Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘sverigedemokraterna

More on the aftermath of the Swedish election

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As was easy to predict, the politically correct in Sweden have been outraged over Sverigedemokraterna’s (SD) gaining a representation, including many bloggers making “I am ashamed […]” statements similar to those heard from the US after the re-election of Bush. (Annoyingly, these statements often come from the more hypocritical, unreasoned or uninformed, and intellectually dishonest bloggers—the kettles calling the pot black.)

There have been four particularly egregious cases, however:

  1. Someone has broken into a database kept by the SD containing data on people who have requested information on the party—and published this list on the Internet as a list of supporters of SD.

    Not only is this a gross violation of the rights of the involved individuals and SD, but also, in very many cases, direct libel: To request information does not imply support. Indeed, when I was politically active in my youth, I read more material from the political opponents (including the communist party) than I did from “my own”. (This for two reasons: Firstly, it is a good idea to know the enemy. Secondly, it pays to know other perspectives—in particular, before presuming to criticize those perspectives. Sadly, the latter reason is something that appears lost on most politically active, who attack perspectives and opinions that they mostly know in a distorted version told by their own party.) Unsurprisingly, this list contains many entries that have nothing to do with support, including people wanting to learn SD’s perspective, find out how to fairly criticize them, or similar—and a fair number of fake entries of a joking or insulting character (presumably, the data was originally gathered through a form on the Internet).

    The message (be it intended or not): Have anything to do with SD and you will be publicly denounced. Similarly, I have, myself, repeatedly been called an SD supporter/voter, a xenophobe, or similar—just because I stand up for SD’s right to a fair debate.

  2. There is currently a discussion among the established parties to change the procedure for creating (common and influential) parliamentary committees in order to exclude SD from them—while allowing the other parties to be represented. This may be within the realms of what they can legally do, but it is certainly contrary to democratic principles.

  3. News sources have seen it fit to complain that SD (as a result of local elections in parallel to the parliamentary) will be able to supply more lay-judgesw. Apparently, SD’s stance on immigration issues will increase the danger that biased judgements are made—while the same risk is not present when e.g. communists are involved.

    (As pointed out by others, the real problem is not SD, but the highly disputable system of politically appointed lay-judges [1]e, [2]e.)

  4. A large-scale Facebook campaign is under way, where users post the explicit message that anyone who voted for SD has to “unfriend” them. Apart from being a disproportionate reaction based on a lack of thought of what can have moved someone to vote for SD, this is also a violation of the spirit behind the secret ballot.

Some related earlier discussions:

The results of the Swedish election

The Swedish election, equality, and Sverigedemokraterna

Unfair treatment of Sverigedemokraterna

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Written by michaeleriksson

September 23, 2010 at 11:41 am

The Swedish election, equality, and Sverigedemokraterna

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The news reporting after the election showed the many typical and predictable articles, including one that is typically Swedish: As the second headline at Sweden’s largest morning paper (DN), I found an article highlighting that the proportion of women in parliament had sunke—and that this was caused by Sverigedemokraterna/SD (cf. the two previous entries).

We have an election that brought potentially very far-going changes to the political landscape (cf. the previous entry; in addition, some speculate on an end to Sweden as a leftist nation), and what is put in the spotlight? A minor change in the proportion of women…

One quote of the article well summarized the one-sided attitude of Swedish media:

Att skapa en jämnare fördelning mellan könen i Sverige riksdag har varit en långsam process under de sista hundra åren och först under sista 15 åren har kvinnornas andel av antalet riksdagsledamöter hamnat på en någorlunda jämn fördelning.

(To create a more equal distribution between the sexes in Sweden [sic] parliament has been a slow process during the last hundred years and only in the last 15 years has the women’s share of the number of MPs landed on a relatively even distribution.)

Apart from further support for the observation that Swedish journalists are poor writers:

  1. The quote presupposes that an even distribution is better or fairer than an uneven one. There is, however, not one shred of evidence for this being so. On the contrary, there are strong signs that equal numbers only arise when women are given a leg up. (Reasons include typical priorities of men and women, e.g. career vs. family; the distribution of ability in the high-end of the spectrum; and who is at all interested in doing what.)

