Social Democrats

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The Swedish
Social Democratic party is in a sense unique in the West. As they
have held the power during 65 of the past 74 years, the party has
more or less integrated itself in the state. The labor unions have
close ties with the party and supply funding and manpower during
the elections years. During the 2002 elections LO, the largest labor
union in Sweden, contributed with direct and indirect aid to the
Social Democratic party that have been estimated to a value above
500 million Swedish kronas. This is about five times the total election
budgets for all of the other six major parties in Sweden put together.
The Social Democratic government repays the labor unions by giving
them legal privileges and often follows their line of policy.

Not only do
the Social Democrats have the advantage over their competitors when
it comes to funding and manpower, they have also successfully turned
many government agencies into ideological think tanks. Massive sums
of money are used for "information campaigns" towards
the Swedish population. This information is quite often simply promotion
of the ideas of the left. For example, the Taxing agency has paid
for TV commercials advocating a high-tax society and Systembolaget,
the government monopoly on alcohol distribution (run by the prime
minister’s wife), has run full page ads in the biggest magazines
directly attacking neoliberal ideology. According to a report by
the Swedish think tank Timbro, each year over 2 billion Swedish
kronas are used by various agencies on such campaigns, dwarfing
any of the few think tanks that exist in the country.

The government’s
control over the political debate does not stop there. In almost
every stage of education, Swedish students are indoctrinated with
the ideas of the left when it comes to economy, social issues, environmental
policies and leftwing feminism. The two former fields, a doomsday
view on environmentalism and a feminist ideology strongly influenced
by postmodern Marxism, have almost risen to the rank of state ideology.
Efforts are being made to integrate these two fields into virtually
all fields of study in Swedish academia. In a study of the political
attitude among the members of the boards of Swedish universities
it was shown that over 60 percent had outspoken support of the Social
Democrats and 75 percent had connections to the party.

But it doesn't
stop here. The Social Democrats actively attack those powers in
the country that strive for political liberalization. The current
Social Democratic Prime Minister, Göran Persson, recently threatened
one of the biggest financial spheres in Sweden, that he might abolish
their right to have weighted shares if their directors say in public
that they want a change of government. As Swedish writer Johan Norberg
points out, Perssons government a couple of years ago flew to Brussels
and aggressively defended the system with weighed share (that give
some stockowners control without the majority of the shares). The
party secretary of the Social Democrats has gone as far as claiming
that Swedish corporations have gone together in a conspiracy to
reduce investments so that the economic situation is bad during
the election year, threatening the Social Democratic parties' chances
to cling to power. This is no joke, but the sad realities of Swedish
politics where the leading party has become addicted to power and
developed paranoia against the few enemies it has left.

The Swedish
Social Democrats are perhaps the best illustration of the big problem
of the welfare state. The big state exists for the sake of political
interest groups who wish to regulate the economy and the working
market, such as unions who shut out the unemployed from the jobmarket
or the workers who fear competition from abroad. The big state exists
for the politicians and bureaucrats who live of it. And the big
state has become integrated with the big party, spending massive
amounts of resources in forming public opinion for the ideas of
the left. The advocates of the big government should take a good
look at Sweden and realize something; they are seeking their self-interest
as much as any corporate leader, but they do so by enforcing their
will on others.

February
17, 2006

Nima
Sanandaji [send him mail]
president of the Swedish think tank Captus and the editor of Captus
Journal
. He has been admitted to graduate studies in biochemistry
at the University of Cambridge.

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