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 Post subject: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:59 am 
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As Nero seems to enjoy going on about how inflexible the US Constitution is to revision, how much effort that it takes to amend it, that it is locked into the 18th century, and how progressive the governments and constitutions of places like Scandanavia are, I found the following article of interest:

https://www.thelocal.se/20180426/how-ro ... -democracy

Quote:
How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)

Emma Löfgren
emma.lofgren@thelocal.com
@ekjlofgren
26 April 2018
07:59 CEST+02:00

Sweden celebrates one century of democracy this year. But experts warn that the country's constitution may not be strong enough to handle anti-democratic tides. This is the latest edition of The Local's Sweden in Focus series.

One hundred years ago Sweden was on the brink of rebellion. Food shortages, acute hunger and a growing gap between rich and poor had sparked a series of strikes and violent riots across the country.

The crisis was eventually averted, and its most lasting legacy was the suffrage movement's victory. Men, and shortly thereafter women, won the universal right to vote. The country grew richer, the social gaps smaller.

These years mark the period when Sweden became a democracy.

Sweden's constitution is made up of four separate acts: the 1949 Freedom of the Press Act – older incarnations date back more than 250 years – the 1991 Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, the 1810 Act of Succession regulating the monarchy, and the 1974 Instrument of Government.

The latter contains the rights and provisions most closely resembling other countries' constitutions.

"All public power in Sweden proceeds from the people," reads the first and most central paragraph in the Instrument of Government (Regeringsformen). "Swedish democracy is founded on the free formation of opinion and on universal and equal suffrage. It is realized through a representative and parliamentary form of government and through local self-government. Public power is exercised under the law."

Sweden is the third most democratic country in the world (beaten only by Nordic neighbours Norway and Iceland), according to the Economist's Democracy Index. But few realize that compared to many other countries, the constitutional protection of its democracy and human rights is in fact relatively weak.

Similarly to Sweden, Finland requires two parliamentary voting rounds separated by an election to change its constitution, but in Helsinki such a decision has to be taken by a supermajority. Meanwhile the constitutions of both Germany and Norway include outright bans on abolishing democracy.

In Sweden there is no such rule, and the constitution can be changed by a single majority in parliament with an election held in between. And all it takes is a snap election, without waiting out the four-year term.

So in theory, picture this: An anti-democratic government comes to power. It holds a majority or is at least supported by a majority in parliament, the Riksdag. It puts forward a proposal to dismantle the constitution, which gets voted through by more than 50 percent of the 349 members of parliament.

It then throws a snap election, wins again. Parliament votes anew. Democracy down.

In Sweden this could happen in less than a year and a half – without breaking a single law.


"There is no guarantee that democracy will remain stable and strong in the future," warn Olle Wästberg and Daniel Lindvall in their book 'The Rule of the People in a Time of Fear' ('Folkstyret i rädslans tid').

"The Nazis enjoyed great support in the last democratic election during the Weimar Republic. Mussolini's fascist party had significant popular support. Today's parties such as Golden Dawn, Jobbik, National Front, Alternative für Deutschland and Geert Wilders' Freedom Party all have democratically elected representatives in various parliaments. That does not mean that they have a democratic ideology," they write. "Democracy is a political system that can be abolished democratically."

Have Swedes become complacent?

"I think Sweden has faith in democratic majorities, because we do not have that history of fascism and anti-democracy. We have had a stable political majority and therefore we have also trusted the state to maintain democracy and protection of human rights," says Rebecca Adami, senior lecturer at Stockholm University and head of MR-stiftelsen, a foundation dedicated to promoting human rights in Sweden.

"But think about the fact that democracy and human rights are something we have all worked for years to create and it is something that could be voted out by a sitting majority with anti-democratic values. Don't take it for granted, because we have already seen such tendencies in other countries."

In the US, President Donald Trump struggled to get his executive so-called "travel ban" in place, with various courts blocking the original text. In Sweden, courts do not wield as extensive powers, and there is no constitutional court that ensures new laws are in line with the constitution. Instead, the Council of Legislation (Lagrådet) is tasked with examining proposals, but its judicial preview is not binding. Even today, governments remarkably often choose not to adhere to its recommendations.

In Hungary, Viktor Orban only weeks ago won a sweeping victory in elections, securing two-thirds of seats in parliament. The New York Times described his strategy as "transforming this former Soviet bloc member from a vibrant democracy into a semi-autocratic state under one political party's control".

Both Hungary's and Poland's governments have increasingly tightened their holds on courts, public service and schools. Similar moves may be unthinkable, but in theory entirely possible in Sweden, where the government appoints the Supreme Court as well as the National Courts Administration. Most Swedish universities are state agencies and the school curriculum is set by the government.

