Why Is Sweden So Violent All of a Sudden? It’s Just Rotten Luck.

 

On a recent post, I discussed the possible current or impending invasion of Europe, either from Russia via military strike or from Muslim countries via immigration. There were a few commenters that thought that describing high levels of immigration as an invasion was a bit of a stretch. A fair criticism, although I’m not sure I agree with it. Regardless, it reminded me of a conversation I had with a very nice Swedish lady a couple years ago.

At a medical conference in Dallas, I heard a Swedish accent in a nearby conversation. I looked at her (and her nametag), and thought she just must be Swedish. According to her nametag, she worked for Novo Nordisk, a Danish company that produces diabetes medications. I didn’t get the chance to say hello then, but that night at dinner there was a seat open next to her and I sat down. We talked about how much we both liked Sweden, where I’d lived, where she was from, and so on. She was from a nice section of Stockholm, but I mentioned a friend of mine from Gothenburg who said that immigration had created such high rates of violent crime there that he wouldn’t let his wife or daughter go out without a male escort, or three. She seemed offended. “Strange that an American would be so critical of immigration. You are all immigrants here, aren’t you?”

We had been having a lovely conversation, but suddenly she was outright hostile. This sudden shift in our conversation took me aback, and I mumbled something like, “Yeah, well, I haven’t been to Gothenburg in 25 years, but my friend says that there really was no such thing as violent crime — um, not until large numbers of Muslim immigrants moved into certain neighborhoods. I’m not criticizing immigration, I’m just acknowledging what is happening there in terms of crime.”

She was peeved and spat, “Swedes are a generous people by nature. We just want to help those who are from dangerous parts of the world. Would you refuse to help someone escape violence simply because you don’t like their religion?”

I had recovered my footing a bit. I paused, looked thoughtful, and responded, “Rotten luck.”

She didn’t get it, and asked, “What’s rotten luck?”

I said, “Well, these poor people are from a dangerous part of the world. Very violent place. Then you bring those poor people to Sweden, a very safe part of the world. And wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as these poor people show up, Sweden becomes a violent, dangerous part of the world. Just like where they came from. What rotten luck.”

She just stared at me coldly.

“I mean, honestly, who knew? What a weird coincidence. You know, now that I think of it, maybe this is because of Islam!”

She continued to stare at me coldly. Much more coldly.

I continued, “I don’t mean that Islam is causing it; I mean that it’s because of insufficient amounts of Islam in Sweden. You know, Islam means peace. So if you have too much violence all of a sudden in Sweden, perhaps you could fix that by importing more Muslims. You’d have peace in your streets again. Who knows, maybe if you famously stubborn Swedes could learn to adopt other cultures, maybe the Muslims could teach you a thing or two about peace. I believe there’s hope for advancement of all cultures — even Swedes!”

That crossed a line. Her face turned red. She got her plate, stood up, and walked to a table on the other side of the huge conference room. I think the only thing that saved my life was her innate Swedish tendency toward peace that I had just questioned.

Now there’s a fine line between being a witty conversationalist and being a jerk. In retrospect, I probably pole-vaulted over that line into “jerk” territory. Like some other things, that line becomes blurry after a few glasses of wine.

But what a weird response. I acknowledged the irrefutable fact that Sweden has been a ridiculously safe and peaceful country for a long time. Then a bunch of immigrants from notoriously violent countries move in, and guess what: now Sweden is violent too. Perhaps it’s not the dirt in those countries that’s violent, perhaps it’s the people who live there who are violent. Perhaps culture matters. And perhaps religion plays a role in culture.

And if she disagrees with any of that, perhaps she could explain to me why I’m wrong. Then I could answer her, as best I could. And she could answer me. We could have a wonderful time discussing a fascinating topic. It’s called conversation; it’s fun!

But no — two very nice people are suddenly at each other’s throats.

The problem that we had in our conversation was probably religion. Stereotyping someone because of where they’re from is largely ok. In Ohio, we laughed at West Virginian jokes (I presume the West Virginians laughed at Ohioan jokes). In Sweden, we laughed at jokes about Norwegians. It’s all in good fun.

But stereotyping someone because of their religion is different. Especially if that religion is not Christianity or Judaism. Islam is a favored group of the modern left, for reasons that I don’t fully understand and you criticize it at your peril. Perhaps she just can’t conceive of criticizing Islam, and she hates anyone who does; I’m not sure.

