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Children torture by governments – Social workers are the agents of child torture in Sweden

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir,africanpress@getmail.no

Posted to API by Catherine Mills

Sweden is the model chosen for our explorations into the impact of state intervention on human liberty and on the rights of the family. From much evidence, including that from distinguished people within Sweden, we could reasonably deduce that Sweden is the most repressive country in the world in social and sexual matters. The irony of Sweden also being seen as ‘the most sexually liberated country’ has not been missed, and is looked at below.

We cannot simply say that Sweden should be left to the Swedes because it has been exporting its ideology, and the mechanisms through which it has managed its repression are now widely employed elsewhere, in particular in English-speaking countries. Let us put that ideology in the simplest language we can find. Using a socialistic ideology, Sweden has been upholding certain rights of the state above those of the individual and the family. Those rights mainly concern what the state and its agents consider to be ‘proper’ social and sexual behavouir. The agents of the state are social workers and they have had the power to decide what is proper in social and sexual matters, and these powers and the decisions made under them have been beyond questioning.

With 300,000 social workers out of a population of only eight million in Sweden, the results of this power have been evident, as huge numbers of children have been seized and placed in foster homes, which are operated for profit. This demonstrates that children
belong to the state and not to their families. Sweden thus holds the world’s record for removing children from their parents, as well as the records for highest taxes to finance the foster industry, and for child crimes. It has the lowest marriage and the highest couple breakup rates in the Western world. Despite the official sanctioning of condoms and abortion, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are high.

Swedish judge, Brita Sundberg-Weitman, speaking about the infamous Alexander child seizure case (See Alexander story in ‘Country by country’) said, “(According to old and newly revised laws), the social workers have the real power, in these cases.” She goes on to explain that it is the social worker who suggests that a child should be taken into care, and this ‘capacity to recommend does mean real, great power’. She points out that most families encounter problems or a crisis at some stage, but that should a social worker receive a report about this (and the Swedish system encourages snooping and gossip), a she may pounce on the family. She adds: “The social worker has the backing of the state powers in her work as ‘political activity’. (Government Proposition 1979/80. No. 1 page 130.) This could also translate as ‘the backing of the state powers in her politically motivated child work’.

She continues, “When making this selection, the social worker is free to do as she pleases. – – – According to the wording of the present law, it is sufficient that some ‘condition in the home’ may bring about a risk that the child may not receive ‘an all-round development of his/her personality and a favourable physical and social development’.

All of these remarks were made in the context of her criticising the conduct of social workers and the state for their removal of Alexander after his mother had ‘bawled out’ some officials and written articles, critical of the system, at home and abroad.

Once the social worker makes her decision, the administrative courts accept it unquestioningly. Worse, accountability for civil servants for abuse of power was removed in 1979, so that a social worker does not run any risk of being made accountable for malicious or incompetent actions.

Other critics have seen many of the cases of children being removed from their families as retribution for not conforming to the state ideology as defined by ‘experts’ and civil servants. Professor Sven Hessle put it thus: “- – – consciously hiding the misery in the foster home behind gold-edged, idealizing phrases from some of our country’s more experienced experts within this field.”

Because school is compulsory for all children in Sweden and most mothers must work either because they are separated or to pay each partner’s taxes, parents are very exposed to possible insinuations from teachers and social workers about their parenting abilities and lifestyles. Parents live in constant fear of social workers in a climate of social democracy imbued with extreme feminism and an ideology hostile to the family. The expression ‘the best interest of the child’, first coined in Nazi Germany, assumes that children need protection from their parents and that only the state and its agents know how to achieve this.

Former Swedish prime minister, Ingvar Carlsson, spoke of his hopes for the European Union becoming a ‘social democratic project’, in the sense of a Utopia. That Utopian idea is being exported from Sweden through UN Child-convention, the EU and child rights and women’s groups, under the guise of child protection.

Finally on the relationship between totalitarianism and corruption, many Swedish officials and social workers have connections with the profitable foster home industry.