This works, because the state tends to play by the rules. Sweden has a strong tradition of social regulations and consensus-building which also governs its political life.




Article continued below due to length

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:00 am 
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Quote:
Stellan Gärde, legal advisor on MR-stiftelsen's board, and a laywer with years of experience working in Swedish courts, European courts and the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, explains:

"Sweden's 'power of the people' has had a strong and democratic tradition, for example there's the labour movement, or the fact that Sweden has lots of organizations where people make democratic decisions every day: football clubs, tennis clubs, foundations and what have you. If someone walks in and tries to take over, people question it, say 'hey, what are you doing, don't you know we have to sit down and talk first'. So there is a fundamental sense of democracy which is quite strong and quite old."

"We have been lucky in Sweden in that we have had a cadre of leaders all the way back through to the 1930s who have been decent and non-corrupt. They have lived a fairly normal life without flashy cars and houses, without bragging about their amazing success; they've been living in their radhus (terraced homes) in the suburbs. There has been a sense that they're good people," says Gärde.


But if there is anything we have seen in recent years, it is that not all leaders play by the book. Populist or anti-democratic parties in particular don't always follow the law and they certainly do not follow social rules.

So in a game where the stakes are high, would Sweden have any cards to play?

"Obama gave a really nice speech when he left. He said that no matter who comes to power it is important to respect the basic rules of the game. He was worried that they would not be respected but that people would come to power with completely different motives. It's very important then that people feel that they are protected by the constitution, but that's not being talked about," says Adami.

Democracy campaigners often focus on two things: legal rules that secure democracy even during unstable times, and increased awareness and human rights discussions among the general public.

Wästberg and Lindvall were in charge of running a major government inquiry (presented in 2016) into how to strengthen Sweden's democracy. Few of the proposals have yet come to fruition, but some of the suggestions included a pilot project to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in local elections and making it easier for individual citizens to put forward motions to parliament and local authorities.

Anything to ensure that the gap between voter and decision-makers remains as small as possible.

"Voters who feel powerless and want radical changes seem to have a tendency to behave rebelliously and self-destructively on election day. The stability and future of democracy thus require that citizens' political influence is widened and deepened," they warn in their book, published last year.

Adami and Gärde are hopeful about the future. They say people are shocked when they find out how quickly democracy could be abolished, but are pleased that more and more people are talking about it.

"It is important to increase the constitutional culture in Sweden. Take the US, where you refer to the constitution all the time. But if you ask people in Sweden what's in the constitution, no one really knows," says Adami. "And what human rights mean in Sweden. We have a very clear idea of what violations mean in other countries, but what would they look like here?"

"Every generation has to 'win' democracy. If you raise a generation of children and don't give them any education about democracy, they could end up changing an entire electoral system," adds Gärde.

They, and several other experts, are now pushing for Sweden to introduce regulations ensuring that the constitution can only be changed by a supermajority, and that democracy can never be outlawed.

In other words: Sweden's democracy may be strong, but its defences must be equally strong.

"It should be harder to dismantle that which took so long to build," says Adami. "One generation should not be able to vote away all future generations' access to all the rights we take for granted today."


I will comment regarding this article in additional posts

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:31 am 
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Quote:
Sweden is the third most democratic country in the world (beaten only by Nordic neighbours Norway and Iceland), according to the Economist's Democracy Index. But few realize that compared to many other countries, the constitutional protection of its democracy and human rights is in fact relatively weak.

Similarly to Sweden, Finland requires two parliamentary voting rounds separated by an election to change its constitution, but in Helsinki such a decision has to be taken by a supermajority. Meanwhile the constitutions of both Germany and Norway include outright bans on abolishing democracy.

In Sweden there is no such rule, and the constitution can be changed by a single majority in parliament with an election held in between. And all it takes is a snap election, without waiting out the four-year term.

So in theory, picture this: An anti-democratic government comes to power. It holds a majority or is at least supported by a majority in parliament, the Riksdag. It puts forward a proposal to dismantle the constitution, which gets voted through by more than 50 percent of the 349 members of parliament.

It then throws a snap election, wins again. Parliament votes anew. Democracy down.

In Sweden this could happen in less than a year and a half – without breaking a single law.


So, if I understand this correctly, the same methodology that allows for speedy updates to the Swedish constitution (which would allow it to 'keep up with the times') might also allow a newly elected government to radically change that constitution and eliminate democracy?

Hmmm, so I guess a way to help mitigate such a risk would be to install requirements that constitutional changes must be slowed down; perhaps by requiring supermajorities to do so, and requiring those supermajorities at both the state and federal level?

