Calling Out Totalitarianism in Norway

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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Nothing could be less in doubt than the responsibility of Anders Behring Breivik for the murders committed in Oslo and on the island of Utøya on July 22 of last year.  But his trial has been going on for several weeks now, and will go on for a few more.  For this is more than just a trial – it’s a national event, carried live on both of the country’s major broadcast channels.  And the question is not whether the defendant is guilty or not – that’s already been settled.  It’s this: what will be left of freedom of speech in Norway when this grotesque spectacle is over?

For the objective here is not just to try Breivik for his actions, but to try him for his thoughts as well.  The climax of the trial will come in June, when several writers who have written about Islam – myself included – will be hauled into court as unwilling witnesses for the defense.  As I wrote here last month, “the goal of the defense – and of the defendant, who apparently made up the list of witnesses himself – is utterly identical with the goal of the country’s leftist cultural elite: namely, to implicate all of us writers in Breivik’s actions.  Of course, Breivik wants to do this in order to mitigate his own guilt in the eyes of the court and the country; the cultural elite wants to do it in order to discredit forever the criticism of Islam.”

Among the other writers on the list of defense witnesses is Hanne Nabintu Herland, a historian of religion who’s been an outspoken critic of Western feminism, the social-democratic welfare state, “reverse racism,” Norwegian anti-Semitism, and the Norwegian cult of mediocrity.  She’s also written – and this is why she’s been summoned to testify in the Breivik case – about the importance of integrating immigrants and of preserving traditional European cultural values.  But she’s not having it.  On Monday, she made a major announcement in an op-ed for Aftenposten: she’s informed the authorities that she won’t be obeying her summons.  She simply refuses to be a part of “this twisted murderer’s show….I refuse to be dragged around the circus ring like another clown in the perpetrator’s bizarre delusions.”  She asserts that “the obligation to testify is being abused.  I was not in Norway on July 22.  My testimony has no bearing on the question of guilt or sanity.”

Needless to say, when you’re called to testify in a trial and refuse to do so, you may face serious consequences.  “If this means that I will be put in prison,” Herland writes, “then make me a political martyr.”

Herland doesn’t mince words.  Since the day after Breivik’s murders, she charges, opponents of what she calls “the throne of power, the Labor Party,” have been treated as suspects.  “As things stand now, it’s almost the case that if you’re critical of the Labor Party, you’re automatically put in the same category as a mass murderer….This political witch hunt is now so intense that it’s fair to speak of undemocratic, totalitarian conditions in Norway.  We’re well on the way to becoming the new East Germany….the state is developing in the direction of a totalitarian democracy.”

As readers of my recent e-book about the aftermath of the Breivik killings know, Herland isn’t exaggerating.

Has anyone in Norway been as forthright about the present situation – and as willing to publicly challenge the grim new orthodoxy – as Herland has been?  Well, there have been a few others.  In her op-ed, Herland cites a recent opinion piece by shipowner Dan Odfjell, who tells a story I haven’t yet read or heard.  According to him, when Breivik began shooting on the island of Utøya, Eskil Pedersen, the head of the Labor Party youth group which was Breivik’s target, hopped on a boat and was the first person from the island to make it to shore.  Odfjell doesn’t criticize Pedersen for saving his skin; he criticizes him for allowing the Labor Party, in the days and weeks after July 22, to try to cover up the truth and turn him into a hero – an effort, charges Odfjell, that has been only one part of a carefully orchestrated effort by the party “to deliberately blur the distinction between itself…and the nation of Norway.”

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  • Chezwick

    Another Orwellian example of the Norway's collective myopia is the media and government's use of the term"colorful community" to affectionately label Muslim immigrants. The term is in telling contradistinction to the uniform black chadors and niqabs worn by the Muslim women who can be seen daily going about their business in Norway's urban centers..

  • truebearing

    As a person with Norwegian heritage, I am apalled and amazed that the people there are so morally weak and intellectually stunted. From now onward, it appears it will be known more for its fools than its fjords.

