Self-described “democratic socialist” presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has stated his admiration for the “Nordic model” of egalitarian socialism practiced by the Scandinavian nations of Europe. Sanders believes that the nations of northern Europe have achieved success through their system of comprehensive welfare. In a recent Democratic debate Sanders stated, “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” Sanders is not alone. Many in the liberal establishment esteem the egalitarian policies of Scandinavia as something to be emulated. Ann Jones of The Nation also lauds her recent experience living in Norway. Jones praises the Nordic model for its welfare state, egalitarian attitudes towards gender roles, and liberal social and cultural values. The picture that she paints of Scandinavia is certainly idyllic and alluring. Scandinavia in many ways is the model society for postmodern leftist values. In reading Jones one would think that the people of Scandinavia live in constant happiness without any problems to disturb them whatsoever. But the reality is something far different. Scandinavia is in the midst of economic decline and far worse social and cultural upheaval. An examination of Scandinavia allows us to see firsthand the fruits of the liberal worldview given its esteem in the contemporary liberal mindset.
Evaluating the Leftist Narrative
While leftists such as Bernie Sanders often extol the success of socialism in Scandinavia, they seldom draw attention to the demographics of the countries they are praising. To wit, the countries that are praised for their leftist policies are countries that are still, much to the chagrin of the left, demographically white. The graphic in the Ann Jones article above bears this out. The happiest countries in the world are in Europe, while the most miserable countries in the world are in Africa, with the rest of the world somewhere in between. The leftist establishment in the media, academia, and politics is convinced that the happiness of Scandinavians is due to their socialized society oriented towards equality and social democracy. The problem with this narrative is that leftist economic and social policies have been enacted outside of Europe. In fact Asia, Latin America, and Africa have all embraced leftist policies enthusiastically in the twentieth century to some extent. Equality and socialism haven’t produced the happiness that one would expect given the leftist narrative. Could it be that there is something about Scandinavia that the left-wing establishment is missing?
Indeed there is. Much of the happiness of Scandinavia and Europe in general owes itself to the fact that Europe has historically been peopled by…Europeans. The homogeneous populations of these countries provided a source of social and cultural stability and security. Sound economics demands the social trust that accompanies ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious similarity. This fact, along with the failure of egalitarian socialism throughout the world, is conveniently ignored (or often violently opposed) by the left.
What of the claim that Scandinavia has built a successful welfare state? The truth is that socialism has proven a failure in these countries and elsewhere. The supposed economic success of the welfare state in Scandinavia has proven to be another example of leftist historical myopia. The economic success of northern Europe predates the expansion of the welfare state, and the transition to socialism has brought about steady economic decline. Sweden and other Nordic countries became wealthy prior to the implementation of the welfare society in the 1960s. The welfare state had to be rolled back with a market-based reform in the 1990s, and many of the problems of socialism continue to hamper the economies of Scandinavian countries to this day.1
The left praises the enthusiasm with which Nordic countries have attacked the nuclear family, implying that a working father and a homemaker mother results in inauthentic relationships with children. In her article praising Norway, Jones calls the traditional family arrangement “undemocratic” and claims that Norway’s system of public schooling and child-rearing produces happier and healthier families. In addition to the massive and unsustainably high costs that such a system requires, family life isn’t flourishing the way that the left would have us believe. Scandinavia has experienced soaring divorce rates in recent decades, and sociologist Glenn Sandström attributes this to the creation and expansion of the welfare state. By paying for domestic work that traditionally fell to wives and mothers, the welfare state promotes women working outside the home to achieve financial independence from men. This means that divorce is a plausible option for women who are no longer dependent upon husbands for financial support. The end result of the state’s intrusion into domestic life is that divorce is perceived as a more viable option than it would be in more traditional societies. This of course leads to the social problems that always accompany divorce.
Studies indicate that divorce harms family life in many ways. Divorce unravels the fabric of society by undermining the family as the fundamental unit of civilization. As divorce rates rise, the motivation to marry concomitantly declines. Predictably, birth rates decline as children raised in broken families lose motivation to reproduce. The decline in white birthrates in Europe and North America promises to bring about an impending demographic winter if these trends continue unchecked. The left places a great deal of emphasis on the happiness reported by the countries of Scandinavia and Europe in general, and they attribute this to these countries liberal and egalitarian values. Indeed Europe has been a happy place for a long time. It is natural to be happy in a place surrounded by beautiful, peace-loving people in a land filled with the fruits of high culture as manifest in Europe’s magnificent tradition of literature, art, and music; monuments to architectural genius such as castles, palaces, and cathedrals; and the many unique folk traditions extending millennia into the past. But the happiness which western Europeans have experienced in the recent past is steadily eroding, leftist assurances to the contrary notwithstanding. In reality, Scandinavia, as well as the rest of Europe, stands at the brink of utter annihilation.