-------

Quote:
"But think about the fact that democracy and human rights are something we have all worked for years to create and it is something that could be voted out by a sitting majority with anti-democratic values. Don't take it for granted, because we have already seen such tendencies in other countries."


Sounds to me as if some in Sweden may be getting nervous about that fact that support for the Sweden Democrats party is on the rise.

----------

Quote:
In the US, President Donald Trump struggled to get his executive so-called "travel ban" in place, with various courts blocking the original text. In Sweden, courts do not wield as extensive powers, and there is no constitutional court that ensures new laws are in line with the constitution. Instead, the Council of Legislation (Lagrådet) is tasked with examining proposals, but its judicial preview is not binding. Even today, governments remarkably often choose not to adhere to its recommendations.


Quote:
Both Hungary's and Poland's governments have increasingly tightened their holds on courts, public service and schools. Similar moves may be unthinkable, but in theory entirely possible in Sweden, where the government appoints the Supreme Court as well as the National Courts Administration. Most Swedish universities are state agencies and the school curriculum is set by the government.


So, things like having a Supreme Court which may (as the result of lawsuits in the courts) decide whether new laws are in line with the constitution; requiring that appointees to the Supreme Court are nominated by the Executive branch and confirmed by a chamber of the Legislative branch; and the realization that the other branches of government may not ignore the rulings of the judicial branch; are a good thing.

So in other words a system of checks and balances (thought by some to be cumbersome) may be a good way to protect democracy.

---------

Quote:
"Sweden's 'power of the people' has had a strong and democratic tradition, for example there's the labour movement, or the fact that Sweden has lots of organizations where people make democratic decisions every day: football clubs, tennis clubs, foundations and what have you. If someone walks in and tries to take over, people question it, say 'hey, what are you doing, don't you know we have to sit down and talk first'. So there is a fundamental sense of democracy which is quite strong and quite old."

"We have been lucky in Sweden in that we have had a cadre of leaders all the way back through to the 1930s who have been decent and non-corrupt. They have lived a fairly normal life without flashy cars and houses, without bragging about their amazing success; they've been living in their radhus (terraced homes) in the suburbs. There has been a sense that they're good people," says Gärde.


Those sound like good things to have, the tradition of democracy in all levels of life (from social clubs, to sports clubs, all the way up to the government level). And also a good thing that leaders over the last 80+ years have grown up holding those beliefs.

Now I wonder what might be the impact on that of having a sudden influx of people into that country; people who were not raised in a culture that held such democratic beliefs as important; people who do not easily integrate themselves into that (Swedish) culture; people that do not hold those same values as being important. Could that potentially lead to a breakdown in the structure that has enabled Swedish government and society to work for the last 80-100 years?

-----

Quote:
"It is important to increase the constitutional culture in Sweden. Take the US, where you refer to the constitution all the time. But if you ask people in Sweden what's in the constitution, no one really knows," says Adami. "And what human rights mean in Sweden. We have a very clear idea of what violations mean in other countries, but what would they look like here?"


Well, it is nice to see that some Scandanavians appreciate the fact that many Americans hold their constitution so highly. ;-)

----------

Quote:
They, and several other experts, are now pushing for Sweden to introduce regulations ensuring that the constitution can only be changed by a supermajority


Well, unless I am mistaken, it sounds as if some in Sweden are pushing to make their constitution more cumbersome. :lol:
If they are looking for a model to follow, I think they know where to look. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:34 pm 
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Whats this!?

Taking a swipe at Nero, by punching Sweden in the arm under the pretext that Finland is really just a backwater province of Sweden, which is really a fragile leftalitarian oligarchy of cultural relativist intelligentsia and a monarch seemingly more interested in chasing tail than on reigning in the insane social engineering fantasies of his peoples' "elected" leadership, eh . . .?

I'm in.

Revealed: How the King of Sweden enjoyed wild sex parties with strippers - and a lengthy affair with a buxom model

Lengthy affairs with buxom fashion models who were not of the BOI variety but of the GIRL type eh!? Seems someone in charge of a social justice warrior haven in northern Europe JUST MIGHT have more in common with the PussyGrabber in Chief than most commentators might like to acknowledge. . .
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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Well, I had hoped that my post would lead to a more serious discussion on the topic of constitutions....

There was already the "Welcome to Sweden" thread that I think is more conducive to Sweden-related trolling. ;-)

But I am not a moderator, and am generally a supporter of free speech, so I am in no position to discourage anyone/any type of posts to this thread.

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:48 pm 
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But seriously; they make great videogames.

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
But seriously; they make great videogames.


