What the Norway massacre is telling us

The car bombing in Oslo and depraved mass murder on Utoya carried out by Anders Behring Breivik represents the most shocking act of political violence seen for many years.  It was an act of terrorism and it was an outrage.  Particularly the murder of children which was especially heinous.

The media, in its own inimitable style, has dug up any number of angles to explain these joint incidents.  But the hacks have alighted on the ‘far right’ angle of an attack by a ‘Christian fundamentalist’ pursuing an agenda of ‘anti immigration bigotry’.

That the musings of Breivik – being taken down from Twitter, Facebook and websites as quickly as the authorities can – display his intolerance for Muslims, ‘cultural Marxists’ and the left wing Labour government in Norway amongst others is indisputable.  Breivik’s apparent claims of advising groups such as the English Defence League remain as yet unproven.  But what is notable is that the hatred and intolerance visited upon the people of Oslo was not directed against immigrants or people of the Islamic faith, as one would expect given the picture of Breivik that has been painted.

The murderous violence was directed against the government and its activist supporters.

Many commentators are describing this as the act of a madman.  That may or may not be the case.  But to commit the atrocity Breivik did certainly required him to be at the very least a person devoid of sympathy and any sense of compassion for his victims, and consumed by hatred, rage and frustration. Many of those same commentators argue that in a democracy, where people enjoy freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully, there is no need to engage in violence.

But what about when those rights are perceived to be hollow?  What can one do when the established political parties with their secure positions and consensus views on major issues of concern actually deny a true democratic choice to the electorate?  What can one do when the apparent freedom of speech is shut down by shrill accusations of racism, xenophobia or narrow mindedness, which causes people to shy away from setting up a new political opposition, as we have seen across Europe for years?  What can one do when all forms of peaceful protest are ignored by the political class because there is no swift consequence for ignoring the people they are supposed to represent? Indeed, what can one do when the accepted media outlets choose to omit stories or ignore valid arguments in order to hold the line for the establishment?

What the mass murder in Norway is telling us is that some people have a breaking point beyond which, in the absence of any other form of recourse against the people who rule over them, they resort to extremism and violence.  This argument has been used to justify political (and religious inspired) violence in places as diverse as Gaza, Kashmir, Thailand, Libya and Syria, among others.

Calls for reform in those places swiftly follow – usually led by the political left in Europe which sees any such action as revolutionary and therefore justified – and are sometimes supported by the libertarians who see such uprisings as cries for self determination and freedom.  But when such revolutionary type violence breaks out in enlightened western Europe, where the left holds political sway, the acts are immediately labelled as right wing extremism or the actions of madmen, because the left cannot believe that anyone could disagree with their worldview – and if they do they must be inherently selfish and evil.  The contradiction is clear. The ignorance is startling.

Where security experts are stating this week that there is a rise of the ‘far right’ in Europe, perhaps they do not realise we might be looking at nothing more than the an increasingly extreme form of rejection of socialist political control and the creeping internationalism that sees the political class seeking to transform European nations while doing everything possible to avoid asking the electorates for their permission to do so.

The antidote to political violence in Europe is simple… the restoration of genuine democracy where the people, not the political class, have the power.  In many ways what happened in Norway is made all the more curious because Norway still enjoys self determination outside the EU.  But a more forensic examination of domestic politics there might throw up faultlines that could explain what Breivik felt could only be be tackled by killing the current leaders of the Norwegian Labour Party and its next generation of leaders. In other words resorting to the extreme.

There are many issues where the political class across Europe defy the wishes of the people who elect them.  Anger and frustration is growing as people realise nothing they can do within the law can sway the politicians from their chosen direction.  Protest marches, letter writing, distribution of campaign material… all can be and are routinely ignored by the politicians.  There is a sense of detachment from the people that gives the political class a false sense of security from consequences for their actions.

What happened in Norway may now shake the politicians out of their complacency.  Sadly it doesn’t appear to be in the way we would hope.

As William Hague’s comments to Andrew Marr today demonstrate the politicians remain wilfully blind to the causes of such extremism and instead they will only focus on looking at ‘the lessons to be learned’ from a security perspective – in other words they will continue as they have done and just seek to learn better techniques in self preservation.

As such they have learned nothing of value.  Without a change in approach by the politicians and a willingness to finally do what they are paid to do and listen to the people, at some point another angry person or persons will snap and go on the rampage.  These people will direct their ire against the political class, but only hurt others because of the ring of steel, bullet proof glass and bomb resistant vehicles that insulate the politicians from the people they are supposed to serve.

Breivik is not the first, and as we can see from the political class’ response, tragically he won’t be the last.  It is all so avoidable.

23 Responses to “What the Norway massacre is telling us”

  1. 1 Martin Brumby 24/07/2011 at 6:55 pm

    Good post.

    When you look at issues like EU Membership and the great cAGW scam with all its sub-scams and rocketing inflation and energy costs, you realise that there is absolutely no political mechanism available to challenge them.

    And although we can have as many Inquiries as you could wish for about NOTW phone hacking, there is absolutely no prospect of a genuine Inquiry about the “benefits” of EU Membership, the accuracy of climate “science” or the cost / benefit of BigWind. Or even about the Financial Meltdown.

    Indeed, you even have the Politicos calling you “Flat Earthers” (Brown) and the BBC setting on a partisan nitwit like Steve Jones to recommend MORE biased reporting.

    But we’re not supposed to get frustrated.

    I hope to heaven that no-one is even tempted to resort to violence. But if they did and started with the BBC or the House of Commons or the EC’s palaces in Brussels, at least it would make some kind of sense.

  2. 3 Brian H 24/07/2011 at 7:10 pm

    It has the characteristics of an example of Stein’s Law: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

    If passive disenfranchisement cannot go on forever, a counter-force will arise and grow until some (enough) things go “smash”.

    There are (strong) rightist parties arising and even dominating in places as disparate as the Netherlands and Switzerland. Perhaps Norway is too small and cozy to generate or accommodate one.

  3. 4 TomTom 24/07/2011 at 8:40 pm

    To kill as he did requires objectification of the target to reduce any human connection or sympathy. Perhaps he did not see “children” but Cadres for a political elite which has run the country for decades. It is sometimes frightening to read about Scandinavian politics and find the Norwegian Labor Party was a member of the Comintern or the kind of policies pursued by Sweden’s Social Democrats such as forced sterilization.

    I was highly sceptical when the media reported this as “Al-Qaeda” in part because I do not believe such an “organisation” exists, but also because these attacks did not fit their pattern of maximum collateral damage through bombs. It had to be something else, but I am still not sure what really happened, save that it will be used to curtail freedoms even further across Europe

  4. 5 Uncle Badger 24/07/2011 at 9:12 pm

    Of one thing I feel quite sure. That the already close scrutiny being applied to blogs perceived as ‘threatening’ by the political classes, will be being stepped-up with immediate effect.

    It’s chilling to think that probably includes us (readers and commenters) as well as the owners.

  5. 6 TomTom 24/07/2011 at 9:21 pm

    Take a look at Gates of Vienna which is feeling under threat from the Thought Police

  6. 7 Tapestry 24/07/2011 at 10:14 pm

    This is simply another terrorist attack from the same stable as 911, 7/7 and numerous others. The key to an attack is that it has to shock. And that requires originality, and surprise. There are no repeats.

    This was false flag, with the usual trial run exercise 48 hours before. There was a total lack of response from Norway’s police and military for two hours at the island, while TV cameras and news gatherers circled above by helicopter. How do you explain that? The only rescuer was a German tourist in a boat. How come?

    The idea is to confuse and reduce morale, so that people will become afraid and accept military aggression in places like Libya, and to accept greater loss of civil freedoms, and militarisation of policing.

    No individual could have arranged all the circumstances of this attack so neatly acting alone. He was known to the Police – as were the 911 attackers in the USA, and the 7/7 attacker/victims known in the UK. He may have been brainwashed, but he was acting as part of an organisation. He wears Masonic emblems on his photos.

  7. 8 Chairman of Selectors 25/07/2011 at 1:44 am

    this piece is frighteningly good AM. You have eloquently encapsulated my precise thoughts, though with far more clarity (indeed, I expressed these sentiments this morning and recevied many a raised eyebrow) than I can muster. This bloke, however insane he may or may not have been, snapped. In many ways, I feel like he did. Utterly helpless as successive governments actively seek, in my opinion, to destroy my country, my heritage and my way of life. The difference being of course, I am not going to put on a policemen’s a uniform and kill people.

  8. 9 Derek 25/07/2011 at 6:42 am

    I’m curious about this judgement of “snapped”. It is alleged he spent nine years planning just this event. That’s a long time to be ‘snapping’. ‘Mad’, ‘Gone berserk’, and ‘deranged’ are tripping off the tongues, yet he showed no signs of any. Callous, ruthless and in control are more fitting descriptions. He had a plan. His background appears to be ordered and precise, the hallmarks of one carrying out an operation that has more than a small element of influence from something larger.