    Being as close to Russia as Norway is, and seeing the disastrous results of communism in that country, you'd think that the people would have summarily quashed any effort by the Left to gain a foothold. Unfortunately, we have slipped in this country and have allowed the Left to do the same thing.

    • Thomas K. Nilsen

      As a NORWEGIAN born, raised and living in Norway, (who btw does not vote Labour) I'm apalled and amazed that you and others in here are so weak and intellectually stunted, that you take everything Bruce Bawer writes about as the 100 percent truth. Bawer is no different than the opinions of people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow etc, they're just that: OPINIONS. How about you grow an actual brain and use it to research and create an opinion of yourself instead of just acting like a mouthpiece for fearmongrers like Bruce Bawer, who spends his life berating the country that gave him safe haven when he was afraid to live with his boyfriend in the "free" USA. You can be anything you want on the internet, and you choose to be stupid?

      • StephenD

        I would like to believe you have a valid point. Can you refute anything Bawer has said or are you merely pointing out the difference between opinion and fact? The few folks he quoted seem to make sense to me. The brave author Ms. Herland and Ms. Witoszek along with the ship owner Odfjell are directly quoted. Is there anything in this article that is inaccurate which we should be aware?
        If you know of any please share it with us. If you do not then you sir, are a noise maker and unworthy of serious consideration.

        • Chezwick

          Exactly Stephen! 'Truebearing' confines himself to shooting the messenger because he can't refute the message.

          • Chezwick

            Sorry 'bearing'….I meant Thomas K Nilsen.

        • nerdinnorway

          From another Norwegian (born and raised) I'd just like to answer that, Mr "StephenD":

          If a Norwegian is unworthy of serious consideration compared to an American who moved to Norway filled with bias against an entire religion, then you can just pack up and stop listening to anyone ever again. Bruce Bawer quoting Herland and Witoszek is comparable to Glenn Beck quoting Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. They all share the same agenda and they share the same OPINIONS. That's what it is. Not FACT. I'll find a bloke who supports Manchester United and he'll quote two other ManU-supporters and suddenly they're proven experts on the subject of football? (or "soccer" as Americans for some odd reason call it)

          An American who didn't grow up with the Norwegian language or the Norwegian "ear" (which is why music Norwegians might LOVE sounds absolutely boring to foreign ears, its the same between a lot of different languages and cultures) calls the sang 'Barn av regnbuen' "insipid", he even calls it a "kindergarten song" and reveals he lacks even basic knowledge of one of the most popular songs in Norway in the last 40 years (it is NOT a "kindergarten song" just because kindergarten kids might know it).

          How about this for refuting: Bawer and his two women talk about how Norwegians have been lulled into a state of comfort which makes them some how incapable of heroic actions or to stand up when facing evil like Behring Breivik. Well Anders Behring Breivik walked around on an island shooting unarmed kids wearing a POLICE UNIFORM. The confusion and chaos was total, a lot of the survivors still have trouble seeing a police uniform till this day, and cried and screamed and were terrified when the real police showed up on the island, some even threw rocks at the real police when they came to rescue them.

          Now compare this to similar shocking "firsts" in the all mighty Rambo-country of Bruce Bawer, the USA:
          Just what excactly took place at Columbine, the famous shooting massacre of unarmed children? The two Columbine-shooters were students, they weren't dressed as a police officer to add to that confusion, they were two students just like the victims, and just how many people stood up and tried to fight the two mass-murderers? Remind me again, Stephen, anyone else? Oh that's right. NO ONE. They were just as terrified as the kids on Utøya. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris could walk around for an hour killing and injuring until they finally figured their plan was done, and they shot themselves.

          Let's not stop there. Let's go to another similar attack; Virginia Tech. Just how many stories of heroics from people in a country not "lulled" or nannied stood up, or knew excactly how to handle the Virginia Tech-shooter? Where are the Rambos there?

          Oh right.

          The fact is that fearmongrers like Bruce Bawer only has it in their mouth, and nowhere else. Just today I heard more incredible, detailed stories from more survivors from the island, who had their day in court today. And especially one of them showed courage in a way I have never seen from such a youngster. Viljar Hanssen, now 18 years old, survived getting shot FIVE times on the island (he even described how he poked inside the hole in his head and felt his brain). In the court, with the hateful mass murderer seated a few metres away, he talked about how he told his parents on his cell phone he "would save everyone" and added to the court, "that was probably a tad bit ambitious of me", making the court chuckle. Later he said in the court when talking about his ijuries, "I am now blind on my right eye, but that's just as well cause then I can't look at him," (meaning Behring Breivik who was sitting to his right), and the court laughed quietly. In interviews later with the media the now 18-year-old showed a sense of humour and spirit of life in face with the worst evil Norway had ever seen, that makes people like Bruce Bawer come off as a nobody. Kids like Viljar Hanssen has already showed more courage and done more with their young lives than a fearmongrer like Bruce Bawer ever did.

          But by all means, the Bruce Bawers and his followers (in and outside of prison) frequenting this site will of course give this post a thumbs down, just like they gave that other Norwegian a thumbs down who commented on the clear ignorance immigrant Bawer is spreading to his likeminded followers. Any hint or suggestion that their idol Bawer might not be the Oracle they make him out to be is unacceptable in here.

          Personally I'd much rather idolize kids like Viljar Hanssen, who faced evil, who survived it and shows the world that he will continue to live just like he did before, and won't be dictated by terrorists.

          • Chezwick

            NERDINNORWAY: "If a Norwegian is unworthy of serious consideration compared to an American who moved to Norway filled with bias against an entire religion, then you can just pack up and stop listening to anyone ever again."

            You just lost your entire argument with your opening statement.

            Islam is an intolerant religion that mandates barbarities such as the stoning of adulteresses, the execution of apostates and blasphemers, wife-beating, and the legalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims. These are FACTS, verified by both scripture and historical experience. If you DON'T have a problem with this particular belief system – and you apparently don't (otherwise, you would be congratulating Bawer instead of attacking him), then you are afflicted with the same myopia that Bruce insists characterizes the mindset of most Norwegians.

          • StephenD

            And yet another that does not refute any of the facts presented. I don't get it. Show us where what was said is wrong. Of course, there is evidence that the "Truth" is no longer a viable defense so I won't hold my breath waiting for your answer.

      • Guest

        I have to admit I am stupid. I totally missed any point you are trying to make other than calling us stupid. Stupid for what?

        Personally, I think the gunman made only one mistake, he got caught before he could take out more adults.

      • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

        'fearmongrers ' is not a word.
        Furthermore, it is good to have a healthy fear of a 'religion' that wants people dead that do not agree with it.

      • truebearing

        You begin your jeremiad with a non sequitur…that I take Bawer's word as 100% truth I because happened to comment on ONE article he wrote. That hardly supports your hysterical conclusion. I can see you are indeed one of the weak minds I decried.

        You rather foolishly argue that opinions have no validity…while stating your opinion. In your particular case, and that of Maddow and Olbermann, you points are well taken. I hope you're smart enough to detect a trend here.

        I can be anything I want on the internet? Sounds delusional to me. Are you related to Breivik, by any chance?

        Maybe you should have refuted Bawer instead of attacking me. Why didn't you provide some kind of evidence that he is wrong? Remember, you can be anything you want on the internet. How about being logical and factual? There's a first time for everything.

        • StephenD

          Well said Trubearing. Very well said.

  • clarityrising

    "Taps" to the viking spirit. Norway is in the process of being
    steam-rolled by leftists and muslims because of their unwillingness to
    face the reality of a brutal world. Did they learn nothing from Hitler
    and the consequences of appeasement? To those who seek power, the
    "peace and love" mentality is a sign of weakness making people lambs for
    the slaughter. Tyranny only understands strength. Once you've let
    things slide too far, once the leftists and muslims starting climbing
    out of their beachheads pushing inland, then it's too late, then it
    comes down to violence to take back what you negligently let slip through your
    fingers like sand. Violence may beget violence, but peace does not beget peace. STRENGTH begets peace.

    • Norwegian

      "To those who seek power, the
      "peace and love" mentality is a sign of weakness making people lambs for
      the slaughter."