  2. It creates the impression that a deliberate attempt at change has taken a full century. In truth, deliberate attempts have only been present in the last two decades (or so)—which corresponds conspicuously to the 15 years of near sameness.

Among the more factual claims of the article, we have that Sweden is currently the nation with the second highest proportion of women in parliament, after Rwanda (!)—but will now fall to fifth or sixth roughly on par with Iceland and Cuba. (As can be seen, a high proportion of women is not the same as success and enlightenment…) In numbers, the drop is from 46.4 % to 43–44 %—which I would consider worthy of a single line of text together with other information about the overall numbers.

I note that the high number of women is largely due to the left, which has brought women to the top even when they were entirely unsuitable, including disasters like the Social-Democratic PM candidate, Mona Sahlinw (abuse of government expense accounts, tax evasion, parking tickets galore, failure as a business woman, low “confidence ratings” even among the party’s supporters), and the former leader of the once-communist party, Gudrun Schymanw (severe drinking problems, tax fraud, out-of-touch-with-reality feminism).

The change is ascribed to SD in a neutral manner (far from a given), but it should be noted that there have been attempts to focus on them as a party of angry young men, with common allegations of sexism and misogynism—indeed, that the typical voter is a young man, low in education, and often unemployed, is explicitly mentioned). As a counter-point, a few numbers taken from a Swedish blog on similar topicse: 5 % of the men and 3 % of the women voted for SD, leaving plenty of room for angry young women. Further, there were almost three times as many women who voted for SD as for Feministiskt Initiativ (a radical feminist party led by the aforementioned Schyman)—so much for misogynism.

Written by michaeleriksson

September 21, 2010 at 7:07 am

The results of the Swedish election

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The preliminary numbers are in (finals will be available in a few days time). There are several interesting observations to make:

  1. The centre-right alliance increased its percentage of the vote from 48.2 in the last election (2006) to 49.3—but loses its majority in parliament, because …

  2. … Sverigedemokraterna received 5.7 %, which is above the 4 % limit for representation. (To be compared with 2.9 % in the previous election.) This is the first new entry since 1991—and they actually moved ahead of Kristdemokraterna and the former Communist Party, which both landed at 5.6.

    While not myself a supporter, I am mildly positive to the result for three reasons: Firstly, this is the one party that clearly distances itself from the evils and irrationality of gender-feminism. Secondly, there are issues concerning themes like immigration where pre-conceived opinions rule and no room for discussion is present. Irrespective of who is ultimately right or wrong (and I do not say that Sverigedemokraterna are right), their mere presence will challenge the orthodoxy—which is positive. Thirdly, it proves that undemocratic methods (including throwing eggs, threatening candidates, media refusing to publish election commercials, and similar) need not prevent democracy.

    The controversy around Sverigedemokraterna has been discussed earlier.

  3. There will now be eight (!) parties with parliamentary representation, which starts to seem excessive. Notably, six of the eight are at or below 7.2 %, making most of them satellites to the two major parties:

  4. Socialdemokraterna reached a “mere” 30.9 % in their worst election since 1914. At the all-time high (in 1940), they reached 53.8 %; and had 45.3 % as late as 1994. They, just barely, remain the largest party, however.

  5. Moderaterna reached an all-time high of 30.0 %—the highest non-Socialdemokraterna percentage since 1914. (Notably, the numbers from the first three elections, in 1911 and the spring and autumn of 1914, have a different character from 1917 and onwards, gradual later changes notwithstanding.)

Overall, the alliance will likely remain in government, but with the vågmästare scenario of the previous entry. (As for me: I did not vote, but feel that the lesser, by a considerable margin, of two evils won. A majority victory would have been preferable, obviously.)

All numbers are taken from the Swedish Wikipediaw:sv.

Written by michaeleriksson

September 20, 2010 at 1:34 am

Unfair argumentation methods V: Intermezzo on Hitler und Mein Kampf

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With the debate around Sverigedemokraterna, I decided to finally read Hitler’s Mein Kampfw, in order to better judge the sometime claim that SD is a Nazi-organisation. (I have also found it useful make an effort to read books that are or have been influential, even if their intrinsic value seems dubious.)