    In comparison, one man in a Roller Skating rink in Texas shot and killed five, over an argument. Then turned the gun on himself. It would seem he “snapped”. An isolated incident.

  9. 10 Restoring Britain 25/07/2011 at 7:47 am

    Excellent post AM and a very insightful analysis of something the MSM don’t appear to be looking at. They seem eager to run down a line of enquiry that has elements that are in tin foil hat territory, reporting it as though it were fact.

    More worringly though as you identified is the question of context. We noted on the story that when it was breaking news and the possibility of an Islamic angle to this, there was lots of analysis of the context such as the Norwegian presence in Afghanistan and Libya and the role of their press in the Danish cartoon row.

    However as the narrative now hurtles down the right wing extremist angle, there is no context. In the world of the MSM and politicans it doesn’t manifest itself out of a context is just simply exists. The news have been quite happy to start this story with a “sleepy Norway” type narrative but now we have a hard right vein running through Norway.

    It would not be a big stretch to do some examination that would cause increasing numbers of people to the far right. Ten minutes on indepedent blogs would highlight some of the factors especially in the Oslo area and the inactivity of politicians in addressing this that might help chart the growth of the far right.

    One has to question are politicians doomed to repeat situations such as this however as their response will be to try and keep a lid on this sort of problem, when in reality all that will achieve is to further create more conditions which cause it to thrive.

    Today in court will be very telling as it is reported he will explain why he did it. No the murder is in no way justified but if were are to understand it, we must examine its context.

  10. 11 aurelian 25/07/2011 at 8:24 am

    I have no theories about Mr Breivik’s motive.

    Your piece, AM, is by far the best I have seen on the subject of his act.

    Your point about the longterm behaviour of the political class and its defensive reaction to the event is well made.

  11. 12 right_writes 25/07/2011 at 9:10 am

    “…shut down by shrill accusations of racism, xenophobia or narrow mindedness, which causes people to shy away from setting up a new political opposition, as we have seen across Europe …”

    My favourite AM, is “little englander” (small e)… As if there is something nasty and small minded about identifying oneself with home (the landscape, the weather, the stiff UL), however badly it is governed.

    What the elites seem to want is a bland rump of plebs who graze on a diet Simon Cowell and the dreadful AM Sugar, etc…. Far less dangerous than a browsing leftie or rightie or anything inbetweeny that thinks (however misguidedly).

    I reckon that there is an increasing polarity between them and us, and we are beginning to win…

    The scenario is a bit like that poem about jews and the concentration camps… about the fascists coming for the teachers, and then the lawyers and then the writers etc… and I did nothing… and then they came for me.

    And of course, it is a marvellous piece of icing on the c to be able to further confuse the sheeple about the difference between the real right wing (individuals, conservatives, libertarians etc.) with nazi types, for the right wing is the most dangerous group of all, it isn’t a group, there isn’t a leader, they just think for themselves and do their own thing.

  12. 13 The Gray Monk 25/07/2011 at 10:01 am

    Good post AM. As has been remarked here and elsewhere, our ‘leaders’ will do nothing but impose fresh curbs on freedom of speech and further draconian ‘security’ and do nothing to address the fact that the people actually feel our society, our heritage and our beliefs are threatened.

    They still can’t see the link between the rise of the BNP and the apparent Islamification of several major towns and cities, or the curbs on liberties hard won by our forebears – lest we offend. Nor do they see the slavish kowtowing to the prejudices of small and vociferous adherents and proselytisers of the PC mantras and prejudices as a ‘threat’ to the rest of us.

    This Norwegian lunatic may have acted on his own, but I suspect his motivation is something many more actually feel.

  13. 14 David B. Wildgoose 25/07/2011 at 12:48 pm

    Well said – you’ve encapsulated a lot of my own reactions to this tragedy.

  14. 15 ProgContra 25/07/2011 at 1:47 pm

    I’m sorry – I have to disagree. This is a classic spree killing, little different to Thomas Hamilton, Michael Ryan or Derrick Bird. All of these men had deep seated psychological problems and manifested paranoid grudges against society at large. Thoma Hamilton, for example, saw conspiracies against him that involved the freemasons, the police, the scouts, the royal family and more. Did people sit back after the Dunblane massacre and take his rationalisations seriously?

