Left wing pundits who romanticize welfare states have no doubt had a rude awakening following the eruption of race riots in the socialist utopia of Sweden. I don’t make this comment with the intention of bashing the welfare state. Rather, many leftists engage in what I like to refer to as “policy reductionism.” In other words, whenever any given society has certain outcomes, these people attribute said outcomes to state policies, rather than analyzing a society’s underlying values, cultural capital, and demographics.
Lest one think I’m excoriating the left while absolving the right, the right is equally capable of this folly. For example, the mainstream right loves to blame the pitiful performances of cities such as Detroit on “liberal policies,” unions, teachers unions, and so on. All while ignoring the taboo fact that Detroit and similar cities have predominantly poor, black populations that lag behind other groups regardless of who’s in charge. Anyone who thinks that poor blacks will perform as well as suburban East Asians if only some less indulgent Republicans were in charge need only look at the Deep South.
One can simply not look at policies in a vacuum.
That’s the reason why the progressives mentioned in the article are off base when they blame Sweden’s reduction of welfare benefits and growing inequality for the violence. Sweden, by any measure, still has some of the world’s most generous welfare policies. Nor does Sweden fall short when it comes to accommodating immigrants. Sweden ranks fourth among first world nations in welcoming asylum seekers, and second relative to its population. That’s why I’m simply not buying the traditional left wing narrative that Sweden’s riots are a result of poverty, institutionalized racism, or other oppressive white male machinations. Even the New York Times article mentions the fact that the neighborhood where the riots originated could not be described as outwardly desolate.
As Tino Sanadaji, himself an immigrant to Sweden, has repeatedly pointed out, Sweden’s successful welfare state is the product of Sweden’s unique characteristics, and not any brilliant governmental policies. Swedish culture places a high value on work ethic, trust, and cooperation. Logically, if one introduced a substantial population of foreigners who are radically different in values from the native population, and possess less educational or cultural capital, then they’re not going to mesh with the welfare state quite as well. However, since all cultures are equal in the eyes of the left besides the oppressive, hegemonic dead white male culture, then any shortcomings of immigrant and minority populations must be the result of pernicious discrimination.
Rather than be grateful for the refuge and opportunities that Sweden has provided them, which few other countries would provide, these minorities are irate that they don’t enjoy the same quality of life as the native Swedes. This, despite the fact that they played no role in creating Sweden’s advanced society.
Too many liberals have supported this notion that Western nations are propositional nations, meaning that they’re based purely on ideas as opposed to heritage or race/ethnicity. Given enough time, anyone can become a full member of society. However, as long as a substantial percentage of immigrants and minorities in Europe harbor cultural attitudes that are anathema to Western civilization, no amount of welfare benefits, coddling, or denunciations of racism and inequality will alleviate this problem.
Unless Western societies unapologetically assert their values and demand that newcomers embrace such fundamental values in the form of assimilation, there will be other Stockholm’s waiting to happen.
Diversity can only function well when there’s a an ethos of assimilation, and a dominant core racial/ethnic group that minorities aspire to emulate. Cradle-to-grave multiculturalism and tolerance can only lead to chaos, as Sweden’s story perfectly illustrates.