Sex as an instrument of oppression

In his book War Against the Family, William D. Gardner tells us that the Swedish National Association for Sexual Education once declared that its aim was to ‘to encourage liberation through sex’. This helps us to examine how Sweden once appeared to be the most sexually liberated country in the world and yet became the most repressive. Long before similar manifestations of a certain kind of sexual freedom appeared in other countries, one could see pornography and condoms side by side with candy at the shelves beside supermarket check out tills in Sweden.

Author of The New Totalitarians, Roland Huntford, quotes Ingvar Carlson, Sweden’s former Minister of Education, thus: “The state is concerned with morality from a desire to change society.” (p.326.)

This a complex subject which will be merely touched on here, but it seems that true totalitarians have recognized that the state must take control of sexuality, and the best way to do this is to create the illusion that it will be enjoyable and free if the rules devised by the state are followed. This removes any sense of privacy or guilt but it does so at the expense of morality and romantic love. Once sex is controlled by the state, all else will follow, because if the state knows about sex it must know all. It also removes sexual training from the family. The state is on the side of the young in matters of sex, and not on the side of parents. George Orwell would smile.

Warning signs

Should Parents be Licensed? by Prometheus, is a book published as an academic title, edited by Peg Tittle, and contains essays by social and legal experts, arguing about the merits of licensing parents, and preventing some individuals and couples from becoming parents. Parental licensing would follow the same rationale as that used for driver licenses. With children’s rights and the ‘children cannot choose’ mantras in mind, read one contributor who argues that parental licensing should be a ‘contractual relationship between parent and child’.

Bullying is now to be criminalized

The criminalization process continues as we move closer to the framing of an ideological structure to define and legislate against ‘inappropriate social behavouir’. The legislative creep has been demonstrated in Ireland by Patricia Murray, an ‘organizational psychologist’ and government health and safety inspector producing a report ‘highlighting serious gaps in the way workplace bullying is currently addressed’.

Government minister Frank Fahey, responsible for workers, has jumped on the bandwagon by suggesting yet another statutory body to investigate alleged bullying in the workplace. In her report, Murray, said that, without third party control, “It is akin to asking sexual harassers to assess themselves when it is obvious they find their behavouir acceptable on their own terms.” The health and safety authority that Murray works for already has an anti-bullying unit, which demonstrates how far health and safety has already crept into the social arena.

We now have laws for many aspects of sexual behavouir, and these have spread from rape and from sex with children to several forms of sexual activity with teenagers up to 18, including grooming and the possession and exchange of images. Grooming now extends to certain ‘inappropriate’ contacts and communications, while the photographing of other people’s children is forbidden. The incitement to hatred legislation criminalizes certain written and verbally expressed opinions, including what one may consider to be truthful and requiring to be expressed. Now sexual harassment legislation, already draconian and in contradiction with human nature, is combining with bullying to create a major building block in the attempt to construct a society of legalized appropriate behavouir.

The combination of bullying and sexual harassment legislation is particularly potent, and it has a huge potential to criminalize many people. It will not be long before the bullying legislation is used to identify and hold up for inspection and possible prosecution any display of pressure or influence by the stronger and more privileged upon the weaker and less privileged, such as in interactions between older men and younger women, and men and boys in a homosexual context. When the grooming legislation is taken into account, it is dangerous for any older man to hold a conversation with a younger person. The social inspectors will protest that those who do not have an inappropriate relationship, or desire one, with the weaker or younger person will have nothing to fear. It is the same argument as that heard about innocent Internet users having nothing to fear before we learnt that no-one was safe using the Internet and the censors were declaring that being nave enough to allow oneself to be invaded or hijacked was a crime in itself.

As the bullying legislation was being proposed in Ireland, the House of Lords in the UK passed legislation designed to criminalize certain smacking of children by parents or others, thus further opening the door to state supervision of the behavouir of families within what used to be the privacy of their homes. See below.

