Swedish Perceptions

The Mass Psychology of Utopia

by C.C.M.Warren, M.A.(Oxon), Retired Professional Educator

In a recent edition of the British weekly current affairs magazine, the Spectator, James Dellingpole asks a pointed question: why did the British populist party, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), only score 7% of the popular vote in the last National General Elections, and 16% of the vote in the last European Elections, when according to opinion polls a clear 41% of the population supports their policies?

The answer, according to Dellingpole, is the way Nigel Farage's UKIP is PERCEIVED by the public, and the way it is perceived is shaped by the big media instititions like the BBC. Thus, he claims, had UKIP been a new socialist or green party, it would have been given high exposure in the media that would have resulted in a huge increase in its popular appeal. But being a conservative party, it has been relegated to the fringe by the pro-establishment, left-leaning BBC. Thus marginalised and dismissed by the media, UKIP has had to pull itself up by its own metaphorical bootstraps. And it is succeeding, little by little, as public perception of it is changed, no thanks to the highly biased and controlled media.

In 1985 the French writer Gustave Le Bon noted in his book, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind:

    "Perception is an extraordinary fickle and unreasonable thing ... Crowds always, and individuals as a rule, stand in need of ready-made opinions on all subjects. The popularity of these opinions is independent of the measure of truth or error they contain, and is solely regulated by their prestige. But once the prestige is lost, the crowd's mood can change very quickly."

One of the the ways the Swedish ruling class has manipulated the perception of Swedish citizens has been to convince them that its Socialist Model for Utopia is what has been responsible for its economic success, and that the system as a whole must therefore be left intact to maintain this indisputable affluence.

Unfortunately for the Utopians, Nima Sanandaji of the University of Technology in Gotheburg and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has shown in his latest book that the success of Swedish society is not linked to the welfare state at all. Rather, Sweden's success story is the product of cultural and demographic factors, as well as a favorable business environment, throughout most of Sweden’s modern history. The combination of very high taxes, rigid labour markets, and generous handouts actually constrain entrepreneurship and wealth creation in Sweden, not the other way round. The nation, Sanandaji concludes, would be even more affluent with a free market-oriented policy. In the conclusion to his book he states:

    "The Swedish model is often dramatised in the public policy debate, decsribed as either a social democratic utopia or a failed socialist experiment. These views are far from the truth. Sweden is a successful country in terms of low poverty rate and long life expectancy. However, these factors have much to do with Swedish culture that existed already when taxes were still relatively low" (The Swedish Model Reassessed: Affluence Despite the Welfare State, Libera Foundation, Helsinki, Finland: 2011, p.29).

Sweden is now moving closer to its free market roots, reducing taxes considerably, and rising in indices of economic freedom. However, individual liberty is definitely not improving. Rather, human-rights abuses steadily worsen. So long as the government can maintain the illusion that the social state is somehow inextricably tied into the economic one for mutual success, it will not only maintain its ongoing social experiment at control, and reinforce the conformist mindset, but continue moving Sweden towards a full-fledged dictatorship.

Economic prosperity does have a way of distracting public attention from social abuses. Communist China knows this well. By introducing capitalism and causing a major economic boom, the totalitarian government in Beijing is able to deflect attention from its human rights abuses. In return for the aquiescence of its citizens, the government turns a blind eye towards infractions of some of its abusive laws. Homeschooling flourishes...for now. Christian home churches flourish...for now. But at the whim of some politician or bureaucrat, the blind eye can soon become one of censureship, arrest and imprisonment, as Christians and groups such as Falun-Gong know only too well. And pro-democracy groups, well, they are strictly unkosher, as the Tianmen Square Massacre proved.

Unfortunately for the libertarian activist, governments and the ruling élites understand human behavioural psychology better than the activists often do. They understand, with Le Bon, that as far as politics is concerned, truth or lies are not what is going to win them elections but the public perception of truth and lies - which may be the complete opposite of what is being said or claimed. Sweden claims to absolutely respect human rights and to adhere to the founding principles of the United Nations, and most of its citizens believe that, but of course it does not, else it would not have banned the fundamental right to homeschool.

From the government's point-of-view, it does not ultimately matter whether what the state says and does is a lie or the truth so long as it controls public perception of it. Like China, the social experiments depend on the success of its economics. Gustav von Hertzen, who wrote the Preface to Sanandaji's book, notes:

    "...the bureaucratic welfare structure is inexorably eroding the very moral resources which make it feasible. In due course, economic decline is inevitable. This has become apparent in Sweden, and contributed to a political swing after decades of social democratic rule. The new right-of-centre administration has already made an appreciable difference" (Ibid., p.5).

On the economic side, this is true but as far as the social system is concerned, it has simply reinforced the Marxist matrix. All it is doing is making another version of China.

If it is Sweden's moral resources that have contributed largely to its success, what are these? Von Hertzen tells us:

    "Sanandaji's key insight is the primacy of the prevailing values. Honesty, frugality, and thrift were a part of Swedish culture even before the Reformation, which institutionalised these basic virtues. This moral capital, arduously built up over centuries, has sustained Sweden (and other Nordic countries) through many vicissitudes and supported entrepreneurship, inventiveness, and economic growth" (Ibid., p.5).

