Immigration is a hot issue for a number of Western nations, notably America and my country of origin, Sweden. The latter being a notable case is a fact that escapes many of those who don’t count themselves among its 9.5 million people. That is, at least for now; news stories of Sweden’s troubles are starting to trickle out with an accelerating frequency that mirrors the nation’s increasing instability.
What attracts immigrants to a country? The prospects of a better life – as defined and imagined by those immigrants. This last point becomes interesting when you turn the question around: What kind of immigrant does a country attract? The kind that seeks to gain whatever values of whatever nature that the country in question has to offer, noble or not. Retirees move to Spain for the weather and the relaxed atmosphere. Frustrated males move to Thailand for the girls and the not-so-girls.*
Historically, people have moved to America because they wanted to live life by their own terms. We frown upon that in Europe.
Why do people move to Sweden? Insofar as it is a modern industrial society, Sweden doesn’t differ much from other Western (or Northern) European countries. Yet the number of immigrants, refugee and otherwise, that it accepts from the Middle East and Africa every year is, by the standards of both continental Europe and its closer Scandinavian neighbors, record-setting and wildly out of proportion to its own population. “Welfare” is more than a decent guess, but that answer can’t be the whole truth; Norway and Denmark, despite also being social democracies, aren’t having these problems nearly to the same extent.
Proponents of Capitalism know that welfare systems are corrosive to a society’s individuals; Norway and Denmark are no exceptions. But they’re missing the ingredient that would turn their welfare explosive: mass immigration. Onerous as they are, the taxation and redistribution going on in these countries remain relatively stable in the short term because they’re done chiefly by, for, and to a mostly gainfully employed Western populace.
Simply put, they aren’t importing large numbers of unskilled people and putting them on easily accessed, longterm welfare. Sweden is. The consequences in the form of crime, unemployment, social strife, and the increasing alienation of native Swedes, were clear enough yesterday, are painfully so today, and will become catastrophically so tomorrow.
But why was this allowed to happen to Sweden in the first place, and why can’t the increasingly disgruntled Swedes seem to mount an effective opposition to the policies of social engineering enacted and maintained by their elected politicians? That will be the topic for my next entry.
* I know Thailand has more to offer, but stereotypes can be hilarious when they’re at least partially true.