Tuesday, June 08, 2010

No housewives in Sweden?

A Swedish feminist ("Linnbe") recently posted an appeal at the men's rights page at reddit. She wanted men to think of feminists as their allies rather than as the enemy. She began with this comment:

Most feminists I know look at feminism as an equalist movement. They think that the only way to get rid of injustices is to encourage men to be nurturing as much as encourage women to be self reliable. Fathers should get legal support for parental leave for their baby. Subsided daycare makes it possible for parents in low pay employment to work full time if they choose to ...

Most feminists are your friends.

This is the familiar Swedish mindset. There's an assumption that autonomy (being "self-reliable") is what matters; that you become autonomous through your career; and therefore women should be more career and less family oriented. This is helped along if men take on more of the child care.

This reduces men to the role of propping up female autonomy.

But it was Linnbe's next comment which I thought most striking:

Feminism is very strong here, several male party leaders have claimed to be feminists ... And with this feminist power that I would call quite a bit stronger then the American, I find the American society worse for men then the Swedish ...

Women [in Sweden] are expected to work and housewives are VERY rare. I don't know anyone that would call herself that, not even my grandparents and their friends.

So the great Swedish achievement is getting rid of housewives. Linnbe assumes that we will see this as a great mark of human progress. What I see instead is a revelation of what liberal modernity leads to. It doesn't lead to greater choice or diversity, as liberals like to claim it will do, but to one standard undifferentiated role for both men and women.

Is there really a "respect for difference" when it comes to sex roles in Sweden? Do Swedish women really have choice when it comes to their role in the family and society?

Making autonomy the organising principle of society is incoherent. If you set out to maximise autonomy you end up restricting it. If you say "the way for women to be more autonomous is to get them to do X" you then restrict women from doing Y and Z, which itself then infringes women's autonomy. And if you are committed to making autonomy equal (as the key good in life), you have to find a way to formally regulate its distribution, which then means restricting the scope of people's lives to those things that can be more readily socially regulated or administered.

The real level of autonomy falls the more it is made the organising principle of society.


  1. So where is the equality when it comes to hazardous working conditions, alimony, child support, criminal justice, abuse, reproductive rights, medical research and selective service?

  2. I believe the Swedes are in thrall to liberalism due to a nearly invincible moral defect: willful blindness.

  3. And what is the birth rate of Sweden nowadays, under the wonderful rule of androgeny? Under 1.5 / woman / lifetime, if I recall correctly. This means that the Swedish population of Sweden will likely begin to decline in less than a generation, possibly less than 15 years.

    I write "Swedish population of Sweden", because the birth rate for non-Swedes in Sweden is above the replacement rate of 2.1. So feminist Sweden is in the process of a slow-motion suicide as a culture and a nation.

    PS: Most of the jobs that women do in Sweden are similar to those in the US: government office jobs. The people who actually grow food, cut timber, mine minerals, and make things tend to be men. Which group is engaged in makework for political purposes, and which group is engaged in essential functions that society cannot exist without?

  4. I like that Anonymous Protestant. Good point....women being secretaries which is pointless if they don't have kids!

    (Hey Mark...I'm having a Cambria Will Not Yield marathon post reading day...The blog is wordy but really good. I recommend it to all the traditionalist.)

  5. **sorry here's some old posts from 2008 on CWNY....I really like the Shakespeare one...good reading...sorry!***


    (I'm not completely off topic here ...it was the Swedish post that caused me to read the Cambria Will Not Yield...because Sweden has become so irreligious)

    The one thought I have on the Swedish thing....does anyone know about the old Swedes? Were they Vikings? I'm thinking that maybe this Nordic Feminist crap is actually a remnant of the pre-Christian Viking social structure. If anyone has any knowledge on that subject I'd like to hear.

  6. Anonymous, the Vikings of what is now Norway, Sweden and Denmark were of course pagans. They roamed very far in their trading and raiding. The Eastern Roman Emperor hired some as mercenaries; the Varangian Guard. Yes, Vikings hired by the Emperor in Constantinople to fight. The movie "13th Warrior" has a vague basis in the account of a Moslem who traveled up the Dniepr river with a group of Vikings.

    Christianization of the Scanda people brought an end to the raids, and an increase in trade and other peaceful pursuits. Sweden was a centralized monarchy by the time of the 17th century, with Lutheran Protestantism the state church.

    Socialism has been the downfall of the Swedes, Danes and Norwegians IMO. You can find the writings of Gunnar Myrdal, he of the "third way" (i.e. between some imaginary Laissez Faire capitalism and Soviet Socialism) all over the net. Because the country is relatively small in population, around 30 million or so, and homogeneous, Swedish socialism essentially was like a big extended family helping each other out. Feminism appears to have been grafted on in the 1960's, although I could be wrong about that.

