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10 years since the Utoya massacre in Norway (vg.no)
119 points by xaner4 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 121 comments

Changed from https://www.vg.no/spesial/2021/22-juli/. Thanks!

Submitters: We have deep respect for other languages, but this is an English language site so please submit articles in English. It's hard enough to get readers to read the articles even when they are...

“APPROX. 18:30: The son of Trond Berntsen (the security guard and police officer who was among the first to be killed) is standing in the sea on the southern tip when he comes face to face with Breivik. The terrorist shoots and kills five people in front of him. ‘Don’t shoot me!', the boy shouts, doing all he can to demonstrate to the gunman how small he is. Breivik does not shoot the ten year-old. According to the testimony he will later give in court, Breivik decided not to shoot Berntsen because be believes that 'it is wrong to kill children'. When interrogated, Breivik will say that he spared the lives of the smallest children because they were too young to have been 'indoctrinated by the Labour Party”

What kind of messed up mental gymnastics is that? I had no idea this whole rampage was about a political party; That makes it scarier because you can see this happening in any country where the fringes are being radicalized against each other.

The terrorist also chose to not shoot one guy because "he looked like a right-wing person, due to their clothing etc and that he saw a little bit of himself in the guy"[0][1]. Raging madness.

0, https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&u=https:/...

1, https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&u=https:/...

Not sure I see the "mental gymnastics" here. Isn't it a usually accepted thing that young children have no clue? It makes "sense" (at least in the scope of Breivik's craziness) to consider that these kids were "victims" brought there by their parents or something.

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant by "mental gymnastics". I think this expression usually applies when 2 contradicting /paradoxical statements are made in the same sentence.

He was attacking a youth camp and shot many young teens(I didn’t read every slide but one example I saw was a 14 YO girl hit four times) so I don’t see a difference. I guess I’m just shocked at seeing a weird attempt at “ethics” from someone who would do something like that.

What he did was horrible and evil, but it was also extremely calculated and carefully planned. He knew full well what he did.

For example, he researched which drugs he could take that would make it easier for him to shoot the kids[1].

He was not insane. He wasn't on a wild rampage. He had a specific goal in mind: to destroy the future of the labour party.

[1]: https://www.aftenposten.no/norge/i/QJRjP/behring-breivik-var...

Breivik likely saw himself as a very ethical and virtuous individuals. His reasoning there doesn't surprise me.

He and some other mass killers may even feel as though they have a stronger personal code of ethics than most people. Their ethical philosophies and stances are just unfathomably twisted and corrupted, not unlike how cancer cells behave as if they're functioning rightfully.

In the ethics of evil, one can see that even evil acts are done for some false sense of ‘good’ by the doer.

He believes it's wrong to kill children, not teens. The age of 12 is approximately when people go from childhood to adolescence.

Might be that he killed 33 children that day.

I'm obviously not defending him, but those were 16-18 year olds who were already party members.

My point is: it's easy to find flaws in the reasoning of extremists, and use that to show how "crazy" and "illogical" and "insane" they are, and thereby distance ourselves (mentally) far from them. What we need to do however is face the much more scary truth that even the people who commit atrocities are for the most part reasonable and (somewhat) intelligent people, with some sort of roots in "normal" society, who for some reason just get one idea in their head very strongly (and act on it), and this can happen to many (I won't say "all", but I would say "most") people.

This sort of cases is not about isolated loners that we cannot possibly understand; freaks of nature who are not like the rest of us "normal" people. They can show up anywhere for reasons and through processes we just don't quite understand. But we have to not delude ourselves and see them as an "out group" - radicalization can happen to many people you would bump into in your street, every day.

Two 14 year olds, seven 15 year olds, eight 16 year olds, sixteen 17 year olds. I wasn't counting folks eighteen and over.

He killed 33 children.

OK, 33 14-17 years olds who were already party members then... That doesn't materially change the point I made.

I'd lay off. You seem to be walking onto "no, the 9/11 hijackers must have been cowards, and if you suggest that maybe cowardice wasn't high on the list of their faults, you're a monster" ground. Being correct within the limited context of what's at question isn't important to a lot of people, in these kinds of conversations. They find it hard to divorce that from the rest of what happened.

The point you made seems to be remarkably overlapping with that it is ok to shoot children that are members of some political party, which I hope was not what you intended.

You're 'obviously not defending the guy' with words that are pretty close to if not already across that border. When you step into the breach for some monster weigh your words a bit more carefully please.

