Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Equinox: Sweden, Sex and the disappearing Doctors

"Let me tell you about Sweden. The only country where the clouds are interesting. Big brother says it's the place to go. Too much time to think, too little to do - because it's all quiet, on the Western front".
The Stranglers

The Channel 4 Equinox programme called Sweden, Sex and the Disappearing Doctors, questioned how it could be that doctors, priests, and social workers, could have gone along with the Swedish Socialist government's policy in law - between 1935-1975 - to sterilise 63,000 people in the name of eugenics, and in the name of "better people leading better lives" and "creating a healthier and less poorer society". Doctors carried out the Swedish Socialist government's sterilisation policy, from fear of losing their jobs if they protested, and not one of them spoke out against it at the time.

Those people who were sterilised were mostly single mothers and young women who were very sexually active, and who were coerced with psychiatric incarceration on the grounds that they would be released if they accepted sterilisation. The diagnosis of schizophrenia was used as an excuse to incarcerate and sterilise young working-class males, who were deemed to be "anti-social" because they were influenced by the teddy-boy subculture of the 1950s, and who seemed to reject conventional Swedish society.

The sterilisation policy was based upon eugenics theory, derived from experiments on peas, that peas that were wrinkled had recessive genes, and those which were smooth had dominant genes, and so the peas with dominant genes had to be inter-bred to make smooth peas. This theory was then applied to human beings. The Swedish government's sterilisation policy remained until the late 1970s, after middle-class feminists with free-time on their hands in the 1960s, protested and campaigned for free abortion, contraception, and the rights of women's sexual freedom.

The women's movement against the destructive laws of the State, was hugely beneficial and instrumental in abolishing the Swedish government's sterilisation policy, although whatever a persons political principles, this can be in contradiction to their work roles, especially where the power of the State is concerned. At one time positive discrimination was a socially integrative idea, about integrating people at ground level into society with equal rights in work, leisure, education, and so on, but it came to mean putting minorities into State power over and above the same and other minorities.

The present Swedish Social Democrat minister for the environment, said she refused to talk about Sweden's 1935-1975 sterilisation policy, because it was an issue that had already been discussed and cleared up, and that all governments went along with the Swedish Socialist government's policy - which destroyed the lives of unmarried women and ethnic groups regarded as "feeble-minded" and "recessive", and those deemed "anti-social" because they rejected a conventional lifestyle due to cramped and inadequate housing for couples to have sex or reproduce.

Although the reasons for the sterilisation policy were based upon an over-simplified and false genetics theory at the time - because the Channel 4 programme said that all humans contain a high number of recessive genes - the sterilisation policy was also carried out for social and economic reasons, and to eradicate poverty - and so biological and social and economic theory were both behind the Swedish government's policy of sterilisation, and one theory was used to justify the other.