What the social engineers chose to overlook is that human beings are sexual, and that they use power, privilege, experience, youth, beauty and sexuality in their transactions with each other. What Utopian egalitarianism seeks to implement is a state where such differences do not exist, which is an absurdity.

Utopian egalitarianism is the next section in the main menu on left.

The British smacking debate

In a Spiked article titled Punishing Parents, Frank Furedi looks at the real purpose of the UK campaign to ban the smacking of children, which has already had a partial success in the House of Lords. In his article he says, “But make no mistake, the anti-parent crusade will not stop with the partial banning of smacking. They have already pledged to continue campaigning for a total ban. Tomorrow they might demand that parents should be criminalized for using the withdrawal of affection as a form of punishment.”

And: “The only beneficiaries of this powerful crusade are the professional lobbyists who are in the business of saving children from their own parents.”

Ban on holding hands and hugging widens

In August 2004, the principle of the Scarrif Community School in County Clare in Ireland, P.J. Mason, issued what he called ‘a pre-emptive’ strike before the high school’s Autumn term began. It warned of a new ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards teenage couples holding hands or engaging in other forms of ‘inappropriate holding’ on school grounds.

He used a label already seen in high profile cases in the US, Sweden and elsewhere that of ‘inappropriate behaviour’, which has been identified as the next target for the criminalization of a human activity. He described repeated hand holding, arms around waists, kissing, and other expressions of boy-girl affection as ‘persistent inappropriate behaviour’. He wanted relationships to be ‘respectful and appropriate’. His initiative was supported by the National Parent’s Council for post-primary students, whose president, Ms Eleanor Petrie, said, “Inappropriate touching between couples is not tolerated in other places of work.” Not only was it embarrassing for teachers, but: “You must also be conscious of what impact this would have on younger children.” On the question that most teachers might turn a blind eye to mere hand holding, she replied, “If you are going to enforce rules, you have to start somewhere.”

By October 2004, the ban had spread to the UK. When the pupils of Warneford School in Highworth, Wiltshire, were told on October 1 2004 about the ban on ‘canoodling’, specifically that they were not allowed to kiss, hold hands or hug, 200 of them refused to return to their classes and staged a ‘pro-canoodling rally’ in the playing field. Eight were suspended for being rude to staff who tried to coax them back

Headmaster John Saunders defended the ban saying that it was aimed at instilling ‘appropriate behaviour’ in his pupils. Again we see the new morality of ‘appropriate behaviour’ spreading. Saunders added: “This is a ban on inappropriate touching in a school, as it would be in a workplace.”

See obesity below

See also NGOs under ‘Threats to liberty in menu’

State begins to seize obese children

Brian Rothery

The subject of obesity had been on my mind for some time, but it was brought to a head both by the events reported below and a recent conversation with my barber in Ireland where a ban has been introduced on all work and public indoor place smoking. As he used to smoke while cutting hair, I was looking forward to hearing his reaction to the ban.

As I expected, he was furious, and I was not surprised to learn that he, like other smokers, was deeply resentful at his new status of pariah. He bitterly complained that smokers had to stand in shame outside their workplaces during the day and outside the pub in the evening when they lit up their cigarettes. I tried to comfort him, saying that soon there would be some new target of hatred and social rejection – perhaps the obese, and he replied, “Ah, but they deserve it!”

During the following weeks I saw two different British TV documentaries about obese people, each masquerading as advice on becoming thinner, but in my opinion, each directing hatred and contempt towards the grossly overweight.

The state moves in

As Derbyshire County Council in the UK threatens to take into care a nine-year-old girl, Samantha Collier, who weighs more than 13 stone,
Spiked carries a report by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth: Why America’s obsession with weight is hazardous to your health.

The opening line of the Campos article holds no surprises for me: “Although obesity has not yet been criminalised in the USA, it is possible to have your three-year old child taken from you for the offence of ‘allowing’ her to become fat.”

Paul Campos is a size acceptance advocate, and I will explain below why I must disagree with the main thrust of his arguments and with some of his conclusions, but I welcome and share many of his observations about the social climate surrounding obesity and the hostility it engenders.

