and no doubt he will not be the last as this fascist mindset is exercised more and more.
Sadly, the Swedish Government has had a bad record in the past for flirting with left-wing dictatorships and not wanting to 'upset the status quo'. This attitude was no more clearly seen than in Olof Palme's socialist government's friendly attitude to the nominally democratic, yet unquestionably totalitarian Police State, the German Democratic Republic (Communist East Germany) when the Berlin Wall came down (see Svenskarna jublade inte när Berlinmuren föll - Swedes Did Not Rejoice When the Berlin Wall Fell). This weakness, when it comes to left-wing totalitarianism, does make one wonder what kind of 'democracy' is meant when one considers that many totalitarian states also call themselves 'democratic'. The mindset that is reflected in the proposed new Education Law reminds me of this 'totalitarian enchantment' that seems to occasionally afflict Swedes - so well reflected in the attitudes of the Stockholm Municipality - which every now and then seems to grab hold of otherwise moderate politicians and inspires them to engage in wicked acts such as the racist pre-war sterilisation of genetically 'unsuitable' Swedish women, the kidnapping of Dominic Johannson in Gotland, and now their proposed law banning Homeschooling.
Something has to be done and I hope that this and other websites will be a wake-up call that isn't too late. Honourable, democratically-minded politicians of all Parties from the Swedish Parliament are now needed to raise their voices and votes in protest against this mindset, so that those who do have a totalitarian mindset - or who have accidentally slipped into it without perhaps realising it - can be made more accountable to the public and can be reminded that they were elected to be servants of the people and not of party or lobbyist interests. To that end they can begin by voting against the new proposed Education Law and demanding that homeschooling not only be re-confirmed but liberalised along the lines suggested in my book.
If my book has not convinced you then take a look at the WATSON MEMORANDUM written for the U.K. Government by a state school teacher in Britain in response to the Badman Report which recommends the kind of monitoring that currently exists in the Swedish system. You will find it an eye-opener.
If things get worse in Sweden, which they will if something isn't done, then it will also become time to seriously review the whole democratic process and the so-called democratic structures which exist today. We need, as a long-term goal, to eliminate corruption and return power to the people. Politicians can retain their self-respect and integrity in the meantime by saying 'NO' to the new proposed Education Law banning Homeschooling and instead demonstrate the true spirit of democracy by liberalising it like America.
[They did not].
The article that follows, which was written in and for an American setting, is, I feel, equally applicable to us as Swedes and Europeans. I reproduce it below to give people an idea of what needs to be done if democracy is to be saved from the emerging fascism that hides under the name of 'democracy'. The people want to be represented, not to be programmed into accepting what secretive, unelected and unaccountable interest groups want. We want our politicians to represent us, the people, not their parties and those who influence the parties. It's time to move on to grass-roots or direct democracy and cut our ties to lobbyists and private interest groups controlled by money and the ever corruptible desire for power.
Please now read the article, Direct Democracy.
Dear Member of Parliament:
As a former Director of Studies of the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France, I urge you to vote against the proposed school law that would modify chapter 24, paragraph 23 in the proposed new Swedish school law, essentially banning homeschooling in Sweden.
In a pluralistic and democratic society such as Sweden’s, freedom in education must be respected because it is a recognized human right of parents to determine the best form of education for their children.
This right is recognized in numerous international instruments including the European Convention and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
In fact, the United Nations has explicitly stated that homeschooling should be permitted; the proposed Swedish legislation regarding homeschooling ignores the explicit interpretation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights by Special Rapporteur Vernor Muñoz.
Scholarly research in the vast majority of western nations where homeschooling is practiced has uniformly shown that homeschooled children excel both academically and socially.
Only in Germany is homeschooling banned - based on a totalitarian, Hitler-era law which endeavoured to augment state power over private and family life. Surely, in the democratic society for which Sweden has been a model, that kind of uniformitarianism should be avoided at all cost.
Prof. Dr John Warwick Montgomery
Ph.D. (U. Chicago), D.Théol. (U. Strasbourg, France), LL.D. (Cardiff U., Wales)
Professor Emeritus of Law and Humanities, University of Bedfordshire (U.K.)
Barrister-at-Law (England and Wales); Avocat à la Cour (Paris);
Member of the California, District of Columbia, Virginia,
and Washington State bars,
and the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States