Switzerland remains feisty, free, and a bright beacon in a dark age for a collapsing civilization that should be looking to its example. For those weaned on the open-borders, Leftist humanitarian brainwashing of modern times, here are a few rules from the Singapore of Central Europe.
BY Marcia Christoff Reina for THE IMAGINATIVE CONSERVATIVE
“When all the world is socialist, Switzerland will have to remain capitalist, so that it can tell us the price of everything.”– Nikita Khrushchev
During the great days of my salon monarchism and alpine anarchism while living in street clean Wien, I traveled with the beloved Graf so-and-so by car from the Salzkammergutl to Zurich past many a forlorn castle and mighty monastery to check in on family Schwarzgeld held here and there in attractive old banks run by the same Catholic families two hundred years on. In those days I roomed with an astute German princess whose sister had been part of the July 20 plot against Hitler and I wrote various stories for the Herald Tribune and Wall Street Journal Europe about the post-war confiscation of art and lands of the Austro-Hungarian ancien regime under scurrilous pretexts of EU legal cloak-and-daggerism. Thus, among these friends there prevailed a mentality of seeing oneself orphaned from history and, as a result, ‘The State’ could in no way be trusted—what with socialists, communists and Freimauer types leering at you from behind every foggy Jugendstil street lamp. This attitude included a rather sacrosanct insistence upon guarding one’s wealth, or what remained of it, within ye olde financial secrecy rules of the proud Confederation next door, despite the general trend internationally that the party was truly over by the mid 2000s. I was fascinated by what seemed to be a permanent fin-de-siècle, Stefan Zweig-esque melodrama that anxiously wound its way through the psyche of these characters, all of whom suffered from that very Central European trauma known as Erbsunde. This roughly translates as the inherited psychological state of one’s ancestors; a secular brand of original sin that comes with being at war with the world every sixty years or so and an outlook that regards History, capital-’H’, as a prison through which one entered by many doors, not one of them offering an exit.
It was this combination of Spenglerian dread mixed with Dr. Mabuse’s prophetic evil grin mixed with the rough splinters of noble pride still stabbing at the Habsburgian heart that compelled these members of a collapsed civilization to cast a hopeful gaze to the arrogant democracy next door—to its love of privacy, its respect for meritocracy, its love of order and cultural continuity. A country that was and remains solid, stable and secretive; a safe haven of I-told-you-so European high standards. That doesn’t need you, want you or care what you think. Today, members of another collapsing civilization should be looking to its example as well.
I now live in northern Italy and my Lugano-born, Milan-raised husband stresses his Lombardian affinities to Switzerland with a rapture as intense as his contempt for gracious and degraded Rome. Many memories of one’s clean, beautiful public hospital room like a private club with gourmet food and tranquil views. Wistful respect for the cultural ministry that will long-lease to you an unclaimed castle if you give it an art collection. Paying for your sandwich with a 500 note and no one blinking an eye. The competing cantons whose modern battles consist of offering businesses lower taxes and better educated workers. The half-dozen private bankers (a special status beyond “bank”) that adhere to the 1934 laws requiring the total personal liability of its partners, high cash reserves and that do not permit speculative investment. The stately national newspaper that is still an objective, high-brow print newspaper. The Sunday laws against noise and work. The thrill of disbelief in being fined for J-walking or cited for using a non-approved color of garbage bag at your apartment building, or of police stopping at someone’s home when the wash is not hung out tidily. Of course, one does not simply “move to Switzerland”: a visa and passport generally take fifteen years, with some notable exceptions, and even then the inhabitants of your county district must vote to approve of your staying there. Ach, Du lieber Himmel!
And for those weaned on the open-borders, gauchiste humanitarian brainwashing of modern times, here are a few rules from the Singapore of Central Europe:
- If you enter Switzerland illegally, you are thrown back out, no exceptions. If you manage to slip through illegally and you commit a crime, you must pay for your jail time—the shelter, the food that consumes tax money. How is this paid? Forced labor, dear.
