On July 22, a crazed loner named Anders Behring Breivik set off a massive explosion that rocked central Oslo, taking eight lives, and then, in an action which proved the explosion to be a mere diversionary tactic, gunned down sixty-nine people, mostly teenagers, in cold blood, on an isolated island, Utøya, an hour or so west of that city. It was the darkest day in Norwegian history since World War II, and it set off a wave of nationwide mourning like nothing the country, or most Western countries in modern times, had ever seen.
It also had profound political repercussions. For while the explosion in Oslo had initially been assumed by all and sundry to be the work of Islamic terrorists, it turned out that the perpetrator was a young man fiercely opposed to the Islamization of Europe. It was clear why he singled out that particular island for attack. It is owned by the Workers’ Youth League, the junior division of the Norwegian Labor Party, which at the time of the massacre was holding its annual summer youth camp. Amid more ordinary camp-like activities, the aspiring Labor Party politicians were spending their days on the island delivering political speeches to one another, listening to speeches by Labor Party leaders, being propagandized by Labor Party functionaries about the glories of socialism, and, generally, being groomed for power in the Norwegian government in years to come.
As it happens, it is the Labor Party which, far more than any other, has shaped the course of modern Norwegian history, designing its elaborate social-democratic economic system and, over the last generation or two, following a multicultural philosophy that has transformed the face of Norway, introducing into its borders, without ever consulting the electorate, an ever-growing minority of Muslims. Some of these Muslims have assimilated magnificently, making clear that they are grateful to live in the free West and to become productive and loyal members of society. All too many, however, have exhibited a contempt for democratic values that renders them utterly unassimilable and that identifies them, indeed, as looming threats to Norway and to Western liberty. Breivik could not forgive the Labor Party for having put his country in this perilous position. He shared this concern with many sane people; but he himself proved insane, choosing to react to this dilemma with mass murder.
In the wake of the atrocity, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who is a member of the Labor Party and who had been scheduled to give an address to the campgoers, called for greater openness and democracy in response to a mass murderer who, he said, had clearly despised openness and democracy. Yet while Stoltenberg was airing these lofty sentiments, many of his most prominent ideological allies were singing a different – and very dark – tune. Breivik, they warned, was only the public face of a large and dangerous movement which over recent years had been gaining a disturbing respectability in the Western world. Serious critics of Islam, such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bat Ye’or, and the late Oriana Fallaci – and myself – were slammed day after day in the Norwegian media by left-wing multiculturalists eager to associate our views with Breivik’s crimes. We were not spreaders of truth, they argued, but sowers of hate – namely, that ugly and irrational hatred for Muslims and their religion known as Islamophobia. It was not Islam that represented a menace to Europe; it was our writings. One after another of these multiculturalists insisted stridently that, in order to prevent future Breiviks, limitations on freedom of speech must be imposed on the critics of Islam who, they insisted, had created Breivik.
Now this appalling line of argument – though the mot juste is actually not argument but invective – is having palpable, and thoroughly predictable, results. On October 6 the Norwegian national budget for 2012 was unveiled. Among the changes from last year was a cut by more than half in the already very modest allocation for a tiny but vitally important think tank called Human Rights Service (HRS).
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