A center-right opposition vowing to streamline Sweden's famed welfare state ousted the Social Democratic government in a close parliamentary election Sunday, ending 12 years of leftist rule in the Nordic nation.Sweden's Social Democrats, who have led the majority for 65 of the last 74 years, fell to modest tax reduction policies, opposition to a six hour workday, and the advocating of reforms aimed at streamlining business operations. With the exception of a brief stint in the early nineties, the ruling leftist Social Democrats have seen Sweden plummet from the world's fourth wealthiest industrialized country in 1970 to sixteenth at the end of the millenium (and currently 19th in terms of purchasing power parity for nations with at least one million people).
Prime Minister Goran Persson, who had governed for 10 years, conceded defeat and said his Cabinet would resign after the Social Democratic Party's worst election result in decades.
With 99.7 percent of districts counted, the four-party opposition alliance led by Fredrik Reinfeldt had 48.1 percent of the votes, compared with 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats and their two supporting parties.
Quasi-socialism (30% of Swedish workers are employed in the public sector) and generous welfare benefits (unemployment runs at 80% of salary as well as 18 months paid maternity or paternity leave) simply cannot hold a candle to capitalism, ceteris paribus, when it comes to sustainable economic and productivity growth.
But so what if production efficiency and effectiveness are not maximized when less than 2% of your GDP comes from agriculture, half of your industrial output comes from the engineering sector, you have abundant natural resources, almost a fifth of your population has a college degree, and you enjoy an average IQ of 101 (about as sharp as Massachusetts but with 50% more people)? With all of that going for you, you can afford to dole out generously to the less fortunate, do not have to be confined to the cubicle for 50 hours a week, and can live with a sense of financial security due to a buoyant social safety net.
That is, until you open up the floodgates to immigration and stop having children:
It touches the topic everyone knows is an issue but nobody will argue about: immigration. Sweden was one of only three European Union countries along with the UK and Ireland to open its doors fully to eastern Europeans last year and continues to accept large numbers of asylum seekers almost without question.
There is a general feeling that being Swedish is more about a set of values than racial attributes, but clashes of culture in a society once Europe’s most homogenous are easy to see.
In the busy city centre, blond teenagers play “chicken” in early evening sunshine, stripping to their underwear to dash through traffic and plunge into a fountain. A group of Arab boys stare on with mixed expressions of lust and disapproval, literal victims of shock and awe.
Sweden's total fertility rate is 1.66 children per woman, well below replenishment level. And its population, with a median age of 40.9 years old, puts it in a tie for the sixth most ancient among countries with populations larger than a few thousand. As the erudite, middle-aged Swedes approach retirement, the immigrants that are supposed to provide for them are instead living destitutely in ghettoes with both a sense of entitlement and a visceral dislike of the Swedish society that surrounds them (Sweden's Muslims, at 3.9% of the total population as of 2003, appears to be Europe's third highest, next to France and Holland).
The economic and social strains of rampant third-world immigration combined with an aging workforce and enormous governmental spending (78% of GDP in terms of purchasing power parity) are a recipe for disaster.
Although Sweden's problems are severe, they are similar to those faced by much of the rest of the Old Continent. And as if that weren't enough, Al Fin reports on an exodus of Europe's middle class to places like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (come here, damnit, and then vociferously support a merit immigration system and an absolute halting to net liability immigrantion so the US doesn't end up like moribund Europe!):
Escaping the stress of clogged roads, street violence and loss of faith in Holland's once celebrated way of life, the Dutch middle classes are leaving the country in droves for the first time in living memory. The new wave of educated migrants are quietly voting with their feet against a multicultural experiment long touted as a model for the world, but increasingly a warning of how good intentions can go wrong. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the pin-up countries for those craving the great outdoors and old-fashioned civility. ...Even as Israel reels over its war with Hezbollah, instability in Iraq, and growing Iranian influence in the Middle East, scores of European Jews want to move to Israel to avoid anti-Semitism:
More people left the Netherlands in 2003 than arrived, ending a half-century cycle of surging immigration that has turned a tight-knit Nordic tribe into a multi-ethnic mosaic with three million people of foreign roots out of 16 million. ...
Unlike most earlier waves of migration to the new world, this one is not driven by penury. The Netherlands has a per capita income higher than Germany or Britain, and 4.7 per cent unemployment. "None of my clients is leaving for economic reasons. You can't get a visa anyway if you haven't got a work record," said Frans Buysse[, the head of a private immigration consultancy]. Europe's leader for much of the last century in social experiments, Holland may now be pointing to the next cultural revolution: bourgeois exodus. ...
According to Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, Belgium's Flemish anti-immigrant party, about 4,000 to 5,000 Flemish residents are leaving Antwerp every year, even as 5,000 to 6,000 non-European immigrants arrive in the city each year. ...
These are not just any emigrants but, as the director of a migration consultancy bureau in Amsterdam, Grant King, notes, "Most of our applicants are in high-paying, good, solid positions here - they are not the unemployed. They are mostly middle-class Dutch people with college or university degrees. … The problem for the Netherlands is that the ones that they don't want to lose are the ones that are leaving."
Ha'aretz reports today on a survey that finds "60,000 French Jews want to moveIt's time to halt all immigration from the Muslim world. Europe has mostly been moving to the right, with a rightist victory in Poland and narrowly in Germany, as well as a strong showing in the UK, the results from Sweden, and the likely victory of Sarkozy in France. I expect continued Islamic immigration and the strain both that and an increasingly archaic population put on social welfare systems will continue that trend. Hopefully this will induce more of what the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany have been doing in essentially filtering out hardline Islamic immigrants.
to Israel." Arik Cohen of Bar-Ilan University reached this conclusion by giving
questionnaires to the 125,000 French Jewish tourists who visited Israel in the summer of 2004. Of this huge sample, 52 percent said they see their future in Israel. Half of those aged 15-18 said they had personally experienced instances of anti-Semitism in the past four years. A third of the youth said they are considering immigration to Israel in the near future.
There is a glaring lesson here for leftists: Uskilled, uneducated third-world hordes work against much of what you support. They strain the welfare system and fail to contribute as much as they consume, rendering it untenable in the long run. They increase criminality so markedly that liberal policies on crime also become untenable. Vermont can afford to elect a Socialist to the Senate and let the occasional child rapist run free because it has an intelligent, prosperous population and relatively few criminals. But California certainly doesn't have these luxuries.
These liabilities also increase pollution, the population density, and breed like rabits. The Sierra Club is opposed to all of this, yet while putatively supporting population reduction, the organization is nowhere to be found on what is causing over half of America's current population growth:
Sierra Club takes no position on United States immigration levels and policies. The Club's membership voted on April 25, 1998 to remain committed to environmental rights and protection for all within our borders, without discrimination basedThis even though Hispanic immigrants in the US appear to be more fecund when they come here than when they stay in Mexico!
on immigration status.
Muslims in Europe are virulently intolerant of Western liberalism. Hispanic immigrants are the most anti-Semitic ethnic group in the US. Both groups are as or more religious than the natives in their host countries. These are all things leftists tend to oppose. Why, then, the strange alliance with these groups? Is it to morally posture into a position superior to that of 'bigoted' rightists (which assumes that little legitimate threat is seen in these immigrants)? Is it to accrete the leftist voting bloc, even as the haughty intellectual liberalism camp and proletariat racialist redistributionist camp diverge?
Liberalism is Western. When the Europeans that sustain it dwindle, so does it.
(Clash of civilizations)