Perhaps Islam is no more violent than Christianity — if she believes that, she should explain her reasoning. She made no effort to do so.

But she had an incredibly strong reaction to a fairly obvious observation about a truth that she chooses not to acknowledge. Since she couldn’t really argue that my observation was wrong, all she could do was talk about America’s history of immigration and so on, in an effort to lash out and change the subject to something on which she wasn’t obviously wrong. Her tactics were aggressive, but it made her seem weak, somehow.

In an invasion, the strength and determination of the invading force is important; so is the strength and determination of the defending force. But it doesn’t really matter what either one of those is in absolute terms — it’s the difference between the two that really matters.

I think Europe is being invaded, but I guess I’m really not sure. But I am fairly sure that Europeans really don’t care.

And that’s too bad.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ummm…. yes, I’d say you really stepped in it. The Swedes don’t like to have their issues with immigration discussed. At least you did come out alive.

    • #1
  2. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    I think many Europeans do care about the changes occurring in their countries.  

    Back in the 2005 era, when American troops were in Iraq, trying to plant the seeds of democracy and freedom, I had an online discussion among some conservatives about Islam.

    One argument I had heard was that the problem wasn’t Islam so much as Arab culture.  In other words, the reason why the Arab nations don’t have democracy and freedom isn’t because of Islam, it’s because of the Arab culture.  

    Turkey and Malaysia are non-Arab nations with Islamic majorities.  

    Sure, those countries are arguably better than Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  But they aren’t New Zealand or Switzerland either.  

    So, when I put forth the hypothesis that Islam’s isn’t a barrier to democracy and freedom, I got some pushback from my fellow conservatives on the blog page.  

    Now, back in the 1800s, many people thought that Catholicism was not compatible with democracy and freedom.  In fact, at least one Pope believed that freedom and democracy were bad because people should obey the law of God, not the law of man and you can’t just let any Tom, Dick or Harry vote to determine what the law is.  

    Catholicism has changed since then.  Can Islam change?  Maybe.  But some argue that Islam can only change if it is pressured from the outside.  In other words, if people question whether Mohammad, a man who married a 9 year old, is really the best human being ever, maybe we can get people thinking about “the good” and not just “God.”

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    It has been a long time since I read it, but in Orwell’s 1984, wasn’t the state of Big Brother’s dictatorship predicated upon the invasion of Europe/GB by immigration from Africa and other third world areas?

    Orwell seems to have had a very clear crystal ball.

    • #3
  4. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    I would have said simply “No, we’re not all immigrants. Why would you think that?” 

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Catholicism has changed since then. Can Islam change? Maybe.

    I’m skeptical, even though I’m a big fan of M. Zuhdi Jasser , an ardent supporter of Muslim reform. He is genuine and determined, but even in the US, he has difficulty getting other Muslims in any numbers to support him.

    • #5
  6. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    I think many Europeans do care about the changes occurring in their countries.

    Back in the 2005 era, when American troops were in Iraq, trying to plant the seeds of democracy and freedom, I had an online discussion among some conservatives about Islam.

    One argument I had heard was that the problem wasn’t Islam so much as Arab culture. In other words, the reason why the Arab nations don’t have democracy and freedom isn’t because of Islam, it’s because of the Arab culture.

    Turkey and Malaysia are non-Arab nations with Islamic majorities.

    Sure, those countries are arguably better than Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But they aren’t New Zealand or Switzerland either.

    So, when I put forth the hypothesis that Islam’s isn’t a barrier to democracy and freedom, I got some pushback from my fellow conservatives on the blog page.

    Now, back in the 1800s, many people thought that Catholicism was not compatible with democracy and freedom. In fact, at least one Pope believed that freedom and democracy were bad because people should obey the law of God, not the law of man and you can’t just let any Tom, Dick or Harry vote to determine what the law is.

    Catholicism has changed since then. Can Islam change? Maybe. But some argue that Islam can only change if it is pressured from the outside. In other words, if people question whether Mohammad, a man who married a 9 year old, is really the best human being ever, maybe we can get people thinking about “the good” and not just “God.”

    Brilliant points.  Thank you.  Man, I wish you would have been there for that conversation.  

    Actually, never mind.  She probably wouldn’t have talked to you either.  Even if you were less of a jerk than me.

