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Thread: Switzerland Ideal Example? Creating a Successful Country Governance Model

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    Switzerland Ideal Example? Creating a Successful Country Governance Model

    I can't say how much and how long I've been an admirer of the Swiss example: with decentralized system of government, fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity; which allows individual regions and localities significant room for self-government and self-expression. And not to mention the Swiss military is built completely upon folkish principles: without the either the professional mercenary armies or brutal conscription; which only serve to increase the power and scope of the government. Not to mention the Swiss army just kicks ass in general!

    Switzerland, although not perfect, certainly gives a good example of how a truely folkish state should look like.

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...le.asp?ID=4123


    The Home of the Free: Switzerland
    By J.P. Zmirak
    FrontPageMagazine.com | February 14, 2002


    LIBERTY IS NOT the natural condition of man: tyranny is. Free institutions grew up in the West as a result of hundreds of particular historical events, under the influence of classical philosophy, Judaeo-Christian theology, and Teutonic rebelliousness against authority. That is why it not easy—sometimes it is not possible—to build free societies from the ground up, however much we’d like to replace the bloody-handed regimes we see around the world with liberal democracies. This is especially true when we’re talking about countries riven by ethnic and religious differences. But when liberty grows organically, from the existing institutions of small communities, it can endure even in a potentially fragmented society—for instance, in Switzerland. In fact, I would propose Switzerland as the test case for societies seeking democratic liberty amidst diversity. From Afghanistan to South Africa, nations emerging from tyrannical regimes could find no better model.

    Appenzell über alles?

    In the Swiss half-canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, a tiny republic of dairy farms, creameries, small-sized industry and rustic churches, each year’s spring yields a sea of tiny mountain flowers, along the steep roads and in the window boxes of farmhouses, on the tables of well-swept hostels and on the faded wooden altars to the Virgin and St. Meinrad. The plants are sturdy, inured to thin air and bitter winters, and defiantly diverse in color and shape—one sharp and purple, another roundly red, and then a yellow starburst. You’ll see no fields of identical blooms, like the vast sunflower farms that flank the Autobahn in Bavaria, or the luxuriant purple iris stands of the Louisiana bayous. You’d be hard-pressed to gather a uniform bouquet from these Swiss gardens, made up of dozens of hardy species, growing together in genial competition as they have for millennia.

    Just so, you’d make a poor showing if you tried to make a ideology out of Appenzell. History records no Appenzell-supremacist movements; no mass rallies of uniformed youths in identical haircuts shouting slogans, beneath enormous banners proclaiming “Appenzell über alles,” no secretive terrorist movements for independence, no campaigns to preserve the “purity” of the local “Kultur.”

    Nor is there room for Marx at these inns; the local farmers would rather drive their cows up nearly vertical fields than entail their hard-won property to state or superstate. The one bitter source of conflict in Appenzell’s history has been religion, wars over which devastated some European countries over centuries. It did not shatter Appenzell; after some serious quarrel over creed, the Protestant and Catholic halves of the canton agreed simply to split. At some places where an agreement could not be reached, the canton lines were drawn (and up to the nineteenth-century incessantly redrawn) according to the faith of each family home. When a Catholic obtained a house that had once belonged to Protestants, that little piece of Appenzell Innerrhoden was transferred to Ausserrhoden, and contrarywise if a Protestant gained a formerly Catholic home. The faiths, like breeds of Alpine flowers, still thrive as cordial, rivalrous neighbors.

    Their coexistence is not guaranteed by abstract human rights formulas or transnational institutions—indeed, the wars of religion fought in Switzerland were largely provoked by interfering outside forces with international agendas (such as Louis XIV’s France). The finely balanced tolerance and diversity in Appenzell—in Switzerland—does not descend from above, but grows organically from the facts on the ground, the local institutions which arose to resolve conflict in ordered liberty among neighbors thrown together by history and geography.