In other words, the predominant reason Sweden has been successful is its Lutheran-Christian value system. Socialism has simply ridden on its back and claimed credit for Sweden's centuries long Christian legacy.

    "Contrary to the commonly-held view ... the success of Swedish society is not due to the welfare state. Rather, it is Johnny-come-lately: expansion of public welfare started only around 1970. By 1985, taxes exceeded 50% of GDP, and by the mid 1990's Sweden had dropped from one of the top positions to a mid-level rank in terms of wealth and economic growth" (Ibid., p.5).

Cutting the bloated welfare state down by a third by the Centre-Right Coalition of Rheinfeldt and his forerunners has certainly helped the country...up to a point. What's still missing, though, is individual liberty and a people's constitution - a charter of civil liberties. And in that respect, the Centre-Rightists are actually Marxists, just like their Left counterparts. They wear two faces - a capitalist economic face and a Marxist social face. And as a result, Sweden is both Marxist and Anarchist, as I pointed out in my last article, Barbaric, Cowardly and Corrupt: The Socio-Fascist Swedish State.

Swedish society - and indeed Western society in general - has been conditioned by the clever application and manipulation of behavioural psychology through education and the media. Society has been led to believe that the destruction of timeless values and institutions such as the family, which according to the élitists' view stand in the way of true and pure socialism - is the only way to create a true utopian society, and is the reason for Sweden's economic prosperity. Well, we now know that isn't true. It has been the Christian-inspired family system that has been keeping Sweden going - and prospering - all along.

For the Marxist, "Work" has long been presented as the most important value of a society. Work, according to these utopians, is the pre-eminent value that will free people from their past misery, with values such as the "family" as the basic unit of stable society regarded as faulty, obsolete and anti-socialistic. After all, one of the goals of the Socialist Utopia has been to get 100% of the adult population into the work place, turning the home into no more than a canteen, a TV station, and place to sleep. Children, who see their families less and less, have been conditioned to view the amorphous State as their Family instead - distant, cold and not having the time a child needs for its emotional development. This disproven totalitarian philosophy has been a disaster for Swedes psychologically.

When a society is forcibly instructed how to interpret reality instead of being encouraged to find out what reality is for itself, it becomes an artificial society ruled by an élite political class who decide what reality shall be based on their own political and philosophical biases. This small group of parasitic functionaries at the top, replicated at every level of society from län (region) to kommun (municipality), are rotated through various administrative jobs while the mass of the proletariat do all the hard work in the factories.

In the now defunct Soviet Union, political commissars were officers appointed by the government to oversee military units in the Red Army to make sure that troops and officers were loyal to the régime. They even had the authority to countermand the commander's own orders. Violating basic human rights was intrinsic to their function.

This basic Soviet concept has been duplicated at every level of society in Sweden in its vast administrative apparatus, the state still employing about half the adult population. Today's political commissars, though, are the officers of the Social Services Department. In all systems that have been built upon this model - whether religious or secular - a well-defined administrative caste evolves and grows in size and power. Self-improvement and self-development of the masses is not the name of the game, for the masses exist only to operate the factories. In the Israeli Republic, which was founded by communist Zionists, this process was acidly referred to as "keeping the height of the grass even". In Sweden, it's called "lagom". In such totalitarian systems pretending to be democratic, social pressure is applied as a means of control of those questioning the system. And the greatest fear of those who operate these Utopian systems is to admit that their founders had made ideological mistakes. Typically, sarcasm is the universal medicine prescribed for those with what is considered to be a "wrong attitude". But then as we all know, sarcasm is simply the resort of those who are unwilling to consider new ideas or different people as having any worth.

The ignorance of the masses is imperative for the survival of totalitarian élites which is why open education - in which pupils think for themselves and discover relaity for themselves - is unthinkable. And that is why homeschooling has been banned in Sweden along with any kind of Free School with its own curriculum. Now everyone has to be taught the same thing because that's the only way to keep the masses in line with the élite controllers.

This repetitive totalitarian motif stands out like a sore thumb to those who know how oppressive systems work. And it is glaringly obvious in Sweden to all but those who know nothing else and have been conditioned to think in only one way. The socialists originally erected their flag on the Lutheran Flagpole, the very pole that made the country so successful until the 'Big Change' of the 1970s under Olof Palme. The irony of the Swedish Experiment, though, is that the very family pole that has been flying the Socialist Utopian Flag all these decades has itself been cut down by the Utopians. The Socialist Utopian Flag now has no pole! And a flag with no pole, like a country with no direction, must inevitably blow away.

Take away Sweden's cultural roots to make way for some mythical Utopia is, as Israeli writer, Ro'i Tov, remarked, like trying to create a "straw skyscraper built on a sour-cream foundation". Have they not understood that that is why the Soviet Union collapsed? You cannot erase centuries of culture overnight, let alone in one generation.

Swedish culture will survive the Marxist onslaught. The Russian one did in spite of Stalin's attempt to erradicate it, including its religion. At the collapse of the USSR, 33% of Russians claimed to be Russian Orthodox Christians and the rest atheists. Today the figures are entirely reversed.

Something similar will happen in Sweden, I am sure. Swedes will demand their flagpole back again as the prestige of the Socialist Utopians diminishes and the perception of the people once again returns to reality.

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Copyright © 2011 CCM Warren - All Rights Reserved

Last updated on 11 November 2011