    But you and I could have had a wonderful evening discussing this stuff!  And I suspect I would have learned a lot.  Which is the definition of a wonderful conversation.

    • #6
  7. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    It strikes me that we have a parallel to Polio here. Sweden was one of the first countries to report paralytic Polio. Years later, studies in Mexico City slums showed that almost all children showed immunity, suggesting exposure to the Polio virus. Since the 1950s it has been shown that Polio is transmitted by fecal oral route so areas with considerable cleanliness, avoid exposure. It was also been shown that early exposure, before the age of five or so, does not result in the paralytic form. Thus, the disease Polio is a disease of cleanliness.

    Why then was Sweden the site of very early instances of the disease ? Two reasons suggest themselves. One, the population was quite dispersed into villages. Second, Swedes are quite clean and sanitation has been good for hundreds of years.

    Perhaps, Swedes are only now being exposed to Muslims and have not developed immunity  to the social pathology these immigrants bring. What would that look like ? Maybe Mexico where nice homes have walls and the courtyard serves the function as the American front yard. Stockholm seems to have lots of open space and lots of walking is done.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gayAByf5i00

    That will have to change.

    • #7
  8. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    …Mohammad, a man who married a 9 year old,

    I believe he married her when she was only six.  Apparently she brought her dolls and some toys with her to her new home – so cute no?  He waited until she was 9 to consummate the wedding.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Mike-K (View Comment):
    It strikes me that we have a parallel to Polio here.

    Not the opening sentence I was expecting.

    Mike-K (View Comment):
    Perhaps, Swedes are only now being exposed to Muslims and have not developed immunity to the social pathology these immigrants bring. What would that look like ? Maybe Mexico where nice homes have walls

    Fascinating comparison. 

    Sometimes, Ricochet is just fantastic…

    • #9
  10. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Catholicism has changed since then. Can Islam change? Maybe.

    I’m skeptical, even though I’m a big fan of M. Zuhdi Jasser , an ardent supporter of Muslim reform. He is genuine and determined, but even in the US, he has difficulty getting other Muslims in any numbers to support him.

    In my opinion, the best hope for “reforming” Islam is, ironically, for more Muslims to leave Islam.  This is what has been termed “The Ex-Muslim movement.”  The group Ex-Muslims of North America is a group where people who were raised under Islam but have lost their faith can meet with others who have done the same.

    They can do so while keeping their identity secret, since they do not want their family and friends to know about their loss of faith.  Here is one Iranian ex-Muslim named Armin Navabi talking about the poison pill of Islam.

    Here is Veedu Vitz satirizing Islam.

    • #10
  11. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    They can do so while keeping their identity secret, since they do not want their family and friends to know about their loss of faith.

    A quite rational decision.  That is a ‘closet’ that one does not necessarily want to come out of.

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    It has been a long time since I read it, but in Orwell’s 1984, wasn’t the state of Big Brother’s dictatorship predicated upon the invasion of Europe/GB by immigration from Africa and other third world areas?

    Orwell seems to have had a very clear crystal ball.

    I don’t remember the fictional book I read years ago about a herd of immigrants overwhelming the US southern border. The all had guns. It seems that everything is the same except the don’t need the guns thanks to the Democrats.

    • #12
  13. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Is it an invasion, if you’ve given them the key to the front door? To me, that’s even sadder than an invasion.

     

    • #13
  14. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    We should all carry the many page list of  terrorist attacks committed by Muslims in the name of Allah for such discussions.

    • #14
  15. TRibbey Inactive
    TRibbey
    @TRibbey

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    In my opinion, the best hope for “reforming” Islam is, ironically, for more Muslims to leave Islam.

    Indeed. I am sympathetic to Robert Spencer’s argument that hoping for a Muslim version of Martin Luther to come along and reform the faith has the problem precisely backwards. Mustafa Ataturk ended the Ottoman Caliphate in Turkey and attempted to create in Islam a divide between the church and the state. Unfortunately not everyone agreed that this was correct. Hassan al-Banna created the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in response to push for modern, politically motivated Islam. 

    • #15
  16. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    I recall reading a really good older book on this topic… Still have it on my shelf, actually:  “Menace in Europe“.  And whadda-ya-know?  It’s the book that made me a fan of a certain Ricochet contributor.  She’s pretty much disavowed the premise of the book, though I haven’t figured out why.  It’s prescient.

