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Thoughts about the Norway horror

“White extremists are rightly shunned by mainstream politicians. Muslim extremists are courted by the likes of Ken Livingstone. White fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism need each other. But white fundamentalism, unlike its Muslim counterpart, does not have a presence in legitimate institutions. The white Right should not be ignored by the security authorities – but it would be dangerous to divert our attention from the real threat.”

Andrew Gilligan, journalist, reflecting on the wider implications of the horror in Norway. I would add that security authorities should also not forget such threats as from remnants of the IRA in Northern Ireland, Deep Greens, and parts of the Far Left. There is, alas, plenty of fanaticism out there.

I have a few Norwegian friends and they are, thank god, safe, but in a small country, almost everyone in that fine nation has been touched by this act of mass murder. By the way, do any Samizdata commenters know about what the laws are about firearms in that country? I am appalled at how easy it was for this man to kill so many without challenge for so long. But then this bastard had clearly planned out his attacks, knowing that it would take time for the police to get to the island.

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35 comments to Thoughts about the Norway horror

  • Rob H

    And he set the bomb off so that they were looking elsewhere.

  • John B

    As I wrote in my somewhat off-topic comment from Brian’s French photographs. Specifically the one showing the sheep battling its way against the lemming-flock:

    Breivik took on some of the language of those who would resist being herded into the abyss and then by his actions has shown what a monster he is. (Killing is almost impossible to the rational and merciful mind.)
    Thus, by association, he has established what monsters those who resist the flow can be. How many libertarians has he shut up in the last few days? It has worked!

    And we are left with an implicit message: be a sheep/lemming or be a monster.

    I would not be inclined toward thinking that Breivik’s actions were the result of a positive conspiracy by the enemies of freedom, but I would say that it is likely there has been a passive conspiracy that has intentionally ignored signals that were there to be seen.

    His actions have just about ticked every box that the enemies of freedom could wish for. (Can’t think when I have last seen some of the international news announcers looking so happy.)

    He has singlehandedly(?) sown chaos among those who seek for liberty and peace.

  • Henry Cybulski

    I read this morning, in the Spanish press, that a retired policeman was on the island ostensibly to provide security, but didn’t carry a gun and was shot when he confronted the killer.

  • Breivik had two legally held fire-arms: a Glock pistol and 5.56 rifle called a “Ruger Mini”, along with soft point ammo and up to 13 magazines.

    The Ruger was apparently easier to obtain, since he claimed to be a hunter. The Glock appears to have required membership of a gun club + passing a shooting test; he refers to not having the Glock yet in his doc.

    The inference to me is that firearms are tightly regulated, but in a sparcely populated country with a hunting tradition, it’s relatively hard for the authorities to keep guns as hard to get as in the UK.

  • John B,
    You deserve the golden hammer for that. Bang on the head!

  • I read on Wikipedia that firearms are permitted for hunting and sports, but generally are not permitted for self-defence purposes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Norway#Ownership

    There are 68 families whom this rule has clearly let down.

  • Gareth

    I am appalled at how easy it was for this man to kill so many without challenge for so long. But then this bastard had clearly planned out his attacks, knowing that it would take time for the police to get to the island.

    It is not so clear as this – not least that we do not know how many people may have tried to stop him during his rampage but unfortunately failed.

    Breivik has reportedly admitted his target was former PM Gro Harlem Brundtland who was on the island in the hours before Breivik arrived. If his plan was to bomb the Government ministries and assassinate the former PM he would surely have expected some Police presence guarding Brundtland. No Brundtland, no Police but a lot of vulnerable targets of the youth arm of the Labour Party.

  • PeterT

    Well, it was a youth conference on an island. I doubt even in Texas he would have been met with massive armed resistance.

