Sweden's "soft dictatorship"

Bruce Bawer writes in the New York Sun about Sweden’s “soft dictatorship:”

. …the official view was neatly captured in a post-September 11 editorial in the nation’s largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, which assured readers that the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington weren’t Sweden’s enemies but simply hated ” U.S. imperialism,” a reasonable position given that “the U.S. is the greatest mass murderer of our time.” Such views, taught in Sweden’s classrooms and enshrined in Sweden’s state-approved schoolbooks, are reiterated daily by Sweden’s mainstream press organizations, all of which are either government-owned or government-subsidized.

In Sweden, whose murder rate is currently twice that of America and where Muslims now constitute over 10% of the population and are disproportionately unemployed and prone to violence, the Swedish press routinely depicts America as crime-ridden. Polls show that the majority of Swedes are deeply disturbed by their country’s dramatic social changes and highly critical of the policies that brought them about. Yet the crime and violence generally go unreported, so only rarely does any of the criticism seep into the press.

Recently, the city of Stockholm carried out a survey of ninth-grade boys in the predominantly Muslim suburb of Rinkeby. The survey showed that in the last year, 17% of the boys had forced someone to have sex, 31% had hurt someone so badly that the victim required medical care, and 24% had committed burglary or broken into a car. Sensational statistics — but in all of Sweden, they appear to have been published only in a daily newssheet that is distributed free on the subways.

When voices of dissent do break through in Sweden, they’re often punished. During the runup to the Iraq war, the Swedish government censured the independent TV channel TV4 for running an “Oprah” episode that presented both pro- and anti-war arguments. TV4 was charged with violating press-balance guidelines when in fact its offense was being too balanced — it had exposed Swedish viewers to ideas from which journalists had otherwise shielded them.

Earlier this year, for example, the government closed down the Sweden Democrats’ Web site because it had published a cartoon of Muhammad… If the Bush administration had closed down a Democratic Party Web site¸ there would be scare headlines and editorials thundering about dictatorship — and rightly so. But when Sweden’s rulers did it, it was apparently acceptable — because they did it in the name of political correctness.

Sweden (along with Cuba) has long been the darling welfare state of leftists everywhere. Do you think they would find the above facts shocking, or just brush them off, just as they have brushed off the millions of starving serfs and thousands of dissents murdered and imprisoned in Cuba?

Edit: I looked up some economic statistics for Sweden:

Sweden had a de facto unemployment rate of 20–25 percent…. Sweden has gone from being the fourth richest country in the world in 1970 to being the fourteenth richest in 2002. Today the average American has 37 percent higher purchasing power and almost twice as high private consumption as the average Swede… More than 30 percent of the Swedish population falls below the American poverty line.

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