Tragedy in Norway

As usual on such occasions, I haven’t had much to say about the horrific events in Norway. It’s generally better, in such circumstances, to pause for reflection, and certainly some who rushed to judgement have gone badly wrong in doing so, here as on previous occasions. This is not the time for judgement, but that time will come.

84 thoughts on “Tragedy in Norway

  1. The shooter apparently quotes, positively, John Howard, Peter Costello, Cardinal George Pell and Keith Windschuttle in his manifesto. Well chosen role models? I expect Andrew Bolt feels snubbed.

  2. I think he is maybe not a terrorist. Terrorists try to use terror to achieve their goals. He wasn’t trying to scare current and future political leaders from following the policies he disliked – he was trying to kill them all so that they couldn’t.

    As such, you could never release him. A person who is prepared to kill to stop others implementing policies they don’t like should not have the liberty to do so.

  3. He also links to Monckton. ABB apparently loved the idea that Copenhagen was a step towards world government and the stuff about environmentalism being a trojan horse for “cultural” marxism. Someone needs to see if Vaclav Klaus is in there somewhere. He’s bound to be, because his quote to this effect is a regular at Quadrant.

  4. Norway killer praised Australian conservatives

    Key excerpts

    Following are some of the key excerpts from Breivik’s manifesto that reference Australian figures.

    Quoting Keith Windschuttle:

    Australian writer Keith Windschuttle, a former Marxist, is tired of that anti-Western slant that permeates academia:

    “For the past three decades and more, many of the leading opinion makers in our universities, the media and the arts have regarded Western culture as, at best, something to be ashamed of, or at worst, something to be opposed. The scientific knowledge that the West has produced is simply one of many ways of knowing. Cultural relativism claims there are no absolute standards for assessing human culture. Hence all cultures should be regarded as equal, though different. The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to Western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against the rest of humanity. The West cannot judge other cultures but must condemn its own.”

    He urges us to remember how unique some elements of our culture are:

    “The concepts of free enquiry and free expression and the right to criticise entrenched beliefs are things we take so much for granted they are almost part of the air we breathe. We need to recognise them as distinctly Western phenomena. They were never produced by Confucian or Hindu culture.”

    But without this concept, the world would not be as it is today. There would have been no Copernicus, Galileo, Newton or Darwin.

    Quoting John Howard and Peter Costello:

    Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said Australian Muslim leaders need to stand up and publicly denounce terrorism in all its forms. Mr Costello has also backed calls by Prime Minister John Howard for Islamic migrants to adopt Australian values. Mr Howard caused outrage in Australia‘s Islamic community when he said Muslims needed to speak English and show respect to women.

    Quoting Cardinal George Pell:

    Luckily, not all Christian leaders are appeasers of Islam. One of the intelligent ones comes from Australia, a country that has been fairly resistant to Political Correctness.

    They have taken serious steps towards actually enforcing their own borders, despite the predictable outcries from various NGOs and anti-racists, and Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly proven to be one of the most sensible leaders in the Western world.

    George Cardinal Pell [sic], Archbishop of Sydney, tells of how September 11 was a wake-up call for him personally:

    “I recognised that I had to know more about Islam.” “In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence. There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages.”

    “The predominant grammatical form in which jihad is used in the Koran carries the sense of fighting or waging war.” “Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for fear-reaching renovation [sic] is severely limited.” “I’d also say that Islam is a much more war-like culture than Christianity.”

    “I’ve had it asserted to me is that in the relationship between the Islamic and non-Islamic world, the normal thing is a situation of tension if not war, or outright hostility.”

    Quoting Cardinal Pell again:

    As long as there is separation between religion and state, those of us who don’t have any religious belief should prefer religions which tend to create reasonable and prosperous communities.

    Our traditional Judeo-Christian religions have proven this capability. Islam never has, and probably never will.

    As Australia’s Cardinal George Pell says, “some seculars are so deeply anti-Christian, that anyone opposed to Christianity is seen as their ally. That could be one of the most spectacularly disastrous miscalculations in history.”

    Indeed it could.

    Quoting former Liberal Party MP Ross Cameron:

    A study from the United States identified the main barriers to men tying the knot. Heading the list was their ability to get sex without marriage more easily than in the past. The second was that they can enjoy the benefits of having a wife by cohabiting rather than marrying.

    The report lends weight to remarks by Ross Cameron, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services, who chided Australian men, blaming Australia‘s looming fertility crisis on men‘s commitment phobia.

    “The principal reason young women say they don‘t get around to having children is they can‘t find a bloke they like who is willing to commit,” he said. “This commitment aversion in the Australian male is a real problem.”

    Regarding an Australian publishing dispute:

    This kind of intimidation has taken its toll. In November 2006, publisher Scholastic Australia pulled the plug on the book the Army of the Pure after booksellers said they would not stock the adventure thriller for youngsters because the “baddie” was a Muslim terrorist. Because two characters were Arabic-speaking and the plot involves a mujaheddin extremist group, Scholastic‘s decision was based “100 per cent (on) the Muslim issue”.

    This decision was at odds with the publication of Richard Flanagan’s bestselling The Unknown Terrorist and Andrew McGahan’s Underground in which terrorists are portrayed as victims driven to extreme acts by the failings of the West.

    The Unknown Terrorist describes Jesus Christ as “history‘s first … suicide bomber”.

    In McGahan‘s Underground, Muslims are executed or herded into ghettos in an Australia rendered unrecognisable by the war on terror

    Got any cite that he quoted Bolt also, Steve?

  5. gerard @ #7 gleefully pounces on quotes mined from Brevik’s 1516 page manifesto:

    Norway killer praised Australian conservatives

    Knopfelmacher used to mock the “theologico-deductive” method of social analysis ie analysing the behaviour of political agents on the basis of supposed canonical texts. Not surprising to see gerard fall for this elementary methodological error with his customary gusto.

    Its true that Brevik’s manifesto “praises Australian conservatives” with evident satisfaction. Presumably this makes Howard, Pell, Windschuttle et all the inspiration for Right-wing reactionary mass-murderers. Even Ross Cameron – Minister for Family – gets a guernsey – what did this innocuous fellow do to deserve this unwelcome attention?

    Unfortunately for gerard’s intellectual MO, Brevik also praises Churchill, Jefferson, Orwell and just about any other worthy in the liberal democratic pantheon with equal fervour. Logically that means that they too must shoulder some of the blame for his homicidal rampage.

    Brevik saves his most furious denunciations for “cultural Marxism”. I guess that means that Gramsci is off the hook. Not my first choice for “enemy of my enemy”.

    Of course anyone can play thegame of “if A supports x & y this implies that B who supports y must also be in favour of x”, Hitler was a Greenie – so Bob Brown must be anti-semitic! Guilt by association is the oldest fallacy in Aristotles book. Otherwise known as guilt by smearing association. Should be a job open for you in Murdoch’s Sun.

  6. Logical fallacies are about the existence or absence of a conclusive line of reasoning. Most reasoning is probabilistic, rather than of the simply logical and therefore conclusive kind. Balancing probabilities and evidence and using judgement is subtle, and difficult, and not as easily transmissible.

    Concerning the validity of any inferences about who the shooters heros are or were, and where was the source of his influences, Jack can use his judgement, and we’ll use ours.

  7. really I was just pointing out to Steve that there are cites for Breivik praising these folks, but not Andrew Bolt, as Steve incorrectly claimed.

    Of course Bolt’s ideology and rhetoric is far closer to Breivik’s than is Howard’s or Pell’s, so I can understand why Steve might leap to that conclusion.

    However Breivik’s writing is far more lucid, intelligent and honest than Bolt’s.

  8. @Jack Strocchi

    Brevik also praises Churchill, Jefferson, Orwell

    Well Churchill did like using WMD against unruly third worlders. He was an imperialist of the first rank, so hardly surprising. Nobody hated the left more than he did. Jefferson held slaves. Orwell is the odd one out here — initially leftist and anti-Catholic, but then again, by the end of WW2 he too was a Cold Warrior. The separation of decades (and in Jeferson’s case, centuries) probably earns them a pass on salience.

    H|tler was a Greenie – so Bob Brown must be anti-semitic!

    No he wasn’t. He believed in scorched Earth, and left Albert Speer to carry it out. Bolt has already done “Greens = f@scists” so really Jack, more novelty is needed. Glenn Beck of course thinks that the youth of Utoya were comparable to H|tler Youth, so again, the Godwin is in already. And unlike Pat Robertson, Brown has never praised H|tler nor suggested that the shootyer might have been well-motivated. Unlike Pell, Brown’s eyes were not opened to the Islamic threat by 9/11. Vaclav Klaus and Minchin and Monckton see environmentalism as a trojan horse for marxism, like ABB.

    So ABBs choices are not random.

  9. Glenn Beck of course thinks that the youth of Utoya were comparable to H|tler Youth, so again…


  10. “Orwell is the odd one out here — initially leftist and anti-Catholic, but then again, by the end of WW2 he too was a Cold Warrior.”

    By the end of WW2 (and for some years before that) Orwell was a democratic socialist who had drawn the obvious conclusions that many other democratic and libertarian socialists had drawn about the vileness of Stalinist persecution and oppression of democratic and libertarian socialists and dissenting communists, and Stalinist betrayal of the interests of the workers and peasants whose interests were front and centre of the political concern of genuine leftists.

  11. You are right Paul Norton – George Orwell was never a Cold Warrior. He was concerned about Russian Communism which was evil – but he was equally as concerned about what was happening in the UK and other European nations to people’s health, wealth and freedom.

    Extremism in all its forms deserves to called for what it is. Just yesterday I saw an email calling for a form of political assassination in the form of a joke picture calling for a “cull”. Normal people forward these without thinking, although it can end up anywhere and encourage someone who is politically motivated to carry out the message feeling that they are acting for the majority. Senator Scullion has won a cake competition with a cake in the form of a crocodile eating the PM.

    It is time that the right wing realised that dangerous extremism is well entrenched in their ranks and by those people who are most prone to frothing at the mouth about others. Their words and actions mean that they are part of the dangerous problems which arise.

  12. 7#, What a zoo, I read, laugh, then realise that it involves the deaths of eighty people in the revised toll. FB,#11, I’d think this is part of his fantasising; his grandiosity.
    Jill Rush, re your last para, do you remember how contrarian they went after 9/11 when we thought the USA might pause for thought?
    But your “frothing at the mouth” remark has me in mind of Johnn Boehner and the manipulation of American Democracy that’s been going on, like Gillard here,Obama is leaned on by faction hacks and the corporates while pinned by media and press. Frelander, Gerard, thanks also.

  13. @Paul Norton

    From Wikipedia:

    {Orwell} was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had “rediscovered” him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell’s list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. {my emphasis}


    Orwell based his list on a strictly private notebook he had maintained since the mid-1940s of possible “cryptos”, “F.T.” (his abbreviation for fellow travellers), outright members of the CP, agents and sentimental sympathizers. The notebook, now at the Orwell Archive at University College London, contains 135 names in all, including US writers and politicians. Ten names had been crossed out, either because the individual had died or because Orwell had decided that they were neither crypto-communists nor fellow-travellers.

    His apologists of course tried to distinguish him from Joseph McCarthy, but for the man who possibly coined the term “Cold War” here, he was the notorious Wisconsin Senator’s cultural patron, social-democratic dissembling notwithstanding.