    Since Feminism is a branch of Marxism, it has as a premise the "oppressor-oppressed" dichotomy and so conflict must be created. Feminism is quite advanced in Sweden, to be sure, and a falling away from the state church has occurred as part of the process. There are quasi underground churches in some parts of the country.

    Where the Swedish socialism is failing is the same place that Dutch social welfarism, British socialism, French socialism, etc. are also failing: demographics. Social welfare states only work with an expanding population, so that there are enough working people to pay taxes to support the nonworking people. Add to that mix immigrants who come specifically to live off of the social welfare, and who are actively hostile to Swedish culture, and you can see the trouble.

    There are no-go areas in Malmo, where the ambulance and fire trucks won't go without police escort. Guess who lives there? Guess what their birth rate is? Guess how many of them refuse to learn Swedish?

  7. Anonymous Protestant.....OMG I was watching Glenn Beck today and he was pushing this book by Friedrich Hayek "The Road to Serfdom" (who I wikied and he is just related to too many communists for my liking including his second cousin Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the publisher of the book Road to Serfdom--"Eastman" who was married to the woman in charge of Stalin's show trials Elena Krylenko)...

    So now on your suggestion I googled Karl Gunnar Myrdal and read this...

    Karl Gunnar Myrdal (6 December 1898 – 17 May 1987) was a Swedish economist, politician, and Nobel laureate. In 1974, with Friedrich Hayek, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for "their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena."

    Now that is a coincidence!!! Ok I'll keep reading.....

    I think Glenn Beck was pushing Road to Serfdom cuz he got in trouble with his Rupert Murdoch overlords for pushing "The Red Network" last friday....lol

  8. Housewives! Disgusting concept!

  9. I'm in my early 50s, and I'll have to say that most of the supposedly egalitarian households created by my generation didn't survive long. Few men really wanted to come home from work and then do housework and childcare. So women got stuck will all or most of it.

    The husband would either play dumb, pretending he didn't see the mountain of laundry or the dirty kitchen floor, or he deliberately wrecked the laundry, etc., time after time till the wife just did it all herself.

    My then husband insisted that I go back to work, even though the bulk of my wages would be sucked up by childcare and other work-related costs. He swore that he would do half the housework and be in charge of picking our child up from daycare. He never did any of the housework, and would "lose track of time" at his business and forget to pick up our child. After the first week of working, I was taking the child to and from daycare 100% of the time, even though I had chosen a daycare right on the way to my husband's office.

    A lot of working wives decide that the husband is just an extra person to take care of, and that their lives would be simplified by divorce. Unless the wife has some kind of high-powered career, there isn't enough money for full-time domestic help, and no woman in her right mind is going to have a third child, and most won't have a second. In the 70s, a lot of young career women had stay-at-home moms who were willing to babysit their grandkids. This is rare nowadays.

  10. OT, but I just stumbled across this old discussion on the difference between Liberalism and Leftism over on VFR. No agreement is reached (and none of them use your definition of Liberalism as a desire for maximum autonomy), but I thought you and your readers might find it interesting.


  11. All the egalitarian model for relationships does is increase conflict between the spouses by creating a marital relationship that is based on power negotiation on a more or less constant basis. Sometimes this is peddled as being in itself positive by encouraging "cooperation and communication", but in reality it leads to tons and tons of conflict. Whether the marriages last tends to be more related to the economics of the situation (dual high income marriages are the most durable in the US at least, due to both having more to lose, despite the high-conflict they experience) than anything else. In terms of having a stable relationship, the perpetual "jump ball" of the constantly negotiated and renegotiated marriage is not a recipe for stability. It *does* empower women, however -- which is why we have the system we have.

  12. Sorry to heard about your dead beat husband “early 50s Anonymous”. But not every man is like that. You should try exploring outside your circle of friends. Maybe birds of a feather flock together.

  13. Hayek isn't a communist. He hated communism. You should read Road to Serfdom.

    Sweden is being destroyed by its Muslim minority and their fellow travelers on the left. One Swedish politician said "when they are the majority I hope they treat us as well as we treated them". Aside from the wishful thinking (more likely said Muslims will enslave or exterminate them), that's treasonous talk that shouldn't be tolerated.

    Sweden's government is a soft totalitarianism. They won't allow criminals to be identified as Muslim, they push the idea that natives have no more claim on their country than immigrants do, and they push the idea that there are no native Swedes in the first place, only "citizens of Swedish descent".

  14. 'Most of the jobs that women do in Sweden are similar to those in the US: government office jobs. The people who actually grow food, cut timber, mine minerals, and make things tend to be men."

    Quite, I doubt if Swedish women would be so keen on ditching the housewife role if most of the available jobs were in call centres, farms or factory production lines. People have a very romaticised view of work these days.

