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E-Pluribus | September 27, 2022
How bombings became the norm in Sweden, the travesty that is transgender incarceration policy, and the cult of identity.
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Paulina Neuding: Two Bombings in One Night? That’s Normal Now in Sweden.
Sweden is generally known for its natural beauty, its social welfare programs and Greta Thunberg, so it may come as a shock that the relatively peaceful country experiences more than one bombing per day. At Bari Weiss’s Common Sense, Paulina Neuding examines the phenomenon, the connection to immigration, and how that connection is influencing both the response and the reporting about the bombings.
When stories started appearing about gang-rule and attacks on people going into immigrant neighborhoods, sometimes referred to as “no-go zones,” a government agency started a PR campaign to rename them “go-go zones.” The government had help from left-leaning Swedish media. In 2015, the editorial page of Dagens Nyheter, for instance, said that people expressing alarm about crime were “safety-deniers,” and compared them to climate deniers. The Social Democratic publication Aftonbladet said in 2017 that the idea that Sweden needed to recruit more police officers was “populism at its worst,” given that “crime is declining”.
Meanwhile, the link between immigration and crime was turned into a taboo topic.
Aftonbladet, for instance, argued that there was no need for authorities to publish statistics on immigrants and crime because the very idea was inherently racist. Then-Prime Minister Stefan Löfven reiterated the same notion when he was asked whether immigration had affected crime levels. “We should act against what is wrong and criminal no matter the background and the cause. I don’t want to link crime to ethnicity,” he said in 2020––as if there were no legitimate questions about how his government’s immigration policy had affected crime.
[ . . . ]
In the meantime, those elites dismissed any criticism of large-scale immigration as “racism.” The political editor of the Aftonbladet editorial page Karin Pettersson, for instance, claimed in 2014 that she could not even imagine an argument in favor of decreased immigration that was not racist. Even in 2021, as Sweden’s problems had become all-too evident, the Aftonbladet columnist Jan Guillou claimed that warnings of gang violence were a matter of racism: “For the Swedish public, slippery bathtubs thus constitute a considerably larger threat than armed teenage gangs with the ambition of shooting each other.” In 2020, one person died in a bathtub in Sweden, while 48 were victims of gun homicide, according to official statistics.
Read it all here.
Elizabeth Hummel: The Progressive Smoke Bomb
Prison reform is often an uphill battle as the average citizen does not have a great deal of sympathy for the incarcerated. But Elizabeth Hummel reports at Reality’s Last Stand that lately, imprisoned women are facing an additional challenge - being locked up with biological males who “identify” as women.
Laws that allow males into women’s prisons are anti-progressive and anti-women. Like women in rape crisis centers, women in prison need single-sex spaces. If you self-identify as a progressive or a liberal, this is an issue you should care about deeply, because women—right now—are being hurt. This should not be flattened into a one-dimensional Right versus Left debate. These draconian laws are cruel to one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in our society: incarcerated women.
Before Queer Theory infiltrated schools, girls everywhere were taught a harsh truth fundamental to female survival: while many men are wonderful, some of them are very dangerous to girls and women. Men are likely to be bigger than you, stronger than you, and more aggressive than you. Unfortunately, you can’t always know in advance which are the dangerous ones. You need to be personally careful about which men you trust. As a society, we need basic “safety first” rules and laws to protect women and girls, such as: women should not be imprisoned alongside men.
[ . . . ]
Concerns about safeguarding are frequently dismissed by Third Wave feminists and other political “progressives” as overblown and “outdated.” “This never happens!” they say, while mulishly denying the evidence. Or, more frequently, they’ll deflect by pointing out other serious issues with the criminal justice system more generally: “There are so many people in prison who should not be!” “The whole system is rotten and needs to be abolished!”
[ . . . ]
But we must not let activists’ false sense of righteousness cause us to ignore the serious real-world harms being caused by their reality-denying ideologies. We must see clearly through the smoke.
Read it all.
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Martin Gurri: The Identity Cult
Martin Gurri at City Journal is not the first to compare “wokeism” to a new religion, but his latest piece looks at how America’s institutions are being taken over by the Identity Inquisition. While the number of true believers may be relatively small, their positions of power allow an outsized influence that impact us all.
The cult of identity, properly understood, consists of a series of platitudes and stereotypes invariably leading to gestures of repudiation and calls for the ritual purification of society. By definition, there can be no missionaries of identity. True believers have shown little interest in persuasion: their faith has spread not because of clever arguments but by relegating rival creeds beyond the pale of moral consideration. Hence the obsession with nomenclature—with the magical force of words.
Conversion has entailed drastically different experiences, depending on where you stand in the social pyramid. From below, at the level of the young professional and the college student, the cult provides a vision of truth and a source of meaning in a romantic struggle against the systemic evil represented by the rest of us. From above, at the level of high government and corporate officials, ostentatious adherence to the cult is a tool of control.
[ . . . ]
The young, as might be expected, despise these graying warriors, whom they consider hypocrites tainted by the very sins of racism and privilege they pretend to oppose. Periodically, woke institutions like Google and the New York Times are shaken by revolts from below, and liberal governors and CEOs get consumed in inquisitional fires. As a matter of unromantic reality, however, protesters need elite politicians and executives to be the applauding audience in the theater of grievance: they have no choice but to rely on the institutions to expand their reach and adjudicate the cult’s contradictions into some sort of bureaucratic order.
The elites, just as naturally, fear and detest the youthful zealots, whose proximity has an effect similar to that of a ticking bomb. Yet every political system needs fear-inducing enforcers. The elite class learned long ago that it inspires mostly scorn, so it has conscripted true believers to be the attack dogs of virtue and the digital SWAT teams that will keep the rabble quiet on behalf of a purified establishment.
[ . . . ]
Together, they constitute a small minority of the electorate. Between them, they control the commanding heights of politics and culture, and they may possess the means to intimidate a surly public into silence.
Read the whole thing.
The New York Times with the latest entry in Euphemism of the Day: “top surgery”:
Great Britain is also experiencing the extremes of the gender identity movement:
And finally, a concise definition of cancel culture from Reason’s Robby Soave: