Acceptable Positions in Swedish Debate

One thing that fascinates me time and again are the applications of Steven Lukes‘ theory regarding the Three Faces of Power. I’ve delved into this earlier, but am today employing a new angle. Lukes is a professor of politics and sociology at New York University, previously the London School of Economics. His main thesis is that power is filtered through three layers of depth. From Wikipedia:

“This theory claims that governments control people in three ways: through decision-making power, non decision-making power and ideological power. Decision-making power is the most public of the three faces, and is the manner in which governments want to be seen: the power of governments to make policy decisions after widespread consultation with opposition parties and the wider public. Non decision-making power is the power that governments have to control the agenda in debates and make certain issues (such as the possible merits of Communism in the United States) unacceptable for discussion in moderate public forums. The third and most important face of power is ideological power, which is the power to influence people’s wishes and thoughts and make them want things opposed to what would benefit them, such as women supporting a patriarchal society.”

To summarize, the first type of power is to push legislation through the system and use force to make you obey. The second type is to determine which issues are even debated, such as making “economic difficulties of single motherhood” an issue. No matter who solves it, you’ve already won. And the final issue, the one I’m going to write about today, is ideological control. Of making an entire nation believe in their hearts that certain ideals are worthwhile, such as the welfare state in Sweden. With all this on the table, I present my aim, which is to discuss briefly a number of political areas and what the acceptable span of thought the third face of power has produced in Sweden. Mainly, I aim to contrast the examples of Sweden’s furthest left party (Vänsterpartiet) with the farthest right party (Moderaterna) with the United States Republican Party, which is supported by some 150 million Americans. Shall we begin?

1. Healthcare.

What does the Left Party say? No punishment for malpractice. Higher taxes to finance higher costs. No profit-driven health care. Government should take care of virtually all healthcare.
What does the Moderate Party say? Socialized healthcare for everyone financed by taxes, but with private actors allowed to compete for tax dollars.
What does the Republican Party say? Stop frivolous lawsuits. Cut costs in health benefits for the poor, and allow that money to help finance private insurance. In general, keep healthcare and insurance privatized.
Conclusion: There is no room for private healthcare in a country in which socialist entitlements are the norm.

2.  Crime

What does the Left Party say? Release prisoners after half time served. More money to support for criminal rehabilitation. No death penalty, shoter prison sentences, no chemical castration. Never send people under 18 to jail.
What does the Moderate Party say? More police officers. Longer jail-time for violent crime. More support to victims. Oppose the death penalty.
What does the Republican Party say? Punish criminals to the maximum extent of the law. Ban Internet gambling. Automatic removal of arrested gang mebmers from the United States. No parole for repeat offenders. Life (i.e real life, unlike Sweden) imprisonment for gang rapes, child rapes, etc. Support the death penalty.
Conclusion: The Moderates are here a bit more clear in their difference to pure socialism, but nowhere near the conservatism of the Republicans.

3. Environmental protection

What does the Left Party say? Believe in “Climate Change” (aka Spring). Less cars. More money to conservation. Land owners should not be considered owning the animals on their land in regards to hunting, i.e. anyone can hunt anywhere the government allows.
What does the Moderate Party say? Believe in “Climate Change”. Want market-financed, technological solutions to environmental problems. Support cap & trade legislation in which governments fantasize forth imaginary limits on carbon dioxide, then sell them to companies. I.e a carbon tax.
What does the Republican Party say? Republicans want technology and market solutions. Are against centralized government solutions and doomsday prophecies. Support public lands for recreational parks for families, scouts, etc.
Conclusion: Again, what is far right in Sweden is at very best middle of the road, accepting many socialist premises.

4. Economics and taxes

What does the Left Party say? Everyone should be employed, regardless of inflation and budget balance. National bank should no longer be independent, but politically controlled. Larger public sector. Higher taxes for the wealthy. More money to the unemployed and ill.
What does the Moderate Party say? Slightly lowered income tax. No large changes, due to importance of focus on the public sector, such as government-run entitlement programs and socialized medicine.
What does the Republican Party say? Lower taxes for working families. Ban most technology taxes. Tax credits for healthcare and insurance.  Increase personal savings. Support a flat tax with deductions for families.
Conclusion: Two socialist parties in Sweden.

So what have we learned from all of this? There are many members within the Moderate Party that have truly conservative or classical liberal views (as much as the two conflict). However, the party as a whole has a platform that at best can be defined as social-liberal, which in itself is just a right-leaning branch in the socialist tree. The third face of power in Sweden, established by nearly 70 years of social-democratic dominance has left our country blanketed in a layer of socialist ideology.

If I were to state, plainly and openly: that I oppose government-financed healthcare and sick leave; that I support life in prison for rapists and repeat offenders, and the death penalty for murderers; that I oppose government carbon taxes and carbon credits, and that I think global warming is a hoax; that I believe we must lower taxes drastically, go to 5% sales tax (Moms), and have people personally responsible for saving for insurance, health care, and retirement. Well…. in Sweden, I’m a pariah. I have no party to vote for, no newspaper that supports my views, no television station that doesn’t criticize my every belief. (It’s rather amusing that the brainwashed Swedish hordes are so critical of Fox News, which they’ve never even seen. One single, lone outlet of conservative beliefs in an ocean of blood-red madness is too provocative for them!)

Some random Swedish socialist posted an angry question about how I had the time to blog. The simple reason is that there is no other safety valve in which I can express my views in this socialist hell-hole of a country. The goose-marching masses can watch their government-owned TV and their government-sponsored newspapers and be happy. Me, I need to read, to write, to think. And hopefully, soon enough I’ll move.

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~ by Escaping Perdition on March 24, 2010.

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