Between Christ and the Abyss
Scandinavia affords us an excellent (and certainly frightening) glimpse into the liberal psyche. Modern Scandinavia is a vivid example of the consequences of God’s righteous judgment of apostasy. We are told that all who hate Christ love death (Prov. 8:36), and much of the West has fervently embraced death and suicide by rejecting Christ. Scandinavia formerly adhered to a very robust Christianity and was ruled by heroic kings such as Gustavus Adolphus. Now Christianity has become all but extinct in this once fair and happy land. The people of Scandinavia are rapidly abandoning the Christian faith of their ancestors. The formerly Christian state churches have enthusiastically embraced apostasy in ways that would have been unimaginable even a few decades ago. Recently a lesbian “bishop” of Stockholm has argued that churches should remove Christian symbols and accommodate Muslims by placing directions for prayer towards Mecca. Not to be outdone by the flamboyant apostasy of Sweden, Norway’s “child welfare” has seized (kidnapped) five children from a Christian family for “Christian indoctrination.” Of course, the “Christian” church of Norway could not be troubled to defend an actual Christian family.
This apostasy is not without consequence. The high rate of happiness reported by Scandinavians appears to be mostly superficial without any substantial foundation in lasting fulfillment and joy. This is manifested in the high suicide rates in Scandinavia and throughout Western Europe. Why are Scandinavians so miserable? Perhaps part of the problem is the recent rape epidemic that has accompanied the influx of Muslim “rapefugees” into their once-peaceful homelands. The rape and murder of European women, as in the case of Elin Krantz, are becoming increasingly common with the influx of Muslims and other non-whites into Europe. Europe has become the subject of the covenant curses, such as the influx of hostile foreigners mentioned in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, with a vengeance! Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this trend is that Europeans have not learned their lesson at all. As some European men have undertaken the task of defending their women from rapists and murderers, egalitarian feminists have turned against them. Many warped women in Europe would rather be raped than protected from rape! This is the wages of the liberal egalitarian fantasy that Europe has embraced. It goes without saying that much of Europe in general and Scandinavia in particular is quickly transforming into a miserable dystopia.
Scandinavians are facing the harsh realities that naturally accompany the choices that they’ve made. The happiness enjoyed by prior generations is being swept away by an egalitarian liberalism which rejects the very foundation upon which human happiness is based. Ethnic and religious homogeneity serve as glue that facilitates social cohesion. Consequently, homogeneous societies tend to exhibit social trust and a sense of belonging which forms the basis for a well-functioning society. People feel comfortable around others who are like themselves, and societies that are built upon a united ethnic and religious identity are healthier than societies that exalt “diversity.”2 The nations of post-modern Europe and North America have betrayed the very people that they are supposed to represent by slating them for extermination.
The good news is that the enforced displacement of native Scandinavians and Christians in Europe in favor of hostile foreigners can only bring about the collapse of the current paradigm. The liberalism prevalent today is premised upon fundamentally flawed principles no more likely to succeed than the boy who thinks he can fly by vigorously flapping his arms. An example of the failure of liberalism to produce its desired ends is the allowance of generous state-sponsored maternity and paternity leave for Scandinavian families after children are born. The goal is to create an environment in which men and women equally share the responsibilities of bread-winning and domestic work. Yet what has happened is that women work outside of the home more than they would otherwise, but still perform 80% of domestic work traditionally associated with being a wife and mother.3 This simply reaffirms that men and women are innately different and that our traditional roles are more hard-wired into us than liberals are willing to acknowledge. All the liberal social engineering in the world cannot change who we intrinsically are by nature. Just as egalitarianism is bound to fail, Christ is sure to reign victorious. What remains is for tradition-minded European and North American Christians to emerge from the ruins and rebuild civilization. We sons of Charlemagne will one day emerge triumphant in the once and future Christendom that is our beloved Europe.
- These are a few decent articles summarizing the effects of socialism on the Scandinavian economy. “No, Bernie Sanders, Scandinavia Is Not a Socialist Utopia” by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, “The ‘Swedish Model’ Bernie Sanders Cites is a Myth” by Taylor Millard, and “Why Socialists Shouldn’t Cite Sweden as a Success” by Rich Lowry of the National Review. They are from an establishment neo-con perspective which leaves much to be desired, but they are useful for the purposes of critiquing the over-generalizations of leftist praise for the welfare state. ↩
- For more information on this subject see “Diversity, Unhappiness, and Distrust” and “The Diversity Gospel” by Nathanael Strickland ↩
- The same study affirms that this is true in spite of men taking more paid paternity leave over the same period. This essentially means that the state is paying men to not work. Obviously this cannot be sustained in the long term. ↩