- Switzerland has a zero-tolerance approach to homelessness. There are ‘homeless’, who tend to be of the minority-formerly-called gypsy variety, but they are fined and warned and forced to leave. Last year, Basel announced a program whereby homeless individuals would be given a one way ticket to any other European city and twenty Swiss francs if they promised never to return–at least for four years (This proved very popular). Violators are deported.
- Begging on the streets is illegal, for which one is fined hundreds of francs. In Geneva in 2015, a Roma woman, not able to pay several fines for begging that amounted to around 500 CHF, received a sentence of five days in prison in that city. The globalist cabal of the soi-disant European Court of Human Rights demanded that Geneva overturn its decision, maintaining with its brand of looney logic that begging is an expression of ‘human dignity’. The city was told to pay her close to 1000 CHF in ‘damages’. Nonetheless, Swiss law enforcement throughout all the cantons continues to fine begging
- If you are employed and then become unemployed in Switzerland, your name is put in a central database with your qualifications and background in your canton. That canton will then start to send you notifications of job offers commensurate with your work history and education. You are allowed to reject two of these offers. If you reject the third you must leave the country, unless you can prove at once enough wealth to sustain your livelihood for a specified amount of time.
- If you become unemployed in Switzerland, the state will give you, for a short while, welfare benefits. Once you are employed, you must pay the welfare back. No living off of the public trough. If you refuse this you must leave the country.
- Corporate taxes are the competitive open-field between the twenty-six cantons. These are federal, cantonal and communal. The federal (national) corporate tax rate is a flat 8%; the cantons determine the rest individually. For all federal, cantonal and communal corporate taxes combined, you are looking at a range of 11.9% to 21.6%. The VAT is one of the lowest in Europe although import and customs duties are high.
- There are very strict Sunday laws. Sunday is considered sacred–not just in religious terms but as a matter of civic respect. You aren’t allowed to mow the grass, you can’t hang laundry, and you cannot recycle your trash. If you are caught sending out the trash on Sunday to one of the centers close to you, you will be fined. If you cannot pay the fine, you can choose the option of a few days in jail.
- Good Samaritan laws are still in place. If you see something happen or someone in trouble, the least you are required to do is to call the police. The failure to do so can get you in hot water.
- Memo to San Francisco: In an attempt to liberalize the drug laws, the Platzspitz or “Needle Park” in Zurich was an open drugs scene in the 1980s and early 90s when heroin users could inject the drug without being arrested and volunteer doctors supplied the needles. The scene spun horribly out of control with the number of drug-related deaths in Switzerland increasing twelvefold between 1975 and 1992. Authorities shut it down that year, with a heavy gate built across the park.
- That famous healthcare system is expensive and you pay mostly out of pocket, reimbursed later. Even though Switzerland’s healthcare system is universal, there is no free public healthcare. Instead, all residents of Switzerland must pay for their own private health insurance. There is no Medicare. Subsidies are provided in extreme cases (poverty, the infirm) with strict conditions, including the recipient having to pay back those subsidies eventually. Once voluntary, insurance coverage has been compulsory since 1996.
- And yes–Switzerland still has National Service in the armed forces, where each able-bodied Swiss man has to spend time each year in a training camp that forms part of the military. Soldiers must keep a gun in their home, which is a part of the military framework in readiness for potential conflict
Naturally, things are not perfect. The repeal of its famous neutrality to denounce Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, the climate-change politics, “Davos”, the perennial Socialist politician wanting more central government etc. disappoint. But the country remains feisty, free, and a bright beacon in a dark age. Since winning their independence in a series of bloody battles against Habsburg Austria in the 14th century and then Burgundy in the 15th century using that famed phalanx fighting style, the Swiss aren’t to be messed with. Machiavelli regarded them as the epitome of efficient soldiers. Rich in brains, poor in natural resources, and with a reputation for discipline, the Swiss were chosen in 1506 to be the protectors of the spiritual leader of the Western world, a role lasting through to this day. And how.