    It is hard to see exactly what Breivik was trying to achieve. While Norway is lefty enough, it hardly has a large immigrant (let alone muslim) population, compared to Sweden for example. It has a conservative and strongly nationalistic culture. Breivik’s main concerns appear (from reading what the news has had to say on this) to have been Islamification of Europe and Culture Marxism. I’m not sure what the latter means, but presumably its something similar to the Nazi concern about “Bolshevism” (although I’m not sure what this means either, presumably replace the ‘national’ with ‘russian’ in front of the socialism). In any event, Breivik is hardly a militant libertarian. Rather he appears to be a militant adherent to the ideology of the populist nationalist “mussolini light” parties that have sprung up in Europe and had some success recently (for example in Sweden).

    I do not see why Libertarians should feel like they should keep a low profile. Neither should we on this occassion admit that it is only legitimate to work within the system to change it. The ideal here is Gandhi and the Tea Party, not Breivik.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I do not see why Libertarians should feel like they should keep a low profile.

    PeterT, I agree with much of your comment. I don’t think people who believe in individual rights, tolerance and so on, as genuine libertarians do, have any reason to fear that this maniac is somehow going to make life more difficult for classical liberalism, free markets, the case for limited government, etc.

    As far as I can see, the case for stating that people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, etc, has not been remotely damaged by the actions of this fucker. I certainly will not be keeping “my head down” on this point in the weeks ahead.

  • John W

    There is an important lesson to be learned from this massacre, it is the same lesson that should have been learned from the last massacre – that the armed self is a fundamental prerequisite of any social system claiming to uphold the right of self-defense.

  • It’s not that we should keep our heads down, Jonathan, but that the left is certainly going to use this as an excuse vis a vis the ignorant part of the public (which is the majority) to hammer our heads down, thus indeed making our work much more difficult. What John B. said.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It’s not that we should keep our heads down, Jonathan, but that the left is certainly going to use this as an excuse vis a vis the ignorant part of the public (which is the majority) to hammer our heads down, thus indeed making our work much more difficult.

    Well, the left has been trying to make out that libertarians are baby-eating monsters for decades. They haven’t succeeded. The only way they will succeed, IMHO, is if we allow this process to happen by not smacking down the false canards as and when they are made.

    Of course, it is a sad fact that even in parts of what can be loosely called the libertarian movement in the UK and abroad, there are people who flirt, in my mind foolishly or even wickedly so, with issues such as race and nationalism in ways that in my mind conflict with methodological individualism.

    I have had my doubts about the likes of Hans Hermann Hoppe(Link) for some time, for example, even though his economics seems to be sound.

  • “Well, the left has been trying to make out that libertarians are baby-eating monsters for decades. They haven’t succeeded.”

    Talked to many school teachers lately Jonathan?

  • JP, mike,
    Certainly in the UK libertarians are seen as cranks if they are seen at all. I’m fine with that. They thought that about Greens twenty years ago…

    It’s conservatives (note the small “c”) who are going to take a real hit from this.

  • Nick – it’s surely more about the way in which you go about crafting your arguments – which was the gist of Ian’s post over at CCIZ.

    As an example, it was only a few month ago IIRC that I was at a bar explaining why it is important to know the recent history of Marxism, i.e. the shift from economic to “cultural” and linguistic loci of control from which they could attack the principles of private property and freedom of speech and association.

    Will I have Breivik’s name thrown at me next time?

  • f0ul

    Before the events, the Loon posted a famous quote on Twitter about how one person with a belief as far more powerful than 100,000 with interests.

    Unfortunately, it does seem to me that he was talking about the keyboard warrior right. We all complain about Political correctness, or Cultural Marxism as it is described by the killer – but what do we do about it? Post a blog, tweet about it, and then feel smug that we have done our bit!

    The sort of change that Libertarians are looking for isn’t going to happen voluntarily. However, I don’t think the changes that are needed are worth killing anyone for – so we are a bit stuffed – don’t you think?

    This is the point where you realise that Catch22 is a bit problem for minority politics with some humanity!

  • Is there a recorded example of a spree killer being stopped by an armed member of the public?

  • lucklucky

    “It’s not that we should keep our heads down”

    What!? what made you even think of that?
    I am always surprised by the fragility of libertarians and right to the vile attacks of left.