  14. the events he described in the final section of Homage to Catalonia would explain a lot though

  15. back on topic:

    an interview with the author of the Department of Homeland Security’s 2009 report on the Rightwing Terror threat in the US, which provoked massive GOP outrage forcing Napolitano to apologise.

    How does the attack in Norway affect us?

    It should be a “wake up call” for our nation’s leaders. From a U.S. government perspective, our leaders are not really concerned about this issue. They appear to be downplaying or outright dismissing the threat from domestic non-Islamic extremists. There is an overall lack of adequate resources at the local, state and Federal level to effectively analyze and assess the vast number of domestic extremists who are likely on the verge of violence in this country. We are vulnerable to a Norway-style of attack – lone extremists using small arms and improvised explosives to carry out devastating attacks with little effort or formalized terrorist training. It should also give pause to those who are engaging in overly heated political rhetoric for personal gain.

  16. @gerard

    Doubtless. Demoralisation accompanied by the lack of a coherent account within which to situate setbacks typically nudge people either in the direction of withdrawal from politics or capitulation to the most powerful classes within their own countries, which is, self-evidently, incompatible with being a revolutionary socialist. Orwell admits he went to Catalonia not as a socialist or communist, but as someone seeking “decency”. He was impelled towards the POUM, and found them aimiable. That’s not a political program. That’s a sentiment.

    He became quite ill and quite bitter post-war, and with nothing else to which to attach himself, became a dag on the backside of the British Labour Party, which, in Cold War mode assigned him his marching orders.

  17. not to derail, but I was referring mainly to Orwell’s disgust at how many British Leftists attempted to deny and suppress information regarding the Stalinist betrayal of the POUM in Spain, and the way that they parroted the Stalinist propaganda about these “anarchists” and “Trotskyists” being fascist allies.

    I think Orwell simply believed that Stalinism was a greater threat to democratic-socialist principles than bourgeois liberalism.

  18. “I think Orwell simply believed that Stalinism was a greater threat to democratic-socialist principles than bourgeois liberalism.”

    And he was clearly correct in this belief.

    For that matter, a card-carrying Australian communist facing the threat of banning by Menzies in 1951 had a much longer life expectancy than a card-carrying Soviet communist facing the prospect of being purged by Stalin in 1936-38.

  19. @Paul Norton

    Shorter Paul Norton … Orwell pleads guilty to being a cold warrior, with an excuse. The excuse however, still puts him on the wrong side of the class line however, as he has abandoned the socialist principle that the first enemy of every socialist is one’s “own” capitalist ruling class.

  20. Fran Barlow @ #23 said:

    Orwell pleads guilty to being a cold warrior.

    Since when is being a “cold warrior” a crime, with an accusation equivalent to a guilty verdict? That would of course make A. Solzhenitsyn a criminal, master criminal at that.

    Really Fran, try and dial down the Leftyier-than-thou to below 10. We are not a class of unruly 12 year olds. And you are coming across as an ideological scold.

    he has abandoned the socialist principle that the first enemy of every socialist is one’s “own” capitalist ruling class.

    Ah, the old “No-friends-to-the-domestic-Right” principle, stuck gamely to by the German and French communist parties during the thirties. Which, to paraphrase Peter Cook, “did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the Second World War”.

  21. Fran, if being on the correct side of the ‘class line’ puts you on the same side as Stalin and his local supporters, you’ve drawn the line in the wrong place.

    Socialists, liberals and some conservatives banded together to defeat Nazism. In my view, a sensible socialist would prefer to band together with liberals and the odd conservative against Stalinism, rather than siding with the runner-up to Hitler in the nasty stakes for the sake of class solidarity. But then I guess I wouldn’t make a very good communist.

  22. @Jack Strocchi

    Since when is being a “cold warrior” a crime, with an accusation equivalent to a guilty verdict? That would of course make A. Solzhenitsyn a criminal, master criminal at that.

