Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sweden's welfare state faces a big problem

By Aussiegirl

This is a long but worthwhile read. Liberals always like to point to the relative success of the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare model in Scandinavia, but what they failed to understand is that that relative success was dependent upon the deeply ingrained homogeneity of their cultures. As this article points out, liberalism leads to multiculturalism, and multiculturalism leads to the breakdown of that very same social contract.

Islam on the Outskirts of the Welfare State - New York Times

But clearly, various experiments close to the heart of Swedish democracy and Swedish socialism have gone wrong. Swedes pride themselves on the success of the cradle-to-grave welfare state they developed over the last 70 years. For its foreign defenders throughout the cold war, it was an ingenious way of avoiding the pitfalls of both American-style capitalism and Soviet Communism, of achieving both equality and prosperity. But neighborhoods that were built to keep citizens close to nature now keep them far from the job market. Policies meant to protect people from persecution now expose them to neglect. Swedes have begun to use a word — "segregation" — that they used to employ only when lecturing other countries. A sobering realization is beginning to spread that the Swedish system cannot be easily adapted to a society in which a seventh of the working-age population is foreign-born.

[...] The welfare state has its cultural contradictions, too. It rests on consensus, which is another way of saying a lack of cultural variety. The stronger the consensus, the more room a welfare state has to grow. But as consensus strengthens, so does a certain naïveté, a belief that your own idiosyncratic habits are something that no one else could fail to find irresistibly seductive. Sweden's biggest immigration problem may be a matter not of crime, unemployment and Islamic radicalism but of something else altogether: that its newcomers understand perfectly well what this system erected in the name of equality is and have decided it doesn't particularly suit them.


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