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Tags: netherlands | stockholm | swedish

We Shouldn't Emulate Sweden's COVID-19 Strategy

sweden and covid

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz By Wednesday, 27 May 2020 02:12 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

As America frets about for the most optimal model to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, some pundits cast their longing eyes at Sweden.

They see the Swedish response as eminently desirable for grounded in liberty and individualism. To emulate the Swedish way, however, would be anything but.

At the theoretical level, Stockholm’s apparently hands off approach draws on a rather sinister tradition of collectivism and social engineering.

Swedish elites tend to approach the question of population management in a coldly utilitarian and Social Darwinist manner.

It's firmly embedded in Sweden’s brands of socialism: initially National Socialism and currently democratic socialism. This is the same Social Democratic governmental elite that vigorously practiced eugenics into the 1970s.

The targeted groups were the so-called social misfits, mentally handicapped, and national minorities, the Lapps and Inuit in particular.

The current pandemic elicited a similar official response, dividing the people into the worthy and not.

When COVID struck, the Swedish government proclaimed it business as usual.

Outwardly, it appeared as if the country was ignoring the threat.

Calm, composed, and measured, the Social Democratic administration imparted an air of self-assurance which positively contrasted with growing hysteria elsewhere in Europe. Stockholm eschewed a quarantine for the most part; it recommended, and not required, social distancing.

It limited somewhat the permissible capacity for public spaces.

Fifty persons could assemble at will, even at bars.

Consequently, Swedish restaurants were full, school remained open, and other establishments, such as hair salons, continued their operations as usual.

This has been beneficial for the economy in particular as the nation’s industrial capacity and employment have remained apparently steady.

No social distancing would threaten the progressive government’s tax base — at least initially.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, however, the Swedish officialdom has not ignored the pandemic. Actually, it has a strategy.

It's grounded in cold utilitarianism and Social Darwinism.

First, the official consensus is to let the disease run its course so the people can develop so-called herd immunity. Next, there is geography and demography.

Aside from the Baltic coast in the south, Sweden has some of the lowest population densities, in the northern Arctic reaches in particular.

Cities would have to be reckoned with, and not much the countryside.

Then, the government focused on protecting the young and healthy, who are the future. Further, early reports optimistically claimed that children were immune, so they should be permitted to continue at their preschools and schools.

But now it looks like the kids are vulnerable to the disease, too.

As for the old folks, sorry, the nature would have to take its course.

It has done so. 

Half of all Swedish deaths are in government run retirement facilities.

There are also disturbing reports that the Social Democratic officialdom has countenanced "soft euthanasia."

Like Belgium and the Netherlands, Sweden has been caught surreptitiously dispensing morphine cocktails to its seniors to smooth their departure for their next world.

Cold and utilitarian, the official approach runs practically along the philosophical lines of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s so-called "death panels."

This democratic socialist reality should not be overlooked.

At the practical level, the Swedish way appears to be a dangerous, if not outright lethal, cul de sac.

Relative to its population size, the nation has reached one of the highest proportions of deaths in the world: over 4,100 deaths out of about 35,000 infected, including 4,971 recovered, in a population of 10.2 million.

In other words, the pandemic has claimed thirty eight Swedish citizens for every 100,000 persons in the country. By comparison, its Scandinavian neighbors are doing much better.

Denmark has registered fewer than 12,000 infections with 564 dead and over 10,000 recuperated out of 7.8 million citizens, while Norway’s numbers are fewer than 9,000 afflicted with 235 deceased and over 7,700 COVID free out of 5.3 million nationals.

Both Denmark and Norway were early converts to quarantine and vigorous testing.

The people of Sweden have finally noticed what’s happening.

There have been open-air demonstrations in Stockholm.

The people converged on the capital’s central spot, Sergels torg, where they displayed a huge SOS sign — and a coffin.

A woman brought her dead father’s house slippers and left them with a note attached, "I thought I was safe at the retirement house."

In addition, the citizens held candle vigils and laid flowers for the deceased in front of public buildings, including the Parliament House.

By quaint Swedish standards this virtually amounts to civil disobedience.

The demonstrations have rattled the officialdom at least a bit.

Embarrassed, the government has discontinued its customarily gleeful open air propaganda sessions known as daily briefings in front of the Public Health building.

Meanwhile, in other news, it turns out that the much vaunted "herd immunity" has failed to materialize in Sweden.

In Stockholm only 7.3% of all residents have tested positively for it. Elsewhere the level has barely reached 4%.

It'sobvious that the Social Darwinist strategy of the Social Democrats has been failing.

What’s next?

The Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren has stated on TV4 that "no one knows, whether the Swedish strategy is appropriate."

You can say that again. But knowing Sweden, we can expect more collectivism in its future official response, and less freedom. There is nothing for America to emulate there.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe’s Three Seas region; author, among others, of “Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas.” Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s Reports – More Here.

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In Stockholm only 7.3% of all residents have tested positively for it. Elsewhere the level has barely reached 4%. It is obvious that the Social Darwinist strategy of the Social Democrats has been failing.
netherlands, stockholm, swedish
Wednesday, 27 May 2020 02:12 PM
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