When major Western nations committed themselves to top-down draconian lockdown measures, Sweden was largely alone in allowing life to continue as it had been before. This did not stop journalists or academics, both at home and abroad, from accusing the Nordic nation of performing a dangerous and deadly experiment. But Sweden has fared much better than Western nations which repeatedly shut their societies down for months on end (a fact largely ignored by the mainstream media). Johan Anderberg, writing in UnHerd, has more.
Until recently, prohibition remained the largest experiment in social engineering a democracy had ever undertaken. And then, in early 2020, a new virus began to spread from China. Faced with this threat, the world’s governments responded by closing schools, banning people from meeting, forcing entrepreneurs to shut their businesses and making ordinary people wear face masks. Like prohibition, this experiment provoked a debate. In all the democracies of the world, freedom was weighed against what was perceived as security; individual rights versus what was considered best for public health.
Few now remember that for most of 2020, the word ‘experiment’ had negative connotations. That was what Swedes were accused of conducting when we, unlike the rest of the world, maintained some semblance of normality. The citizens of this country generally didn’t have to wear face masks; young children continued going to school; leisure activities were largely allowed to continue unhindered…
During the year that followed, the virus continued to ravage the world and, one by one, the death tolls in countries that had locked down began to surpass Sweden’s. Britain, the United States, France, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, all countries that had variously shut down playgrounds, forced their children to wear facemasks, closed schools, fined citizens for hanging out on the beach and guarded parks with drones, have all been hit worse than Sweden. At the time of writing, more than 50 countries have a higher death rate. If you measure excess mortality for the whole of 2020, Sweden (according to Eurostat) will end up in 21st place out of 31 European countries. If Sweden was a part of the U.S., its death rate would rank number 43 of the 50 states.
This fact is shockingly underreported. Consider the sheer number of articles and TV segments devoted to Sweden’s foolishly liberal attitude to the pandemic last year, as well as the daily reference to figures that are forgotten today. Suddenly, it is as if Sweden doesn’t exist. When the Wall Street Journal recently published a report from Portugal, it described how the country “offered a glimpse” of what it would be like to live with the virus. This new normal involved, among other things, vaccine passports and face masks at large events like football matches. Nowhere in the report was it mentioned that in Sweden you can go to football matches without wearing a facemask, or that Sweden, with a smaller proportion of Covid deaths over the course of the pandemic, had ended virtually all restrictions. Sweden has been living with the virus for some time.
The WSJ is far from alone in its selective reporting. The New York Times, Guardian, BBC, The Times, all cheerleaders for lockdowns, can’t fathom casting doubt on their efficacy.
Worth reading in full.