Love and Hate in Norway

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“If you hate Norway so much,” read the email in my inbox the other day, “why don’t you go back to America?  Why don’t you go back to the Midwest or the Southern states where you can live with your beloved Tea Party friends?”

The email was in Norwegian, and the sender had a Norwegian name.  This is far from the first such e-mail I have received in my thirteen years in Norway.  A few years back, in a piece for the New York Times about the Norwegian economy, I made what I thought was a harmless remark in passing about the matpakke, the wrapped-up homemade sandwich that many workers in Norway, including high-ranking executives, chow down at their desks at lunchtime because it’s just too expensive here (Oslo is the world’s priciest city) for most people to go out for even a modest lunch.  After that article, I got several hundred outraged text messages, e-mails, and phone calls asking me why I was living in Norway if I hated its beloved traditions so much and ordering me to go back to America.  I even got a couple of death threats.

The reason for this latest wave of unfriendly e-mails, however, is my new e-book, The New Quislings, in which I examine the aftermath of the dozens of murders committed on July 22 by an insane young Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik.  Breivik, most of whose victims were members of the youth division of Norway’s Labor Party, explained that he was motivated by a hostility toward Norway’s multicultural immigration and integration policies, which are largely the work of the Labor Party and which are turning Norway, like much of the rest of Europe, into an increasingly Islamic state.

After Breivik’s atrocities, Norway’s left-wing cultural elite lost no time linking him publicly with every prominent writer, foreign or domestic – myself included – who has warned about the Islamization of Europe.  We Islam critics, it was asserted, had created an atmosphere of “Islam-hate” and were thus, in part, responsible for Breivik’s actions.  Some members of the elite insisted that we Islam critics needed to change our tune about Islam; others went further, saying that if we didn’t shut up and play along, we should be punished for it – silenced.

For months, the Norwegian media were full of demonizing, menacing rhetoric – rhetoric that thoroughly misrepresented the views of people like me and Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or, making us sound like genocidal racists, threats to civilization, democracy, and pluralism.  All the while, those who truly represented a threat to civilization, democracy, and pluralism were the very people who were leveling these charges – who were cynically exploiting the acts of a lone madman in an effort to strangle free speech in Norway and destroy their own ideological opponents.

To a frightening extent, the attempt worked – and continues to work.  For a time, criticism of Islam was almost entirely muted.  Then, gradually, the critics began to speak up again – but in all too many cases, the criticism was more tepid, more timid, than before.  In some cases Islam went entirely unmentioned, the focus instead being purely on immigration and integration policies.  When word began to spread that I had written a book whose title compared Norway’s would-be censors of Islam criticism to Vidkun Quisling, the Nazi puppet who ran Norway during the occupation, my fellow Islam critics in Norway rushed to distance themselves from the book and to reject the comparison.  Even though many of the influential left-wingers I had written about were actively out to crush free speech in Norway, it was simply over the top, I was told, to compare them to Quisling.

It is, of course, a truism that one should not be quick to compare one’s ideological opponents to Nazis.  Yet in this case the comparison seemed to me amply justified.  First of all, it is not as if Nazi comparisons are absent from the Norwegian public square.  On the contrary, one of the most familiar memes in the Norwegian press these days is the notion that Israel is today’s Nazi Germany and that the Palestinians are its victims in precisely the same way that the Jews were the victims of Europe’s Nazi conquerors.  Norway’s most celebrated editorial cartoonist, Finn Graff, has more than once drawn cartoons making precisely this equation.  He is respected and beloved, and has won major awards for his work.

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  • Brian Donegal

    Norwegians are their own worst enemy.

    • pennswoods

      Something has gone awry with their Viking DNA. Their Nordic descendants in Minneapolis, MN and the rest of that state are also obsessed with multiculturalism in the form of Muslim "asylum seekers". I don't know why the Scandinavians didn't convert to Islam instead of Christianity 1,000 years ago and saved themselves the agony of having to face Islamic domination in the 21st century.

  • GOPsithlord

    Mr.Bawer, I want to thank you for this. As one of your fellow Americans in Norway, the contradictions of the country's multiculturalism are of great concern to me. I hope one day to meet you and thank you personally for having the courage to point out what might make others uncomfortable. I wish you well.

    • patriot

      As a Norwegian I can assure all the readers that Bruce Bawer may be the best thing that has happened to Norway in a long time. I have to laugh sometimes because his description of Norway is so accurate :) . I would like to thank him personaly too. Good luck mr. Bawer!

  • per antonsen

    "But it did not, and does not, seem to me unreasonable to suggest that there are, in fact, significant continuities between Quisling and his wartime supporters, on the one hand, and today’s left-wing Norwegian cultural elite, on the other"

    The coninuities are probably the same as between Al Capone and today's left wing American cultural elite. What Bruce Bawer has done is to replace Israel and the Jews with Norway and the Norwegians as subjects of his anti-Semitic hate mongering.

    • Rocky Mountain

      So Quisling was operating a bootlegging operation?