    Breivik’s actions may be rationalised by him in all kinds of ways, but it’s sad that people are taking these seriously. On the Left you will have calls to police the internet, to clamp down further on debate and to tar all of us who have problems with the liberal establishment. What we don’t need is people on the Right doing the obverse, and using this sickening crime as an excuse to make political capital.

    Whether it’s in the name of Islam or Christianity, to protest this policy or that, or because God/Sam/Voices in the Head said so, these types of crimes are unavoidable and do not have greater political consequences.


  15. 16 TomTom 25/07/2011 at 2:54 pm

    Having read this idiot Thomas Hylland Eriksen in The Guardian today I start to understand events in a different light. When a “Social Anthropolgy Professor” and former “Liberal Party” candidate writes…..had he instead been forced to receive his information through a broadsheet newspaper, where not all the stories dealt with Europe’s loss of confidence and the rise of militant Islam, it is conceivable that his world would have looked slightly different. Perhaps one lesson from this weekend of shock and disbelief may be that cultural pluralism is not necessarily a threat to national cohesion, but that the tunnel vision resulting from selective perusal of the internet is.

    We see the Totalitarian Mindset in “liberal” Norway – not even an EU country, but it acts like one

  16. 17 Span Ows 25/07/2011 at 3:17 pm

    Great post AM and it must be said great comments too.

    What Tom Tom quotes above chimes with Uncle badger’s comment too…worrying that people can even contmeplate this but that’s the way it goes. The interent and blogs will be controlled. I picked up on one of the final lines of the Norwegian PMs speech and IMHO it sounded sinister and precisely what the ruling class would want…yet no one has examined it (maybe due to fear of sounding harsh, non sympathetic to the tragedy):

    “..And that the answer to violence is even more democracy, …”

  17. 18 cuffleyburgers 26/07/2011 at 8:32 am

    Good analysis, far better than can be found anywhere in the MSM, esp. the beeb – I watched Marr on Sunday morning (always a mistake) and there was rory bremner casually puttting this norwiegian mass murderer in the same paragraph as the “extreme rightwing” tea-party


  18. 19 nonomad 26/07/2011 at 12:04 pm

    A very good post and some interesting comments re the media and its attitude all this,last nights Channel 4 news had Jon Snow whom i normally respect as a broadcaster asking a Norwegian minister that it seemed” awfully white there in Oslo” and that perhaps multiculturism had not had an effect there ,this was such a left wing attitude i couldn’t at first believe he was saying it ,that if Norway had more immigrants this would not have happened was the thrust of it.
    The minister seemed puzzled by the question and didn’t really answer.
    Snow and Channel 4 had obviously not done there homework as Oslo has 20% immigrant population and has been having serious problems in recent times ie the recent rape report,to approach an interview with the question as above is crass at the very least and i might suggest in any other sphere politically motivated.

  19. 20 Worried 26/07/2011 at 2:52 pm

    Nonomad. Wasn’t Jon Snow the no poppy/white poppy man? I’ve avoided Channel 4 news as it would appear too much ‘The Jon Snow Show’.

    AM. Absolutely worthwhile read along with the comments. We are fearful of the future as we think that our politicians will give us free speech only as long as it is their view. Most things are being made in China and we are now starting to import their Government by the elite -don’t argue we know what is best for you.

  20. 21 neilfutureboyNeil craig 26/07/2011 at 6:45 pm

    Like you I know little of Norwegian politics and what I do know (that they aren’t in the EU, that they have become far richer than any EU country & that they have been able to build 700 km of tunnels for less than the cost of 1 Dome (02% of the cost of the Dome was in civil service parastism not building it) strongly suggest they are considerably closer to free than us.

    Nonetheless several of the children*, who were clearly intended to be the next generation of the political class, were clearly of non-Norwegian hue & it may well be that some Norwegian Adnrew Neather could have explained how the party was deliberately promoting immigration for “social reasons” without asking the people’s opinion. Finland manages to survive without needing new ethnic minorities so it is certainly an option if it were allowed.

  21. 22 peter geany 26/07/2011 at 10:54 pm

    A very good post AM. It’s a pity we don’t have this quality of commentary in the MSM. The comments demonstrate that there is still a glimmer of hope for this country, we just need leader or party around which we can rally everyone.

  22. 23 TomTom 27/07/2011 at 5:03 pm

    A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm……..

    A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed……..

    One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands in the midst of the struggle and says, “I have it,” merely shows by doing so that he has just lost it………………..

    Quotations by Henrik Ibsen…………..then his play

    An Enemy of the People (1882)

    might be inspirational for some…..

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