Until now I have known nothing at all of Norwegian politics, and little of modern Norway except for a vague picture of it as an enlightened, hard-working, high-minded, generally humane, enlightened and public-spirited society. The Scandinavians ~ this is the general impression at this distance ~ seem more or less to have made a success of socialism. P.J.O’Rourke, I remember, in a book on economic systems, chose four countries to illustrate ‘good socialism’, ‘bad socialism’, ‘good capitalism’ and ‘bad capitalism’.
Sweden, ’s next-door neighbour, was good socialism. Helen Clark liked them…. Norway
I would still hesitate to claim that I have mastered all the basic facts of Norwegian political life, let alone those vital nuances. I understand the situation from recent newspaper commentary, and I am particularly indebted to Chris Trotter, in the Press of the 26th of July. It appears that even
is not as happy a place as we might be inclined to think. It has recently received its share of Muslim immigrants, and now a full tenth of Norway ’s population is Muslim. Europe generally has preferred to adopt the `multicultural’ approach which allows and positively encourages new arrivals to retain their own customs and way of life, rather than becoming integrated into the wider society, and this is exacerbated in Norway by deep-seated insular attitudes, even among the elite, which, while allowing foreigners to enter, nevertheless at another level do not really want foreigners to take part in their traditions. Norwegian Muslims, anyway, do not participate much in mainstream Norwegian life, and live in enclaves of striking poverty. Muslim crime and violence against the wider population is notorious. In 2001, as but one example, it was reported that 65% of rapes in Norway were committed by Muslims. Norway
Needless to say, many among the native Norwegian population are particularly concerned about this, and this concern expresses itself through the Progressive Party, which, according to Chris Trotter, ‘brought together rural and provincial Norwegians antagonistic to the influx of non-white, non-Christian immigrants with the growing number of young, urban-dwelling Norwegians chafing under the benign collectivism of Norway’s social-democratic institutions’. The Progressive Party in fact is the second-largest part in Norwegian politics, enjoying something like 25% of the popular vote, as well as considerable public sympathy for its stance on Muslim immigration beyond that 25%. Breivik had been a member of this party, but had later left it because he considered it too inclined to compromise and moderation. Nevertheless, because of its ‘racial and religious prejudice’ ~ I quote Chris Trotter again ~ ‘essentially, the entire Norwegian political class, aided by the news media, came together to mount an effective political boycott of the Progressive Party’. Other political parties declared it persona non grata, and as a consequence ‘upwards of one quarter of the population found its political beliefs and aspirations deliberately excluded from government’ for the indefinite future.
So in Norway, then, a quarter of the population is more or less permanently denied any participation in government and legislation, because their objections to what is happening to their own society are considered by the other political parties and their supporters to be out of the question and beyond even the slightest consideration. In the name of tolerance of other points of view, of course.
As I understand it, Breivik’s actions were a protest at this condemnation of a quarter of the population to perpetual impotence. Democracy, in this situation, was of no avail. He was, therefore, driven to more dreadful courses. Any explanation of his actions can of course be misinterpreted as a defence of indefensible murder. Our caring liberal fellow-citizens flatter themselves, anyway, that they are readier than we are to see the fundamental core of goodness, and capacity for redemption, in every human being. I think they misunderstand us ~ we see the good, but we also see the bad, and have a more realistic understanding of human nature and how to deal with it. But leaving that aside, let us take them at their word, and just for a minute try to see things from Breivik’s point of view. Norway’s political coalition agreed among its members that the views of at least a quarter of the population on an absolutely fundamental matter, the nature and destiny of their own nation, and people’s own place within it, are to be entirely disregarded now and forever; while at the same time the government continues to follow and embed policies about immigration which, of their very nature, are well-nigh irrevocable. Immigration will tend to accelerate, indeed, since it will be promoted by earlier immigrants who operate as a bridgehead to promote the continued settlement of their countrymen. The country of the conservative Norwegians is being changed for ever before their eyes, and they are told that it is none of their business. Although we would never defend murder, we may sense something of Breivik’s frustrations. What, in this situation, could he or anyone do?
One of history’s most obvious lessons is surely that if governments do not allow people to express their desires and frustrations within the law then the people are left with no option but to step outside it. This applies as much to allegedly democratic governments as it does to kings or to Middle Eastern tyrants. Where reform is not possible rebellion ~ violence ~ is inevitable.
There was a time when enlightened liberal politicians fretted about the ‘tyranny of the majority’ ~ the dreadful idea that a majority (a conservative majority of course) could make laws furthering its own interests; laws which, although enjoying majority support, nevertheless trespassed on the sacred rights of minorities. Obviously, the days of such fretting are past. The new liberal majority has no hesitation to trample on the wishes of a substantial part of the population ~ in the name of high principle and a supposed, if not immediately obvious, tolerance for other points of view.