      The Marxist peace and love mentality was an export of the Russian OGPU/NKVD to undermine the enemy's (the West's) will to fight a conventional war (against communist states, where no "peace and love" ever existed).

      "STRENGTH begets peace."

      True: Si vis pacem, para bellum – if you wish for peace, prepare for war.

  • Guest

    What a load of nonsense! If you call standing up to your principles weakness then I wonder what strength really is. This is utter crap.

    • clarityrising

      What of these principles that you so ineloquently defend? Are these the principles that would allow a functioning socialist democracy to devolve into some form of leftist tyranny (i.e. socialist dictatorship, fascism, communism), or would allow wives and daughters to be subjected to cruel and inhumane Sharia law? Magnificent viking beards of old would at least make a comeback, they'd have to or one might get locked away for being impious.

      Let's take these noble principles and apply them to Israel. What do you think would happen? It appears your history studies have been sorely neglected, therefore I suggest you go back and read the run-up to WWII so you might get a clue instead of ranting like an occupier.

    • clarityrising

      What of these principles that you so ineloquently defend? Are these the principles that would allow a functioning socialist democracy to devolve into some form of leftist tyranny (i.e. socialist dictatorship, fascism, communism), or would allow wives and daughters to be subjected to cruel and inhumane Sharia law? Magnificent viking beards of old would at least make a comeback, they'd have to or one might get locked away for being impious.

  • davarino

    Lets all sing kumbya and praise the gov, cause they know best.

    Enjoy your dark cold lifeless existance there in Norway.

  • clarityrising

    Where did my response go??

  • clarityrising

    What of these principles that you so ineloquently defend, O'Shapeless Guest? Are these the principles that would allow a functioning socialist democracy to devolve into some form of leftist tyranny (i.e. socialist dictatorship, fascism, communism), or would allow wives and daughters to be subjected to cruel and inhumane Sharia law? Magnificent viking beards of old would at least make a comeback, they'd have to or one might get locked away for being impious. It takes no great feat of strength to rollover and play dead in denial.

    Let's take these noble principles and apply them to Israel. Do you think they would work there? I think not. It appears you were negligent in your history studies, therefore I suggest you go back and read the run-up to WWII and see where that got Europe, so maybe you won't rant like an #occupier.

  • marios

    Norway in WWII with Pres. Quisling collaborated with Nazis. Norway is one of the most anit-Semits country in Europe and correspondigly the most Islamic and socialistic inclined. If G-d wants to punish someone He deprives those by brain, by mind. Unfortunately resistence to Islam invasion will bring another dangerous form of radical nationanlism. Radical Lefts and radical Rights are both horrible. Norwagian Labor party collaboration with Islam invasion is the same as Norway's collaboration with Nazis in WWII. I am not justify breivic but I understand him. He wants his country be free and belong to Norwagians but not became Islamic one.

    • Norwegian

      Quisling had about 2% of the Norwegian votes prior to the war, and his collaboration was really the only responsible thing to do, unless you wanted a senseless loss of life and property. I can't bring myself to blame Quisling for that. He was a patriot who loved Norway. He was a traitor to a tiny clique who wanted a war Norway was completely unprepared for (with no tanks, no heavy weapons, and a ridiculous air force), but a friend of the people.

      Anyhow, the wise men in government decided for war before fleeing to England. Thousands of men, women and children were killed for absolutely no gain for Norway. The Germans were still here, of course.

      "Unfortunately resistence to Islam invasion will bring another dangerous form of radical nationanlism."

      Yes, extremists will always find their counterparts.

      "Norwagian Labor party collaboration with Islam invasion is the same as Norway's collaboration with Nazis in WWII."

      This is so wrong. Quisling collaborated out of patriotism, and out of the interests of the Norwegian people. The Norwegian Labor Party collaborate out of a latent hatred for Norway – a country they obviously seek to destroy ethnically and culturally through mass immigration.

      So the Norwegian Labor Party is not anything like Quisling – they are something far, far worse.