Campos tells a chilling story about the seizure of the exceptionally large and tall (possibly freakish) Anamarie, daughter of a woman of Hispanic origin in New Mexico. The full account can be read in ‘Spiked’ above, as I am concerned here not with the particularities of what may be a special case, but with what it reveals about the attempts of the state to criminalize ‘anti-social behavouir’, in this case allowing one’s children to become obese.

One of the most striking remarks from Anamarie’s mother was “Everybody we were dealing with was skinny. There were no overweight doctors.”

Paul Campos wrote: “Perhaps the only thing that frightens Americans more than getting fat is the thought that there is often, practically speaking, little or nothing people can do about getting fat. One explanation for the absurdity of the state’s response to Anamarie’s situation is that her skyrocketing weight became a kind of metaphor for the anxiety so many Americans feel about their (or their spouse’s, or children’s, or fellow citizens’) expanding waistlines.”

He went on: “Anamarie’s story illustrates the intimate relationship between, on the one hand, slenderness and power, privilege, and money, and on the other, fat and powerlessness, lack of social status, and relative poverty. In both instances, these dichotomies manifested themselves along ethnic lines as well.” (While her mother is US born, Anamarie’s immigrant father speaks poor English.)

After a lengthy battle involving lawyers friendly to Anamarie’s cause and size acceptance advocates, Anamarie was returned to her parents, but under strict conditions. The family is under surveillance whenever they take their daughter outside their home. A neighbour recently reported that the parents had allowed her to eat ice cream. Her mother pleaded that it was frozen yoghurt, an approved treat within the strict confines of her diet, which forbids all candy, cake, ice cream, juice, fried food, or fast food.

Paul Campos wrote: “Most alarmingly, Anamarie’s saga helps reveal the lengths to which state power can be deployed in America today in the prosecution of the war on fat. Adela Martinez-Regino and Miguel Regino cannot allow their child to eat a spoonful of ice cream, or a piece of candy, or to drink a glass of fruit juice, without running a very real risk of having their child taken away from them once again. They and Ana live under this remarkably repressive regimen not because there is any medical evidence that it will protect their daughter’s health, but simply because it gives the authorities a false but comforting sense that they are ‘doing something’ about what is, for them, a profoundly disturbing sight – the sight of an unusually large child.”

Arthur Blair’s views on society’s reaction to obesity

Just before reading the above I had asked Arthur Blair for his views on the subject, specifically in the context of disgust, which I deal with below.

Arthur points out that in some cultures ‘large’ people are actually more attractive
than small people, and believes that this ‘inverted situation’ used to be the case in England where to be thin was to be poor and to be fat was to be rich. To be poor was
to die early, so being fat was considered to be a sign of good health. He goes on to point out that other societies still prefer larger people to smaller ones, saying, “I seem to remember women in some African country actually eating pure fat in order to prepare properly for their weddings.”

He continues: “I think there are some extremely basic forces at work in the human psyche – inclusion and exclusion. Humans are group creatures, so to be excluded from the group is to be indirectly killed, and probably literally in many societies. Group coherence is maintained by inclusive drives. These lead to conservatism and conformity to the group norms. These are also re-enforced by having a ‘scapegoat’. The act of scapegoating exercises the inclusional drives, and reinforces them, leading to greater conformity with the group’s structures.

“The existence of a scapegoat crystallises what it means to be non-group, and the treatment of the scapegoat gives a certain immediacy to the feelings that lead people to select a scapegoat. There is a certain excitement/titillation involved. I also suspect that once labelled as such, there is a drive to become a scapegoat. I think people almost automatically adopt the role once it has been assigned to them. A kind of group-strengthening self-sacrifice.”

While Arthur had not seen Anamarie’s story before he wrote this, his views appear to agree with those of Paul Campos on size advocacy.