    The use of “plead guilty” was rhetorical Jack. Of course it’s not a crime to be a cold warrior. That’s a political characterisation. It is however, incompatible with being a socialist (i.e. someone who believes that the working class should become a class for itself, remaking production and therewith the nature of class society to serve working people on a world scale in order to lay the foundation for material abundance, the dissolution of class society and their states). It’s orthodox socialist politics that the work of liberating the working class is the task of the working class itself rather than the bourgeoisie/imperialists. That’s why socialists defend unions and bona fide organisations of the workingclass against attack by the bosses, don’t cross picket lines, don’t take sides in imperialist wars, don’t join the police or become prison officers or judges or ministers in capitalist governments and so forth. This is primer level socialism Jack.

    @Tim Macknay

    Fran, if being on the correct side of the ‘class line’ puts you on the same side as Stalin and his local supporters, you’ve drawn the line in the wrong place.

    The formulation is wrong here. Socialists were not “on the side of Stalin”. They were on the side of the workers of the world, asserting the political independence of the workers from the boss class and its agencies. They knew that Stalin’s regime was a consequence of abandonment of that very principle, which is why for example, Stalin handed over communists for internment in the US during WW2, endorsed the A-bombing of Japan etc …

    In my view, a sensible socialist would prefer … But then I guess I wouldn’t make a very good communist.

    Indeed you wouldn’t, which is why you are ill-placed to evaluate what “sensible” socialists should do, or even why they should do it. Sensible socialists understand their paradigm, and either embrace it with adequate warrant, or abandon it and become something else. Whatever Orwell once was, he clearly chose the latter course in the years before his death, becoming a Cold War liberal.

  23. I like the way having been quoted by the shooter, the editor of QuadRant, Buttscuttle, is now vigorously trying to distance himself. Problem with espousing their philosophy of nastyism, some hear the dog-whistles. But isn’t that the intention?

  24. Glenn Beck doesn’t dog whistle as he is catering for the ‘Hard of Thinking’. Some of his audience are now doing a sterling job in congress.

  25. PrQ … is there any there any reasoreason why my response to Strocchi, J and Macknay, T is still in moderation 24h + after posting? Similarly is there any reason why my other post in Monday Message board, on a pure question on macro-economic questions is held up?

  26. @Fran:

    Socialists were not “on the side of Stalin”. They were on the side of the workers of the world, asserting the political independence of the workers from the boss class and its agencies.

    Well they would say that, wouldn’t they? 😉

  27. The milieu of vicious and malicious hatemongering from which Breivik emerged, pitiless and cruel (he used dum-dums so his child victims were mutilated as well as dead)is absolutely ubiquitous in the West. The dominance of the Right, economically, politically and in the MSM brainwashing apparatus, means that Rightist pathopsychology is also dominant and ruthlessly projected onto society as a form of pseudo-religion. And we know what that entails, every time we pick up a copy of ‘The Fundament’ (The Fundamental Orifice of the Nation). Hatred and vilification for all the Right’s enemies, from Moslems to Christine Nixon. And when these hatemongers are identified by one of their acolytes as his inspiration, they have the utterly cynical hypocrisy to plead innocence, deny their culpability and reject their progeny, then go on to spread yet more hatred. Not just the deranged depths of a Beck, spitting on the dead, mutilated, children and projecting his own pathopsychology on them, but The Fundament’s Augean rabble of hate-opinion writers, editorialists and pet correspondents and letter-writers, who already have turned to blaming ‘multiculturalists’ and Moslem immigration for the outrage. In fact beginning the process of blaming the victims, exculpating the monster and keeping the hate flowing. And in the Stygian darkness of the Rightwing blogs you have open admiration and support. The soul of the Rightist is that of a killer, one who tries to overcome his existential fear of death by pretending to be its master, and dealing it out to others, to inflate his death-worshipping ego. Whether Auschwitz, Einsatsgruppen, ‘shock and awe’, ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’, from Hiroshima to Fallujah, the Right’s lust to kill and destroy will never be slaked.

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