STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- When President Barack Obama visited Sweden last year, he expressed his deep admiration for the Swedish model. But that should make Americans a little nervous.
One U.N. report says Sweden will be a third-world nation in about 15 years, below Libya and Bulgaria. Sweden is a society that believes it is racing into the future, but critics warn that it is racing to the bottom.
It has been a laboratory for all kinds of social experiments: Swedish leaders are trying to build the perfect society.
The country has been compared to two nations that also tried to build perfect societies: North Korea and the Soviet Union.
In Sweden, if you don't like how utopia is being built, you won't be shot like in North Korea, but your life could become very unpleasant, very quickly.
A Perfect Society?
A YouTube video shows a journalist from one of Sweden's leading tabloids, Expressen, confronting a Swede at his home.
The man, a professor, made what he thought were anonymous negative comments on a website about immigrant problems in Sweden.
But left-wing hackers helped the newspaper track him and others like him down so they could be exposed before the whole nation as racists. Another man, a manager, was fired because of it.
Sweden's leftist establishment and media believe a cornerstone of their perfect society is multiculturalism: large scale immigration from some of the poorest, most backward nations on earth. Swedes who disagree with that plan risk being labeled racist, fascist, even Nazi.
"Immigration is the starting point and the finishing point. It's the most important point to prove you're friendly toward foreigners, you're friendly toward immigration," Danish journalist Mikael Jalving, author of the book Absolut Sweden, said.
"It's all about whether you can be said to be hostile to immigration. Once that is 'proven,' you're out of the game. Once you're 'proven' to be a racist or fascist or nationalist, which is almost as bad, you cannot have any legitimate positions or points of view," he explained.
It doesn't matter if Sweden's immigration model is failing miserably, if test scores in Swedish schools are plummeting, or if crime in some areas has skyrocketed. Immigrants burned the Stockholm suburb of Husby for over a week last year.
Many Jews now live in fear of attacks by Muslim immigrants and are leaving.
Amun Abdullahi, a journalist for Swedish radio, left last year and returned to her native Somalia after she was attacked in the Swedish media over her news report about radical Muslim immigrants in Sweden.
She told Swedish television that Mogadishu was safer than then immigrant areas in Stockholm.
And forget about an American-style "melting pot" in which immigrants will someday learn to become Swedish. In Sweden, that's a racist idea, too.
Jalving said Swedes are supposed to learn from immigrants, not the other way around. There is a demonstrated hatred of Swedish culture among the nation's elite.
"Assimilation is completely out of the question," Jalving told CBN News. "All mainstream political parties would laugh [at the word 'assimilation']. [To them] the word 'assimilation' is a Nazi word."
CBN News talked to several journalists who described a Stalinist-style atmosphere in which Sweden's citizens are now afraid of saying anything that might get them labeled in the media as "racist."
"If they point at you and say you are a racist, then you will have no job, no career, you might lose your family. You will have no future," Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist said.
Carlqvist and Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard run the online newspaper Dispatch International, which covers issues like immigration that the mainstream media in Sweden ignore.
But Carlqvist admits their plan for a traditional newspaper failed because Swedes were too scared to have the paper delivered to their homes.
"Because what if the mailman saw if you had this newspaper, or your neighbor saw it? Then they might think that you are racist or that you hate Muslims," Carlqvist said.
"We thought we could make an impact. We still think we can make an impact, but it's tough going," Hedegaard said.
Dispatch International had to drop online subscriptions, too, after repeated hacker attacks because Swedes were again afraid of being exposed. The website now hangs on through donations.
A Third World Country?
Sweden has become a nation where some viewpoints are simply too risky to even read.
"What some Swedish parents advise their children nowadays is to not to interfere in the public discussion, not to express so-called 'radical' ideas about this or that that is critical of the consensus in Sweden," Jalving said. "It'll harm them in one way or another. The Swedes want to protect their children."
"That is a very bad situation because you then live in a country where you cannot solve any problems. You do not even know what the problems are," Hedegaard said.
Hedegaard, a Dane, was nearly killed last year in Copenhagen by an immigrant who came to his door and fired a gun at him.
Carlqvist, a Swede, has decided to leave Sweden because of the persecution of those who dissent.
Sweden is not going to become a third world nation tomorrow. But according to one report, one day it will.
"We had a perfectly good country," Carlqvist said. "A rich country, a nice country, and in a few years' time, that country will be gone."
*Dale Hurd also reported from Malmö, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark.