Violence in Sweden, echoes in Britain
On Saturday a pregnant Muslim woman was viciously attacked in a Stockholm suburb for wearing a hijab.
She ended up in hospital, while the cause of persecuted Muslims was splashed all over the papers. A group of prominent Swedish women posted on the Internet photos of themselves wearing head scarves. These were accompanied by a heart-felt statement, warning of an impending “march of fascism.”
It’s hard not to sympathise. It’s even harder not to wonder if this is a taste of things to come all over Europe.
For this is historically how fascism begins: driven by various motives, bien pensant or otherwise, a modern state creates a crisis of one kind or another, be it economic, military or social.
The state then proves impotent to deal with the crisis, clearing the way for virile individuals to cope as they see fit. The toothpaste of social unrest comes out of the tube and it can’t be put back.
Sweden is a good example. As a result of its government’s irresponsible immigration policy, about five percent of the country’s population is now Muslim, while Sweden’s third-largest city Malmö is predominantly Islamic.
Alas, many Muslims refuse not only to assimilate but indeed to integrate into the ambient society. Moreover, they routinely express hostility to it, and not just in Sweden.
Riots in the banlieues of Paris unfold to the screams of Nique la France! (the verb means f***). Sweden too was rocked by riots this year, and the battle cries were an accurate translation from the French.
Indiscriminate attacks on Christians and especially Jews have become routine, and in fact Malmö’s Jews are emigrating in droves. Earlier this year, two Iranian converts to Christianity have been stabbed to death.
Al-Qaeda’s magazine Inspire has advised Muslims to sabotage the transport sector. The call to arms has been heeded: stones are often thrown at the windscreens of speeding cars, and large rocks are being placed on the roads. As a result, a car carrying a visiting Danish family overturned and the whole family of five suffered serious injuries.
None of this will come as a shock to British, French, Spanish or Dutch readers – such incidents aren’t exclusive to Sweden and they are escalating. In fact attacks on churches and synagogues are mounting – many are desecrated by graffiti featuring a pig’s head.
This in no way excuses the criminal assault on the Muslim woman in Sweden, and I hope its perpetrators will be suitably punished. But perhaps the motivation behind incidents of this kind can be seen more clearly in the light thrown by dozens of cars burning in the background.
Thugs will be thugs, and they’ll always find an excuse for violence. But even law-abiding Swedes are aghast at what’s happening in their formerly peaceful country. Sweden got aggression out of its system in the 18th century, when it fought its last war. Now violence is being imported.
What recourse do they have? No civilised person can countenance arbitrary violence – so what are the civilised options?
Precious few, as is the case in any country where democratic secularism has vanquished to a point where no competition is allowed. Nigel Farage hinted at this the other day when he said that “The whip hand is now so firmly with the bureaucrats – they hold all the cards – that possibly violence is the only way out of this.”
He was talking specifically about the EU bureaucracy, but the same applies to any national variety. This unfortunate situation can be traced back to the very nature of modern, which is to say, total democracy unleavened by Christianity.
Unlike the traditional monarchies of Christendom, a modern democracy can’t derive its legitimacy from any transcendent origin. Its legitimacy can only come from a purely secular proposition, which, courtesy of John Locke, is usually defined as ‘consent of the governed’.
How was this consent given? Obviously this can’t be accurately traced back to any specific time and place.
Arbitrarily we can choose any past event, such as the Glorious Revolution. But this would imply that 300-odd years ago Englishmen issued an irrevocable consent to be governed by the same method of government in eternity. If so, how can they reaffirm or withdraw their consent?
Elections taking place every few years are supposed to serve this purpose. But that would imply that 30 percent of the populace (a proportion these days seen as sufficient to provide a mandate for even sweeping constitutional changes) can give consent on behalf of the other 70 percent.
That’s clearly nonsensical. I for one never agreed to successive British governments extorting half of what I earn, and neither do I recall being in a position to vote for a less voracious expropriator in the last 20 years.
Locke saw all those paradoxes clearly, which is why he issued an implicit endorsement of revolution as the only realistic way for the people to withdraw their consent. A modern, secular democracy provides for no peaceful means, especially since differences among mainstream parties are fading away.
That’s why the danger of escalating violence is real in Europe. It can be triggered off by the indigenous people feeling that their country is being taken away from them – either by a supranational bureaucracy, as Nigel Farage would have it, or by a seismic demographic shift, or perhaps by an economic collapse.
Sweden, France and other European countries are dropping hints to that effect all over the place. Is anyone listening?
Alexander Boot is a writer on political, cultural and religious themes