    Oh, yeah: Invasion.

    • #16
  17. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    TRibbey (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    In my opinion, the best hope for “reforming” Islam is, ironically, for more Muslims to leave Islam.

    Indeed. I am sympathetic to Robert Spencer’s argument that hoping for a Muslim version of Martin Luther to come along and reform the faith has the problem precisely backwards. Mustafa Ataturk ended the Ottoman Caliphate in Turkey and attempted to create in Islam a divide between the church and the state. Unfortunately not everyone agreed that this was correct. Hassan al-Banna created the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in response to push for modern, politically motivated Islam.

    The Protestant Reformation is not a good template to impose on Islam. After all, Luther and the gang wanted the Bible to be the only authority in Christianity. Suggesting that Muslims’ strict adherence to their holy writ would solve any of the problems of the faith seems nonsensical.

    • #17
  18. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Doc, the Left goes easy on Islam for the same reason it goes easy on Football players who kneel, goes easy on the anti-fa groups that stomp on the flag and attack conservative groups, and goes easy on the Black Lives Matter guys.  Any group that is even vaguely anti-American gets a pass by the Left because they spout the same kind of anti-American rhetoric that the Left does.  The Left shares some of Islam’s hate of traditional American values.

    • #18
  19. fidelio102 Inactive
    fidelio102
    @fidelio102

    This post interested me because I am, in some ways, a professional immigrant.

    I first left the UK at the age of 23, emigrating, as it happens, to Sweden, where I remained for 10 years.  Of course, the current problems to which Dr Bastiat refers did not exist, but the reaction of the writer’s Swede in no way surprises me.

    We sometimes forget how different things can be between a country with 325+ million inhabitants (US) and 8 million (Sweden).  One reason I left Sweden was that I was uncomfortable with the fact that, in a country with that small a population, there is really only room for one opinion at a time.  

    During much of my decade in Sweden, for example, the Vietnam War was being fought.  If you lived in Sweden you were supposed to condemn the USA (the then Prime Minister, Olof Palme, famously described America as ‘the Devil’s murderers).  If you felt that maybe the US was well-intentioned, you were immediately labeled a fascist (which is, no doubt, how Dr Bastiat’s acquaintance viewed him).  

    Since I left Sweden, a new Swedish word has been coined to describe this phenomenon: åsiktskorridor (corridor of opinion), which I encountered for the first time a few months ago in the Swedish press.

    To return to the subject, the Swedes (government, press and a large swathe of the population) are in denial.  They cannot and will not accept that this latest group of migrants will not play by the rules

    All previous immigrants to Sweden (primarily E. Europeans fleeing communism and SE Asians fleeing US imperialism, i.e. Viets) have been successfully assimilated into Swedish society.

    The “new immigrants” demand segregated swimming pools, insist that schoolteachers respect the wearing of hijabs by girls in kindergarten and other such inanities.

    For anyone who reads Swedish and is interested, the Försvarshögskolan (Swedish Defence University) has just published a 266_page report entitled (in translation) “Between Salafism and Salafist Jihadism”.  For download:  https://www.fhs.se/download/18.7df9907163ed7475b4abe94/1530198487005/F%C3%B6rsvarsh%C3%B6gskolan.%20Mellan%20salafism%20och%20salafistisk%20jihadism_v2.pdf?utm_source=website&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=salafismsalafistiskjihadism

    What is happening today in Sweden is tragic, deplorable and, unless the various populist movements in Europe gain traction as they hve in Italy, will become the European norm.

    • #19
  20. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Doc, the Left goes easy on Islam for the same reason it goes easy on Football players who kneel, the anti-fa groups that stomp on the flag and attack conservative groups, and Black Lives Matter: Any group that is even vaguely anti-American gets a pass by the Left because they all spout anti-America rhetoric. In fact, at times the Left’s litany of the sins of America seems to go beyond rhetoric to actual hate of America.

    Daniel Greenfield has a new piece out on where the Left’s credulity lies:

    58% of Democrats believe in UFOs, but only 32% are proud to be American. Only 37% of Republicans believe in flying saucers, but a full 80% are proud of their country.

    Almost twice as many Democrats are willing to believe in being abducted by space aliens than in their country. Hillary Clinton had promised that if elected, she would find out the truth about the little green men and suggested that the planet had already been visited by aliens.