    Each spring, the outburst of mountain blooms meets a hardy perennial—the Landsgemeinde, or communal vote. In what is perhaps the most ancient form of democracy, each year, the adult citizens of Appenzell Innerrhoden are invited to gather in the town square to vote by show of hands on new laws, taxes, and terms of office for their local government.

    Not all appear, of course. But those who do exercise in person a privilege their ancestors held since the thirteenth-century—when most of Europe’s country folk still labored as serfs: a “sovereign vote.” No amendment to the Constitution may be made in Switzerland without a referendum; any law may be annulled by popular vote; additions to the Constitution typically start with popular initiatives, sparked by ordinary citizens’ petitions and ratified by their vote. The federal government and many cantons must submit each proposed new tax to direct vote of the people. In a century where authority has been almost everywhere usurped at one time or another by ideological mass movements, managerial elites and murderous factions, the peaceful, quarrelsome Swiss have stuck like a bone in the throat of theorists. Each trend which commentators have described as unstoppable has failed to sway these mountainfolk—or their citified cousins in Zürich and Bern. Nationalism, socialism, national socialism, welfare statism; and most recently, globalism—each has left its high-water mark at the borders of the stubborn, diverse, democratic Swiss, and receded.

    For economist and social philosopher Wilhelm Röpke, Switzerland constituted living proof that the market economy and liberal society were still viable in contemporary Europe. With her traditions of decentralized government, freedom of thought, participatory democracy, middle-class virtue, and economic self-reliance, Switzerland had managed to avoid most of the ethnic polarization and class hatred, mass impoverishment, and harsh financial inequality which had torn apart other nations in the wake of World War I.

    One of 400,000 ethnic and political refugees from Hitler sheltered by Switzerland throughout the war, Röpke wrote sophisticated critiques of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism which he smuggled into Germany—helping to nurture a fledgling movement of humanistic conservatives, including Ludwig Erhard and Konrad Adenauer, who would lead that country after the war. After the war ended, Röpke was one of the economists who pioneered West Germany’s resurrection, by engineering the creation of a stable currency, the Deutschmark, and a free economy.

    In all his efforts, Röpke held up Switzerland as the model to be emulated by liberals and democrats the world round, much as American founders John Adams and Benjamin Franklin pointed to “the Helvetic Republic” as the best model then available of limited government and liberty. Instead of the grand, rhetorical figures of the French Revolution, the philosophes who prepared it, and the ideologues who led it into blood and ruin, Röpke urged the friends of liberty to consider the nameless or legendary burghers of the Swiss cantons who resisted the encroachments of vastly larger enemies for centuries, holding off alike kings and emperors, and falling only once—to Napoleon.

    During that catastrophe, a small band of Swiss radicals collaborated with the French Emperor to attempt a stern centralization of their country’s complex, variegated government. But after a few years of futile attempts to tame the Swiss localists, the French Emperor himself enacted a new constitution which restored many aspects of the ancien régime. After Napoleon’s fall and the retreat of French troops, the Swiss managed to obtain at Vienna in 1815 guarantees of their permanent neutrality. The following years, especially after 1830, were a quarrelsome search for the right balance of power between the center and the members of the Swiss union. This culminated in a secessionist civil war in 1848. After this relatively bloodless, 30-day war, a new federal constitution was worked out—using as a model the American document. The result was a system that is still more successfully decentralized than any on earth.

    Think Locally, Act Parochially

    When I met him in July 2000, Carlo Schmid, then president of the upper house of the Swiss Parliament (equivalent to the U.S. Senate), explained his country’s system this way:

    Sovereignty, according to the Swiss Constitution, resides in two places: with the individual canton, and with the Swiss people. This is not just a slogan; it is a practical reality. The vast majority of decisions affecting an individual’s life are taken at the cantonal level—or even at the local level, that of the town or “commune.” Each canton determines its own level of taxation, administers its own funds for health, construction, infrastructure, education and most police. The constitutional assumption is that the canton has competence to govern on any matter, unless the Federal Parliament passes an article expressly promoting an issue to the Federal level. Of course, any such decision must be ratified by both houses—the lower, which is proportionate to population, and the upper, in which each canton receives an equal voice, regardless of size. Then that result must be ratified by a national vote of the people—the other locus of sovereignty in Switzerland.

