An old cowboy once said "I came to the desert to change it and was changed by it."
We are not a product of our environment as much as we are a product of our thinking but our thinking is often a byproduct of how we live and react in our environment.
- Folkhemmet is a Swedish term said to mean the people's home. It was a political movement that played an important role in the history of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1932-1976.
It molded the Swedish welfare state altering the environment of the Swedish people and eventually their thinking. It operated during a long period when the Social democrats and their covetous practice slowly replaced the mind set of the people. Folkhemmet, a poetic name for the Swedish welfare state, was sometimes referred to as "the Swedish Middle Way" between capitalism and Marxism or at least socialism.
The ideology of the Folkhem vision was that society ought to be like a small family, where everybody contributes.... The Swedish people thought this was fine since they had been doing that for centuries. But Folkhemmet added a new ingredient to the scheme of society. You had to contribute whether you wanted to or not. This was not a new scheme but a very old one where debt and pride would bind them to this system of social welfare until it was too late to alter the course of society.
Scandinavian countries—specifically, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland—are perceived as socialist because their citizens pay very high income taxes and receive many government benefits. Sweden boasts a third way between Capitalism and Socialism, making it an example of a balanced Collectivism. However, these countries still suffer from many of the social and economic ills that socialism is supposed to prevent.
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When an economist "... attempted to ponder the angst of liberals in Sweden, a country that combines a vast public sector, and a style of life that looks hugely enviable to outsiders" they need to take into consideration the people they started with rather than the system alone.
They went on to say that "Sweden is a semi-socialist country that started to fail already in the mid 1970ies, and was hurled into a serious crisis in the early 1990:ies, which it has still not recovered from."
Does socialism work?
- Are these countries poisoning the fabric of society?
- The highest standard of living is a myth. It is more a product of redistribution of wealth rather than a high national economy.
- Comparing the "the median household income in Sweden to that of the "U.S. households" we find Sweden 20% lower even when using gross values before taxes. "Sweden has the highest taxes in the world".
- Evidently they are also not "free of homeless, reckless, crazy people" but are well subsidized and hidden from view at tax payers expense. Sweden pays the "highest income tax in the world". Their "growing in numbers since the financial prosperity of the cradle-to-grave system doesn't discourage their lacklazy habits."
- Its educational system, unemployment numbers and claims of a third way is produced by "fake Capitalism" and has not stood the test of time and showing signs of cracking.
- "The country is probably also one of the least democratic and most politically corrupt countries in the Western world..." 
"The “Swedish model” was not replicable in most other societies, because it relied on a peculiarly Swedish set of cultural virtues: industriousness, thrift, honesty, intelligence, integrity, and a general trust in one’s fellow man." 
Where did that "industriousness, thrift, honesty, intelligence, integrity, and a general trust in one’s fellow man" come from?
Where does virtue come from in society?
But possibly a more important question is how does a society or even a nation loose its virtue and its innocence?
- Why has Sweden become the number one rape capital of Europe?
- Why are there "no go zones" in Sweden?
- Is it because your neighbor's welfare is no longer the responsibility of the individual but only the State?
- What did Polybius say about people that are willing to live at the expense of others?
"These virtues we acquire by first exercising them, as in the case of other arts. Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it: men come to be builders, for instance by building, and harp players by playing the harp. In the same way, by doing just acts we come to be just; by doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we become brave..." 
Plato thought that all democracies were flawed Marx thought they lead to socialism and then communism. These systems are able to alter the course of whole societies and nations because they alter the way we think or rather the way we are willing to think.
- Change the environment of our lives and our thinking may change. Are there other factors which drive change in us and therefore society?
- Are we merely products and byproducts of where we came from and where we are or is there choice and where do make that choice?
Plato thought that Democracy would produce leaders reluctant to ask for sacrifice but quick to force it and a systems more involved with image than substance which seems an accurate prophecy of modern politics. He also believed that there would be a rise in crime because of a separation of the generations and the members of the community with artificial values void of virtue. Before our politics molds our environment and then us our spirit makes a choice to go another way.
All the great teachers have dealt with the same problems facing mankind because man is the same. Therefor the solution is the same. All these teachers, philosopher or prophets by any other name were social reformers. Their desire was to improve the state, mindset and even the very nature of mankind. There teachings are regularly highjacked for the private self interests of people who are not motivated with the same spirit of the original teachers.