  • http://Baersart.com Jane Larson Baer

    My poor ancestoral homeland of Norge! Here in America, when people are not allowed to express thier natural "side" in debate form, the vacuum is filled with extremists. This has happened with the reverse-racist debate in which "whites" are not allowed to debate from their natural "side" against supporters of illegal immigrants (& those supporters usually hire them at slave wage) so that "whites" cannot express thier "side" that their jobs and neighborhoods and wages are going down becaseu of competition with foreigners in the US illegally. Instead of allowing a debate, the left calls all who object to illegal immigration "racists". Into this vacuum real racists can emerge. It is dangerous. The lack of free speech is the environment evil can emerge.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Norway, what anarchy and socialism can do to destroy a country.

    Which Eurotrash entity will fall next? The UK? Frawnce?

    • Raymond in DC

      With the French Republic now headed by Hollande and a regime that includes three Muslim Ministers, France is halfway there. Muslim votes in France went 90% for Hollande, and those votes put him over the top. So he "owes them". (Jewish votes went overwhelmingly for Sarkozy.)

  • Dan Schnittker

    Norway, where are the men?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      There are no men in norway.

      Just a bunch of socialists with estrogen poisoning.

  • Sigh

    Not surprising that a man who makes his living writing conspiracy theories about a Muslim take-over of Europe wouold see a conspiracy taking place in Norway. Why do you publish such nonsense?

    • clarityrising

      Do you actually have anything intelligent to say, something that adds to the discussion? Or are you just letting the neurons in your brain fire chaotically?

  • Sigh

    Oops, my bad. I thought this was a different (i.e. real) media outlet. Didn't see it was the racist FP Mag. Just move on then, nothing new to see here.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      sigh, perhaps you'll feel more comfortable at racist huffington post or fascist counterputz?

  • Bawer Schmawer

    Mr Bawer is an Ali G/Borat-like figure in his adopted homeland Norway. His book about "The New Quislings" where he labels a generation of victims of Nazi-occupation "traitors", is more comic book bizarre than offendable.
    In this confused piece he attributes a quote, "I refuse to be dragged around the circus ring like another clown.. etc" to Ms Herland. But it comes from a far-left anarchist, Stein Lillevolden who – like Herland – refuses to be called as an witness in the Breivik trial. Right Wing Nuts like Mr Bawer and Ms Herland and Left Wing Nuts like Mr Lillevolden will of course refuse to cooperate with a democratic justice system. And they get applauded by nuts all over the internet for their despicable behaviour.

  • Magnus Magnusen

    Self-righteous sheep, sure to end up like ‘smalehove’ – roasted on a spit. A relatively uneducated population, who have others directng their lives and thoughts. Ignorance, lack of criitcal thought and abdicating power to authorities – a deadly combination. Sad Norway…

  • Ghostwriter

    Let me say this. Breivik is filth. He deserves to be hung or spend the rest of his life in jail. I'm sorry that Norway doesn't have a death penalty. If anyone on earth deserves it,it's Breivik.

  • ratonis

    Norway? What's that?

  • Jim

    The Socialists are the Mother Ship and the Norwegian ordinary people are it's zombies.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    brevik is the symptom of a sick society that is socialist norway.

  • curmudgeon

    anti-norwegian monsters seize control of the government, and punish norwegians by replacing them in their own country with murderous, raping muslims. a misguided patriot shoots a few young and misguided adherents of the idea that replacing the norwegian population with muslim invaders is a good idea, and the anti-norwegian monsters use the patriot's unwise actions to further their cause–the genocide of norwegians. now tell me. who is the real criminal? norwegians do nothing while their women are raped by invading muslims, and accept the lies of their own media. norwegians do nothing while their cities are turned into islamic hellholes into which a norwegian dares not venture, and acceps his media's assurances that this is a good thing. will the last norwegians kick up any fuss when they are led to the gas chambers by their betters–the muslim invaders invited into their country, and pampered by their own traitorous government, with the fawning approval of their own traitorous media? who is the real criminal in norway?

  • Michael Canzano

    From Vikings to Crumblings !

  • Michael Canzano

    Criticze Islam go on trial . Kill a Christian go on a cruise .

  • Michael Canzano

    Any Nation accepting non assimilation as politically correct will eventually cede
    its Nationality .