    The Swiss cantons hold onto their central role in the Swiss system by the purse-strings, Schmid pointed out; the largest part of any citizen’s taxes generally goes to his canton, the next part to his local government, with the smallest portion accruing to the Swiss Confederation. Virtually every change in taxation must be submitted to a referendum of the citizens—whether at the federal, cantonal, or local level.

    The complex interaction of decentralized institutions and democratic voting fosters ideological compromise, gradual political change, and financial responsibility among administrators, Schmid asserted. “The nearer you are to a political decision, the more responsibility you take. Everyone knows what he’s paying his taxes for.”

    Because Schmid also served as Landamman (Governing Chairman) of Appenzell Innerrhoden (pop. 15,000), he presided over one of the oldest democratic institutions in the world: the famous Landsgemeinde, an assembly open to all the adult citizens from across Appenzell Innerrhoden, where public officials are elected, laws are passed, and taxes approved by a majority show of hands. Established in its present form in the late Middle Ages, the Landsgemeinde made a deep impression on Röpke, who had fled the centralizing, pseudo-democratic, illiberal policies of the Third Reich.

    Because of logistics, only two half-cantons still preserve the Landsgemeinde. But its very existence—and the tradition of direct democracy by referenda in all the cantons—vividly reminds each politician that authority in Switzerland does not descend from above, as the monarchs of Europe used to assert. Rather, it rises from the people. Direct democracy is itself a standing rebuke to those politicians who would transfer key decisions about the lives of citizens to unelected, supranational bureaucracies.

    The United States once had a strong tradition of localism—which is one reason why our Constitution appealed to the Swiss in 1848. The U.S. Constitution also contains provisions reserving power to states, localities and the people—only allowing to the federal government such power as was specifically granted it by the states. Over the course of time, successive decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, and innumerable laws passed in their wake, have turned the Ninth and Tenth Amendments into virtual dead letters. (The Rehnquist court has reversed some of this process, and revived the term “states’ rights” in American Constitutional law.)

    Stay Out of the European Union

    The Swiss system avoids such an agglomeration of power, Schmid noted, in part because the constitutional jurisdiction of its own highest court is very limited. More than simply allowing ordinary Swiss to veto legislation supported by elites, that country’s unique democratic system alters the very process of law-making, as Jonathan Steinberg argues in his study, Why Switzerland?:

    The referendum and initiative exercise an influence even if the voters never get to the polls at all. Every piece of legislation in a Cantonal or federal parliament undergoes subtle alterations because a referendum might be the consequence of a given clause… The elaborate process which the civil service goes through before drafts of bills even get to parliament is also overshadowed by the moods of the ‘sovereign.’ [i.e., the people] (p. 106).

    Schmid argued that the two anchors of sovereignty in Switzerland—the canton, and the body of the people voting—reinforce each other, preventing the Confederation from fragmenting into a passel of squabbling microstates, or coalescing into a majoritarian mass democracy, ruled by plebiscite through manipulable public opinion. “When you see that you have the power to decide your own fate, as Swiss voters do, you’re very reluctant to see that taken away, promoted up to some bureaucrat in Bern or Brussels,” he said.

    The complex—seemingly intractable and inefficient—Swiss system has prevented the national government from attempting many of the ambitious social welfare policies and economic initiatives popular in neighboring Germany, France, Italy and Austria; there simply is not enough tax revenue or sufficient authority. And in those low taxes lies the secret to postwar Swiss prosperity, according to Schmid: “Because of our system, large corporations found it advantageous to locate here.” Thanks to Switzerland’s ‘parochial’ localism, this country of just over seven million souls hosts “seven or eight of the largest multinational corporations in the world. They prosper here, and we prosper with them.” It is no accident that the Swiss enjoy the highest standard of living, per capita, in the world; it is the concrete fruit of localism, liberalism and direct democracy.