The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, believed that moral virtue was found in doing the right thing for the right reason. Motive was paramount. It was not just doing but the individual choice to do, to sacrifice for others. Invisible bonds are created in other realms of our existence that may seem more subtle but are in the wholeness of our reality are in fact the root and foundation of our own being.
That subtle foundation is what we call spirit. It is our true self which exists at the core of our nature. It has its own pattern or character, its own spiritual DNA. Its character molds our thoughts before we think them, aids in the weighing of our perception of the reality around us.
The truth is a clear vision of reality. It can only be perceived if we are willing to see the whole truth. Few people are willing to see the whole truth so they construct imaginary realities that block our vision. To see the whole truth would mean that we have to see the truth about our own selves which is not always pretty and some times painful. We cannot or will not see beyond those constructed but imaginary realities.
The constructed imagery to replace the truth we are not willing to see but we want to believe is true reality is what the ancients called idolatry. Once we accept our projected image as the the truth we must give our undying allegiance to it. We often call that allegiance faith.
We will often enlist others or be enlisted by others to consummate this new constructed reality of our imagination. People will write and teach this constructed view, gather together to reaffirm it in emotional conclaves called religious denominations.
Their teaching will require a new vocabulary but more often they will use the old words like religion but ascribe a new or altered meaning. They will tell the old stories but alter their message or slightly navigate the thinking of their disciples around the truth they choose not to see nor have others see.
The modern Christian, believe that virtues was motivated by love for God.
But since God is both an idea and an entity how do we know if our love for God is not merely a love for the image of God which we have created or allowed to be created in our own minds. And if we are motivated to do what is right out of pride in our claimed faith in this image of God created through our doctrines and personal eschatology could it be that we do not actually love the righteousness of God?
If we do not actually love righteousness then it must be that although we sometimes do righteous things, God's righteousness is not actually written upon our hearts and upon our minds. 
Could we love righteousness without the idea of an image of God in our mind?
The teachings of Christ clearly rejected those who said they believed but were not doers of the word, both before and after the crucifixtion.
So why do doctrines like all you have to do is believe or even just say you believe still promulgated society as the truth. If men like Jesus had a religion, although He never used the word, we might wonder what would He call False religion?
Virtue in Ancient Rome carried the connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth. These virtues or Virtus needed to be a part of society to prosper society as a nation. They needed to be practiced daily and if neglected society would begin to decay no different than the athlete who expends no energy in the pursuit of excellence.
Throughout history there have been many nations that lived free cultivating character rather than serving kings. They freely chose to make sacrifices required to maintain the daily ministration for the welfare of their society. The early Romans, Teutons and Israelite along with many other peoples had No Kings or benefactors who could or needed to exercise authority one over the other. Making a democracy king where everyman takes on the spirit of a dictator coveting his neighbor's sweat rather than learning to love his neighbor as himself has always been a recipe for decay and disaster, corruption and social calamity.
Are the Swedish people being changed by their expanding Folkhemmet.
We are told that "In recent years the spotlessly clean stainless steel and glass cities [of Sweden] have been slowly transforming into shabby, crime-ridden third world hellholes surrounded by ghettoes where the police, fire brigade and ambulance services dare not go except in force." read one opinion why
The problem arises when the power of choice that once belonged to the individual is now held by the collective or by their elected rulers. Without the challenge of choice the breath of virtue begins to wither. Without the daily exercise of choice the individual looks to the state rather than neighbor for his salvation and hope. This has been corrupting the bonds and relationships that once held society together as a viable nation.
Within the social and economic environment of such systems the individual is changed through practices and lack of individual dependence upon one another through the love of one another and the honor and reciprocation of charity. Power of choice or what is called liberty to choose is inevitably centralized in the elected official of a bureaucracy and diminished in the individuals themselves.
Virtues that once made a society strong are lost through neglect. Since those virtues are the foundation of society their loss is not realized until the whole structure of this new Folkhem foundation within society begins to crumble.
And then there is denial.
Yet every generation has it prophets born into them who simply cannot conform to the imagined truth of a deluded society. Something in them moans for the lost innocence and virtue like a babe crying for its mother. They struggle in their spirit against the dark and cold tide of the social norm that began before they were born.
