ATTACKING THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT IN SWEDISH MEDIA

Swedish author Svante Nycander recently wrote in daily Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm) on how the left is dominating Swedish universities and media. Historian Torbjorn Nilsson in 2001 examined the literature of political ideologies at the Stockholm University Library. He found the following breakdown of the number of shelves: 25 socialism, revolutionary socialism / communism 3.5, libertarian anarchism / socialism /syndicalism 3.5, liberalism and conservatism 3.5.

How is such a list possible? Almost ten times more socialist than non-socialist.

Since the early 1970’s Socialist historian Sven-Eric Liedman has dominated in political science with his textbook From Plato to Lenin. (Leninism was the End of History.) Still in 2010 it is compulsory in some academic courses. Its title was in a later edition changed to From Plato to Mao Zedong. The 14th edition in 2005 was called From Plato to the war on terror.

In Liedman’s book one can find detailed treatment of Marx and other socialist thinkers. Conservatives and liberals are just mentioned in passing.

Conservatism and liberalism are the political mainstream from the Renaissance to World War I but there is silence in the Liedman textbook on these ideologies. Liedman explains away Stalinist terror with the dubious claim that state bureaucracy had infiltrated the Soviet Communist Party. Gulag had nothing to do with Marxism, in the view of Liedman.

Conservative and classical liberal thinkers are attacked by Liedman, if they are shortly mentioned.

Is this historian some maverick socialist academic? No, he has been hailed as a great humanist and recently won the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize of SEK 350,000. Many departments and faculties of the Swedish universities are left wing bastions. Academic teachers undermine the scientific quality by relativizing the notion of truth and assert theories that cannot be verified or falsified. The clearest examples are in the so called gender studies.

The dominating left in Swedish media and academy are picturing conservative and classical liberal positions as “fascist”. So far Nycander.

One of the common targets in Swedish media and academy has been the rule of the right in Italy. Swedish newspapers regularly attack Italy. In a recent article (July 16, 2010) in liberal Kristianstadsbladet (south Sweden) in the culture section Italy was portrayed as a corrupt country and Italians as “lazy”. The writer, David Uppgren, interviewed a left-wing radical in Italy, “Marco”, and had him call for violent revolution or a coup to sweep away the present Italian government led by Prime Minister Berlusconi.

In any other European country such exaggerations could only be possible in Marxist-Leninist extremist small journals, but not in Sweden. Here the attacks on the non-socialist government in Italy occur very often in main-stream media. This could be explained by how journalists have been trained at universities in Sweden since the 1970s. According to academic research the majority of journalists in Sweden vote for the social democratic and communist parties.

The article in Kristianstadsbladet was no exception. Unfortunately it was part of a common theme in Swedish media.

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