A major threat to Sweden's security today is the Swedish journalistic establishment: it downplays the migration crisis with ridiculous arguments.
As migrants flooded into Sweden in December 2015, Fredrik Virtanen, a writer for Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, wrote an article entitled, "Have refugees forced you to buy worse red wine?" It is not really dangerous, Virtanen argues, that that Sweden was accepting 160,000 migrants; such migratory movements, he wrote, do not really impact anyone's life.
Today, however, we know that many people's lives have been affected by the influx of migrants and that the problems are about more than wine. They are, for example, about sexual assault, the murder of staff in asylum accommodations and chaos in the Swedish school system. But Virtanen was right: red wine is still here.
Another of Aftonbladet's editorial writers, Linnea Swedenmark, writes about a village in the Swedish province of Jämtland. The village she writes, is an example of how migrants are ensuring that the consumption of goods is increasing in the rural areas of Sweden.
What she did not write is that in Jämtland's largest city, Östersund, many women have been assaulted by men who speak "Swedish with an accent." The police have warned women not to go out alone. Swedenmark is right when she writes that "the grocery store sells three times as many eggs" -- but the women of Jämtland feel less secure in the public domain.
In the magazine, Café, the journalist Andrev Walden wrote in December 2015, that "no nation has perished from too much goodness." The pictures for his article compared Sweden's new restrictive immigration laws with the Holocaust.
When the migration crisis started last year in Sweden, the Swedish comedian Henrik Schyffert calculated and wrote on Facebook that it costs each Swede "two Quattro Stagionis (a popular local pizza), a large Fanta soda and a Netflix subscription to save the lives of 80,000 people this year."
His Facebook post was praised by all major media outlets in Sweden. They were apparently looking to a comedian who counted the counted the cost of immigration in pizza and soda currencies for the solution to Sweden's migration crisis.
Since Schyffert made his statement, those amazing pizzas that would finance the mass influx of migrants are nowhere to be found, and Sweden has to borrow more money for the migration crisis on its hands.
These quotes are from the mainstream media in Sweden, and it is how large parts of the Swedish establishment sound every day. This is the level at which the debate on immigration in Sweden is being conducted.
While 800,000 migrants in Libya are waiting to invade Europe, Sweden has a refugee policy whereby only by obtaining livelihoods will those migrants with a refugee status and a temporary residence permit get permanent residence permits. So if you get a job, you get to stay in Sweden permanently. It is a strange refugee policy, because those who actually are refugees and not economic migrants are often traumatized and have difficulties finding a job. So Sweden's refugee policy is tailored to economic migrants.
In Sweden's third largest city, Malmö, the children of illegal migrants receive income support payments from the government, and families that are in Sweden illegally have their rent paid by the taxpayers. For some reason, the Swedish authorities want to pay people who should not even be in Sweden. It is an open invitation to more migrants to come to Sweden.
Tens of thousands of migrants have passed through Denmark to enter Sweden during 2015 and 2016, attracted by Sweden's generous welfare payments and free housing.
What the established Swedish media does not tell people about are the threats and risks that come with increased migration. When the European Union's border agency, Frontex, recognized that it could not control the migrants coming to Europe, and that many Europeans who had joined terrorist organizations outside Europe were coming back to Europe among the migrants, this was not major news in the Swedish media. This is strange, since Sweden is one of the countries in Europe from where many citizens have traveled from to the Middle East to fight in jihadi terrorist organizations.
Such news does not fit in the narrative that the Swedish media is trying to tell the Swedish people. The narrative that the Swedish establishment wants to tell the Swedes is that the more immigrants come to Sweden, the richer Sweden will become. It does not matter which country these immigrants come from. If they just come to Sweden, then Sweden will become a richer country.
A month before the migration crisis started making waves in the media, the think tank Arena Idé -- which has close ties to the Social Democrats, the governing party -- published a report that was mentioned in all the major Swedish media outlets.
According to the report, Sweden, between 1950 and 2014, had made a "profit" of $110 billion on immigration. The report also said that without immigration, an $8 billion tax increase would be needed to sustain Sweden's defense, infrastructure and research. That there could be a conflict between a welfare state and immigration was called a "myth." As expected, the established Swedish media rejoiced over these "facts."
