Religious Private Schools & Conformity

There’s been an ongoing debate regarding whether or not religious private schools should be allowed in Sweden. It displays the notorious hypocrisy of Swedish public opinion and public debate. We claim we are open-minded, but this policy hinders parents from sharing their beliefs while favoring the socialist curriculum of our public schools. People are opposed to burqas and Islamic extremism taught in schools, but socialists and social-liberals use this momentum to ban ALL opposing creeds.

Sweden proudly proclaims itself to be a tolerant democracy upholding the values of free speech and uncensored journalism, but to all but the most ignorant or ideologically blinded, this is not the case. Free speech is censored in a number of ways, requiring every newspaper to have active contracts with censorship companies that monitor what the readers write, removing anything deemed potentially offensive. The reason for this is that if something in appropriate is said, the newspaper is held liable and can be fined, or even have its responsible editor sent to jail. Hardly free speech.

Journalism, likewise, is not only biased but censored. Half a billion crowns is given by the government every year to newspapers, ensuring their support of the welfare state they could not survive without. Johnny Stamming talks about how a large amount of his time as an executive running a newspaper was spent in close contact with politicians begging for more welfare grants for the ailing paper. Naturally, in such a situation, no proper criticism can be aired. On top of that, there are a number of rules for Swedish newspapers, such as being forbidden to post photos of convicted pedophiles. You can say or write whatever you like, thus, as long as you want the same thing as the welfare state.

Allow me to be clear. There is nothing wrong with a few, necessary limitations on free speech and free journalism. However, the ones chosen in Sweden are not chosen because of an overarching desire to protect negative rights, but rather to impose political consensus.

Sweden is a deeply conformist nation, where our definition of tolerance is treasured, and every other idea is opposed and demeaned. The latest example is if we should “allow” religious private schools, as if we have some sort of God-given right to decide. We clearly do not; it is a made-up right we’ve taken for ourselves, and it is evident throughout all social-democratic states. One of Salvador Allendes first acts in Chile before the Supreme Court asked the army to stop him was to nationalize all schools, for example. And in Germany, home-schooling a child will lead to fines and prison. In fact, the United States has offered political asylum (!) to Christians discriminated against in Germany just this year. The government, especially an all-intrusive one like that of the modern welfare state so feared by Tocqueville, wishes a monopoly on telling your children what is right and what is wrong. Is it any wonder Hitler was adamant about banning homeschooling?

I fail to see why an atheist, socialist school is better than a conservative, Christian one. I can understand why it would be more palatable to atheist socialists, but there is no reason to believe it is either better for the children, or their families, than being allowed more healthy values. Rather, a Christian school is no doubt a whole lot healthier than a socialist municipal one. Then again, the problem isn’t just for Christians, as the Swedish system bans all opposing ideologies and faiths. For instance, a libertarian or Objectivist school teaching Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman would be illegal in Sweden, as part of the socialist school plan is that solidarity must be a prime value. Clearly, this is a recipe for left-wing brainwashing.

Unfortunately, politicians and the media have manipulated public opinion. The underlying issue here is that people are opposed to fundamentalist Islam covering women in quilts with eye-slits, teaching hatred for democracy, and proclaiming the brilliance of blowing yourself up and killing infidels. It is wrong to ban schooling based on different views; it is right to ban it on the grounds of inciting violence and cult-like behavior. Unfortunately, socialists and their social-liberal allies use this with the famed “we must treat everyone equally” to ban schools teaching Christianity or conservatism or even classical liberalism. It reminds me of the ludicrous attempt at being “fair” by banning both burqas and crosses in France!

Until we are willing to accept that the government should not have a monopoly on schooling, and that we can ban schools promoting political Islam without banning schools promoting classical liberalism, Christianity, or conservatism, we will remain an unenlightened socialist welfare state with an ever-rising number of unemployed youths, and an ever-decreasing number of new corporations. Not that this bothers the far left; the more people on welfare and government benefits, the more votes they get. A perpetual cycle of misery, if ever there was one.

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~ by Escaping Perdition on March 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “Religious Private Schools & Conformity”

  1. Crap, looks like my message got messed up. Must be some bug, haha. It is my fault, must have gotten some tags in there. Here is what I wanted to write, hope it works this time. I apolagize for the extra work I placed upon you.

    “There’s been an ongoing debate regarding whether or not religious private schools should be allowed in Sweden. It displays the notorious hypocrisy of Swedish public opinion and public debate. We claim we are open-minded, but this policy hinders parents from sharing their beliefs while favoring the socialist curriculum of our public schools. People are opposed to burqas and Islamic extremism taught in schools, but socialists and social-liberals use this momentum to ban ALL opposing creeds.”