The biological reality of disgust

I do agree with Arthur’s opinions about exclusion and scapegoating and these are fully supported by the shame theory dealt with at length elsewhere on this web site. They are particularly relevant in explaining why the lynch mobs attack so-called ‘paedophiles’.

Unfortunately, my wish to identify with Arthur and Paul’s paradise of beautiful, fat and happy people is stopped in its tracks by my awareness of other aspects of affect psychology, and what I have learned about two of the most powerful, even toxic, responses of our affect system – dissmell and disgust. These are actually biological, so we have little if any choice in how we respond to them. Innately endowed and genetically inherited, they were apparently designed to make us reject, even vomit, foul or ‘disgusting’ material if it is presented as food. The very thought of eating certain ‘foul’ substances, such as that we experience upon seeing a dog eat his own excrement can make us retch.

Dissmell, which can lead to instant disgust, also operates through smells, so that we could ‘hate the smell of a person’ or begin to assume that a type of person or race has a distinctive smell. Writers on the subject see dissmell as the most potentially toxic affect, which for example could quickly end a relationship between two people. One of the unfortunate side-affects of obesity is unpleasant bodily smells, both from sweating and from a less efficient bodily food and waste processing system which releases more waste gas. Two senses are now involved in generating the biological responses we call the dissmell and disgust affects sight and sound.

We are now faced with the dismal prospect that, with the best will in the world, and a yearning that there be no disgust or hatred projected against any minority group or human weakness, our innate biological system will always kick in to reject certain social manifestations of excess. Much as we may want to accept that there could be beauty in gross size, even Rubens’ models do not maintain their attractiveness once down from the canvas. If obese adults are unattractive to the point of disgust and even revulsion, how much more frightful, or even fearful, will be the obese child? Whatever may have been the special circumstances of the girl in New Mexico, we know that millions of children in the West are becoming obese and we know that we do not find obese children in countries where there is famine.

Richard Christie comments

Many (perhaps a majority of the population) have an anti-obesity bias despite having little direct contact with obese persons. This suggests to me that the mechanism of dissmell is less influential than you might suggest. It also implies that other mechanisms are more influential (?).

I have initial sympathy with Arthur Blair’s notions. I know for example that fat brides are more desirable than thin ones in sections of Indian society.

Perhaps an innate disquiet about the morbidly obese is ‘instinctual’ to us – as is revulsion toward deformity etc, as these things may be liabilities toward survival in the primeval context. And as always there is sufficient latitude about society’s attitude toward much human behaviour that allows general attitudes to such subjects be modified according to prevalent needs/expectations. This explains the general absence of trend against moderate obesity over the last few centuries but its growth recently.

Have you noted that most US TV news networks run a health issues update in the course of daily reports? This is done in much the same manner as sport or business news. I think the practise is an obsession peculiar to the US but it certainly has the potential to spread.

It feeds the sentiment you write about.

(Richard Christie’s important work can be seen under ‘Country by country NZ’.

The obese child

This could be a central element in this web site. The obese child has the potential for becoming the next demon in a moral panic. Note ‘demon’ but not designated pervert, as the child cannot be designated a pervert, although its parents can. The act of allowing a child to become obese, or the making of the child obese, becomes a perversion equal to, or worse than, the sexual abuse of that child. Let us consider both where the ‘sexual abuse’ is of the most commonly found kinds – that of inappropriate touching or the depiction of child nudity or erotic posing. A beautiful slim child is touched in what the touching person, who is now seen to be a ‘perpetuator’, wrongly or rightly sees to be a ‘caress’, however unauthorised, or an image is made, accessed or distributed of a beautiful slim child in an explicit or erotic pose.

Now the same child is allowed or encouraged to become obese, to lose its beauty and to become an object of alarm and even revulsion. While there is no intention here to compare chalk with cheese or to label or categorize either ‘perversion’, I am attempting to explore the possibility that the obese child could indeed replace the sexually abused, or inappropriately photographed, child as the object of a new crimen exceptum, the crime that requires the suspension of normal justice and draconian measures in its suppression.

———————-

African Press International – API

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