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El Pais, Spain's "social democratic paper of record" has an op-ed by a Spanish professor at the Quality of Government Institute at the University of Göteborg advising us to look the other way.

ElPais.com: La clave es despertar igual que antes

La tragedia de Oslo revela dos cosas sobre la naturaleza humana. Uno, que existe una minoría, afortunadamente muy escasa, de seres humanos capaces de planear y ejecutar actos de una brutalidad casi inimaginable. Y dos, que el resto de seres humanos sentimos una necesidad muy comprensible de explicar por qué ha sucedido algo así. ¿Por qué alguien quería causar tanto daño en tal lugar y en tal momento a un grupo más o menos determinado de personas?

Como me es imposible encontrar una respuesta a esa pregunta, me gustaría limitarme a cuestionar dos explicaciones del tipo "X es el caldo de cultivo que nos ha llevado a esto", que resultan muy tentadoras en estos momentos. La primera sería una lectura política simplista, vinculando la barbarie al ascenso de la derecha populista en la Europa del norte y responsabilizando a sus líderes políticos de inspirar este crimen. Que el asesino estuviera políticamente motivado no implica que debamos criminalizar a colectivos (posiblemente heterogéneos) de votantes, militantes o parlamentarios de unos partidos políticos, por mucho que nos disgusten algunas de sus propuestas. Como han enfatizado miembros del Gobierno noruego, la clave es que mañana Noruega despierte como Noruega, una sociedad abierta, donde es posible confrontar ideas políticas en un ambiente de libertad.

The key is to wake up just like before
The Oslo tragedy reveals two things about human nature. One, that there's a minority, fortunately very small, of human beings able to plan and execute unimaginably brutal acts. And two, that the rest of human beings feel a very understandable need to explain why something like this happened. Why would someone want to cause so much harm at a given time and pace to a more or less well defined group of people?

Since it's impossible for me to find an answer to that question, I'd like to limit myself to questioning two explanations of the kind "X is the medium that cultivates this", which are very tempting right now. The first would be a simplistic political reading, linking the present barbarity with the ascent of the populist right wing in Northern Europe and making their political leaders responsible for inspiring this crime. That the murderer was politically motivated does not imply that we must criminalise groups (possibly heterogeneous) of voters, activists or parlamentarians of certain political parties, however distasteful we find their ideas. As members of the Norwegian government have stressed, the key is for Norway to wake up tomorrow as Norway, an open society, where it is possible to confront ideas in an atmosphere of freedom

He goes on to dismiss the idea "popularised by a slew of Scandinavian crime mystery novels" that there's something rotten in Scandinavia underneath the a civilised veneer, and even the "curse of oil" explanation for why this happened in Norway. So, he has no explanation and things should continue just like they were.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 24th, 2011 at 07:31:33 AM EST

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