    The tenacity with which the Swiss voter clings to his ‘sovereign’ vote probably dooms to futility the plans of some Swiss to dissolve that sovereignty into the greater mass of the European Union, Schmid believes. Steinberg agrees:

    Switzerland, as it now is, cannot accept … the command economy from Brussels or rule by higher civil servants, because the very essence of Swiss identity lies in self-determination from the bottom up. A top-down government confronts a bottom-up one and they are simply incompatible. The logic of the two approaches to government dictates that the Swiss either give up their national identity or stay out of the European Union. (p. 110).

    The Birth of Democracy

    The German poet Schiller presented William Tell to Napoleon’s war-torn, tyrannized Europe as a model of resistance to injustice—in a play that Hitler would banish from the German stage. So Röpke cited the Swiss experience as the rebuff to the pretensions of world empires and ideologies.

    The beginnings of Swiss democracy are marked by the cooperatives of the valleys and the communities of the Alpine peasants, and American democracy commences with the town meetings which eventually grew into the Union. (The Social Crisis of Our Time, p. 45).

    Röpke saw in the Swiss market economy—with its vast numbers of small businesses, independent farmers, and craftsmen—an alternative model to the grim struggle for power between vast corporations and socialist (or fascist) collectivist states. At a time when only centralism, “mobilization,” and economic nationalism seemed capable of reversing the Great Depression, Röpke was sufficiently independent-minded to reject the terms of the debate, and re-state the question himself: The enemy, as he saw it, was not the wrong ideology and the wrong kind of centralized control, but the very movement towards concentration of money and power in the hands of the few—whether they be plutocrats or bureaucrats didn’t matter very much, in the end.

    Röpke saw the Swiss, with their peculiarly multi-ethnic society and finely balanced division of power, their scientific sophistication and their vital peasant class, as a model which the larger nations of Europe ought to emulate. Basing their politics on class resentment, Communist ideologues looked for salvation to the restive industrial worker hungry for justice; radical nationalists appealed to the anxious army veteran afraid of the masses. In answer, Röpke pointed to the thrifty Swiss bourgeois of the cities, and the self-sufficient Swiss farmer of the mountains, as proof that the modern economy need not dissolve all traditional social arrangements and divide the nation against itself. While the far Left proposed to resolve international conflict through worldwide revolution, the far Right embraced international conflict as inevitable, embracing trade war as preparation for the real thing.

    Röpke answered both extremes by pointing to the impressive fact of Switzerland’s survival—for all her limited resources and mountainous terrain—achieved through relatively free trade, a friendly, armed neutrality and the civic virtues of its citizens. In an era of mounting class strife and international conflict, he urged his readers to remember that another way existed, which he came to call a “Third Way,” which avoided the extremes of collectivism (Communism and Fascism) on the one hand, and laissez-faire capitalism on the other. For proof that a more balanced society could exist, he would point again and again to the place where it did exist—in the Swiss Confederation.

    Certainly, Röpke needed some moral support for his position; it was distinctly unfashionable in his day. Barely forty years old when he moved to Geneva, Röpke had already gained the reputation of an intellectual dinosaur. For this was the age of ideology, when fascist and communist powers were on the march, and the only “respectable” opposition to their advance seemed to lay with democratic socialism. If there was one thing on which men at every point of the political spectrum on the Continent could agree in 1937, it was that individualism, liberalism and the market economy were outdated relics of the nineteenth- century, destined for the ash-heap of history.

    Europe was littered with democracies that had collapsed or were on the verge, and major powers engaged in appeasing Hitler or courting Stalin. Radical nationalists and Communists clashed in the newspapers and on the streets of a dozen European capitals. Ideologies sprang up like mushrooms in the rain: Syndicalism, Falangism, Fascism, Popular Front socialism, each with its intellectuals scribbling pompous manifestoes, its street thugs fighting with police. Nothing could have seemed more obsolete than “middle class capitalism.” That economic system, and the political liberties that made it possible, were precisely the aspects of Western civilization which Wilhelm Röpke considered most precious, which he was determined to preserve. In Switzerland, he saw this heritage still alive and thriving, and a people sternly determined to cling to their traditional rights, in the face of increasingly hopeless odds:

    We can hold Switzerland up to a world striving for guidance, as one of the most shining examples in history of spiritual greatness within physical smallness and as the most vital and convincing refutation of the assertion that the fundamental problems of mass civilization, of democracy and of the moral crisis of the West are insoluble. (The Social Crisis of Our Time, p. 25).

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    Question Switzerland: Europe's Heart of Darkness?

    Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness?

    Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations. Proposals for draconian new laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. A poster campaign, the work of its leading political party, is decried as xenophobic. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness? By Paul Vallely
    Published: 07 September 2007

    At first sight, the poster looks like an innocent children's cartoon. Three white sheep stand beside a black sheep. The drawing makes it looks as though the animals are smiling. But then you notice that the three white beasts are standing on the Swiss flag. One of the white sheep is kicking the black one off the flag, with a crafty flick of its back legs.

    The poster is, according to the United Nations, the sinister symbol of the rise of a new racism and xenophobia in the heart of one of the world's oldest independent democracies.

    A worrying new extremism is on the rise. For the poster – which bears the slogan "For More Security" – is not the work of a fringe neo-Nazi group. It has been conceived – and plastered on to billboards, into newspapers and posted to every home in a direct mailshot – by the Swiss People's Party (the Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP) which has the largest number of seats in the Swiss parliament and is a member of the country's coalition government.

    With a general election due next month, it has launched a twofold campaign which has caused the UN's special rapporteur on racism to ask for an official explanation from the government. The party has launched a campaign to raise the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a referendum to reintroduce into the penal code a measure to allow judges to deport foreigners who commit serious crimes once they have served their jail sentence.

    But far more dramatically, it has announced its intention to lay before parliament a law allowing the entire family of a criminal under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as sentence is passed.

    It will be the first such law in Europe since the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft – kin liability – whereby relatives of criminals were held responsible for their crimes and punished equally.

    The proposal will be a test case not just for Switzerland but for the whole of Europe, where a division between liberal multiculturalism and a conservative isolationism is opening up in political discourse in many countries, the UK included.

    SWISS TRAINS being the acme of punctuality, the appointment was very precise. I was to meet Dr Ulrich Schlüer – one of the men behind the draconian proposal – in the restaurant at the main railway station in Zürich at 7.10pm. As I made my way through the concourse, I wondered what Dr Schlüer made of this station of hyper-efficiency and cleanliness that has a smiling Somali girl selling pickled herring sandwiches, a north African man sweeping the floor, and a black nanny speaking in broken English to her young Swiss charge. The Swiss People's Party's attitude to foreigners is, shall we say, ambivalent.

    A quarter of Switzerland's workers – one in four, like the black sheep in the poster – are now foreign immigrants to this peaceful, prosperous and stable economy with low unemployment and a per capita GDP larger than that of other Western economies. Zürich has, for the past two years, been named as the city with the best quality of life in the world.

    What did the nanny think of the sheep poster, I asked her. "I'm a guest in this country," she replied. "It's best I don't say."

    Dr Schlüer is a small affable man. But if he speaks softly he wields a big stick. The statistics are clear, he said, foreigners are four times more likely to commit crimes than Swiss nationals. "In a suburb of Zürich, a group of youths between 14 and 18 recently raped a 13-year-old girl," he said. "It turned out that all of them were already under investigation for some previous offence. They were all foreigners from the Balkans or Turkey. Their parents said these boys are out of control. We say: 'That's not acceptable. It's your job to control them and if you can't do that you'll have to leave'. It's a punishment everyone understands."

    It is far from the party's only controversial idea. Dr Schlüer has launched a campaign for a referendum to ban the building of Muslim minarets. In 2004, the party successfully campaigned for tighter immigration laws using the image of black hands reaching into a pot filled with Swiss passports. And its leading figure, the Justice Minister, Christoph Blocher, has said he wants to soften anti-racism laws because they prevent freedom of speech.

    Political opponents say it is all posturing ahead of next month's general election. Though deportation has been dropped from the penal code, it is still in force in administrative law, says Daniel Jositsch, professor of penal law at Zurich University. "At the end of the day, nothing has changed, the criminal is still at the airport and on the plane."

    With astute tactics, the SVP referendum restricts itself to symbolic restitution. Its plan to deport entire families has been put forward in parliament where it has little chance of being passed. Still the publicity dividend is the same. And it is all so worrying to human rights campaigners that the UN special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, warned earlier this year that a "racist and xenophobic dynamic" which used to be the province of the far right is now becoming a regular part of the democratic system in Switzerland.

    Dr Schlüer shrugged. "He's from Senegal where they have a lot of problems of their own which need to be solved. I don't know why he comes here instead of getting on with that."

    Such remarks only confirm the opinions of his opponents. Mario Fehr is a Social Democrat MP for the Zürich area. He says: "Deporting people who have committed no crime is not just unjust and inhumane, it's stupid. Three quarters of the Swiss people think that foreigners who work here are helping the economy. We have a lot of qualified workers – IT specialists, doctors, dentists." To get rid of foreigners, which opponents suspect is the SVP's real agenda, "would be an economic disaster".

    Dr Schlüer insists the SVP is not against all foreigners. "Until war broke out in the Balkans, we had some good workers who came from Yugoslavia. But after the fighting there was huge influx of people we had a lot of problems with. The abuse of social security is a key problem. It's estimated to cost £750m a year. More than 50 per cent of it is by foreigners."

    There is no disguising his suspicion of Islam. He has alarmed many of Switzerland's Muslims (some 4.3 per cent of the 7.5 million population) with his campaign to ban the minaret. "We're not against mosques but the minaret is not mentioned in the Koran or other important Islamic texts. It just symbolises a place where Islamic law is established." And Islamic law, he says, is incompatible with Switzerland's legal system.

    To date there are only two mosques in the country with minarets but planners are turning down applications for more, after opinion polls showed almost half the population favours a ban. What is at stake here in Switzerland is not merely a dislike of foreigners or a distrust of Islam but something far more fundamental. It is a clash that goes to the heart of an identity crisis which is there throughout Europe and the US. It is about how we live in a world that has changed radically since the end of the Cold War with the growth of a globalised economy, increased immigration flows, the rise of Islam as an international force and the terrorism of 9/11. Switzerland only illustrates it more graphically than elsewhere.

    Switzerland is so stark an example because of the complex web of influences that find their expression in Ulrich Schlüer and his party colleagues.

    He is fiercely proud of his nation's independence, which can be traced back to a defensive alliance of cantons in 1291. He is a staunch defender of its policy of armed neutrality, under which Switzerland has no standing army but all young men are trained and on standby; they call it the porcupine approach – with millions of individuals ready to stiffen like spines if the nation is threatened.

    Linked to that is its system of direct democracy where many key decisions on tax, education, health and other key areas are taken at local level.

    "How direct democracy functions is a very sensitive issue in Switzerland," he says, explaining why he has long opposed joining the EU. "To the average German, the transfer of power from Berlin to Brussels didn't really affect their daily lives. The transfer of power from the commune to Brussels would seriously change things for the ordinary Swiss citizen."

    Switzerland has the toughest naturalisation rules in Europe. To apply, you must live in the country legally for at least 12 years, pay taxes, and have no criminal record. The application can still be turned down by your local commune which meets to ask "Can you speak German? Do you work? Are you integrated with Swiss people?"

    It can also ask, as one commune did of 23-year-old Fatma Karademir – who was born in Switzerland but who under Swiss law is Turkish like her parents – if she knew the words of the Swiss national anthem, if she could imagine marrying a Swiss boy and who she would support if the Swiss football team played Turkey. "Those kinds of questions are outside the law," says Mario Fehr. "But in some more remote villages you have a problem if you're from ex-Yugoslavia."

    The federal government in Berne wants to take the decision out of the hands of local communities, one of which only gave the vote to women as recently as 1990. But the government's proposals have twice been defeated in referendums.

    The big unspoken fact here is how a citizen is to be defined. "When a Swiss woman who has emigrated to Canada has a baby, that child automatically gets citizenship," Dr Schlüer says. But in what sense is a boy born in Canada, who may be brought up with an entirely different world view and set of values, more Swiss than someone like Fatma Karademir who has never lived anywhere but Switzerland?

    The truth is that at the heart of the Swiss People's Party's vision is a visceral notion of kinship, breeding and blood that liberals would like to think sits very much at odds with the received wisdom of most of the Western world. It is what lies behind the SVP's fear of even moderate Islam. It has warned that because of their higher birth rates Muslims would eventually become a majority in Switzerland if the citizenship rules were eased. It is what lies behind his fierce support for the militia system.

    To those who say that Germany, France, Italy and Austria are nowadays unlikely to invade, he invokes again the shadow of militant Islam. "The character of war is changing. There could be riots or eruptions in a town anywhere in Switzerland. There could be terrorism in a financial centre."

    The race issue goes wider than politics in a tiny nation. "I'm broadly optimistic that the tide is moving in our direction both here and in other countries across Europe, said Dr Schlüer. "I feel more supported than criticised from outside."

    The drama which is being played out in such direct politically incorrect language in Switzerland is one which has repercussions all across Europe, and wider.

    Neutrality and nationality

    * Switzerland has four national languages – German, Italian, French and Romansh. Most Swiss residents speak German as their first language.

    * Switzerland's population has grown from 1.7 million in 1815 to 7.5 million in 2006. The population has risen by 750,000 since 1990.

    * Swiss nationality law demands that candidates for Swiss naturalisation spend a minimum of years of permanent, legal residence in Switzerland, and gain fluency in one of the national languages.

    * More than 20 per cent of the Swiss population, and 25 per cent of its workforce, is non-naturalised.

    * At the end of 2006, 5,888 people were interned in Swiss prisons. 31 per cent were Swiss citizens – 69 per cent were foreigners or asylum-seekers.

    * The number of unauthorised migrant workers currently employed is estimated at 100,000.
    Source

    Heart of reason? Common sense? Vision? Responsability? All of these!
    "The heavenly motions... are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the intellect,
    a figured music which sets landmarks
    in the immeasurable flow of time."

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    Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations.
    I wouldn't call restricting immigration "extremist". If the Swiss people have decided they no longer want large amounts of immigrants in their country, then what business has the UN or anyone else to tell them they're wrong? After all, isn't democracy and the will of the people is what Western civilization is all about?

    Extreme is when government ignores the will of the majority of its citizens by refusing to control it's borders and deport illegal aliens. As with the United States.

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    Let Switzerland decide who they wish to accept in or not. Calling Switzerland "racist" and "intolerant" is just cheap shots from the multi-culturalists.

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    The Swiss are wise in how they administer their political decisions, and this is no exception. Perhaps this is why, even though Switzerland has a substantial foreign population, it is primarily European (90%), unlike the rest of Europe which is drowning in hordes of Muslims. What troubles me is how adamantly the EU is pressuring Switzerland to conform to its meretricious policies, from its economics to its social policies. Hopefully the small country shall resist.

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    No problem, the Swiss should simply wall the immigrant workers off from the general population, set up check points, send in troops to quell unrest and tax them but forbid them from voting or citizenship--following the Israeli model. From this article one might think that the Swiss invaded Switzerland and subjected, displaced and exploited the native population. Why isn't the author of this article concerned with human rights violations in Israel?

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    Senior Member Hrodwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff View Post
    No problem, the Swiss should simply wall the immigrant workers off from the general population, set up check points, send in troops to quell unrest and tax them but forbid them from voting or citizenship--following the Israeli model. From this article one might think that the Swiss invaded Switzerland and subjected, displaced and exploited the native population. Why isn't the author of this article concerned with human rights violations in Israel?
    I don't think that's good enough.

