Sunday, April 25, 2010

Government Subsidies in Sweden

I understand that the Swedish tax system is very different from that in the US. I understand that the views of that tax system are very different than they are in the US. I do not understand how government subsidies can be used to fund right-wing extremist newspapers under the guise of diversity.

This week it was revealed that a newspaper published by the far-right xenophobic Nationaldemokraterna, has been granted nearly two million Swedish kronor in 2010. You know, so that the Swedish people have access to the diverse opinions that can be found throughout the newspaper industry.

Nationaldemokraterna would have you believe that immigrants are the root of all evil in Sweden, and that they are systematically infiltrating the Swedish state so as to eradicate Swedishness. Of course they are nut jobs. Which is exactly why they should not be receiving government subsidies for printing their nut job ideas and distributing it to the few peanut brained nut jobs who agree. The same can be said for all those left-wing nut jobs who are receiving the same subsidies. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, they aren’t getting the same amount of press in the press about their presstöd. Of course, that also means they sneak by and keep cashing the check.

Presstödsnämnden, the group responsible for doling out government grants, is seen as a non-partisan group. It could care less whether you believe all immigrants are evil or whether you believe all Swedes are evil. As long as you meet their criteria as a legitimate newspaper, you can receive tax payer money.

The EU isn’t a big fan of this either. Not because of the potential political issues, but because of the anti-competitive undertones of supporting businesses with government subsidies. Subsidies are used throughout the world; in the US agriculture is often heavily subsidized resulting in some serious inefficiencies at times.

To subsidize newspapers doesn’t just open the industry up to inefficiencies, but also to government involvement, no matter how non-partisan it may be. Not only that, but instead of a lack of demand for this kind of nonsense, Nationaldemokraterna are given a stage to perform on. With tacit support from the government and in turn, the unknowing or unwilling Swedish people. And that’s not good.

I have written a few times about immigration. I believe that immigration reform is important, that an open discussion about immigration is key to the ongoing success of the Swedish nation. I believe that too often, any discussion about immigration devolves into two extreme views, one referring to any attempt to discuss the issue as racists, and one actually being racists. Unfortunately, the majority then find themselves screaming into nothingness while all they hear are extremist views in response.

Welcome to Sweden. And government subsidies.

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  1. Nationaldemokraterna are indeed nutjobs. Sverigedemokraterna will get my vote the upcoming election.

  2. Well you can't have an opinion without information, so I don't see the problem here? Just hearing one side all the time wont make you any wiser.
    Spewing populistic opinions is something every blogger likes, but as far as I can tell it has never helped anyone. Sadly this is also where the press is heading, the people just gets more stupid och sheep like by the minute.

  3. I am not a fan of the Nationaldemokraterna and I think the presstöd should be abandoned completely.

    But in all fairness, you can't really criticize giving it to Nationaldemokraterna while not saying anything about the fact that other extremist newspapers has been receiving this for years.

    For instance the Proletären newspaper which is a far more extreme publication, albeit on the left.

  4. @anonymous - ahh yes, clearly a much better choice.

    @anonymous - youre right, just hearing one side wont make you any wiser. of course hearing just the extremes wont really do much for you either.

    @anonymous - absolutely right, and something I should have mentioned. It is ridiculous that the extreme left also gets subsidies as well. My problem is really that there are government subsidies for newspapers in the first place regardless of who is getting them.

  5. PourAutresTempes_ForFarmersWithHugeEU_Funded_Machine_collections_they_dont_needApril 25, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    The EU angle of critic is perhaps not the most well thought over one in the bunch since France and a couple of the other more influential countries in the union whines like hell every time the abolition of the agricultural subsidies (oh, yes, the EU likes to sponsor utterly doomed industries too) of the EU is discussed.

  6. Now that you mentioned that you don't think that leftist papers like Proletären should get this support either I completely agree with you. Neither communism or ethnopluralism are well supported views by the people. Therefore their money shouldn't be financing this. Abandon the whole presstöd I say! Let the market decide.