About one third through, I have found many statements that are pertinent to this article series, most notably in Chapter 6, “Kriegspropaganda” (“War propaganda”), showing Hitler’s conclusions about propaganda with an eye on the German left and the respective British and German efforts during WWI. These conclusions not only go some way to explain the success of unfair reasoning (and, possibly, its popularity on the left), but also many of Hitler’s and NSDAP’s own later actions. (And what else may be said about Hitler, his success in the area of propaganda was immense and indisputable.)

I would advise all who have strong opinions about people from different groups (be they determined by race, class, sex, opinion, …) to read this chapter very closely—and ask themselves whether they are pawns blindly following manipulators using these strategies. (Online editions can be found following the Wikipedia link. Check your local copyright situation before use.)

A few core issues:

  1. Propaganda is to be directed at the masses, who are sufficiently easily fooled and led by it. In contrast, those who are of higher intelligence should be met with a different approach based on actual reasoning and facts.

    While this is something which we can observe in everyday life (politics, commercials, whatnot), few politicians today would dare say it. Mona Sahlinw, the leader of the Swedish social-democrats, is an excellent example of this—in fact, she may take it too far, literally talking to adults as if they were little children, including tone of voice, and taking dumbing-down to an extreme where there is more-or-less no content left.

  2. There is much to be gained in portraying the enemy as a dangerous and evil monster.

    This is a common technique in propaganda, which can be readily observed in a wide variety of contexts. Consider e.g. Swedish leftist propaganda, Bush’s “Axis of Evil” (which has some justification, but that is beside the point in this context), the Arabic/Islamic “ Great American Satan”, or, indeed, the Nazis on Jews).

  3. Propaganda should be one-sided and not concede any good points in the enemies positions.

    While Hitler makes a decent case for this item, it is not necessarily one that I recognize as being systematically used—or as necessarily being effective outside of “preaching to the choir” contexts. (Then again, I may well be over-estimating the masses—which I have a long history of doing.) However, in Sweden many such examples can be found, e.g. in the attacks on Sverigedemokraterna (cf. the previous post).

  4. Propaganda must be limited in content and constantly repeat this content.

    This is certainly something that the advertising industry has taken to heart. Similarly, if we look at the political messages displayed to the masses during election campaigns, they tend to focus on just a few core issues.

Another highly pertinent theme:

Daher muß eine Vielzahl von innerlich verschiedenen Gegnern immer zusammengefaßt werden, so daß in der Einsicht der Masse der eigenen Anhänger der Kampf nur gegen einen Feind allein geführt wird. Dies stärkt den Glauben an das eigene Recht und steigert die Erbitterung gegen den Angreifer auf dasselbe.

(For this reason, a multitude of internally different opponents must always be joined together, so that the fight is only against one enemy in the understanding of the mass of own supporters. This will strengthen the faith in ones own right [righteousness?] and increase the exasperation against those who attack it.)

Here we have many of the problems I discuss in a nutshell: Anyone who criticizes immigration policy is a racist, anyone defending Sverigedemokraterna’s right to fair debate is, himself, one of them, those who want lower taxes for ideological reasons, or to stimulate the economy, are grouped with the (likely, very small) group of those who want to get rich on the cost of the poor, etc. (Similarly, it is not uncommon that right-wing USanians group all leftists into the communist category.) That this is taken to the extreme that Hitler recommends is unusual, but at least the gender-feminists tend to do so, with their ever present “Patriarchy”.

Hitler himself is a very notable user, e.g. by reducing Marxism and Social-Democracy to parts of a larger Jewish machinery—effectively making sure that there is just one enemy (the Jews), not several (Jews and Marxists/Social-Democrats). (Incidentally, this raises some question as to whether Hitler’s stated views on the Jews were honest, or whether he largely used them as a near-ideal scape-goat and main enemy.)

In case this post is read by some of the people I write about in this article series, I see myself forced to add: Reading a work by Hitler does not make me a Nazi—neither does the fact that I have read the Communist Manifesto make me a communist, that I have read the Bible make me a Christian, or that I have read the US constitution make me a USanian. For that matter: The fact that you have read this entry does not make you me.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 22, 2010 at 7:17 am

Unfair argumentation methods IV: The party Sverigedemokraterna

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Originally, I intended a post on the Swedish party Sverigedemokraterna and the way it is maligned and attacked. The post rapidly grow out of the size suitable for a WordPress entry, and I chose to instead write an article for my website on the same topic.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm