Thomas Freitag

3

An intolerance of tolerance

Will it be possible to agree with some of Behring Breivik's tennents without fear of being labelled a right-wing extremist, or of being accused of endorsing the abominable methods Behring Breivik resorted to in getting his point across?

Publisert: 7. aug 2011

I am sensing an ideological hysteria brewing in Norway in the wake of the atrocities committed by Behring Breivik on 07.22.2011, an hysteria which may lead to 'an intolerance of tolerance' if we do not tred very, very carefully as a nation. 

This is what I mean:  will it be possible to agree with some of Behring Breivik's tennents without fear of being labelled a right-wing extremist, or of being accused of endorsing the abominable methods Behring Breivik resorted to in getting his point across? 

I understand that the nation is in a very emotionally vulnerable state at present, allowing for a certain swing toward a collective grief and a collective appraisal of the violation committed against us; this builds a consensus of direction as to where we want to go as a nation as we head into the future.  Our grief momentarily shields us from all other perspectives as we look inward to grapple with our shock.  We must give ourselves time to process, to heal and, with God's help, to forgive.

But sometime in the future our grief will subside; in that moment we will be faced with the same issues that faced us as a nation before 07.22.11.  In that moment we will have the greatest need for balanced inquiry, for forthright honesty, for tolerant exploration and expression of all possible solutions as we look at our nation's challenges from a new though un-asked for perspective.  We will need to bluntly look at the societal influences which created Behring Breivik and his views and to evaluate, oh so carefully, if some of his anger was not justified. 

Jesus, lead us as a nation; heal us, have mercy on us.

 

Thomas Freitag

Kommentar #1

Morten Christiansen

18 innlegg  10560 kommentarer

Publisert over 10 år siden

Shouldn't the title be tolerance of intolerance and not the other way around?

Kommentar #2

Knut Nygaard

488 innlegg  6965 kommentarer

Trust

Publisert over 10 år siden

Jeg velger å gi en kommentar på norsk - håper du forstår hva jeg mener.

Jeg tror at vi i Norge har bygd vårt land - vårt samfunn - og våre ordninger - på - tillit (trust).  Det å stole på og tro på det beste i våre medmennesker og de som er valgt av oss til å bestemme er nedlagt i oss gjennom generasjoner.

Med den gradvise innvandringen - den endrede verden - og nå - det mulitkulturelle samfunn tror jeg mange i Norge sliter med å kjenne tillit til alle våre nye landsmenn og tillit til at de som bestemmer fører kongeriket Norge i en retning som ivaretar den friheten vi opplever i dag - og i fremtiden.

Det har m.a.o. hos store deler av befolkningen snektet seg inn en mistillit som vi ikke hadde før.  Det er ikke like lett lenger å stole på alle nye landsmenn - og heller ikke være trygg på at våre folkevalgte fører en politikk som ivaretar vår frihet i fremtiden også.  

Og - siden det er politikken som føres som leder an prosessen, så håper jeg at det kan føres en politikk som bygger opp og samler opp en balanse i befolkningen som gir trygghet på veien videre - slik at vi i størst mulig grad kan være en nasjon som gjenvinner vår tillit (trust) til alle våre landsmenn ved hjelp av lydhøre politikere.

Noe over 50% av Norges befolkning er innvandringskritiske - hvis de skal bli mindre kritiske så må de få lov å si hva de mener - og helst - i størst mulig grad få oppleve at deres meninger både er naturlige og lovlige - at de og lyttes til og blir tatt med i de beslutninger som blir tatt for veien videre i samfunnsbyggingen av nasjonen Norge.

Det andre jeg kunne tenke meg at det ble jobbet med er å redefinere begrepet "norsk" og "nordmann".

Du er amerikaner og kaller deg innvandrer, Thomas.

Jeg, for min del, har alltid vært norsk - men inntil 1993 bodde jeg på Østlandet.  Nå bor jeg i Bergen - en by med sterke tradisjoner og mange særtrekk.  Jeg ha undret meg over om jeg noengang i mitt liv kan kalle meg "bergenser" - om mine barn født på Østlandet kan kalle seg "bergensere" - eller om det bare er junior født i Bergen som kan kalle seg "bergenser".

Men - vi er vel hva vi kjenner for og føler, men noe sier meg at for å bygge inn fellesskapet i det multikulturelle Norge så må vi bli raskere til å akseptere at de som har kommet til oss blir "norske" og "nordmenn".

Også dette punkt er noe ømt - hos noen vil det provosere, men - for de kommende generasjoner - i barnehage/skole/universitet - så ser jeg at det kommer generasjoner som ikke vil i den grad ha i seg gammel nasjonstenkning.

Og - jeg ser at du er kristen, Thomas.  Dessverre har avkristningen av Norge kommet svært langt og det er med glede jeg registrerer at mange av våre nye landsmenn har med seg en tro som mange her i landet har forlatt. 

Håper du blir med oss videre på verdidebatt, Thomas. 

 

Kommentar #3

Ole David Østli

2 innlegg  154 kommentarer

What is justified?

Publisert over 10 år siden

Thomas Freitag's worry, that certain opinions unrightfully will be labeled right-wing extremist, is by and large unfounded. One of the earliest reactions, shared by a vast majority left and right, was that the massacre more than anything was the result of one paranoid mind. This means that it should be seen as some kind of natural disaster. One can not blame anyone but Breivik for his actions. This also means that his world view is not all that interesting. We can't build a debate upon the hallucinations of a madman. His anger is by definition not justified.