  15. "Whether the marriages last tends to be more related to the economics of the situation (dual high income marriages are the most durable in the US at least, due to both having more to lose, despite the high-conflict they experience) than anything else."

    Modern families have emerged in an age of affluence so it's unlikely they will survive tough times well.

    This is another reason why so many people wait a long time to get married - they know they will need a lot of money to make a relationship last or deal with the financial consequences of a messy break-up.

  16. Anon 50yo wrote: "A lot of working wives decide that the husband is just an extra person to take care of, and that their lives would be simplified by divorce."

    A lot of men today have decided that a wife is just a massive financial liability that will remain chained to a man's wallet even after divorce, and have opted out of marriage altogether. Henry K from a prior post is an example.

  17. The "Gamers" are much a problem as liberal Feminists.

  18. Anon wrote,

    "I cannot find it within myself to love those people who applaud the idea of throwing away federation and the separation of powers and to replace it with autocracy, whilst still stretching their rhetoric of freedom and liberty. I cannot stand to acknowledge myself as belonging to the same nation as them."

    Hey, we've probably all felt that way at some point. In any organization of people that means anything there is going to be conflict between its members. Families have conflict and so do nations. You just have to work through it.

    By the way, what makes you think that your Anglo-Saxon cousins won't someday let you down in the same way? Of course we will. And there are even fewer bonds tying us together than those tying you to fellow Australians: you have even less reason to work through the conflict with us than you do with your countrymen.

    Sorry, mate, but suck it up. We all have a lot of work to do winning over our co-nationals.

  19. Anon (whose comments I just deleted and whom Bartholomew was replying to), even though I agree with much of what you wrote, please be careful with your language and keep to the topic under discussion.

    And please no personal attacks on Laura Wood who is someone I admire and a friend of this site.

  20. Kilroy:

    I'm the Anonymous 50-something. You are absolutely right about men deciding that marriage is a bad deal for them. Too many people have heard the horror stories of men being stuck paying for children who aren't even their own, etc.

    Modern life is very screwed up, and the current divorce set-up tends to reward the "bigger user" in the marriage. The person who is willing to commit perjury, or threaten to fight a no-holds-barred custody fight in order to receive a juicier asset split than they would have gotten otherwise, etc., nearly always comes out on top down at the county courthouse.

    I'm hoping that my own children will have a somewhat better time of it. My son-in-law probably doesn't do "half," but he does a lot and he does it well, and he does it cheerfully. And house prices will probably settle at a much more reasonable level, which should help my other child, who is still in school, and will graduate with some big student loans.

    My parents raised their family in an era of good-paying jobs for high school graduates, affordable houses in reasonably good neighborhoods, and with reasonably good public schools, and of course they had no student loans back in the 1950s when they got married. I was born at the tail end of the baby boom, and in many ways it was the worst of all worlds. My ex-husband was from the middle of the baby boom. His father didn't do squat around the house, so HE didn't do squat around the house, even though I worked full time. At the same time, he was irresponsible with money, saving nothing, and running up enormous credit card debts. And both of us had student loans, and we lived in California where the house prices were sky-high and the public schools unusable.

    The upcoming generation will have its own challenges and tragedies, but I hope things will improve in some major ways.

  21. According to a passage from the New Yorks Times quoted in an Alternative Right acticle, 50 percent of working women in Sweden are employed by the public sector, so alot of their "personal autonomy" most be coming at the expense of private-sector male wage slaves.

  22. There is no such thing as "female autonomy"... no matter what women do, men end up paying for it, either through the direct costs of courting, keeping a household, post divorce alimony or the naturally increased taxation of a society liberated from being self-sustaining (ie "normal"). There really is very little by way of exception to this rule.

  23. More about Sweden!

    In this case, parental leave for the husband.


  24. I wonder if men will be suckered with talk of "having it all" the way that women were.

    In the Swedish system men still have to go out to do paid work just like men elsewhere, but they don't get the same credit for being providers. Instead, the state taxes them of much of their salary and then the state gets the credit for providing things.

    Swedish men then have to work a second shift at home.

    There is no choice in Sweden of how to run your own family life. The state is enforcing a single undifferentiated unisex family role on everyone, even down to the point of determining how many months men and women might be allowed to spend with their children at home.

    That's not having it all for a man. It's being a serf.

  25. and no woman in her right mind is going to have a third child

    I have six. I'm in my right mind.

    and most won't have a second.

    If the average number of babies per woman is 1.9, then I'd suggest that *most* do have a second.

    Having said all that, I think women at work do actually go through the kind of thing you are talking about, 50yo anon, which is one reason I'm happy to focus on the kids and the home. Less frittering away of my energy.

  26. I also agree with you, 50yo anon, that the system is biased towards the greatest user. Abolish no-fault divorce, I say.