How can you construe anything I said as defending anything? I was super careful not to do so, my point wasn't even about this particular shooting at all. At some point, when writing or saying anything, you have to rely on the person reading or hearing you to have some baseline of capacity or willingness to understand, which in this case I can only assume you do not have, if you insist (or even imply) that I am somehow "defending" this shooting (or any ideology that led up to it). In fact, it seems that your reaction is exactly what I warn against in the actual point I was trying to make.

I was just as careful in crafting my reply, and yet you insist on reading it as an accusation.

Historically 14 year olds were considered adults, though young. Look at the very many rites of manhood for an context - they used to mean something. Although not aligned with the contemporary definitions of child/adult, it’s not far fetched that a radical right-wing extremist would look to the past for his definitions, and thus see a difference between a 10 year old and a 14 year old.

How entire goal was to eradicate the most promising young people of the Labour Party, ie the country's likely future leaders. Iirc his idea was when the most promising political talents are dead, the party has to settle for less and will lose votes.

So it wasn't really mental gymnastics, it was a conscious attempt to curb a particular party's future. It's evil and it's nuts, but it makes logical sense. It's not dissimilar from genocide motives in that sense, just on a smaller scale.

Ten years on, and it's chilling to consider how much more widespread Brevik's ideology has become worldwide. Ethnonationalism has elbowed its way to a seat at the table, demanding "toleration" for itself that it would never reciprocate for pluralism.

The fascist that inspired Breivik is still in parliament in NL, and has since then been joined by many (worse) examples.

"Breivik's subtitle is lifted from a 2007 essay by fellow Norwegian blogger "Fjordman". Extensive citations - often plagiarised - also refer to other anti-Muslim ideologues and groups, from the Dutch politician Geert Wilders and Steven Yaxley-Lennon's English Defence League to the likes of Jihadwatch and Stop the Islamisation of Nations (SION). "

From: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-19366000

Do I misunderstand these terms, or hasn't ethnonationalism been the norm historically and pluralism quite rare?

No, the existence of ethnicities is old but the concept of tying them to national borders is very young (modern era, and mostly 19th century and beyond) and the specific interpretation of ethonationalism here (ethno exclusionism within a set of borders) is even younger.

I have to work right now so can't work through all the examples listed by another poster below, but will try to come to this thread later. But if you look at e.g. historical Europe or Rome you will rarely find borders defined by ethnicity, and you will rarely even find people defining themselves by a singular ethnicity. Look at the e.g. Franks, the Germanic political entity that ended up defining modern France (and Holland and Germany and Belgium, etc.) A Germanic-speaking tribe that took over a Celtic (Gaulic) and Latin speaking territory, went to war with other "Germans", switched to speaking Latin in some places, but not all, and on the territory where they once ruled you now have a shattered mirror of dozens of ethnicities ("German", "Dutch", "Walloon", "French", "Alsatian", etc) in a nested fractal pattern depending on what lense you use, none of which correspond to any exact political border and which are fluid and changing from decade to decade.

My take: Ethnicity exists, is fluid, etc. Ethnonationalism is a tool, an ideological tool, mobilizing ethnicity for its own ends, using a specifically modern era mechanism ("nations", which are only ~200-300 years old) for the purposes of whoever is wielding it. E.g. the ambitions of an e.g. Milosevic type personality.

My ancestors are from both Alsace and Germany, so I take an interest in this topic.

I'm still a bit confused, but I think the takeaway is that I was conflating "any ethnic persecution" with "ethnonationalism". It sounds like the latter is much more specific ("we don't want Jews in our country" versus "this country belongs to Germans"?)?

I think it's normal to be confused, because the terms and history all have different interpretations and meanings.

What is German? What is Jew? What is "country"? And what is nation?

The answer to all those questions changes. Which is one of the reasons why I think it's important to be incredibly suspicious of any person who claims to have the answer, and to be able to state with certainty that this country belongs to Germany or this is the homeland of the Jews.

What are they really trying to accomplish?

Also, I'm super suspicious of anybody who says about any topic "it's always been this way" or "it's just common sense"... because a) they're usually wrong b) that's usually just obscuring a proposition or action they don't want to justify or defend using arguments so they appeal to nature/God/common-sense/natural-rightness instead.

> What is German? What is Jew? What is "country"? And what is nation?

I agree about ethnicities being mercurial; I'm not espousing "ethnicity" as a good way of organizing the world, but it's an established convention. WRT "country", here I mean it in a political/territorial sense--i.e., a territory under control of a sovereign government.

> Also, I'm super suspicious of anybody who says about any topic "it's always been this way" or "it's just common sense"

I'm not asserting anything. Ethnicity seems much too mercurial for me to understand well, and it seems like it's easy for people on either side of an argument to flex the definition to suit their ideological ends.

So it's very reasonable to point out that there's rarely such thing as 'pure ethnicity' and especially the 'lensing' issue of scale is insightful, and of course that some eras there's more evolution than that others ...

... but none of this upsets the fact that ethnicity is the 'primary weight' in the ultimate definition of borders, other than the borders which are artificial (i.e. political) which is why those tend to collapse.

i.e. " historical Europe or Rome you will rarely find borders defined by ethnicity" <- this is just not true.

Borders very clearly, 'mostly' ethnic, with huge caveats obviously, but those caveats don't change the underlying gravity of ethnicity.

Both a map of Europe today (though it's national) and even a map of the Roman Empire at any given time fairly strongly highlight this.

Roman borders don't help your point - they speak against it.

For a visual refresher here's a bunch of them [1].

Those are mostly ethnic divisions - some of which exist even today.

The fact that Greece has been 'occupied' for ~2200 years, by a whole variety of external powers, and still 'moslty' remains 'Greece' is evidence of this.

Despite your well meaning highlights of the Germanic invasion of Latin Gaul ... there is still a major delineating border between 'Gallia' and 'Germania' today [2].

Same for 'Hispania', 'Britannia', and 'Caledonia' (i.e. Scotland) and 'Hibernia' (i.e. Ireland).

It's an incredibly similar map 2000 years later.

Maybe one factor you could consider in your line of reasoning is the difference between political and ethnic boundaries.

When one group 'invades' another - that's a political change, not necessarily an ethnic one.

It becomes 'ethnic' when the invaders bring along with them considerable cultural power and especially 'bodies' i.e. if there's a lot of migration.

The official language of France in 2021 (and there are many) is French, which is Romantic, despite Frankish invasion.

Charlemagne was more or less a political phenomenon, less so cultural one.

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=map+of+roman+empire&client=f...

[2] https://www.conformingtojesus.com/images/webpages/map_roman_...

You’re begging the question of why ethnicity implies borders. Borders are purely political objects. Without states, there are no borders. Labeling geographic areas as being primarily inhabited by descendants of a certain ethnicity does not at all imply that there is a well-defined point at which one ethnicity becomes another ethnicity in those areas. You can’t just ignore the existence of the nation-state in discussing borders. It’s the whole substance of the question.

I will note too that your argument here completely falls apart for America.

I think you're missing a lot of information here.

"Without states, there are no borders"

Well, the 'Nation State' is a modern concept, so no.

But if you were to say 'borders imply an administrative region of some kind' - then maybe.

But even without official, stated administrative organization, 'borders' still exist as the demarcation point between groups.

"You can’t just ignore the existence of the nation-state in discussing borders."

I absolutely did not, and I have no idea what you are referring to here.

"your argument here completely falls apart for America. "

No, it doesn't.

Start with the point that most 'states' (or administrative regions) in history, have been ethnocentric. From Egypt through Minoan, Greek, Roman etc..

Some more so than others. The US, no, Sweden, mostly.

> Well, the 'Nation State' is a modern concept, so no.

The nation state is. The state is not. The state is ancient.

> But even without official, stated administrative organization, 'borders' still exist as the demarcation point between groups.

But they’re not borders as such. Without administration, they shift constantly, and frequently are not clear at the edges.

> Start with the point that most 'states' (or administrative regions) in history, have been ethnocentric. From Egypt through Minoan, Greek, Roman etc..

Sure, but the phenomenon of the nation state is the part that you’re missing here. You can argue that historically, humans have grouped themselves ethnically. What you can’t argue is that this somehow makes ethnocentrism in the political environment of a nation state “natural,” as the concept of the nation and the state have been aligned for hundreds of years now.

> Some more so than others. The US, no, Sweden, mostly.

But this distinction basically proves this is not intrinsic to how humans function. The existence of variation is a pretty good argument against historical determinism.

" What you can’t argue is that this somehow makes ethnocentrism in the political environment of a nation state “natural,” as the concept of the nation and the state have been aligned for hundreds of years now."

??? Yes, I'm making that argument and it's really obvious.

The 'modern nation state' is not fundamentally different from historical 'states' in this regard.

'Gaul' was an administrative state, part of the Roman Empire, roughly ethnocentric. 'France' is now.