I am reminded of a Cobb cartoon. Ron Cobb was one of the great underground American cartoonists of the 1960s and 70s, the friend of the hippies and peaceniks, black and native Americans, stoners and counter-culturalists. He had a very distinctive style, and made many apposite points. The name may not immediately ring a bell, but you will recognise some of his cartoons, I am sure, when you see them. In the one I have in mind, an American congressman, in frame after frame, continues to intone some of the sacred words of the American constitution ~ ‘Congress shall make no law….abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.’ Behind him, in each frame, stands a group of protesters, wanting to petition the government. The Congressman completely ignores them. In the first frames, the protesters are pretty respectable, but as the Congressman ~ the Establishment ~ continues to ignore them they become rougher and more unkempt and aggressive, until finally there is a bit of an explosion, a bomb in fact ~ and the congressman, turning round and noticing them for the very first time, says angrily ‘Just what the hell do you expect to achieve by all this senseless violence?’
Well, that is what happens when you ignore people, and I am afraid that that is what seems to have happened in
. I have heard and read several commentators express their perplexity that such a thing should happen in Norway Norway, because is such a splendid example of a successful multicultural society. Well, forgive me for stating the obvious, but Norway is the very opposite of a ‘successful’ society if it is a society where a substantial proportion of the population is so ignored and marginalised that one of their number ~ at the extreme end of the spectrum, certainly ~ feels that he has to murder scores of people before the political establishment will listen to his widely-held point of view. If that is success, then Heaven help us. Norway
The Norwegian prime minister, I have read, has renewed his and his country’s commitment to ‘tolerance’. Tolerance is of course a wonderful thing which no-one would ever dream of opposing; but the word is capable of more than one meaning. Tolerance could mean the tolerance of, and indeed actual respect for and accommodation of the point of view held by a substantial part of ones own population ~ those who vote for the Progressive Party, and the many more who sympathise with them on this matter. That surely would be a reasonable and good attitude. Tolerance must surely mean actually listening, not just saying ‘You won’t be prosecuted for your opinions, but we’re going to ignore them’. But as I understand it, that is not the sort of tolerance the prime minister meant, and is certainly not the sort meant by others.
According to Bruce Bawer, the author of While Europe Slept, How Radical Islam Is Destroying The West From Within ~ a book we all should read ~ ‘[i]n April 2005, after virtually no public debate, the Norwegian Parliament passed a sweeping law that made it punishable by fine or imprisonment to say anything ‘discriminatory’ or ‘hateful’ about anybody else’s skin colour, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The burden of proof was placed on the accused: unless you could prove you hadn’t done or said something offensive, you’d be presumed guilty. Only the ‘populist’ Progressive Party had opposed this legislation.’ As I understand it, the Norwegian prime minister’s commitment is to the ‘tolerance’ that is enforced by this law ~ a law which appears to be used chiefly against native Norwegians, not against hate-filled imams and immigrant rabble-rousers. ‘Tolerance’ means, in fact, the elimination of freedom of speech and dissent for locals.
We are in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Freedom Is Slavery, George Orwell prophesied, and here we are ~ Repression Is Tolerance.
But what would happen, you ask, if worried Norwegians were allowed to speak their minds? Surely they would say unpleasant things about immigrants and violence would result? Surely, to prevent such violence,
needs such a law? Norway
That is a reasonable question, but there are reasonable replies. The first, of course, is that violence has already resulted as a consequence of this law and the general repressive regime it embodies. Breivik’s violence was a protest against the direction his country was heading in, and this law was a significant aspect of that. Moreover, as mentioned above, there is regular and abundant violence and crime in
now by Islamic immigrants, who are emboldened by the cowardice of the ‘liberal’ ruling class which manifests itself in such laws. As for the 2001 figure of 65% of rapes committed by Muslims, Unni Wikan of the University of Oslo, an expert, evidently, on Islamic culture, responded, not that Muslim men should stop committing rape, but that ‘Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes’ because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative, believing ‘that it is women who are responsible for rape’. Her message was not that Muslim men in Norway Europe needed to adjust to Western norms, but that ‘Norwegian women must realise that they live in a multicultural society and adapt to it’.
(When one hears such opinions, one realises the truth in the title of the best-seller on immigration recently written by the German politician and banker Thilo Sarrazin, and for which he was forced to resign from the Bundesbank ~
Abolishes Itself.) Germany
If Norwegians ~ generally reasonable and polite people, we are led to understand ~ had been allowed to express their concerns about immigrants and their ways, then there might actually have been changes in immigration policy which would have meant that there were fewer immigrants for the supporters of the Progressive Party to worry about. The application of democracy would have ameliorated the problem. At the very least, popular disapproval would have encouraged immigrants to integrate and generally behave better. But the worried population has been ignored as a matter of principle, and in consequence
Norway ~ and most of Europe ~ has a problem on its hands which seems well-nigh insoluble. These countries harbour large unassimilated immigrant communities who not only cling to their own culture but are deeply intolerant of any other and hostile to many of their host societies’ most fundamental values. Official policy towards them has been appeasement and propitiation. The ideal has been ‘multiculturalism’, not integration. The tolerance of multiculturalism has been enforced by the intolerance of any opposition to it. The intellectual leaders of these policies have been of the left. They have had abundant warnings, from Enoch Powell onwards, but they have dismissed them with lofty high-minded disdain.