    “Maybe we could have, like, a task force to go to Area 51,” she suggested.

    The chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta, an obsessive UFO buff, appeared on an episode of Ancient Aliens which claimed that Hillary Clinton was defeated to suppress the truth about space aliens.

    […]

    According to the party that “believes” in science, Iranian nukes don’t exist, but flying saucers do.

    Speaking of Iranian nukes, Legal Insurrection has a must read new column with a link to an important old one.

    The old:

    We know that the U.S. was defrauded into entering into Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

    The first fraud was committed by the Obama administration, which deliberately misled the American people and created an echo chamber to amplify and sustain that fraud.

    […]

    There was a second fraud, by the Iranians. That fraud, which involved hiding and secreting evidence of its advanced nuclear weapons program, was just exposed by thousands of documents and CDs the Israeli Mossad stole from right under the Iranians’ noses at one of its most secret locations.

    […]

    As Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a press call shortly before the Iran deal was signed, “When the agreement comes in force, there will be a complete declaration by Iran on its . . . past and current nuclear program. That’s the first prerequisite.”

    Well, Iran never actually agreed to make such a declaration. Although the IAEA professionals know such accounting is necessary, American and European negotiators didn’t insist on it.

    Instead, they bought generalized public declarations by Iranian officials. As Netanyahu showed in his presentation, those included statements by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and the ever-smiling Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. All said pursuing nuclear bombs is, literally, against their religion.

    I guess they were lying about Islam. Who woulda thunk it?

    New at Legal Insurrection: how the Mossad pulled off the heist.

    • #20
  21. TedRudolph Inactive
    TedRudolph
    @TedRudolph

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Doc, the Left goes easy on Islam for the same reason it goes easy on Football players who kneel, the anti-fa groups that stomp on the flag and attack conservative groups, and Black Lives Matter: Any group that is even vaguely anti-American gets a pass by the Left because they all spout anti-America rhetoric. In fact, at times the Left’s litany of the sins of America seems to go beyond rhetoric to actual hate of America.

    To put it differently, the Left views the enemies of their enemies as the Left’s friends.

    • #21
  22. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    If Islam means peace, shouldn’t Islamic extremists be extremely peaceful?

    • #22
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    She might have been irritated (unfairly) because of this:

    https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/WP0KG/the-crime-situation-in-sweden-compared-to-the-us-in-4-charts

    • #23
  24. Dorrk Inactive
    Dorrk
    @Dorrk

    Zafar (View Comment):

    She might have been irritated (unfairly) because of this:

    https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/WP0KG/the-crime-situation-in-sweden-compared-to-the-us-in-4-charts

    It’s intersting how when the stats flatter Sweden no further explanation is needed; when they appear to confirm Trump’s remarks, there is a lot of mitigating details about how countries report certain crimes skewing results. It seems like a more honest report would look at mitigating arguments on both sides of the equation and not just when it suits them.

    They also ignore the larger context by not showing the side-by-side crime stats over a longer period and the correlating immigration stats over the same period. I don’t know what those stats would show, but for their argument to meaningful, it needs to provide a bigger picture of Sweden’s changes in crime and demographics.

    • #24
  25. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/on-islam-is-on-target

    They are not immigrants any more than the first Islamic conquests were  immigrants.  It’s an invasion; intended as an invasion, and understood by Muslims as an invasion, with the path  prepared for by oil money who worked over weak minds like that women.  The article above makes clear to me that the woman was an ethnocentric bigot,  so  lacking in empathy that she got angry if asked to understand Muslims as they understand themselves. 

    • #25
  26. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Well, that was one rude way to spend a meal.

    • #26
  27. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    I’m currently reading this….

     

    It’s both informative and very depressing.

    • #27
  28. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “You are all immigrants here, aren’t you?”

    People making this comment rarely stop to consider what happened to the prior inhabitants of America when they were faced with large numbers of ‘immigrants’, most of whom had no intention of assimilating to the lifestyle and values of those already there.

    • #28
  29. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

     

    Crimes per 100k population

     

    • #29
  30. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Kozak (View Comment):

    I’m currently reading this….

     

    It’s both informative and very depressing.

    Here is Douglas Murray talking with Sam Harris on Harris’ podcast.  Murray gets Harris to laugh in this segment.  

     

    • #30
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