August 15, 2017

Free Money

You HAVE to read this! Holler if you need my help to evade Rupert's jackbooted paywall thugs.

Zach Maher explains the liberty-sapping side-effects of the famed Scandinavian welfare state, put best in the subhead: "When the state treats childrearing like a job, make sure you don't run afoul of the boss."

Six months ago, my 2-year-old niece broke her leg. The physician who treated the girl told my brother-in-law that his daughter would be given a full-body CT scan. The doctor insisted that the procedure was mandatory, but not for any medical reason. Rather, the Swedish social-services administration requires such scans to look for evidence of child abuse. While the doctor did note that the broken leg was the result of an accident, he told my brother-in-law the matter was "out of my hands."

When the girl's parents refused to subject her to this unnecessary procedure, the hidden machinery of the Swedish welfare state sprang into motion. My brother-in-law and his wife were required to attend multiple interviews with social workers and to submit friends and neighbors in their small town for questioning. Social workers even inspected their home. Suddenly, decisions as benign as what milk to buy seemed potential evidence of parental deficiency. My in-laws feared their two children might be taken from them.

In Sweden, the state reserves for itself ultimate responsibility for children's well-being. As a parent my job is to give my kids the trygghet necessary to become productive, tax-paying members of Swedish society. This is why I receive financial support and medical benefits. The state is paying me to be a parent. I am, in effect, an employee--and if I do a poor job, my responsibility as a parent might be taken away from me.


The same creepy and suffocating paternalism from the "Dragon Tattoo" books by Stieg Larsson. But sadly true.

Egalitarian Socialism Posted by John Kranz at August 15, 2017 4:15 PM

Reprinted here.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 10:54 AM

One might blithely suggest that all this state scrutiny could have been avoided by simply going along with the full-body CT scan. I personally have wished to have such a procedure after a broken bone was attributed to a benign cyst that was only discovered after the fracture. "What other surprises lurk in my body," I thought? The "radiation" imparted by this "unnecessary procedure" is less than that received on an international airline flight.

But the author hits the real reason to object to the Swedish statism - Individual freedom is replaced by an almost Soviet-like duty to conform, with neighbors reporting neighbors for living outside of that conformity.

In the U.S. we used to talk about a "melting pot" where different cultures coexisted and voluntarily adopted some of each others' customs. The contemporary trend has been toward a politically correct mediocrity, where certain beliefs are vilified and embracing customs or traditions of other cultures is decried as "appropriation." This glimpse into the epitome of European socialism shows us where such attitudes might take our country, if we don't stand up to them today.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 11:13 AM

Many thanks for the free link. Fight the Power!

Side topic for sure, but the very solid-to-me reason agains the full body scan is that people tend to take counter-productive actions against undeserving risk. If I have this anomalous item, I might pursue extraction or biopsy at greater risk than the target.

A guest told Russ Roberts we lack the skill to manage "Turtles, rabbits, and birds (TuRB)." The metaphor is keeping each species in a pen. Our medicine excels at rabbits: we can build a fence and keep them in. But a suspect could be a turtle, which would grow so slowly there is little risk, or a bird which will defy treatment.

Early detection is the mantra, but it only works for rabbits.

What chills me about the article is the total absence of property rights in our own persons. I completely suspect that my progressive friends would think this great: better to humiliate 99 than let one child abuser roam free. But the theft of agency in that most private matter chills me.

It also speaks to the "kind" tyranny of Scandinavia. It's not the Romania of "Tovarasu Militian" or the last throes of Venezuela. It's a Stepford Wives tyranny, and it has many fans in the USA.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2017 3:04 PM

For the uninitiated, "Tovarasu Militian" is "Comrade Detective." I was struck by the fact that they call their detectives "militia." I guess it's more descriptive to call him "comrade policeman."

Also, google translate has "companion" or "comrade" translating to tovaras, without the "u."

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 4:31 PM

I meant to link, thanks.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2017 4:44 PM

Paying closer attention last night, the Romanian title isn't Tovarasu or Tovaras, but Tovarasul - literally, "comrade."

I posted more highlights from last night's viewing here.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2017 11:12 AM | What do you think? [6]