However, the massacre, and the murderer's ideology, naturally will and should bring our attention to those who share some of his views. The point is not to blame them for the massacre, but to hold them responsible for their own actions and utterances. Carl I Hagen's provocative statement about Muhammed, Siv Jensen's statements about Islamization, should be debated in their own right. Do such language contribute to a peaceful, multicultural society? How dangerous would it not be to let such people have power?

On the other hand, it might be an idea to investigate certain widely held views, instead of  ignoring them, and this is where Freitag is right. And I trust the Norwegian people will be wary of extreme Moslems trying to use the tragedy as an excuse for promoting views that are as unwelcome to our society as Breivik's fascism is.

Kommentar #4

Thomas Freitag

3 innlegg  5 kommentarer

There's a little piece of Behring Breivik in all of us

Publisert over 10 år siden

Dear Morten, Knut, and Ole David,

Thank you for all of your comments.  As you may have discovered, I am more comfortable writing in English (I started Norwegian lessons too late in life) but I do understand the written language (bokmål, i hvert fall).  So it was quite fine to respond in Norwegian, though Ole David, your written English is exemplary! 

Morten, I realize the term 'an intolerance of tolerance' is slightly ambiguous; that's what I get for writing at three in the morning.  My thinking was that there appears to be a growing intolerance in the political debate toward the tolerant expression of diverse views and voices, whether left, center or right, which do not follow the (reigning) party ideology.  I apologize if my words were (or are) vague. 

Knut, thank you for your encouragement and taking the time to respond. I believe that what you wrote mirrors my concerns for the Norwegian people .  You clearly underscored a number of the issues that I inferred in my article without my naming them.  I hope to share some more thoughts about these in the coming days. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as well.

Ole David (I'm looking forward to reading your new article 'Hva er norsk kultur'), thank you for your keen insights.  As a partial response to your thoughts, I have this to leave you with: that Behring Breivik was not incubated in a vaccuum, but within the context of the societal influences he was born into; he is the pure product of a number of the values which many Norwegians hold dear.  Behring Breivik is Norwegian born and bred, though one on steroids (both ideologically and literally).  Any inference to this man not being one of us, or any distancing we do from him, alleviates us from the responsibility of examining our own inner fears, dark thoughts and screaming consciences.  There is a little piece of Behring Breivik in all of us, if I may be so blunt. 

And all of us (whether through the collective process of changing or preserving social norms, or those who specifically had the potential of influencing him at some point in his life) are to some degree responsible for who he is.  Behring Breivik of course is solely accountable before God for his deplorable actions. I'm not meaning to dump condemnation on specific individuals, but come on!  There had to be someone out there who saw some warning signs of what was going on in Behring Breivik's life but failed to step in or respond.  Or maybe someone did step in, but the gentleman refused the help.  Whatever the case, this situation should pull us tighter together as a nation in the name of corporate responsibility and personal accountability. 

Kommentar #5

Magnus Husøy

19 innlegg  4123 kommentarer

Publisert over 10 år siden
Thomas Freitag. Gå til den siterte teksten.

Any inference to this man not being one of us, or any distancing we do from him, alleviates

Hi Thomas! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I believe that what you say above is really important for us to acknowledge, both as individuals and as a nation. We should not easily fail to admit that everyone is capable of evil deeds. We need the upcoming debate over how it was possible for Breivik to do what he did, and hopefully any signs or answers picked up by psychiatrists (treating Breivik) will be of help. After all, Breivik is not a monster, he is a human being, though with a malevolence beyond our imagination.

Kommentar #6

Ole David Østli

2 innlegg  154 kommentarer

My journey

Publisert over 10 år siden
Thomas Freitag. Gå til den siterte teksten.

Behring Breivik was not incubated in a vaccuum, but within the context of the societal influences he was born into; he is the pure product of

Thank you for your kind comments.

The last couple of weeks have been a long sad journey for me. I started out chasing down every anti-multiculturalist I could find on the internet, almost like a witch hunter. Collecting names, drawing lines, in the end the entire establishment seemed to be contaminated by this poison. 

But then, the first Monday or Tuesday after, the people's response, roses, gatherings in the streets, the strong and firm words of our leaders, convinced me that the blame game was an immoral one. I felt like an unworthy member of the world's best nation. That, I assure you, was a first...

I found that we have to make a choice. If we draw the connection between Breivik's ideology and his actions, it becomes very hard to trust a lot of people from now on. Now, of course, in Breiviks twisted mind it all makes sense, but can we say that islamophobia naturally leads to massacre? Probably not. As hateful as his ideology is, the things he did is so far out, so crazy, that it tells us nothing about those who share his views. I choose to see the massace as I see a natural disaster, but I'm aware that it is a choice I make.

There are many dangers here. One that I'm specifically worried about, is this: If we draw too many conclusions, blame innocent people, like e.g. Petter Nome did, it will give the right-wing extremists every excuse to see themselves as martyrs. The best way to avoid it, is to study their own words, study their paranoia, almost like psychoanalysts, analyze their views to death. Speak out and be principled.

And never once mention Breivik.

What you're hinting at, I guess, is the notion that the now discredited anti-immigration groups may have a point or two? Well, I guess we have to discuss that case by case, but it was always very difficult to discuss with people calling the prime minister quisling, or blaming the left for covertly turning Norway into a Moslem country. And, of course, fascism is still fascism.

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