    • Cecilie

      Wait – what? "Anti-semitic hate mongering"??? Now I really don't understand…

      • Chiggles

        The Norwegians are Semites now, didn't you hear? Well, neither did I.

    • Oleg

      Maybe something is lost in translation but this poster sounds as incoherent as his left wing bretheren in the English speaking world, and just as morally bankrupt.

  • lbr

    I am inclined to agree with those Norwegians but for different reasons. I would like all of the sane western Norwegians to leave Norway, leaving the leftist useful idiots and the anti Semites to rot away by the ever growing power of Islam. In 30 years Norway will turn into Pakistan anyways, that is unpreventable as it is being run by those crazy PC horticulturalist cultists, so why won't you return to the US and let those bastards rot away?

  • lbr


  • Anthony

    I too have wasted much energy worrying about the pretty, intelligent, sophisticated Europeans. Now, whenever I hear an English accent, or see a group of German tourists, I am disgusted. To me, they are not passive prisoners of a tyrannical police state that imports daily their enemy, they are active, willing participants who believe and defend the single biggest criminal enterprise in history, multiculturalism.

    I loathe and detest them in all their haughty, smarts, and feel that they deserve heir mothers and daughters, their future, under the evil power of those they so love.

    Norway must remove the cross from their flag. The Norweegens spit on both anyway.

    • Indioviejo

      You hit the right cord in your comment. I have the same reaction to most Europeans when I see or hear them, disgust. I believe the next time we intervene militarily in Europe will be against a European establishment which has gone over to the other side and is posing a nuclear threat to us.

      • pennswoods

        Exactly. Within two generations Muslims will have enough clout at the voting booth in most Western European nations to change the direction of their former host countries from a USA/Canadian/Western European Christain Civilization alliance to a European/Arab/North African Muslim alliance. The major countries of mid 21st century Europe will be directly or indirectly controlled by Islamic Law of Sharia and will look to the Arab world for it's values and national interests. Even Britain, a country we probably have most in common with, will be part of this unthinkable future catastrophe. Where is a modern Charles Martel when we need him?

        • chris

          Steady on now, lads, I,m a EURo guy and what is happening there sickens me too. Plenty of people in Euroland feel the same. All is not lost yet. But we can expect serious violence on the streets of European cities in the next few years. US citizens shouldn't feel too smug – take a look at Detroit, it ain't a pretty picture.

    • Oleg

      Well the factor that is going to bring both the multicult and the Islamisization to an end is what we are already witnessing in Greece, the collapse of the European welfare state. Without generous government handouts to the cultural elites and the Islamist firebrands from the public treasury both will starve to death and rot away as will the failed experiment known as the E.U. Norway will take a little longer since the state has harnessed the energy industry towards maintaining itself but it too will fail eventually.

  • maturin20

    The Norwegians do have a good point, much as we would loathe to have you back. To carpetbag from country to country only to sample their vices and then get thrown out when you have insulted everyone and taken their money is odious.

    • FriendofGaryCooper

      Under the circumstances. Bawer is doing the honorable thing–he's the brave coast-watcher, telling an often apathetic, and sometimes hostile world, about the death of Norway, and the death of Europe.

      • maturin20

        I love these noble rationalizations of blogging.

    • ebonystone


      The real carpet-baggers in Norway (and Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, etc., etc.) are the Moslems, who are busy insulting everyone and taking their money. They demand special privileges and special legal arrangements, take vast amounts of the public dole, and fill the prisons, yet feel free to violate all the social norms of their host countries.
      Is Bawer claiming exemption from Norwegian law? Is he demanding special privileges for himself and his fellow american ex-pats? I think not.
      How many Americans are in Norwegian jails? How many are on the Norwegian dole?
      How many Moslems?

      • maturin20

        I'm sorry. I don't share this inability to discuss one slimy freeloader without also having to discuss all Muslims.

      • FNord

        Well, Bawer worked for the HRS society wich is funded by the norwegian state to the tune of about 400000 dollars a year. Pretty funny to be paid by the fascist state you seem to hate..

  • Cecilie

    "Carpetbag"? "Taken their money"???? Here is a man who first settled in the Netherlands because he had a romantic dream about the place, but was hounded out by muslim attacks on him and his partner. Then he went to Norway because he was under the strange illusion that the Norwegians were more freedom-loving ( or something) only to find himself in a politically correct hellhole, facing death threats every time he writes the truth. I think Bawer supports himself through his writing, no? Which is more than we can say about the parasites sucking the Norwegian state dry; those who call themselves "refugees" and "displaced".

    • Anthony

      “Muslim attacks on him and his partner”? “Partner” meaning he is an ex- police officer – a cowboy?

    • maturin20

      Haven't we all had romantic dreams about Holland? Who hasn't spent hours planning the move, shopping for houseboats on the Wadden Sea, practicing Calvinism in the attic away from prying ears? But some of us mature and embrace the real challenges of living in the chainsaw horror movie that is the modern world, instead of dancing across the water to make a living as an insult comic.