Borders bounce around, but they mostly fit between ethnic groups. It doesn't really matter whether we are dealing with the modern notion of state or not.

"Some more so than others. The US, no, Sweden, mostly.

But this distinction basically proves this is not intrinsic to how humans function."

It really doesn't.

That 'some nation states' do not form along ethnic boundaries in not way 'proves' that ethnicity is not a natural vector for state formation.

Even if 'most' nation states formed along some other means, it still wouldn't prove that ethnicity is not a vector of formation.

The fact a number of ethnocentric states exists proves that it's a vector of formation.

The fact that 'most states' are roughly ethnocentric proves my point.

It's fairly obvious and not very controversial.

I think it's just one of those issues that triggers some people who hate the fact that ethnicity is a fairly important part of our identity, and then they step out of their ability to apply rhetoric in a reasonable way i.e. a kind of bad faith argumentation. It's the only explanation I can fathom for why people would argue with something so obvious. Vietnam has Vietnamese and Korea has Koreans. Obviously it's more complicated than that, but unless there are literal Nazis running around, and there generally are not, then who cares. It's really not a problem in most places in the world.

The concept of a territory been defended by tribe against other tribes is as old as mammals.

Even if that's the case, that's not close to the same as a "nation" or even an "ethnicity."

Example: Germanic tribes that migrated out of the north in the 1st-5th centuries AD all spoke similar languages and had similar customs but were fluidly at war with each other and rarely if at all recognized any wider "German" identity. Some allied with the Romans, some joined confederations with the Huns, some groups seemed to be mixtures of Gauls and German despite different languages, etc. etc. This didn't befuddled the Romans at all. In the same era, Greeks (Hellenes) called themselves Romani, Goths ruled over formerly Roman territories and adopted Roman practices, while having Latin speaking subjects.

Stretch that out to the modern far right in Europe, on what basis is "European" any kind of "tribe?" What exactly are us "cultural Marxists" trying to impose on this poor persecuted "European identity"?

It does not stand up to critical inspection so it has to appeal to stuff like you just said "oh it's always been this way" -- who says? Define your terms, show me how they're the same, and prove it. Because appealing to that past and then conflating with the present with it to justify some action or policy has really serious consequences for humans

No. Consider France -- until Napoleon forged modern France, it contained dozens of languages and ethnicities. Then the modern world steam-rolled them into Frenchmen.

I don't think "the modern world" can be faulted. The French explicitly had a top-down campaign to forge a French national identity/ethnicity. But I take the broader point, I thought "ethnonationalism" was any kind of persecution of ethnic minorities.

What could be more modern than a top-down, homogenous education campaign?

Recent history, 19th and 20th century, yes. Older than that, no. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't French a minority language in France until the government decided to pursue a policy of francisation?

I think so. IMO, tolerance is a result of education, easily unlearned under pressure.

I think we could make a distinction between 'ethnocentrism' as identification with culture and being 'historically normative' at least somewhat, and 'ethnonationalism' which is the addition of the nation state, where it can possibly get more extremist under an operationally effective entity and codified/organized ideology aka Nazism. That's just my view.

Yup, an he was an early (in this cycle) example of the importance of the Paradox of Tolerance.

"A concept advanced by the philosopher Karl Popper which claims that unlimited tolerance necessarily results in the destruction of the tolerant by the intolerant, resulting in a society in which tolerance is no longer possible. Therefore, while paradoxical to the concept of free speech, it is necessary to be intolerant of intolerance. "[1]

In short, in a society of unlimited tolerance, the intolerant will drive out tolerance and take over. In This murderer's example, by simply eliminating those whose views he doesn't like.

[1] https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Seems the point is being missed here - the point is that tolerant societies must nevertheless be vigilant to contain serious intolerance or it will take over.

It is easy to have an absolutist rule "oh just let anyone say and do anything". Seems like the simple freedom, but the paradox points out that this WILL be hacked and destroyed by some intolerant group.

It is much harder to implement a few constraints that are actually required to keep things free. But it is necessary (and that murderous rampage to literally eliminate a class of future leaders is an example of why it is necessary).

Two things I would do to stop this:

1. stop calling it right wing extremism. These guys are mad nationalists, not Ayn Rand (not that I am a fan of Ayn Rand either.)

By calling it by its real name it won't come across as just a variant of conservative or liberal. Because we absolutely detest them and I guess I speak for most of us when I say we don't even want them to vote for us.

2. Encourage serious debate. Dare to meet people.

I wrote about this the other day in the context of climate change:

Climate change believers are awfully fast to reach for the branding iron whenever someone asks an innocent questions.

