Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The New Totalitarians
This is Roland Huntford's shocking book The New Totalitarians (1971) which exposes Swedish society as a "peaceful utopia" totally controlled by a bureaucracy which actively discourages all signs of individuality and dissent while indoctrinating the youth to simply accept the technocrat's rule and obey the authorities without exception. This nordic country hasn't been involved in war since Napoleonic times, it managed to stay out of both world wars, was neutral during the cold war and has never experienced invasion or occupation in modern history. Thus it was easier to establish the Fascist model of the corporate state in Sweden than in Mussolini’s Italy for cultural and historic reasons, since Sweden had a centralized bureaucracy even before Marxism whereas Italians are skeptical of state authority. Put simply: Swedes have tended to trust their bureaucrats, which no Italian (or any other) in his right mind would ever do. The author also notes that socialist professor Gunnar Myrdal and his wife Alva, both highly influential ideologists in developing the Swedish welfare state, had intimate connections with the German academic world during the Nazi age. They promoted the idea of positive eugenics and forced sterilization programs against those with “weak genes.” Sweden was also among the first to sterilize the mentally ill, beginning in 1934 and is still using its mental hospitals in order to combat their alleged detractors as any rebellion against the authority is considered as insane. The newspaper Dagens Nyheter later contended that the ruling party at the time – the Social Democrats – "accepted the policy as an essential part of their overall philosophy." This close ideological connection between Socialists and Fascists might surprise those who have been brought up to believe that these ideologies are polar opposites. But in fact, they have more in common with each other than either have with classical liberalism, above all the tendency to reduce the individual to an organic part of the state. Many have lived under Communist dictatorship and know very well how easy it is to control people, but it seems nobody is so successful as the Swedish government. When it comes to brainwashing the whole society Swedes might be at the very top as the most docile people on the planet, exceeding even traditional religiously controlled people. The author had lived in Sweden for a few years and in The New Totalitarians he has done a wonderful analysis of the whole Swedish society. Closing with the chapter called Brave New Sweden it vividly portrays how socialism has managed to establish almost perfect control over the individual, erasing the public memory of any dissenters and using all possible means to pretend that the whole society lives in an utopia and that there is simply no need to change. 350 pages. A must read for everyone.