    They should deport 100% of them who are not on legal visas by their own laws.

    If you just 'let them stay', then they bring every one, and their cousin, and their cousins' cousin, and then you get the Southwest United States (or some big chunks of Germany and France).

    And, that's not even getting to the problem that occurs after that, when they outbreed the native population and are simultaneously (usually by choice) segregated from the population. By doing that, you get a huge body of people who are NEVER integrated with the local customs, who will destroy them in favor of their old ones (which is all they know).

    Nope, I think laws should be simply enforced. These ads sound like something purported by people who want the laws NOT to be enforced, since they know the PC police will come right after them (and ironically, not a place like Palestine, but I digress) and use it as a way to dismantle their immigration laws.

    I applaud everything Switzerland is doing, but they've got to be more shrewd about this.

    Simply disallow and deport all people who break your immigration laws.

    Don't answer any questions other than the fact that they're breaking the laws that have been on the books for ages and if they want to be part of the nation, they've got to do what everyone else has done, and get in line.

    There's no arguing such logic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torcuil View Post
    I wouldn't call restricting immigration "extremist". If the Swiss people have decided they no longer want large amounts of immigrants in their country, then what business has the UN or anyone else to tell them they're wrong? After all, isn't democracy and the will of the people is what Western civilization is all about?

    Extreme is when government ignores the will of the majority of its citizens by refusing to control it's borders and deport illegal aliens. As with the United States.
    The UN only looks for violations of the rights of minorities (via ECHR), and in order for the country to get any flak for their policies, they must do something along the lines of forcefully placing groups of people into ghettos or executing them. Simply voting more conservatively concerning the status of immigrants is something they can't touch because it's first and foremost a domestic matter. I wouldn't worry about the UN that much, because all they do is look at a problem, sit back, and think about doing something sometime within the same decade. I have no idea what the reporter is meaning by saying this is extremism.. it is not by any means that. Funny how similar trends in the East do not get as much coverage. Japan has just reshuffled their cabinet and there are only 2 females of 22, for instance. It has to be the stereotype of Switzerland being the ne'er-do-wrong peacemaker. This brings to mind the historically low voting record that the country is famous for. Has it been increasing in order for the People's Party to stay in power?

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    And it is all so worrying to human rights campaigners that the UN special rapporteur on racism
    I don't think they even fathom how appropriate this word "rapporteur" is given the situation. It means "a snitch" in French
    "The Star of David and the Pentagram go hand in hand like black metal and a camera." - Gelal of Grand Belial's Key

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    More Babies Born in Switzerland

    More babies born in Switzerland


    The number of babies being born in Switzerland continues to increase, and more and more older women are giving birth.

    Figures issued by the Federal Statistics Office on Thursday for 2007 show that 74,500 children were born in Switzerland, up 1.5 per cent on the previous year, and the highest figure since 2001.

    These babies can hope to live for longer than ever before. Men now have a life expectancy of 79.4 years, where boys born in 2006 could hope to reach the age of 79.1. For women the figure was up from 84 to 84.2.

    The number of births to women aged over 35 had increased by 31 per cent in comparison with the 2001 figure, in contrast to the figure for women under 30, who are having fewer and fewer children.

    Despite this trend, the figures show that overall women are having more children than they did six years ago. Nevertheless, at 1.46 per woman it is still insufficient to maintain the population at its current level. For this a rate of 2.1 would be needed.

    While non-Swiss women continue to have more children than the Swiss, the number of births among them has remained more or less stable since 2001.

    Switzerland is still well below the European average for the number of children born to unmarried couples, although the proportion has nearly doubled since 1998, and now stands at 16.2 per cent. In the European Union, a third of children are born outside marriage.

    Nevertheless, marriage appears to becoming more popular in Switzerland. The number of weddings rose by 1.3 per cent in 2007 in comparison with 2006, while the number of divorces fell by 5.2 per cent.

    http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/news_di...05695000&ty=st


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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