Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Brevik's obscene massacre is, I think, perhaps one of the most virulent symptoms yet of the effects of the Anglo Disease of neo-liberal globalism/internationalism in a developed and 'civilised' nation.

Norway historically is a nation of rugged frontier individualists but with the long tradition of solidarity/ 'Dugnad' necessary for survival in a hostile environment.

This society has - in the last 30 years - become thoroughly corrupted by the influx of alien values of neo-liberal politics of greed. This process has been turbocharged by the Curse of Oil and has led to the hopefully not yet irreversible spread of selfishness and materialism.

A relatively small elite has been an almost permanent fixture at the pinnacle of Norwegian Labour politics - such as Brundtland; the Stoltenbergs; and behind the scenes there have been key figures and 'eminences grise'.

Post-war the Labour party exemplified the spirit of solidarity that rebuilt the nation after the war. But Power corrupts over time, and Norwegian Labour has paralleled New Labour in the UK, whose policies they have studied and follow slavishly.

When the Norwegians voted twice, narrowly, against joining the EU, the elite essentially ignored this inconvenience by simply adopting EU directives and enforcing them more rigorously, within a context of EEA membership, than any EU member.

Brevik clearly blamed Brundtland in particular for this internationalism, and I would imagine he was aiming to kill her on Utøya had she not been fortunate enough to leave an hour before he arrived.

The neo-liberal assaults which followed - many of which flowed from following EU directives - on traditional property rights; and on common ownership of productive assets, have deeply divided Norway.

Creeping marketisation and exploitation has taken place of institutions as diverse as the 'for profit' enforcement industry in respect of court judgements, and an entire industry built around removing children from 'unfit' parents and fostering them at huge expense to the state, and immense private profit.  

This process has been exacerbated by the opening up of the borders through Schengen, which is one of the main drivers of the membership of the anti-immigrant populist Fremskritt party, whose members perceive themselves as being excluded from work by immigrants. Brevik was apparently a prominent member of the Fremskritt party's youth movement.

This tragedy creates a watershed or cross-roads moment for Norwegian society.

Hopefully, they will draw the right lessons from this appalling crime and address the cause, rather than this gruesome symptom, of the Anglo Disease in Norway.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 at 08:52:36 AM EST
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