Goebbels’ Heirs?

It will soon be a decade since July 22, 2011, when a previously obscure young man named Anders Behring Breivik set off a massive explosion at Regjeringskvartalet (the Government Quarter) in Oslo, killing eight, wounding 200, and destroying the 18-story structure containing the offices of the prime minister and other officials. Little could anyone imagine that this unprecedented atrocity would be almost forgotten a few hours later, after Breivik had driven out to the nearby island of Utøya— – where the Workers Youth League, the Labor Party’s youth division, was holding its annual summer camp— – and, wielding a Ruger Mini-14 rifle and a Glock 17 pistol, massacred 69 people, mostly teenagers, and wounded 110. 

 Breivik’s motive— – if you can use the word “motive” to describe the actions of a madman— – was to wipe out the future of the Labor Party, which he blamed for Norway’s reckless immigration and integration policies and consequently its steady Islamization. After the national mourning was over, the shameless politicization began, as the left-wing political, academic, and media establishment exploited Breivik’s actions to the hilt. 

Just as the American lLeft, in recent months, has used the events at the Capitol on January 6 to paint Trump supporters as insurrectionists, the Norwegian Lleft used the Breivik case to paint critics of Islam as far-Rright hate-mongers and as veritable co-conspirators in Breivik’s crimes. High-profile commentators called for free-speech limits and for the prosecution of writers (myself included) whom they regarded as Breivik’s mentors.

 Fun times. 

 Eventually, the worst of the threats faded away. Surprisingly, unlike many other countries in Western Europe, Norway has yet to put anybody on trial for criticizing Islam. Yet there remains an eagerness in certain circles to punish critics of Islam, and as the anniversary of July 22 looms, there’s no doubt it will blossom anew. Among the early acts of commemoration is a five-part podcast presented by Aftenposten called “Noen å hate” (“Someone to Hate”). It’s not exactly about Breivik, though. It has more to do with other young Norwegian men who have headed down a similar path. 

 One of these men is Philip Manshaus, who two years ago, at the age of 21, went to a mosque in the Oslo suburb of Bærum with the intent of killing the worshippersparishioners only to be subdued by them; he is now in prison. Another is someone whom the podcast host, Mari Lund Wictorsen, calls Robin, who claims that he was drawn to far-right ideas while in secondary school. The rap on both Philip and Robin is that, like Breivik, they were radicalized by the Internet— – which the Norwegian legacy media love to depict as a locus of right-wing evil. This tendency was encouraged by “Det mørke nettet” (“The Dark Web”), released a few months after the July 22 atrocities, which was the first of several heavily promoted volumes in which leftist scribe Øyvind Strømmen depicted a range of counterjihadist writers, from Oriana Fallaci to Robert Spencer, as unhinged hate-mongers and conspiracy theorists. 

 Wictorsen sums up Manshaus’s background. His mother and grandmother committed suicide when he was little; he later killed his adopted sister and became a neo-Nazi. Now, if Aftenposten had regarded his case as a reason to examine the inadequacy of pediatric psychiatric care in Norway, that would’ve been laudable. Instead, it uses Manshaus to push the fantasy of online far-right radicalization. 

And how, you ask, did Manshaus become radicalized? With ominous music playing in the background, Wictorsen asserts that it began with the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW)— — i.e., Ben Shapiro, Douglas Murray, Eric Weinstein, Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, et al., who, Wictorsen claims, “challenge liberal values,” ushered Manshaus into a “universe crawling with conspiracy theories,” and brainwashed him into hating Jews (a neat accomplishment for guys named Shapiro, Weinstein, and Rubin).  

Having been brainwashed by the IDW, Manshaus told a school friend about his new opinions— — mostly on Norwegian immigration policy— — and explained that she was being misinformed about this topic and should consult “other sources than the newspapers we read.” This was probably the best advice this girl ever got. But she was horrified— – imagine not trusting Aftenposten! She listened in horror as Manshaus maintained that a continued influx of Muslims would ultimately “destroy Norway.” She’d never encountered such heresy, which she now describes as “pretty extreme.” 

 Robin’s path to hell was similar. In his case, Satan’s tool was the YouTube site of Prager UniversityPrager U., which, to quote Wictorsen, offers “controversial lecturers” like Peterson and asks questions like “Are some cultures better than others?” and “Why isn’t Communism as hated as Nazism?” (At Aftenposten, the outrageousness of such queries is self-evident.) PragerUPrager U., Robin testifies, “spreads hate,” and the “new attitudes” he picked up there led the formerly shy boy to boldly challenge his high -school teachers on such issues as the cause of Third World poverty. 

Robin now regrets being sucked in by the knaves at Praguer U., and is gushingly grateful to the saintly teacher who, he recounts, took him aside, read him the riot act, and ordered him to swear off Prager U. That teacher, he is convinced, saved him from Nazism; the podcast producers plainly agree, treating the intervention as heroic. (Prager U., of course, is run by Dennis Prager, yet another Jewish Nazi, I suppose.) 

 Yes, I’m prepared to believe that Manshaus really did becaome a full-fledged far-right fanatic and even that Robin came close. But a big part of Wictorsen’s aim here is to shrink to fingernail’s breadth the Grand Canyon-sized gap between Hitler and people like Jordan Peterson. Make no mistake: for Wictorsen, and for the people she interviews, the IDW mafia and the Prager cabal are the stuff of which mass murderers are made— — period. 

A woman from the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) admits that the Breivik atrocities shocked PST but assures Wictorsen that everyone there is now keenly aware of the huge threat posed by right-wing Islamophobes. (This is the same organization, mind you, that several years ago sent two of its officials to meet with me for a chat about Islam. It turned out they’d never read the Koran, and when I suggested it, they were dismissive. After all, they’d been taught that jihadists are hijacking a peaceful religion.)

 This same PST woman goes on to applaud Facebook and Twitter for removing the accounts of extremists. (Paul Joseph Watson? Katie Hopkins? Donald Trump?) Later, she and Wictorsen bond over the power of video games to misshape boys’ minds (and, in doing so, sound like any two random harridans yammering about what monsters men are). 

Still later, Wiktorsen chats up a guy from the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos) who, he reveals, takes reports from teachers about pupils who say “horrible things about Muslims.” Why do I suspect that all or most of those kids are simply voicing uncomfortable truths about Islam? And why do I find myself wondering whether any of these snitching pedagogues ever tattle on the innumerable Muslim kids who openly support armed jihad and hate directed at Jews and gays? 

 The bottom line of Aftenposten’s dopey podcast is that the West is plagued by armies of right-wingers intent on race war. What bilge— — and from a newspaper that for a generation or more has whitewashed the worldwide nightmare of jihadist violence and that is all but ignoring the current tsunami of black race-hate that is insinuating itself, in one country after another, into news media, publishing houses, schools, colleges, government, police, the military, religion, and the judiciary. 

The fact that Aftenposten is so eager to smear the likes of Jordan Peterson— — Jordan Peterson, mind you!— — while sugarcoating a spectrum of truly appalling phenomena, from radical mosques to Black Lives Matter, tells you all you need to know about this reprehensible excuse for a newspaper of record. But then, how many major newspapers on this planet are worth anything anymore?

About Bruce Bawer

Bruce Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept, Surrender, and The Victims' Revolution. His novel The Alhambra was published in 2017.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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