      • No dhimmi fool

        You sound retarded.

  • John

    The link between the hard left and the hard right is that they are both about the leadership self empowering itself. Just two different arguments for the same totalitarian outcome.

  • Jim

    The Swedish government stood by while the Muslim Imams in Malmo Sweden badgered the Jews from the town.
    A while later after much criticism for the Governments refusal to put a stop to Islamic terror it paid the Jews a small stipend.
    Neither Sweden, Norway or Finland give a good impression of social democracy. Non provide protection for their citizens from Islamic terrorism. They go even further. They actively persecute those who speak the truth about the terrorism.
    the governments of these countries should be condemned as racist and boycotted.

  • Frank Dahl

    I am ashamed of Norways cultural elites ;They are weak and brainwashed.They can't see the danger that is staring right at them.The violent and aggressive nature of Islam is so obvious.Robert Spencer just reports the facts of Jihad and stealth jihad;80% of the terror trials in the U.S. are due to Islamic terrorists.The majority of Muslim people ,who are not inclined to terroristic acts are afraid of the minority who either want to commit terror or stealth jihad.Just study Sharia law and see how brutal it is.I was born in Norway when Quisling came to power;there was a courageous underground who fought against him and the nazis. It is time for that courageous spirit to rise up again in Norway and face up to the truth and do something about it.

    • Chickie

      Sadly they can see the danger.
      They are blind to the end reality .They believe they can be allies,equals and retain their country.
      The know of the antisemitism ,violence and brutal rapes.It is collateral damge to them.A few mishaps for the greater good.
      They feed on the $,lies and self assured superiority of their group.Just as US Liberals do.

      As they are being crushed into oblivion .

  • Christian West

    I think there is something both logically and morally incoherent for a person to live among people he despises. So i will say to Bruce Bawer what I say to muhammedan colonizers of Norway; get the hell out of our country!
    Of course, I don't fool myself believing that Bruce Bawer has dignity required to leave a safe and comfortable place where a homosexual activist is not just tolerated but protected even celebrated.
    Self-hatred is all the rage in Norway and those who follow the chic are either multikulti leftist cretins denigrating everything Norwegian or Christian while going into raptures over every islamic idiocy, or masochists perversely enjoying hearing how worthless, cowardly and doomed they are for not resisting islamic colonization. It is the latter group that swallows enthusiastically every abuse B. Bawer is hurling their way. Instead of being ignored or, even better, told to leave, they buy his vomit thus assuring he will produce some more of the kind.

    I remember B. Bruce book "When Europe Slept" where he fashion himself as some kind of Cassandra warning against islam's inevitable overtake of Europe. Except that when "Europe slept" , Bruce Bawer in his capacity of homosexual activist, slept around and was very busy pushing his gospel of hate against anyone who opposed the lie of moral neutrality, or equivalence of homo and hetero sexuality. He contributed immensely to the cult of tolerance, which terrorized so many into tolerating also the anti-westernism of moslems. He is one of those who weakened and still weakens the fabric of our values – a weakness the mohammedan mob exploits quite efficiently.
    It took Bruce Bawer to have his ass kicked by homo hating moslems while looking for a “piece of action" in Amsterdam to suddenly find his tongue. Had moslems been indifferent to his perversion, he would have never given a damn what fate they prepare for Europe. He should have decency to, if not admitting his role in the disaster that befell the West, to at least shut up.
    What a disgusting hypocritical creep.

    • Christian West

      It is: "Instead of being ignored or, even better, told to leave,…"
      it should be:
      "Instead of ignoring him or telling him to leave…"

  • http://Wrappedup Sobieski

    It is good that Bruce speaks out. Apparently Norwegians are so wrapped up in the multicultural delusion that someone else has to do the job of brave people missing there.

  • Ray Olson

    Sorry, Christian West. I know Bruce Bawer, and he is very definitely not disgusting, not hypocritical, and not a creep. Your ad hominem rant is just ranting. Refute his criticisms of the Norwegian ruling elite, if you can.

    • Christian West

      I would like to but my reply are very quickly removed.

  • RUI

    I think it was Debbie Schlussel who put it the best possible way: "stick a fork in it, Norway. You're done!"

  • Jakareh

    Just as Bruce Bawer, a foreigner, seems to have more insight on Norway than do the true-blood Norwegians, perhaps I, as an immigrant to these shores, can see some things about the U.S. that most Americans are missing. And the main one is this: when it comes to political correctness, especially concerning Islam and Muslim immigration, the U.S. is not fundamentally different from Norway or the rest of Europe; to believe otherwise is a dangerous delusion. Somali "refugees" are still flooding into this country, as are Pakistanis, Afghans, and so many others who flee societies ruled by Shariah and then seek to establish Shariah here. The Ground Zero Mosque has the support of local, state, and federal governments. Law enforcement training can no longer mention the word "Jihad". And so it goes, ad nauseam. The difference between the U.S. and Norway is not one of substance but of chronology. Our Nordic friends are 10, or at the most 20, years ahead of us.