Ever since Karl Marx penned his ideas about the gains that could be made by centralising the means of production some one and a half centuries ago, many a mind have gone to great lengths attempting to prove him right. His ideas saw their first application during the industrialisation of the Soviet Union in the 1930’s, when private ownership of farms and factories was rapidly being dismantled through forced collectivisation. The political leadership had set as its goal transforming the giant agricultural economy into a modern industrial state in the shortest possible time. The number one priority was establishing a strong factory base that would be able to sustain a strong military and catapult the Soviet Union into the superpower status that was required to conquer the planet for Communism.
Well, truth be told, Russia did experience very strong economic growth during the 1930’s, as a consequence of this state control of the economy. Though I’m not enough of a history buff myself to determine just which figures are accurate, the Soviet GDP grew at a rate of between 5% and 15% a year, although starting in the late 20’s from a level that was far behind Western economies. To achieve this goal, millions upon millions of people saw themselves becoming serfs, however, and millions more would die in state gulags or be outright executed; such was the respect shown for liberty and human rights when the state leadership had set a goal to achieve.
The Western world had long since been industrialised, hence the Soviets had at their disposal the technology required for the transformation, as well as the empiric knowledge gained through the process. Industrialisation had naturally meant great hardships for the workers, who responded by organising both strikes as well as forming political parties calling for better working and living conditions. Stalin wouldn’t let any protests of that sort interfere with his plans, but instead had a brutal police force called the Cheka established to enforce his will upon his nation. So with the blueprints from Western industrialisation, Stalin was able to make the desired transformation of his country, although with millions of people perishing in the process.
So, what does this have to do with the world we live in today? I’m sad to say that even though socialism in Marx’ meaning and the abolishment of private property is completely dead, socialism has taken on a new form. While the likes of Marx and Stalin aren’t able to outright confiscate the means of production the way they used to, they have however learned how to confiscate the fruits of reproduction – the children. In most of the Western world, there’s been a slow but gradual shift away from the role of the nuclear family in raising children, a role that’s being replaced by public day-care and public school; in Sweden, the process started as early as in the 1920’s and reached its zenith in the 70’s, when it was linked to women’s liberation and hailed as a breakthrough for equal rights.
One can’t but help to notice a parallell in these two phenomena. In the past, the Soviets and other Communist governments seized private property as they required it for their political aims; today Sweden and other countries don’t respect the rights of parents to raise their own children since it wants to subject them to its own ideals, rearing methods and values. The stated vision is a society where one has cured all social ills by removing all potential risk factors during a person’s childhood – social workers are there to monitor and supervise families so that their offspring grow up to be the sort of members of society the government desires, in a style true to the worst fears of Aldous Huxley.
To quote chapter 5 of the Swedish Social Services Act, the section on minors:
“The social council shall
– in close cooperation with the homes encourage a versatile development of personality and a favourable physical and social development of children and youth.”
When you add into the equation the fact that under Swedish law, parents are prohibited from both spanking and grounding their children, while the social workers without much in the way of legal complications can seize these same children, you realise that the state has indeed positioned itself as the primary guardian, even though this SS act is touted as being for the protection of the children. Or, to put it in simple terms: The state has socialized the children.
In Swedish day-care and schools (they’re all bound by the same curriculum, and homeschooling is pretty much illegal), children are taught quite a radical perspective on life and the world, one their parents often don’t agree with very much. For example, recently international news were made when a class of eight-graders were forced to write essays where they described their sexual fantasies, an assignment that isn’t too uncommon in today’s Sweden. See here for the story. Some two or three years ago at the high school Strömbackaskolan, male high school students were forced to write gay love letters which were later published in a book. The school law doesn’t allow you to opt out of such activities.
With the high Swedish taxes, both parents are often forced to work full-time jobs to make ends meet, which usually leaves most of the parenting in the hands of the state; roughly 90% of children spend their first couple of years in public day-care. And for the socioeconomically disadvantaged families that don’t have jobs, their children are quite often outright taken into foster care. A research study quoted in other blog posts of mine found that one in seven of what one could call “welfare mothers” had their children taken into foster care before they were seven years old. Hence it’s virtually impossible keeping the state away from your children here in Sweden, whether you’re gainfully employed or not.
Naturally, to justify this intrusion into family life, the government presents studies supposedly showing the gains that have been made in communities where the state has taken an active role in this area. Just like the gains made by the Soviet state during the 30’s, the gains here are also of one kind: they’re generally from disadvantaged American minority communities with immense social problems inherent in the families studied. It’s easy to come out ahead if you compare yourself to the born losers. The same sort of gains can’t be made in well-established families, however. Pointing to the actual data would be too major an undertaking for this article, but more and more studies are appearing which show that children become less psychologically healthy the earlier they leave their own home and enter day-care. Home-schooling, which for a long time has been on the rise in the USA and is still gaining ground, is also an area where ordinary parents have proven to be better teachers than the public school system; so much for socialism in this area.
The stagnation that the Soviet Union later experienced in its economy, falling far behind the Western world, is obviously parallelled in state child welfare as well. Just as the Soviet state failed when it tried to direct what was going to be produced and who was going to produce it, the modern welfare state also fails when it attempts to set goals for family life and take custody away from parents. The children deprived of their biological connections are the real victims. For examples of human rights abuses within Swedish child “welfare,” see the Friends of Domenic blog and the Nordic Committee for Human Rights website. Every year, more and more alarming reports come out about the state of mental health of Swedish youth, suspiciously following the centralisation of child-rearing and schooling they got the first taste of. The state is not a good parent.
Please let the children of today be spared being forced into your human kolkhozes.