Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Rewarding Terrorists in the Nordic Countries

In Sweden, it's old news: as Aftenposten reported a couple of years ago, the politicians in charge of local affairs in Stockholm had decided to offer returning ISIS members instant jobs, welfare handouts, and free homes.

This, mind you, at a time when one-fifth of young Swedes can't find work, when schools, hospitals, and retirement homes are in decline because immigrants are taking too big a cut of the funds appropriated for social services, and when it's virtually impossible to find a flat in the Swedish capital.

Erik Slottner, an opposition politician, called the new policy “a reward for criminals.” But Ewa Larsson, a Green Party member who's in charge of social services in Stockholm, answered that charge by making a distinction between addressing criminal acts – which, she maintained, is the job of the police – and providing social services, which is her wheelhouse.

Fair enough. But why should returning members of ISIS be entitled to move to the front of the line when it comes to collecting free stuff? The closest Larsson came to offering a justification for the policy was to say this: “No human being is born as an extremist.” There it is again: the nobody's-really-guilty Nordic mentality that will spell the death of Sweden.

Larsson isn't alone. Last year, Anna Sjöstrand, a local official in Lund, Sweden, told a reporter that the question of how to treat returning ISIS members needs to be “undramatized” so that public officials can examine it in a practical way. She framed the issue as follows: “Here's Kalle who has this problem and what does Kalle need in order to feel good and to remove himself from that environment?”

OK, let's break that down. “Kalle” (not “Muhammed”?) has a “problem” (he's butchered any number of men, women, and children in the name of Allah, but is feeling a little worn out and has decided to look into other lifestyle options). What he needs now, above all, is to escape that “environment” (ISIS as abusive family?) and “feel good.”

And what does Kalle need? Sjöstrand explains: “It could be a residential set-up, financial help, education – it's about investigating and looking at what the individual requires in order to quit [ISIS].” In short, it's all about what “Kalle” needs.

Once again, there's classic Nordic thinking about evil in a nutshell. When confronted with a psychopathic killer who's left a trail of mangled corpses behind him, the first question to come to the mind of the properly educated Nordic technocrat is this: what does the poor soul need to receive from the government – now – in order to put his obviously troubled life back together?