When the report went public in June 2015, the Swedish media celebrated it. Today, when the Swedish welfare state is under severe pressure because of immigration, the authors refuse to answer any questions about it. Last June, it was treated as a confirmation of the pro-immigration ideology of the Swedish establishment. With 9.5 million people in Sweden and its many universities, only a few economists protested the report. The loudest criticism came from the economist Tino Sanandaji. Needless to say, Sanandaji, despite being an immigrant from Iran with a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago, was depicted by some in the established Swedish media as a right-wing extremist.
No, Sweden is not the Soviet Union, but the way large parts of the Swedish establishment turn ideology into "facts" through "reports," and smear those who have different opinions, undermines debates that are of such critical importance in a democracy.
Not only the media and think tanks connected to the government advocate a liberal immigration policy. There is also loud support for it in academic circles. "Immigrants are a profit for Sweden," Dick Harrison, professor of history at Lund University, wrote in a December 2014 article for the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In the article, he states:
"Sweden is not in any way unique. The same logic -- that immigration strengthens the country politically, economically and culturally - can be said of all peacetime immigrations through the ages, whether it has been about refugees or labor immigration. The more immigrants, the stronger [the] state. The prime example is the United States. There is not a single historical example of immigration in the long term being negative for the host country. At this point, our historical experience is crystal clear -- the only form of immigration that has been, and is, directly harmful is comprised of warlike invasions."
While Harrison gives the United States as an example, he forgets to mention that while immigrants to the U.S. often come from countries such as Mexico, China and India, the three countries from which Sweden received the highest number of asylum seekers in 2015 were Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. They have also delivered most asylum seekers to Sweden during the first four months of 2016. As most people know, these three countries house large numbers of jihadi terrorists.
In Sweden, moreover, it is difficult for people without a high level of education to get a job. In Malmö, the unemployment rate among foreign-born men aged 18-24 years is at 41%. In Sweden, those who do not have jobs receive generous welfare payments from the local authorities.
Sweden also has a welfare system in which municipalities are obligated to ensure that everyone has housing. Sweden's homeless people live in hostels or hotels paid for by taxpayers. These immigration policies have therefore have therefore saddled Swedish taxpayers with huge expenses.
Without the establishment's campaign to convince the Swedish people that immigration will make Sweden rich, Sweden would not have the liberal immigration policies they do, eroding the country's safety and welfare. Even though the Swedish establishment campaigns in every way possible for a liberal immigration policy, and despite the fact that a few months ago anyone advocating for a restrictive immigration policy was called a "racist," resistance among Swedes against immigration has increased.
The Swedish people have defied their establishment and recently forced liberal politicians to support a more restrictive immigration policy. The Swedish people, despite having an ideologically blind establishment, have been smart enough to use their common sense.
As for the Swedish establishment, there is no word to describe them other than dangerous.
The Swedish establishment is characterized by incompetence combined with an extreme left-wing ideology and a hillbilly-like mentality that refuses to see the rest of the world and the risks involved in it. The Swedish establishment has not dealt with Sweden as if it were a country, but as if it were a village.
What is happening in Sweden right now is a cultural and political revolution. The Swedes have trusted their establishment for a long time. This trust has been a part of the political culture in Sweden. But now that culture is changing -- to be anti-establishment in Sweden today is not marginalized anymore. Sweden is developing a powerful anti-establishment movement, dominating the political debate.
By gross miscalculations, the Swedish establishment has eroded its own legitimacy. Today, fewer than one in four Swedes have confidence in their government. The damage that the Swedish establishment's liberal immigration policies inflicted on Sweden during the migration crisis of 2015 -- and is about to inflict during the coming migration crisis of 2016 -- is likely to cause a tectonic political shift in Sweden.
The Swedish media has failed in its journalistic obligation to report objectively about the problem, and Swedish politicians have not acted in the best interest of Sweden. While Sweden faces its biggest crisis since World War II, the Swedish establishment has clearly failed to lead.
The average Swede needs to be tougher to cope with the challenges facing Sweden today and in the years to come. The problems that will face Sweden after it has received 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015 and the 150,000 asylum seekers expected in 2016 will create a political, cultural and social environment in which there is no place for political naivety and ideological blindness. To survive as a stable and civilized country where the rule of law and democracy will prevail, Sweden will be forced to recognize the threats and risks that come with massive immigration -- and to respond.
Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö.