The following editorial by Mats Tunehag appeared yesterday in Världen idag. It’s unusual for a Swedish media article to be so frank and realistic about the crisis of the multicultural project, and it identifies the key problems that Sweden and other Western democracies are now facing, including the assault on free speech and the erosion of civil society.
I’ve reproduced the entire piece below (in English in the original):
Is Sweden a democracy in ten years’ time?
Probably and hopefully, but not necessarily. Democracy (or dictatorship) is not a destination that you arrive to, but an ongoing journey. During this journey, democracy can be strengthened, weakened, or lost.
When these dear freedoms and rights have been won, it is easy to take them for granted. Will Sweden limit fundamental human rights? Yes, it could. There are many tragic examples.
Waves of democracy have often had a backlash and turned back to dictatorial regimes. When democracy is introduced through revolution, there is often a backlash: France, 1789; Russia, 1917; as well as many countries in Latin America during the 1800s and countries in Africa and Asia after the Second World War. Only 4 out of 17 countries which embraced democracy between 1915 and 1931 managed to retain it during the 1930s.
In general, countries with a Protestant tradition have better and stronger democracies. Islam still has to present one single practical evidence that it is possible to combine Islam and sharia with democracy. States which link ethnicity with religion often have difficulties with democratic development and/or religious freedom. It applies, for example, to countries with Orthodox churches: Russia, Serbia, Greece, Armenia, and Georgia.
There are essential pillars for the development and maintenance of democracy. Let me mention three which all are under attack in Sweden and the EU.
Firstly, freedom of speech and religion is decisive for democratic processes and for respect of the integrity and freedom of the citizens. Thus it is a backlash for democracy that these very two freedoms increasingly are being challenged and diminished in Sweden and in the European Union. The examples are many. In the name of tolerance, there are demands, legislative changes, and threats which decrease the freedom of speech and religion, often under the term hate speech.
These self-appointed prophets of intolerance stem from the same democracy-hostile soil but grow on different trees like Islamists, secularists, and gay lobbyists. The Labour Party in the UK wants to abolish the freedom of speech clause regarding homosexual lifestyle. A well-intended EU directive against discrimination is moving in the same direction.
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Secondly, the state shall not govern religious institutions, and religious institutions should not rule the state. The church should be a prophet in society, but not its king. And the state should be everybody’s servant, but not the high priest of the church. Major political forces in Sweden (and the EU) is trying to push the church out from the public arena, but want — on the other hand — to decide what the church must or must not do, like forcing the church to perform homosexual marriages. That is not democracy!
Thirdly, a strong civil society is crucial for democracy. There must be voluntary organizations which are independent from the state. They may be stamp or bowling clubs, Christian study circles, political youth organizations or trade unions. But EU’s Equal Treatment Directive (ETD) means that the independence of civil society is threatened. The European Parliament has already voted for it, but it needs to be approved by the Commission. According to the ETD, clubs and Christian organizations will not have the obvious right to define membership criteria. The UK is already struggling with this issue, due to their laws — which have given inspiration to ETD. For example, a Christian student union was closed down at a university since they required that its members should adhere to a classic Christian faith. It was viewed as discriminating.
The development in Sweden and the EU is worrying. It is high time for the Church to be a prophet!
Hat tip: Steen.