    The only ones being hypocrites are the ones claiming their right to put their children in religious “schools”. This is not Pakistan, the Swedish public has shown that it will not tolerate the mental battery of children and I am so proud for this public opinion. And it is not burqas, niquabs or whatever dress code the religious loonies uses that is the real problem, no, the problem is the fact that parents wishes to feed their children with religion.
    I have personally lived through the entire Swedish school system without becoming a socialist. The one thing I have become is a man thinking for himself, acknowledging the simple fact that we cannot accept the lies and ignorance that is religion any more.

    “Sweden proudly proclaims itself to be a tolerant democracy upholding the values of free speech and uncensored journalism, but to all but the most ignorant or ideologically blinded, this is not the case. Free speech is censored in a number of ways, requiring every newspaper to have active contracts with censorship companies that monitor what the readers write, removing anything deemed potentially offensive. The reason for this is that if something in appropriate is said, the newspaper is held liable and can be fined, or even have its responsible editor sent to jail. Hardly free speech.”

    Being tolerant is giving youngsters the right to think on their own and accepting their beliefs once they are mature enough to make that choice. With that said, it is true that the freedom of the press is limited in Sweden, but have you read about those limitations? Breaking the law as a responsible edit means that you might have: Committed treason, have sought to involve Sweden in war, committed espionage, tried to overthrow the Swedish government, threatened an individual, made a hate speech etc. This might imply some restrictions to your freedom but remember that every right in life comes with a responsibility. Just as you say: “Allow me to be clear. There is nothing wrong with a few, necessary limitations on free speech and free journalism.”

    “However, the ones chosen in Sweden are not chosen because of an overarching desire to protect negative rights, but rather to impose political consensus.”

    I disagree. It is the imbecile journalists that are the problem, not the laws.

    “Sweden is a deeply conformist nation, where our definition of tolerance is treasured, and every other idea is opposed and demeaned. The latest example is if we should “allow” religious private schools, as if we have some sort of God-given right to decide.”
    The right is not given by some bogus brain ghost of deluded relics. It is a right of children, sprouted from our responsibility as adults to keep children open minded and away from religious propaganda.
    “We clearly do not; it is a made-up right we’ve taken for ourselves, and it is evident throughout all social-democratic states. [Some bogus about unrelated countries and also Hitler, I should Goodwin you here and now].

    What gives parents the right to teach children about creationism? This is not about having the monopoly on teaching what is right or wrong, it is just about having monopoly on teaching, where religion is thought as a subject like any other beside all other subjects, biology, math, language, physics, history etc. The simple case is that the major part of all subjects is absolute; there is no room for discussion when it comes to e.g. science.
    So, if science is absolute, it should be ok to teach it in religious schools then? Wrong. Since science clashes with religious teachings it will be denied and said to be false. Evolution gone, the creation of Earth gone. So we cannot trust religious schools with teaching our children science for obvious reasons.
    What about history? Well, history is shaped by religion and therefore should be taught in a more neutral environment. Public schools are better suited than religious ones.
    Religion then, do I even need to say it? Would children be taught about the christian god in a very islamic environment and what approach would the teachers have if they indeed was talking about the hole ghost for instance. Even more important: What would the approach be while teaching about their own god? That is the essence of it all, not parents right to place their children in any environment they want but what is actually taught in that environment and the total absence of self-criticism when it comes to the own religion.

    “I fail to see why an atheist, socialist school is better than a conservative, Christian one. I can understand why it would be more palatable to atheist socialists, but there is no reason to believe it is either better for the children, or their families, than being allowed more healthy values. Rather, a Christian school is no doubt a whole lot healthier than a socialist municipal one.”

    No one who ever read the bible can say that christianity stands for healthy values. The bible encourages slavery, the death of heathens, the death of infants, and so on.

    “Then again, the problem isn’t just for Christians, as the Swedish system bans all opposing ideologies and faiths. For instance, a libertarian or Objectivist school teaching Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman would be illegal in Sweden, as part of the socialist school plan is that solidarity must be a prime value. Clearly, this is a recipe for left-wing brainwashing.”

    I quote the school plan you mentioned: “By practicing the principles of democracy in their everyday work and meeting people with respect and trust, pre-schools and schools makes children and young people to conquer knowledge about democracy. Democracy rests on a view of man grounded in the recognition of the equal and the unique value and requires respect for diversity and plurality. The sanctity of human life, individual freedom and integrity, gender equity, solidarity are the values the school shape and mediate.” Oh yes, I can clearly recognize “the left-wing brainwashing”, this nothing else but a tribute to Stalin himself…

    “Unfortunately, politicians and the media have manipulated public opinion. The underlying issue here is that people are opposed to fundamentalist Islam covering women in quilts with eye-slits, teaching hatred for democracy, and proclaiming the brilliance of blowing yourself up and killing infidels. It is wrong to ban schooling based on different views; it is right to ban it on the grounds of inciting violence and cult-like behavior. Unfortunately, socialists and their social-liberal allies use this with the famed “we must treat everyone equally” to ban schools teaching Christianity or conservatism or even classical liberalism. It reminds me of the ludicrous attempt at being “fair” by banning both burqas and crosses in France!”

