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By Roland Huntford

This publication is a caution. it's a terrifying portrait of an "ideal" society that has destroyed democracy within the identify of "progress." Roland Huntford demonstrates by means of truth after stunning truth how an it appears democratic, filthy rich, peaceable utopia is completely managed by means of a forms which actively discourages all indicators of individuality.

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While the Swedish rulers from the sixteenth century onward imported Renaissance ideas to perfect the centralized State they had inherited, the absence of the Renaissance as a The Historical Background 37 revolution in personal development, spared them opposition. Individuality means, almost by definition, resistance to authority. Neither grew up in Sweden. Retaining an instinctive submission to hierarchical organization, acting and thinking in groups, ever reluctant to oppose orders from the top, the Swedes have eased the task of their reformers and administrators down to the present day.

If the bureaucrats were anxious to retain their traditional power, they had the support of a nation that mistrusted politicians. After the assassination of Gustaf III, the modern form of Swedish government was hammered out in a process that led to a new constitution in 1809. Montesquieu's dictum on the separation of the legislative and executive functions was incorporated, but in such a way as to shackle the Diet and entrench the powers of the bureaucracy. The Executive was made strong, the Diet debarred from interfering directly in its affairs.

That was during a period, known as the Age of Freedom, which lasted from 1718 until 1772; from the death of Charles XII until the reign of Gustaf III; an interlude of parliamentary supremacy in an alien environment. The Diet was then a medieval assembly of the Four Estates: nobles, clergy, burgesses and peasants. * Since the Middle Ages, the executive power had been vested in the Council of State, a committee of nobles appointed by the king. The Diet was partly an advisory, * Comparisons may be odious, but to grasp the singular development of Sweden, it is worth remembering that an edict of this kind has never existed in England, and that the Commons, long a power in the kingdom, had established its primacy by the seventeenth century.

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