The Lebanization of Sweden

Every time I bring up the decline of Sweden with my libertarian American friends, they smile and say that there are no problems in Sweden because they just visited the posh, upscale shopping malls in downtown Stockholm and everything was so nice and quiet and clean. And besides, they say, their American cell phone worked on the commuter train to the airport, so Sweden is very modern and advanced and sophisticated.

Little do they know – because they don’t want to know – that 4-5 subway stops away from the fancy-pants hotels, art galleries and restaurants in downtown Stockholm, cars are being burned, rescue workers are being stoned by rioting thugs, schools are set on fire, police stations firebombed and mass transit suspends service because bus drivers fear for their lives driving through those neighborhoods.

I don’t think anyone would judge New York, let alone America, by taking a walk from Battery Park to Fulton Street on Manhattan, yet that is basically how superficially America’s libertarian intellectual elite “analyzes” Sweden.

At the end of the day it really does not matter how America’s libertarian pundits view Sweden. What really matters is how politically influential people decide to use the terrifying experience of Sweden’s slow-progressing collapse to save their own countries from going down the same path. But it would help, of course, if all friends of freedom would open their eyes to reality as it unfolds around them. We need all hands on deck to restore individual and economic freedom.

I recently reported on the riots that for more than a week engulfed Stockholm’s rundown, over-crowded, crime-ridden housing projects. I have also reported on the escalating, politically motivated violence that is now becoming a credible threat to the very democratic form of government in Sweden. I have also explained how the large, costly Swedish welfare state attracts tens of thousands of welfare immigrants every year, immigrants who flock to the housing projects and raise their children in virtual isolation from the rest of Swedish society.

Not to mention that the Swedish state is de facto capitulating before an onslaught of serious organized crime.

Today I will let two other Swedish voices present their views of the terrifying decline of our native country. Unlike me, they still live there and are trying to do what they can to delay the inevitable. First, here is a report from the blogger Cavatus, whom I have known for a few years now as an astute yet often restrained observer of Swedish politics and public policy – when Cavatus speaks up, it is for very compelling reasons:

Sweden has disgraced itself internationally because of the riots last week. But don’t believe that it all has ceased by now. Every night there are cars on fire and other subversive mischief in the immigration suburbs. In the wake of the first riots, in all 70 [housing projects] have been struck so far by the consequences of Sweden’s downright failured immigration policy.

Please note what Cavatus is reporting. The week of eye-catching riots did not end. The destruction, which included but was not limited to attacks on shopping centers, police stations, child care institutions, schools and mass transit (including an arson attack on a commuter train station), did not end when media turned their cameras elsewhere. They scaled down but continued and have in fact spread to more cities than Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Uppsala, Linkoping and Orebro, those hit during the first week.

High-intensity social unrest has been replaced by a low-intensity outpour of anti-social behavior.

Where does this anti-social behavior come from? As I explained in my article on welfare immigration, it is never a good idea for a society to import large numbers of people from culturally, socially and economically very distant countries, put them on welfare and expect them to assimilate into your cultural and social traditions. When unemployment is high – as it has been in Sweden for a good two decades now – and welfare benefits are endless; when the immigrants rarely have more than a few years of elementary education (many who come to Sweden only report two years of Koran school) the stage is set for social disintegration rather than integration.

Despite this alarming problem unfolding under their very noses, the Swedish political establishment fail to see what is going on. Cavatus gives a very telling example:

A politician, member of one of the ruling parties (Olle Engström in Borås), had a letter to the editor published yesterday in the newspaper Borås Tidning, in which he rejected the uncontrolled immigration policy and dreaded that Sweden shortly would fall into a religious civil war if nothing is done, like Lebanon and such countries.

Here is what this long-time politically active, elected official said (my translation – click here for google translation):

In Sweden, we have since the 1950s and ’60s opened our country to hundreds of thousands of people from other countries who have fled from oppression, unemployment, war and starvation, who have been given a new homestead here.

Yes, this guy does put on equal footing escaping from war and “escaping” from unemployment. Typical Swede… But let’s continue to listen to him – it does get interesting:

Over the past week we have read in the papers about the ramifications of overly optimistic and unrestricted immigreation to Sweden. Society [referring to government] is losing control over the situation. Today, vandals and rioters are subjecting our entire social structure to enormous pressure which, over time, can have very serious consequences. As a citizen and politician I mourn today over what is happening. … Those who instigated and participated in these riots don’t understand what profound damage their so called pastime has done to the efforts to build bridges of understanding and empathy between people from different cultural backgrounds. … Where is Sweden heading? I see before me a Sweden that in 20-30 years has totally lost control over the situation, with frightening consequences.

