Sunday, February 27, 2011

The New York Times on Sweden's immigration problem

Overall, the article is excellent, you should read it if the subject interests you. Random comments:

* The article exaggerates the problems by focusing on Rosengård, the worst (major) ghetto in Sweden. Yes, in Rosengård 80% of adult don't work, but for Sweden as a whole the figure for non-western immigrants is about 50%.

* While the first and second generation immigrants are about 25% of the population, many of these are Finns and Scandinavian. The relevant figure - the number of 1st and 2nd generation non-western immigrants - is around 10% based on my calculations from the latest demographic reports.

* The funniest and most revealing part of the article is a Iranian "rapper" quoted as saying "I want to be able to become president [of Sweden]." Sweden is a Monarchy and thus has no President. What this illustrates is that most multiculturalists ideas are directly imported to Sweden from the United States.

Both "rap" and the dream of becoming "President" are from American popular culture. The majority of television programming and movies in Sweden are American. This is not the first time I have heard the "President of Sweden" dream from immigrants.

Immigrant-right activists in Sweden also quote Martin Luther King a lot, which I find quite offensive. You simply *cannot* compare refugees like me who come to Sweden and are granted asylum and receive generous welfare with African Americans who were enslaved, exploited and forced to live in brutal segregation for generations.

The story also shows how isolated some immigrants in the ghettos are from Swedish society. This guy dreams of running for office, and demands that Swedish society elevate him to this position, but doesn't even know the form of government of the country he lives in.

* Because the media seldom reports the numbers and often gives anecdotal evidence to the contrary, most Swedes are not aware that immigration has accelerated the last few years to about 100.000 per year, of which about 2/3 are non-western. We are now taking in as many every year than the record year of 1993 (War in Bosnia), and more as a share of the population as the United States during the 19th century. But if a tree falls in the forest and the Swedish media ignores it, did it really happen? Instead the conventional wisdom claim (lie) is that "it has become much harder to migrate to Sweden".

* Towards the end the article become more misleading, as the New York Times trusts Swedish social scientists. They write "Some experts believe the support for the far right has already reached its limits in Sweden."

First, anyone who believes that the anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats are going to go away either doesn't understand Swedish politics or is engaging in wishful thinking. They are only going to grow, if for no other reason because the immigration problem is not going to go away. While "movement" parties with roots in the early 20th century such as the Social Democrats and Center-party are withering away, energized Sweden Democrats are building a new grass-root movement. Furthermore, now that they are in Parliament, they receive more media attention and are slowly becoming more mainstream.

The "experts" quoted don't seem to realize that the Swedish Democrats have already grown from 5.7% to 8% in some polls since the election no more than six months ago.

Another example is a Swedish political scientists who gives the classic misleading comparison of immigrant sentiment with the 1990s to "prove" Swedes are becoming more pro-immigration. I have written about this method of cheating at lenght here.

The 1990s was a period of severe economic crisis, and also the beginning of the first wave of anti-immigration sentiment (with New Democracy, the first anti-immigration party). As New Democracy imploded due to leadership conflicts and as the economic crisis ended, anti-immigration sentiment declined. It has since gone up again.

The correct comparison would be with 1970 or 1980 or even 2000, not the peak of a frenzy in 1992. That is a little like writing that American anti-Islamists sentiment has been declining, by comparing to September 12th 2001.

And why not just provide the numbers so the NYT readers can make up their own minds? Of those Swedes who offer an opinion, 62% want to reduce immigration. Instead they avoid the subject by writing that most Swedes don't have immigration as their single biggest political concern.

* The immigrants interviewed are indignant and resent Swedish society. They don't accept even the mild criticism of radical Islamism that the Swedish media occasionally lets through. Worse still, they take it personally.

"“It’s hard to watch the news,” he said. “It’s Muslim this, Muslim that. Everything is about how bad we are. The Swedish won’t say anything to your face. But they say things.”"

This guy perceives Swedish television news being anti-Muslim! I worked briefly in Swedish Television when I was in college, the ideological atmosphere was exactly what you would expect. According to a recent survey 87% of journalists in Swedish television are liberal, leftist or socialist. I guess the reason that the guy is upset is that media grudgingly reports terrorist attacks and immigrant riots.

I have long been aware of and concerned by this deep resentment against Swedes and Swedish society among a large number of immigrants. It may be the most under-reported aspect of the problems (no poll has ever been conducted on this). When I was a child, I remember feeling this dark feeling myself. It is a bitter, dangerous sentiment that will never allow you to successfully integrate.

* This article could not possibly be written in a major Swedish Newspaper in the current intellectual atmosphere. The liberal New York Times is way too honest about the problems caused by non-western immigration to Sweden.

You have to admire America as effectively more democratic than conformist Sweden, where a small group of like minded people decide what facts the public can be trusted to handle.

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