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Dear Friends,

In the very first newsletter (February 7, 2012), we wrote that we would “keep an eye on the future as well — where the world is headed and why.” Recently, David Eberhard published a book entitled, “How Children Took Power.” One British newspaper wondered whether their parents have “given birth to a generation of monsters.” The country they did so in was Sweden. Eberhard’s book reports the progress of a ban on spanking to a ban on correction, which is a most natural development. So the future some hope for the whole world gives us its clearest glimpse in Sweden.

The Example of Sweden

Beginning in 1928 with the abolition of physical discipline in secondary schools, the Swedish government prepared its people, step by step, for its eventual universal ban on discipline. A fourteen-year-long advertising campaign against corporal punishment preceded the actual ban in 1979. Following this was the most extensive pamphlet distribution in Swedish history to persuade parents there were better means of raising children. Immigrants received pamphlets in their own languages. No one was overlooked. Since then Sweden has restricted violent media, inaugurated anti-bullying campaigns, and banned war toys.Dr.Spock

Today’s Sweden is then eighty-five years in the making. In 1988, the famous American baby doctor, Benjamin Spock, wrote of his hopes of a kinder, more peaceful society in the days to come. Obviously, no better living example of his hopes can be found than Sweden:

“It’s not that physical punishment creates these alarming conditions by itself [nuclear arms race, aggressive foreign policy, and violence within the family], but it certainly plays a role in our acceptance of violence. If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.”1

Sweden is the example the UN and many others cite. They sincerely hope Sweden is leading the way for every country on the planet. But shouldn’t the question be asked, “Has banning discipline of children by parents done what Dr. Spock hoped?”

If so, we should see a substantial, even a radical decrease in violence of every kind. The kindlier society and safer world should be in full bloom there, a veritable microcosm of things to come. A microcosm it is! But not the hoped for one.

The Statistics

Sweden is a country that keeps excellent statistics, even going way back. Let’s take a look at a few. This graph is from a report by Professor Hanns von Hofer of the Department of Criminology of Stockholm University in the publication, “Notes on Crime and Punishment in Sweden and Scandinavia.”

Sweden: Number of registered offences against the Criminal Code, 1866-1999.

NumberOffenses_Sweden(Vertical lines at 1928 and 1979 added.)

Crimes per 100,000 is an objective figure, allowing comparisons among countries of different size. Nor are the figures estimated after 1950, when in-depth statistics began to be available in Sweden. See “Reported+_offenses_1950-2012.xls” available at http://www.bra.se/bra/bra-in-english/home/crime-and-statistics/crime-statistics/statistical-tables.html (click on “Reported offenses, 1950-2012”). There are many statistics for those years; both total crime rates and individual crime rates. The next graph give the total crime from 1950 to 2012.

Sweden_CrimesPer100000(Horizontal line at 11,000 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants added.)

As is plain from the above graphs, 1979 is just another year in the tremendously increasing crime rate of Sweden. Certain crimes begin very significant rises then, however, as the final blow against parental authority had great consequences. (See note on the article “Cultural Spillover” at the end of the Newsletter). But take special note of the horizontal line at 11,000 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

For the last thirty-three years Sweden has had 11,000 to 15,000 crimes per 100,000. By such objective measures, Sweden is the most criminal society in world history. But it does not have that reputation whatsoever. Now why is that? This is a very important question, because Sweden’s campaign against spanking – so well thought out and so elaborately implemented – is held up the United Nations and many individual campaigners against spanking as the model. Should it be?

Look at these UN figures for the year 2002:

Country

Crime Rate per 100,000

Ranking

Sweden

13,835

1

United Kingdom

10,996

2

New Zealand

10,820

3

Finland

10,003

4

Belgium

9,422

5

Denmark

9,134

6

Netherlands

8,811

7

Canada

8,025

8

Germany

7,889

9

Norway

7,273

10

Austria

6,835

11

France

6,103

12

South Africa

5,894

13

Switzerland

4,223

14

Hungary

4,142

15

United States

4,129

16

Uruquay

4,027

17

Italy

3,904

18

Chile

3,755

19

{Source: Nation-Master, crimes per 1,000. Therefore, its figures have to be multiplied by 100 to get the above. This does not include Iceland, which included traffic violations in their total, or some smaller nations. Including all countries would push the United States down to 22nd on this list! Sweden would remain at the top.)

Now, isn’t that amazing? Sweden at #1 and the United States at #16! (Or #22) Why the vastly different reputations? Most sets of statistics give total crime, instead of the crime rate, which makes no sense. Of course the United States, at thirty times the population of Sweden, is going to have more crimes committed in total than Sweden. The rates per 100,000 inhabitants mean that Swedes were three times more likely to commit crimes than Americans. In such categories as rape and assault, the difference was greater still.

The countries in bold print above had all banned spanking by the year 2002: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Austria. Is their criminal “leadership” just a coincidence — having nothing to do with taking away parental authority? Perhaps. Or is it a cause with the observed effect of lawlessness? Over thirty nations have adapted such a ban, so this is no academic question. It is affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and the UN aims to affect the lives of billions of people in the same way.

For much more on this, please read the article, “Cultural Spillover” and soberly consider the future as you do.
Sincerely,
Kevin Carlin

 

P.S All our Yellow Delis, businesses, and markets will be closed June 8 to honor the upcoming festival:

Shavuot (also known as Pentecost)

This is a very special celebration for our people. We will be having festivities throughout our tribes and clans. Everyone is welcome to join us. Let us know if you need specific information and directions. You can find all of our addresses and phone numbers at this link: http://twelvetribes.org/locations

Thus, our delis will be closed Sunday, June 8th.

We will reopen Monday, June 9th at 7a.m.

Please mark your calendar and do not plan your visits to the Yellow Deli that day. We love our customers and hope you will understand the importance of the life we share as a community in running this Yellow Deli for you.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the Yellow Deli

Published as Newsletter 30 on June 5, 2014.

  1. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock on Parenting: Sensible, Reassuring Advice for Today’s Parent (Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 172.