The Centre Party recently came up with a new platform after consultation with 10,000 party members. It's a platform which combines both the "small state/free market" aspect of right liberalism, with a liberal emphasis on individual autonomy.
And so the new platform includes a flat tax and the abolition of inheritance tax, combined with a proposal for free immigration and the legalisation of polygamy.
By free immigration is meant something very close to open borders. Prospective immigrants would not need to satisfy any criteria relating to education or employment:
In late 2012, the party began opposing all limits on immigration, such as the requirement for some degree of job skills and a clean criminal record. It supports a plan that would see Sweden's population quadrupled to 40 million inhabitants.
The party justified this policy as part of a commitment to freedom and equal rights:
The Centre Party seeks open borders, free movement and a generous refugee policy. For a party that protects freedom and builds its values on the equal rights there is no other logical position than that one is for a free immigration.But they also want cheap labour:
He stresses that the new, generous immigration policies must be combined with a new labor policy.The new part platform also includes the legalising of polygamy. The current leader of the Centre Party, Annie Lööf, came out in support of polygamy in 2006 when she was vice chair of the party's youth wing. The reason she gave for supporting polygamy is the standard liberal one:
Crucial elements are C-proposals on flexible priority rules and lower wages for those who are new to the labor market.
"I think most people would choose to get a job that paid less than going into isolation for ten years.
...It is many times better quality of life to have a job in Sweden compared with living in poverty or on the run somewhere else. That's how you should think."
"I don't think the state and laws should determine who and with whom my neighbours or I want to live," she wrote in a blog post at the time, according to SR.
"If my neighbour wants to marry two men, I wouldn't move or care. That's his or her choice."
All that matters to a liberal like Annie Lööf is that we maximise our autonomy, understood to mean our power to be self-determining individuals. What's missing is a concern for the nature of marriage itself and the longer-term effects on both the individual and society of changing from monogamous marriage to polygamy.
What's missing too is a sense that when it comes to relationships, we aren't free to choose in any direction. We can only choose within the culture of relationships that exists in society. If, for instance, a culture of polygamy is established, then inevitably there are going to be some men who will miss out on marriage whether they have chosen this or not, and some women who will find themselves with a choice of either having to share a husband or else leave a marriage. Polygamous culture, too, often involves older men with resources marrying much younger women, and women being cordoned off from the relatively large group of unmarried younger men.
If you want to marry well you have to be protective of the culture of relationships in society rather than focusing on autonomy alone.
The proposal to legalise polygamy is being resisted by sections of the Centre Party. It might not get through, but the proposal itself shows the direction that liberal principles are taking the party. If you sincerely believe that people should be free to marry whoever they choose, because individual autonomy trumps everything and because it would violate "equal rights" to deny this choice, then it's difficult to see on what principled basis polygamy will continue to be rejected.