There is a contagion of madness in Western Europe. It is not merely the preemptive conciliation that afflicts politicians who are ready to subordinate Christian civilization to Islam; it is the wholesale program to promote socialism, even if it leads to economic ruination. While over-extended socialist Europe faces collapse from Spain to Greece, overtaxed Sweden is eager to instruct immigrants on how to get free benefits from the government.
According to a proposal from Swedish Immigration authorities all newly arrived immigrants will undergo courses in “societal values” and be taught about the unique qualities of the society. “Without knowledge of fundamental societal values an important prerequisite to be able to live and work in Sweden is lacking,” writes Erik Amna in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Amna contends that the municipalities should offer a 60 hour course on three areas: values, the welfare state and everyday life, i.e. practical knowledge of how the welfare state works. Not only will Sweden have generous give-away programs, but it intends to instruct new arrivals on how to obtain them.
Here is an unvarnished version of the plan that is destroying Europe. The idea that you can obtain these government benefits without a cost is absurd. There is no such thing as a free lunch even if Swedish authorities challenge that idea. Someone has to pay and the extortionate tax rate in Sweden indicates someone is paying.
The problem, of course, is that the high taxes which serve as a transfer payment, stifle innovation and relegate a portion of the population into shiftlessness. While the cradle to grave welfare state has an appeal to economic tyros who believe money grows on trees, the lessons of welfarism are coming home to roost in the form of insolvency and contractual failure.
Sweden may not yet be in the position of Greece, but its policies will in time result in a similar outcome. There isn’t a painless way out of the trap of socialism. What makes this journey inexorable is the belief benefit packages have to be disseminated to one and all, even new immigrants recently arrived on Swedish soil.
What this orientation does, of course, is create a lobbying group for further welfarism. It explains why retrenchment is so difficult. How do you remove what citizens are accustomed to receiving?
Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of Decade of Denial (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001).
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