Well, Paradox Interactive, a Swedish based games developer, has produced alot of computer games.
Some are pretty good.
For a while they had a reputation of putting out buggy games at release and then using subsequent (paid) DLCs to clean up some of those bugs.

I still hear complaints on a regular basis from some of the user-created mod creators about how many of the (often long festering) issues in the Hearts of Iron IV game are due to either sloppy coding or due to the game developers simply ignoring long known about bugs.

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:23 pm 
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After a fast read thru of the opening posts my view is the same as Burke's viewtopic.php?p=324706#p324706
Quote:
...
Only a few years after the American Constitution was founded, a second revolution -- a Counter Revolution -- occurred in France. The French Revolution of 1789 was also a revolt against the power of a monarch and aristocracy. Its motto was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; its end was Social Justice; its means were to establish the sovereignty of the people, and to eliminate social and political inequalities.

Unlike the American Revolution, whose philosophical ancestors were the English liberals, the French Revolution was fundamentally fathered by the French radical philosophers, especially Jean Jacques Rousseau, and inherited the faith in reason engendered by The Enlightenment. RenŽ Descartes' trust in geometric like reasoning and Rousseau's belief in the common will and sovereignty of the people framed the conception guiding the French Revolution. This conception is mechanical. Government is a machine, fueled by coercive power, and driven by reason; and its destination is Social Justice. Government is thus a tool to reach a future goal -- improving man. Those in charge of the State would therefore use reason to apply government to further and create Social Justice.

This conception is clearly different from that of the American revolutionaries. For the Americans, interests were the guiding force; for the French, reason. For the Americans, Freedom was to be preserved against the State; for the French, the State was used by reason to achieve Social Justice. For the Americans, individual rights were essential to protect interests; for the French, the collective, the sovereignty of the people, the general will stood above rights. Finally, for the Americans, no one interest could be entrusted with the State -- all interests had to be limited and balanced by their opposition; for the French, the State was a tool that should have no limit so long as Social Justice was pursued according to the common will.
...

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:38 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:

Trump definitely needs a coin of his own. To celebrate all his pussy grabbing ways, decorated with yellow rain. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: How robust is Sweden's democracy? (Clue: not very)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:36 am 
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nero wrote:
Anthropoid wrote:

Trump definitely needs a coin of his own. To celebrate all his pussy grabbing ways, decorated with yellow rain. :lol:

Image


My bold emphasis above.

That is NOT going to happen anytime soon.

Quote:
Question: Why are Only Dead Presidents Featured on U.S. Coins?
The United States has a long tradition of placing only the portraits of dead people on its money. Learn why living people are never depicted on U.S. coins, and why the U.S. always uses portraits of dead Presidents rather than living ones on its circulating coins, such as the upcoming new Presidential Dollar.

Answer:
The main reason the U.S. is putting only dead Presidents on the new dollars (or dead people on any other coin) is tradition.


Although this tradition has been legislated into law now, from the very beginning of our nation's founding, patriotic men felt that it was improper to honor any living person by putting their image on the legal tender currency, especially the circulating coins. George Washington declined when our young nation wanted his portrait on the first U.S. silver dollar, which was the start of this long and still unbroken tradition.

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/only-de ... ins-768852

Quote:
A Legacy of Dead Presidents
The main reason that the U.S. has featured very few living people on their coins stems back to our Revolutionary War Forefathers. One way for a king to proclaim his sovereignty over his subjects was to have his effigy struck into the coins of his realm. For the American colonists, who were predominantly anti-royalists, the image of the king on British coins they were forced to use in everyday transactions was a painful reminder of what they considered his tyranny and oppression.

When the newly-formed United States of America began to mint its own coins, the symbolic image of the “goddess” of Liberty was chosen, usually accompanied by an Eagle - the new national symbol (even though Benjamin Franklin had lobbied hard for the turkey!) When the first U.S. dollar coin was ready to be struck, George Washington actually declined the request to allow his portrait on the coin. Washington did not want any hint of royalty to creep into his fledgling Republic government – and his refusal set a precedent for all future U.S. Presidents.

It was not until 1909 that the first deceased president appeared on any U.S. coin. That year, to honor the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the Lincoln Cent was struck and circulated. This coin was originally intended to be a special limited commemorative issue, but it proved so popular that it has continued to be struck every year to this very day! Following Lincoln’s lead, other deceased presidents soon followed on various U.S. coin denominations.

Eventually, the tradition of not featuring living persons on U.S. coins was formalized by federal law. This current law requires a U.S. President to be deceased for at least two years before they are eligible for inclusion in the ongoing Presidential Dollars series.

https://www.govmint.com/coin-authority/ ... on-a-coin/

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