  7. @Pour - the subsidies thing happens in the US like that as well. It seems that agriculture just likes their subsidies.

    @anonymous -I apologize for not adding that in because is was not so much the political extremism, although that was abhorrent. the subsidies in general shouldn't be supporting nay newspaper, regardless of the political views. I can behind the abolishment of the whole presstöd.

    by the way... I threw in a couple of new sentences. the benefit of being able to edit after the fact. thanks for the feedback.

  8. It's very sad that so many people are against immigration.

    Immigration is vital for the future survival of Sweden, and it has always been that way.

    Even the Swedish King (Carl Gustav) is a "frenchman", his ancestor Jean Baptiste Bernadotte who was a frenchman became the King of Sweden (and Norway) in the early 19th century. And the current Queen (Silvia) is of German descent.

    But everybody in Sweden still consider their children Victoria, Carl-Philip and Madeleine to be genuine Swedes.

    USA is a good example of how immigrants can help to build up a country, everybody in USA are immigrants (even the Indians).

    All countries were founded by immigrants, in one way or another.

    And there is no such thing as an "indigenous people" if you really think about it.

    We're all immigrants, at least everybody outside Africa.

    All racists should check out where their ancestors came from, then they will see that they are also immigrants.

    A classic quote from one of the leaders of the racist movement in Sweden: "I would like to move to a country where they do not accept immigrants."

    Martin / only a man, nothing more nothing less...

  9. I cant tell whether to laugh or shake my head because that quote you referenced is absolutely ridiculous. well played sir. well played.

  10. Well, the presstöd is taken from the largest newspapers so it is actually They who are (via the government) financing National demokraterna, and proletären et al. Since Bonnier has something close to a monopoly in swedish journalism, the idea of pressstöd is not that bad imo. A multitude of voices is not a bad thing, even if that does include crack pots like ND. If sweden had newspapers similar to the US (New York Times = liberal, Wall Street Journal & Financial Times = conservative) it'd be a different story, but the views of the two big newspapers (or 3 out of 4 if you count the evening papers) are the same, clearly not the best starting point for an open debate.

  11. true, but not sure that those fringe papers getting support from the government/people/competition is helping much.

  12. Just because an opinion is extreme doesn't mean it's not worth hearing. Are there dangers of some groups receiving support for their ideas? Definitely. But if I were to list groups I felt that about and you listed them as well, I bet there would be some groups we differed on. Therefore if the government is going to support one, it should support all. The reason we have a 2 party system in America is because other parties can't afford to get their ideas heard. As someone marrying a Swedish citizen and planning on moving there in a few years, I'm fine with Nationaldemokraterna voicing their opinions, even though I disagree with them. I wouldn't want to move to a country where they couldn't, honestly.

  13. yes, but there is a difference between making your extreme opinions heard, whether they be right or left, and having tax payers fund your making of those extreme opinions heard.

    I have no problem with people standing on their soap box and ranting. thats fine. I do have aproblem when tax payer money is being used to support those rants. if they want to rant against the ruling class or against the immigrant class. fine. but then they need to fund that privately.

  14. @Hairy Swede: But then the person whose opinion is worth the most to the elites is the opinion heard most often (as is the case in the USA which has extremely slanted media).

  15. I have no idea how I missed this comment. sorry about that.

    offering government tax money to anyone who has an opinion is opening up a can of worms that is not worth opening. its ridiculous to think that just handing money to extremist groups to print their marketing material will somehow lead to a media that is more neutral.

    anyway, I would say that while htere is slanted media in the US, to suggest that all media in the US is like that is ridiculous. Fox is slanted right. MSNBC slanted left. pick your poison. SVT is slanted left in Sweden. Everything has a price.

    But I stand by my statement, I dont believe for a second that tax money should be going to subsidize extreme opinions. Right or left.