Playing Politics With the Norway Massacre

By Brendan O'Neill

By common consensus last week's horrific bomb attack and mass shooting in Oslo were not "Norway's 9/11". They were more like its Port Arthur, its Dunblane, Columbine-on-steroids, where one possibly deranged Norwegian man lashed out with extreme violence against his fellow citizens.

Yet that hasn't stopped sections of the cultural elite from trying to turn this into another 9/11.

In both Europe and Australia, observers of a left-leaning persuasion are looking to make moral mileage out of this massacre just as shamelessly as the Bush administration did with the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001.

There are moves afoot to make this into a 9/11 for liberals, an act of violence which might add a sense of urgency to liberal fear-mongering about the threat of the far Right, in the same way 9/11 gave oomph to George W. Bush's claim to represent Right against Wrong.

Over the past 10 years the well-educated, erudite sections of society in Europe and Australia continually criticised uncouth Bush and other right-wingers for politically exploiting 9/11. They accused the Right of exaggerating the threat of terrorism and using it to spin prejudices about the backward Muslim masses.

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Yet now those very same liberal critics are playing a startlingly similar game in relation to Norway's terrible misfortune.

There was a palpable sense of relief amongst the chattering classes when it was revealed the alleged killer in Norway is a white man with far-Right tendencies.

This allowed them to air their prejudice that it is not Muslims who pose a threat to Western societies but rather the moronic masses at home, whose apparent dearth of cosmopolitanism can easily translate into murderous rage. A writer for The Guardian almost gleefully said the violence in Norway shows the threat to civilisation isn't from foreigners, rather, "the heart of darkness lies buried deep within ourselves", even within the "white Nordic male".

If anyone was in any doubt as to what this "heart of darkness" consists of, an article in The Age spelt it out. The massacre in Norway was a product of that country's "racist demons", it said.

Apparently, "many Norwegians don't want their idyll spoiled, by either joining the European Union or by turning multicultural, and it is this nativist side of the country that has now turned horrifyingly murderous".

In short, Anders Behring Breivik is not an aberration; he's the logical product of Norway's warped national traits. He is what happens when a section of the European people dares to oppose the EU or criticise multiculturalism.

Where some on the Right claim that occasional acts of Islamist violence speak to the rotten nature of Islam, some liberals claim a rare act of far-Right fury springs from the "heart of darkness" of Europe's backward-thinking people.

In both instances, a bloody act of violence leads to the expression of grotesque prejudice about the throng.

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Brendan O'Neill is the editor of Spiked online.

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