    Don’t you think there are various giant steps from defending something that have nothing with killing…
    …and going to murder almost 100 civilians?

  • jdm

    Patrick, here’s one link – and another that is somewhat more sober. YMMV. OK, it wasn’t just one person, but a number.

    I just thought I’d add the Norwegian laws similar to the Danish. Hunters having guns, good. Self-defense, bad. No handguns unless in a shooting club. No knives unless in direct involvement with something in which knives are “approved” or in transit to/from that place.

    While Norway is lefty enough, it hardly has a large immigrant (let alone muslim) population

    My understanding is that in contrast to Denmark, the Norwegian Muslim immigrant population is fairly concentrated in east Oslo (if I recall correctly) creating what amounts to a ghetto that is/was a no-go zone for Norwegians. Apparently, AHB grew up around and socialized with Muslims until a teen. During his teen years he experienced supposedly five, six episodes of violence towards him or close friends. Between that time he made the leap from blaming Muslims to (also) blaming those in the government/media who facilitated the immigration of non-Westerners and viciously ridiculed those who protested.

    I’ve been predicting something like this for years.

    Bruce Bawer, one of those viciously ridiculed, wrote a telling account.

  • I do not see why Libertarians should feel like they should keep a low profile.

    Indeed. I sent an acquaintance off the deep end when he implied the shooter was a ‘rightist like you’ and I corrected him that as he is clearly a nationalist and collectivist, and that make him “one of yours, not one of ours, mate, just like the people he shot. This is a ‘domestic’ as far as I am concerned”.

    I am sorry it happened of course but a nationalist nutter shot or blew up ninety or so of Norway’s would-be future statist apparatchiks… none of the people on either end of the rifle were on our side, it’s nothing to do with us.

  • Thomas

    Patrick, yes, the shooter at Pearl Mississippi was stopped by a schoolteacher who fetched his pistol from his car. There are lots of other examples, that’s just the one that springs to mind. I guess not all schoolteachers are complete chuckleheads. Certainly my teachers in rural NY would have scorned to resort to firearms; they would have taken him down with their hands.

  • mrbill

    Seems the kids thought it was a practice for Israel to attack them and the kids tried to talk to the guy thinking it was a practice drill.

    http://1389blog.com/2011/07/24/utoya-attack-shows-magnanimity-of-israel-and-vacuity-of-bds-campaign/

    They had been pretend protesting with a boycott-Israel banner.

    This camp was a big Leftist confab training camp for kids 13-33 to be anti Israel. Just as Norway is now.

    BUT, Israel offers them aid anyway….

    …heh…..as we say.

  • Ian F4

    @Perry

    It is an unfortunate fact that an essential part of libertarianism is respect for individualism which garners the ability to view people in many dimensions. You can only expect that those not so liberal tend to think in less dimensions, the most non-liberal have only two, thus the “if he’s not one of us then he’s one of you” process kicks in.

  • none of the people on either end of the rifle were on our side, it’s nothing to do with us.

    Who was it that said “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you“? Methinks it applies here, too.

    Like I said, it will make our job more difficult, and we should be prepared to deal with it (probably in the way Perry dealt with it in his example).

  • Paul Marks

    The murderer’s opinions were all over the place.

    For example, he writes about “Christian athiests” and how such people (which appear to include himself) can become modern “Knights Templar” (he was a video game fan and liked playing a version of such – and thought he could be this fictional version of a “Knights Templar” in real life).

    What the bleep is a “Christian athiest”?

    He also says he is anti Islam – but writes about getting biological weapons from Islamists (to be used in Europe – with the promise they were not to be used against Muslims).

    His anti Americanism and anti free trade positions I expected, as I expected his extreme environmentalism (large bits of anti corporate ranting taken straight from the Unibomber).

    Sorry leftists – this man would not have fitted in at a Tea Party event.

    But I do not think he would really have fitted in with the left either.

    Trying to work out his positions made my head feel it was going to explode.

    Oh, by the way, he hated racism – and homophobia.

  • John K

    Is there a recorded example of a spree killer being stopped by an armed member of the public?

