Sweden prohibits home schooling; requires all children from age one to go to state-run day care; some families are fleeing to Finland

“One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, ‘Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work.’”

What Sweden has done is what all leftists and all true feminists, from Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan onward, have wanted to do and still want to do, though in America they need to cover up their true aim. Hilary Rosen untactfully expressed that true aim, and so got in trouble. But here, in its naked form, is the tyranny they seek, as reported by CBN (the Christian Broadcast Network):

Swedish Home-Schoolers Flee ‘Parental Inquisition’

STOCKHOLM, Sweden—Sweden used to be synonymous with freedom and safety. The nation was a haven for political refugees from around the world.

But today, Sweden is creating new political refugees: the home-schooler.

One of the escape routes for home-schoolers from Sweden is by ship, two hours across the Baltic sea to the Aland Islands. It’s a part of Finland where the locals speak Swedish and where parents can home school in freedom.

Sweden’s home-school movement has been crushed by a state apparatus that wants children as young as one year old in daycare, and all children in a classroom with a state-approved curriculum.

“The Swedish government believes that [the] state takes better care of children than parents,” said Jonas Himmelstrand, president of ROHUS, the Swedish Homeschool Association.

“They [the government] are slowly going to more of a police state, where children are more controlled. They have to be in school,” he added.

Freedom in Finland

Himmelstrand and his wife Tamara were threatened with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fines for home-schooling. The family slipped quietly out of the country and is beginning a new life in Finland.

“We had many friends tell us, ‘Please get out, we’re worried about you,’” Himmselstrand recalled.

Home-schooling parents Magnus and Cina Wallen-Henriksen worked in the music industry in Stockholm before fleeing to Finland.

“We were afraid to stay. Our children were in danger and our family was in danger,” Cina said.

“The choice [to leave] was quite easy to make,” Magnus added.

Most Swedish home-schoolers don’t make the decision for religious reasons, but because they see the educational and social development home schooling provides.

“We noticed our children are enjoying how they learn at home and in other places,” Cina explained. “Our children developed fast and good, both emotionally and social and intellectual.”

Government Takeover?

Before 2010, it was possible to home-school in Sweden. But new laws now ban the practice in almost all cases and forces private schools to teach the state curriculum.

Swedish human rights lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson calls what’s happening in Sweden a “parental inquisition.”

“Sweden’s treatment of parents in the area of education is totalitarian, essentially. They want to take children from birth to graduation and control them,” said Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Donnelly claims Sweden’s treatment of parents violates established standards of human rights.

“In fact, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights signed in 1947 actually says … that parents have a ‘prior right’ to decide the kind of education their children should have,” he explained.

But Sweden’s ambassador to the United States said, “The [Swedish] government does not find that home schooling is necessary for religious or philosophical reasons.”

Fear of ‘Indoctrination’

Parents are pressured to put their children in daycare at age one.

“One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, ‘Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work,’” Himmselstrand told CBN News.

“The argument they give about this is that every child has a ‘right’ to daycare. This is not a right that parents are allowed to interfere with.”

Donnelly said there is a bad historical precedent for Sweden’s control of children and education: the dictatorships of the last century.

“This seems to be what’s happening in Sweden,” he said. “They want to get the kids. They want to socialize them in the way they think is appropriate, and they don’t want the parents involved.”

Texan Lisa Angerstig married a Swede and lives in Uppsala with their four children. The couple is fighting fines levied over the home schooling of their son.

“Sweden does not believe it’s a parent’s right to choose how you raise your children, period,” Angerstig said. “They believe if you’re keeping your children at home, it’s possible you’re indoctrinating them.”

She believes the Swedish government’s actions prove it believes parents are a negative influence on their children.

‘No More Housewives’

A major issue for the Swedish government is gender equality.

The motto for a leading educator in the country states, “Sweden: No more housewives, but higher wages for women.”

Tamara Himmelstrand said she used to experience the daily disapproval of stay-at-home moms in Sweden.

“The incredible disdain Swedish society has for motherhood and the work that I was doing [made me feel like a bad person],” she said.

But Sweden’s experiment with state control of children and families does not seem to be going so well. The Swedish government’s own report shows the psychological health of Swedish youth is declining faster than in 11 comparable European countries.

“And this is being discussed [by experts],” Jonas Himmselstrand said. “Why are Swedish young people so psychologically unhealthy, so full of anxiety, so easily depressed?”

“If you ask any developmental psychologist in Sweden who is into this question, they would say, ‘You know, it has a likely connection to the fact that 93 percent of all 18 month to 5-year-olds are in daycare, often for many hours a day,” he continued.

Educational test scores have dropped as well.

“Sweden is one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should be doing absolutely the best of any country in the world, but they’re not,” Himmselstrand said.

The home-school families who have sacrificed so much by fleeing Sweden say it is a relief to finally be able to teach their children in freedom.

But what about the nation they left behind? One European Union study suggests Swedish family policy is making the nation’s adults worse parents.

Dale Hurd also reported from Uppsala, Sweden and Mariehamn, Finland.

- end of initial entry -

An Indian living in the West writes:

What is it about Scandinavians and the “moronic liberal” gene? It isn’t just the Scandinavians in Scandinavia that do this, their descendants in America do not seem much better—if one follows politics among the descendants of Scandinavian settlers in America (states like Minnesota, for example).

Recently, an Indian family working on a work permit in Norway had their child “confiscated” by the Norwegian government because the mother was sleeping with the child in the same bed. This is obviously moronic in the extreme.

I note that the Scandinavians have completely perverted the very term “rights.” Under the American Constitution, “rights” were safeguards against government abuse and a check on the powers of government. They were essentially guarantees against tyranny. The Scandinavians have taken this and turned it into something completely perverse such as a “right to healthcare,” a “right to education,” a “right to quality of life” etc etc. These so-called “rights” obviously cannot be “guaranteed” without massive nanny-state socialism and punitive levels of taxation.

One would have to delve deeper into these things to figure out why Scandinavians fell for this stuff more than others (while recognising that this is a problem all across the West to some extent). My gut feeling is that all this left-liberalism has now replaced Protestantism as the dominant religion. In Europe, leftism seems to be more restrained in the Catholic countries where religion is still relatively strong. I am thinking of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland as obvious examples.

ILW continues:

It is also worth noting that the biggest promoters of the UN are the Scandinavians. The Third World countries are in on the racket for the dough (which is more closely aligned with human nature). But the Scandinavians promote this stuff as if it was the finest thing man discovered since sliced bread. I think it will be interesting to see what happens to these ideas when these countries have an Islamic majority (which Sweden will in a generation or so).

LA replies:

It was not the Scandinavians who turned negative rights, as in the U.S. Bill of rights (the government may not take away your freedom to do something) into positive rights (you have a right to have something, such as an income or health care or self-fulfillment or sexual happiness or the opportunity to leave your job and be an artist [Nancy Pelosi’s favorite argument for Obamacare]), but the left throughout the West. The American left from at least the early 20th century believed that freedom meant such positive rights, and of course Communists have always defined freedom in terms of positive rights and said that American negative rights were not true freedom at all.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms,” enunciated circa 1940, were positive freedoms.

Naturally Wikipedia has an article on the Four Freedoms. And I stand corrected: two of FDR’s Four Freedoms were positive:

The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:

1. Freedom of speech and expression
2. Freedom of worship
3. Freedom from want
4. Freedom from fear

His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional U.S. Constitutional values protected by its First Amendment, and endorsed a right to economic security and an internationalist view of foreign policy. They also anticipated what would become known decades later as the “human security” paradigm in social science and economic development.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 16, 2012 10:41 AM | Send

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