They often do not fit in and frustrated in their conformity rebel with heart and hand with courage and the noble vigor of their ancestors but though they believe in a better way they can see through a glass dimly often need help with their unbelief.
This help may come in many forms but our willingness to receive it is more important than the help itself. It is our faith in that revealing spirit that brings light where there is darkness and the courage to look around the barriers of our own imagination as well as the imagination of the society that we love and may hate us for our courage and willing to know the truth that sets us free.
“...The erection of ...“Folk Hemmet,“ and what it was all about–the Utopian dream of the Social Democrats, to build a perfect country that would have everything going for it except the quality perhaps of being a country. [Identity, free will, destiny.]" 
Ben Franklin advised that “A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.” Those rights depend upon us valuing our neighbors’ right to choose as much as we value our own, which is virtue.
- "Modern welfare states include the Nordic countries, such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland which employ a system known as the Nordic model. Esping-Andersen classified the most developed welfare state systems into three categories; Social Democratic, Conservative, and Liberal."
The socialist economists John Roemer and Pranab Bardhan criticize Nordic-style social democracy for its questionable effectiveness in promoting relative egalitarianism as well as its sustainability.
The Nordic social democracy requires a strong labor movement to sustain the heavy redistribution required. Roemer and Bardham argue that the sustainability of social democracy is limited and that establishing a market socialist economy by changing enterprise ownership would be more effective than social democratic redistribution at promoting egalitarian outcomes, particularly in countries with weak labor movements.
Although there are significant differences among the Nordic countries. Some common traits include support for a "universalist" welfare state aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility; a corporatist system involving a tripartite arrangement where representatives of labor and employers negotiate wages and labor market policy mediated by the government; and a commitment to widespread private ownership, free markets and free trade.
These traits prolong the sustainability of economic systems but at what cost in human development. Socialism goes against the prime moving agent of evolution yet most socialists believe in evolution.
According to sociologist Lane Kenworthy, in the context of the Nordic model "social democracy" refers to a set of policies for promoting economic security and opportunity within the framework of capitalism rather than a replacement for capitalism.
- Many countries are going through social experiment period but a thorough study of both history and the nature of mankind brings the wisdom of a collective economy into question.
The Nordic Models are not socialism but a blend of capitalism, socialism, and democracy. There is no doubt that each of these countries has successes and failures. The question is which part of this blend is attributing to their problems. They are each an experiment within a somewhat homogeneous people. Ultimately the collectively controlled economy is an infringement upon individual rights and is the "One purse" approach that brings eventual social decay because it deprives the individual of both the responsibilities and rights that produces individual growth.
The effort required by individuals to care for the needy of their society through voluntary contributions and sharing binds the collective nature of society by love, honor, and appreciation rather than a social contract dependent upon force. The social contract that centralizes power and exercises authority within a broad society may and eventually does lead to corruption and abuse of that authority and power.
Sweden, Denmark, and Finland will show the debilitating effects of socialism and socialist policies on what was once some of the virtuous societies of Europe. Socialism brings about a slow but natural decay of the moral fabric that makes a society strong and thriving.
"Why is poverty rising in a country with a welfare system that purports to ensure that “all citizens have equal rights to social security?" from the article by Danes Alexandra Lu, Lisa Sig Olesen.
A welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organization. The sociologist T.H. Marshall identified the welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism."
- "The welfare state involves a transfer of funds from the state, to the services provided (e.g. healthcare, education) as well as directly to individuals ("benefits"). It is funded through redistributionist taxation and is often referred to as a type of "mixed economy." Such taxation usually includes a larger income tax for people with higher incomes, called a progressive tax. This helps to reduce the income gap between the rich and poor."
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- Ps 69:22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Romans 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
- "Socialism WORKS!" But does it really work?
- Does Sweden's nanny state only work in Sweden? Jun 30th 2009, 17:29 by Charlemagne
- The Art of Fooling the Swedish People Posted on October 28, 2013 by Baron Bodissey
- Aristotle on Self-Discipline.
- from Latin conclave meaning a lockable room
- Heb 8:10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
- Mt 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink?
- Mt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
- James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 11 ¶ For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Mt 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mt 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: Mt 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 3Jo 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
- Mt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Lu 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity.
- Åke in the The Sleeping Mouse, By Celia Farber
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Brother Gregory in the wilderness.