    Patrick:

    I think I’m right in saying that the recent shooting in Arizona was stopped by unarmed members of the public attacking the shooter as he tried to reload his pistol. I suppose people in the USA have got the message that the only way to stop these people is to take them down with whatever you’ve got, rather than attempt to reason with them.

  • Paul Marks

    “Do we think changing things is worth killing people for” – no I do not.

    I can understand killing people who are attacking (who are trying to kill you), but killing other people (who are not attacking) makes no sense to me.

    For example, if socialists want to create socialist communes (Owenite communities – or whatever) good luck to them – as long as they leave other folk alone.

    However, if (for example) if Comrade Barack Obama decided to by pass Congress and increase taxes (perhaps using a deliberatly false interpretation of the 14th Amendent) and collect these taxes by armed violence. Then I can understand people defending themselves – and others. Hopefully the armed forces would side with the people and with the Constitution (no resistance would be successful if at least sections of the armed forces were not supportive).

    But that is not really the same thing as “changing things” – “changing things” implies aggression.

    As for political correctness.

    Two things would deal with that – legal reform (to stop all this endless “civil rights” and “anti discrimination” law cases, which cost a fortune even if a company wins them – for the complaint is rarely worth going after for costs).

    And an end to government funding – for the “education system” and the rest of the administrative structure in this area.

    I do not see how acts of violence help in any of this – indeed planting bombs in the local university (or whatever) is likely to create a wave of sympathy for such insitutions.

    The comming economic crises is likely to solve the problem anyway.

    They will simply be no money for all this stuff (or for the petty regulations and endless law cases).

    After all it was not the arguments of cultural conservatives that finally convinced the State Legislature of Texas to cut university funding and reform the law (going over to loser pays, in some cases, and alterning some other aspects of the legal process) – it was the “we can not afford this shit anymore” argument.

    For which the left had no counter.

  • Paul Marks

    As for “demographic change”.

    Why do people insist on treating Islam as a race – it is a RELIGION.

    If people do not like Islam they should seek to convert Muslims to their own beliefs.

    If Western Christianity (and Western Athiesm) are so weak that they can not convert people then the West is already dying – and this death is NOT the fault of Muslims.

    I know that “liberal” Christians and “liberal” athiests are hostile to trying to convert Muslims – but that says a lot more about “liberals” than it does Muslims.

  • Kim du Toit

    People like McVeigh, Breivik and [insert Islamist terrorist of choice here] are just the spiritual descendants of the Anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The only difference is that instead of killing just a single person (an Austrian Duchess, a U.S. President or a French Socialist), this modern breed kills dozens of victims at a time.

    But they’re the same people, regardless of their moronic philosophy.

  • Kim du Toit

    “Is there a recorded example of a spree killer being stopped by an armed member of the public?”

    Why a “spree” killer? Most spree killers perform their mischief where there is unlikely to be any kind of armed resistance — a school, an English suburb, a U.S. Army base (yes, U.S. soldiers are disarmed on base, sigh) and so on. Scan the U.S. press, and the archives are full of accounts where a would-be murderer was stopped by an armed would-be victim.

  • bloke in spain

    “”Do we think changing things is worth killing people for” – no I do not.”

    If Paul Marks is a US citizen that comment has got to be a doozy.

    Paul, your country owes its very existence to a bunch of American colonists who not only signed one of the most important documents in recent history but were ready to lay down lives to see its words come to fruition.
    Not their lives. The lives of those who would oppose them.

    If you feel like that can we have our 13 colonies back please?
    You don’t deserve them.

  • John K

    Bloke in Spain:

    You will find that Paul is as British as warm beer, civilian disarmament and a failed welfare state.

  • John B

    Who let the dogs out?

    Breivik let the dogs out.

    Who let him let the dogs out?

    One of the best tools of understanding in my experience is: Cui bono?.

    But, indeed, one should not be frightened of the dogs.

  • Steve P

    Funnily enough, no-one has so far said anything about “root causes.”

  • Indeed, Steve – and no one called him ‘youth’ either.