The Corner

Re: Swedes & Wolves

Yes, Jonah, Scandinavia’s relatively weak Christianization is an important background condition for its weak family system. But the shift in Sweden since the sixties has been massive, and requires additional explanation. The welfare state and Sweden’s related liberal social policies are the key factor in family decline. By the way, Sweden’s welfare state was enacted when Gunner and Alva Myrdal cleverly made the “conservative case” for socialism. They argued that Sweden’s low fertility rates would be overcome by a massive system of state support for families. What we have instead is continued low fertility and the collapse of the family system that the Myrdal’s claimed they wanted to support. The story is told brilliantly in David Popenoe’s book, “Disturbing the Nest.” This is the real story of what happens when conservatives buy into the “conservative case” for a not-at-all-conservative reform.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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