The liberals and the left, then, have through their own blindness and intolerance created the very monster they feared. They have created the immigrant problem, by not listening to their own people ~ by not listening, indeed, to the elementary lessons of history and indeed of common sense. They have therefore also created the popular, and often fully-justified, response of disquiet about those immigrants. It is a dreadful thing that Breivik shot children on that holiday island. But the children were, I understand, the children of the elite, the children of one of the ruling parties determined for ever to ignore the concerns of other Norwegians; and terrible though it is to say, it seems that the children have had their fathers’ sins visited upon them.
What will happen now in
? Doubtless Breivik’s actions will be considered to have tainted his cause, and provide justifications for continuing to ignore anti-immigration concerns and brand Progressive Party supporters as murderous racists. That would be most unfortunate. It would only mean that the eventual explosions will be even more calamitous. Doubtless the ruling parties and their supporters would resent ‘giving in’, as they might perceive it, to the threat of violence from the likes of Breivik. But there can be no doubt but that the violent and threatening attitude of many Muslims ~ expressed, of course, in bombings, in regular criminal violence, riots, threats, and such murders as those of the film-maker and critic of Islam Theo van Gogh ~ there can be no doubt but that these acts of violence have influenced cowardly politicians in their spineless acceptance of multiculturalism. It would only be fair to be influenced by the threat of violence from the Breiviks of this world as well. Norway
? Are there any lessons for us in all of this? No-one would suggest that our situation is anything like New Zealand ’s, but at the same time it is not entirely dissimilar. Norway has two matters of possible racial and cultural controversy ~ one concerning Maori, the other concerning new immigrants. In both cases, the expression of points of view other than the politically correct one is to some extent discouraged and repressed. As far as immigration goes, although there may be no formal agreement, it is clear that the understanding of both major political parties, and indeed most of the minor ones except New Zealand First, is that immigration is never to be spoken of or to become a political issue. National and Labour are at one on this. The attitude of the Race Relations Commissioner is more blatant. As is well-known, when Dr Greg Clydesdale presented a very scholarly, well-researched and footnoted paper to an academic conference suggesting very politely that the economic benefits of Pacific Islander immigration were not all they were cracked up to be, the Commissioner publicly condemned his paper without having received a single complaint and without even having read it. The Commissioner’s attitude is very clearly that any suggestion whatsoever that immigration ~ of non-white people, anyway ~ to New Zealand is undesirable, is to be very firmly sat on. I have no doubt but that many sensible decent non-racist New Zealanders, both European and Maori, do have doubts about continuing immigration and the silent irrevocable reshaping of our country. But the likes of the Race Relations Commissioner, and indeed political parties, are doing their best to ensure that their voices are never heard. Is there not an echo of New Zealand here? Norway
As for Maori, the situation is not quite so bad. There is still much freedom of expression. The recent refusal of the Dominion Post, however, to publish a perfectly reasonable ACT Party advertisement treating of Maori issues does not bode well, and neither does the readiness of the National Party to promise before an election to end racial separatism and then break its word and betray its supporters the moment the election results are declared.
certainly has plenty of self-styled apostles of tolerance who are ready to scream ‘racism’ at, and demand the suppression of, any opinion on the Treaty industry which they disagree with. Their attitude undoubtedly represses public discussion. New Zealand
We are not entirely different from
then. Norway , despite all its highmindedness, wealth, and repression of opposition, has clearly failed to establish a successful multicultural society. Its attempts to do so have brought about a dreadful response. I think there is a lesson here which Norway would do well to ponder. New Zealand
I have searched on Google for any observations which our very own Race Relations Commissioner might have made in response to the Norwegian tragedy, but as far as I can see Mr de Bres has, so far anyway, maintained a very careful silence. This is very disappointing. We might surely have been entitled to expect a little more guidance from this highly-paid and vigilant public servant on a matter of the greatest public importance, and, as I say, one not without relevance to our own country. If Mr de Bres should chance to read this column ~ and I suspect that from time to time he does pop in, just to check up on what we are thinking, perhaps even with his censor’s pencil poised ~ perhaps he might note that many New Zealanders would, if not actually value ~ that might be overstating the case ~ at least be interested in his opinion, just as we are mystified by his silence. Perhaps he is rethinking his opinions. But perhaps that would be too much to hope for, and he may continue to be similar to the people who created the mess that Europe, and