Dear Mr. Engstrom – that is going to happen in much less time than that, perhaps as little as 2-3 years.

Terrorism, violence and crime will increase in Sweden. and maybe we might also, down the road, see a full-scale civil war between religious groups, similar to what has been and is happening in Lebanon, Iraq, Nigeria and other places.

 A local elected official, long-time member of the ruling Moderate party, fear for the future of his country. The day after his letter to the editor was published, the former mayor of his hometown, Boras, wrote a rebuttal claiming that Mr. Engstrom was completely wrong on all accounts. Anyone familiar with Swedish political culture can immediately identify this rebuttal as an official declaration from the Moderate party that Mr. Engstrom is no longer a member. He was expelled for speaking up against mass immigration and for voicing his concern regarding the social and economic future of his country.

Cavatus confirms this:

Today, he was excluded from his party, Moderaterna (“the Moderates”). A fellow party member had today a letter to the editor published in the same newspaper, where he maintained that “it is not the immigration that gives frightening consquences for the society; it is the blind criticism without nuances of it”. I mention this just to show you how completely impossible it is to talk about the quantity of immigrants that Sweden can embrace and the results of the quantities received so far. So despite nationwide riots, we are still not allowed or able to talk about it, unless we want to be labelled racists, foremost by the media and the journalists. This is, in fact, an indication of Sweden’s severe predicament.

Cavatus is absolutely right. In Sweden today it is akin to political suicide to speak up about the riots and their relation to the very large immigration that has taken place, especially during the past decade. But it is in fact worse than that: as my article on political violence explained, critics of immigration are targeted by violent political mobs, their homes and other property being attacked and they themselves being victims of harassment and even assault.

This video gives a glimpse of what is happening (the man interviewed is chairman of the National Democrats, a party with a nationalist agenda that I do not support – nevertheless, the commentary of the interview is worth taking seriously):

For a more in-depth commentary and an interview with brave journalist Ingrid Carlqvist, take a look at this video.

As the Lebanization of Sweden progresses, we will hear more from there. Stay tuned.


  1. The Stateless Man

    Cut off the welfare across the board. If you create a welfare state, you’ll attract welfare immigrants — end of story.

    This problem only remains because the rulers in Sweden are so wedded to their precious welfare and centrally planned state.

  2. Cavatus

    Thank you for elaborating my point. This is acually appalling that it is impossible to discuss this even while the riots are keeping on and after such a nationwide diffusion. I just happened to discuss this with my neighbour when passing by, he is a newly retired man, who initiated the discussion. He said that he is furious when he sees the development of this country. Completely furious. He is resigned and says that all has gone too far and Sweden is already destoyed.

    And what else he stated, I cannot mention here, but should our politicians here that, they should shiver when they realise what they have caused among people with this silencing of people’s right to have a saying in the immigration policy that they are pursuing. I can only say, that the alternative my neighbour proposed, was something that is FAR more extreme than the “odious” policy proposed by the Sweden Democrats. You cannot imagine.

    • S R Larson


      Unfortunately I think I can imagine, and that is the frightening part. There is a very profound warning embedded in the phrase “Lebanization of Sweden”, namely that unless the government gets its act together and brings order and peace back to the country, things will quickly spiral out of control. I am truly worried, especially with regard to the election campaign season that starts in the spring of 2014.

      • Utlandssvensk

        Yes, I am afraid that I also can imagine….. It is truly looking horrible and I simply can not see any happy ending to this.

        Regarding the election 2014, they are really starting to turn up the heat now, i.e. presenting various new measures aimed at making it difficult for SD to participate on anything resembling a level playing field. I will try to write something longer about this, hopefully this weekend.

  3. Cavatus

    I remember reading somewhere a comment from you, Utlandssvensk, (or was it possibly you, Sven?) where you wrote that when people in Sweden wake up, the result will be that they vote for parties that are far more right wing with measures that will be far more far-reaching and even monstrous than the ones (which are not monstrous at all, instead they are just according to the policy pursued in all the other European countries) suggested by the Swedendemocrats.

    The first time I read your statement, I thought it sounded crazy. But when hearing what my retired neighbour said, a very peaceful and nice person, I realize that this statement will come true and thus I am today apt to agree.

  4. MetalHeadViking

    I never thought that american libertarians could be so stubborn. They should take a look at what Tino Sanandaji has written about Sweden on its economy and immigration issues.

  5. S R Larson

    I am familiar with Tino Sanandaji’s writings, and not too impressed. He lacks systemic understanding of the Swedish crisis, thinking that it is entirely caused by immigration. He does not understand the inherent flaws of the welfare state, nor does he have the historic perspective necessary to comprehend how Sweden fundamentally changed in the 1990s.