    Hey, here is a crazy thought; maybe politicians have formed school plans according to what the public wants! It has nothing to do with equality between the religious teachings if you ask me, it is all about the respect of the easily sculptured minds of children and the danger of implying any religion to be some kind of “truth”.

    “Until we are willing to accept that the government should not have a monopoly on schooling, and that we can ban schools promoting political Islam without banning schools promoting classical liberalism, Christianity, or conservatism, we will remain an unenlightened socialist welfare state with an ever-rising number of unemployed youths, and an ever-decreasing number of new corporations. Not that this bothers the far left; the more people on welfare and government benefits, the more votes they get. A perpetual cycle of misery, if ever there was one.”

    Apart from just making the remark that we have a bourgeoisie government, an increasing number of corporations and a country that came out from the financial crisis with its head held high I have nothing more to say about your mind-boggling logic.

  2. Never let it be said that I censor intelligent counter-points to my arguments. One thing that I think is interesting that you bring up is the fact that you’re likewise to the right of center in the political spectrum. Something that’s often forgotten in Swedish public debate is that the so-called “right” is split into a myriad of factions. You have the far right extremists, of course, but they’re collectivists to a degree that’d make any socialist proud, so they hardly matter. Rather, the debate is split between conservatives and classical liberals.

    One of my favorite philosophers is Ayn Rand, devotedly atheist and an opponent to the Christian creed of self-sacrifice for the sake of the “greater good”, a greater good which is always administered by someone that benefits. There must always be a priest to oversee the ritual sacrifices, after all. On the other hand, I’m also fascinated by the writings of William F. Buckley, and although virtually unknown in Sweden, he is perhaps the most influential American conservative of the last century. He wrote in 1959:

    “I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and liberals at bay. And the nation free.”

    As a third option for the right we have the famed economist Milton Friedman, who candidly admitted that he was an agnostic. He said that he had no proof either way, and that more importantly, God had nothing to do with economics, but rather with the values of the people interacting in the system.

    To me, the issue is all about freedom. I wouldn’t place my (future) children in a Christian school with time for individuals to pray if they so choose, but I am quite alright with other people doing so. By fragmenting schools, we are enabling parents to give their children the type of education they want. The opposite reminds me of the old social democratic argument for banning all non-government TV and Radio until the mid 1990’s. Palme, for instance, is quoted as saying:

    “Vi kommer ideologiskt så oerhört fel, om vi får en diskussion om reklam eller icke reklam, utan i grunden ligger frågan vem som ska äga och driva dessa för svenska folket så oerhört starkt påverkande massmedia.”

    There is, after all, a reason why even Lars Ohly’s daughter is going to a so-called “free” school. But more importantly, I balance on the issue due to two things. I used to be a very convinced atheist when I was younger. Then I got older, and suffered through a very difficult period of illness. It broadened my perspective, and I’m far less willing to condemn people for belief in something greater than themselves than I once was.

    And secondly, it is a matter of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I’ve discovered that all too often, the people who hate Christianity are the same people who hate the nuclear family and family values, who hate the free market, who hate the United States, who hate tough punishments and civil society, yet love everything that I despise, from Hugo Chavez to the welfare state creeping into every aspect of our lives. The same people who want to ban Christian schools, are often the same ones who have made sure we read neither Friedman or Rand in our public schools.

    And as for the quote from my linked PDF, read a little bit further. You’ll begin to note the contradictions despite the flowery prose of this lovely piece of propaganda. “Basic collective values and norms shall be made clear and encompass everyone.” Nice, so much for individual freedom. Debate, then conform. It’s also coupled with the “sanctity of human life” (no death penalty or euthanasia, but abortions), the “individuals freedom and integrity” (freedom to not have to work, but not freedom to keep your money or avoid being spied upon by the FRA), and “solidarity” (pay 58% of your income, +25% moms, +32% arbetsgivaravgift to the “needy”, or go to jail). It turns out that these empty buzzwords are just that, empty.

    Look, I don’t begrudge socialists their right to schools with socialist values. Keep them! But considering that they’re being generously financed by my money, I think it only fair that we start allowing Christian, classically liberal, and conservative schools as well.

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