Meanwhile climate change deniers will patiently smooth talk people and dig out "study" after "study" carefully picked to prove their point.

Same goes for this: the only place you can safely discuss immigration without risking someone sneaking up on you with a red hot "racist" iron is - you probably guessed it - with the racists.

Now why don't we fix this?

Probably because we'd have to admit that there are some serious problems with the way immigration has been practiced.

From his wikipedia entry:

> The Jerusalem Post describes his support for Israel as a "far-right Zionism". He calls all "nationalists" to join in the struggle against "cultural Marxists/multiculturalists" [1]

Now fear of "cultural Marxists" destroying Europe/US/Christianity etc is mainstream talk in right of center politics.

[1] http://www.jpost.com/International/Norway-attack-suspect-had...

It's the paradox of tolerance in action. Tolerate intolerant ideals and there will be a sudden jerk to intolerance.

For context Karl Popper's quote on the paradox of tolerance:

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant." [0]

[0] K. Popper (1945) 'The Open Society and Its Enemies'

> and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.

It would be great if that condition was used to distinguish between individuals that are intolerant and those that simply are dissenting.

A dissenter might disagree with the rationality of the arguments being presented. They might be in minority in term of public opinion. Suppression would still certainly be most unwise.

You can’t perfectly distinguish between intolerance and dissent from first principles because the distinction is inherently political, and intolerance could also be characterized as dissent in a society that practices tolerance. In most cases though I think intolerance is pretty clear: when you start denying people’s status as full citizens of a nation, you are being intolerant.

Amazing that he anticipated "So much for the tolerant left" about 70 years before it became a widespread complaint

It's the paradox of intolerance because it's a paradox, i.e. a logical contradiction. If you are tolerant to intolerant views, they will gain power and censor your tolerant speech. But on the other hand, if you are intolerant towards intolerant views and censor them, then it's ok for someone else to censor YOU for being intolerant.

You can go a step farther and say that "tolerance towards intolerance leads to intolerance, therefore we should be intolerant towards tolerance in the first place!" It's a paradox for a reason, and no high-minded solutions of "intolerance in the name of tolerance" are able to sidestep its implications.

There are two conclusions that I personally draw from it. The first is that intolerance/tolerance is not a binary, is not easily definable, and therefore there is no clear standard for what speech is right to censor and which is not. i.e. the paradox is unsolvable. The second is that "tolerance" and "intolerance" are not great words to describe the dynamics at play, they carry extra nuance that is not helpful.

(if you can't tell, I'm not a fan of the paradox of tolerance)

It reminds me of game theory and how difficult it is to create cooperator strategies that prevent the invasion of defectors in e.g. the prisoners' dilemma.

The outcome should be, tolerance for others to express their intolerance, and you to express your intolerance of their intolerance, but no one gets to shut anyone's expression's down.

You can ignore them, don't have to amplify them or give them a platform, but you don't shout them down and you don't allow them to shout others down or stop them from building their own platform.

The Communists in America have been marginalized for a long time in America, but even the most totalitarian/Stalinist believing of them aren't muzzled. Whatever one's extreme belief, a truly robust society has the tools to survive their ability to talk about them.

The paradox disappears when you treat tolerance as a peace treaty rather than a universal moral obligation.

Unfortunately the paradox of tolerance is trivially abused. If someone concludes that Islam is intolerant, that person feels that the PoT gives them moral license to behave in tolerantly toward Muslims. I think we also see this in American culture war where the definition of “intolerance” is contorted such that it matches one’s ideological opponents. Perhaps we need a firmer test for what constitutes tolerance or intolerance, although even then the semantic contortionists would probably just redefine the terms that constitute the test.

What's left is to determine who is tolerant and who isn't.

Yeah and it's a bit tricky. Best to leave it to someone who knows what they're doing. I vote for me.

The paradox of Tolerance says to actually tolerate intolerance unless it’s violent.

No, it does not.

Ethnonationalism (or at least ethnocentrism) is as old as time, and probably the 'default' mindset. Lack of any other force, especially when combined with the 'nation' part i.e. organized nation state, it might get out of hand, which is why it can come to be a problem, but nominally, it's not. It's probably a defining feature of how we organize ourselves.

So the very existence of most of our nations, is a form of 'Tolerance' of it.

If you look at the borders of Europe and how they flop around over time, it becomes clear that the 'delineating' factor is mostly ethnicity, at least crudely. Sometimes, a political dynasty can force those lines (i.e. Habsburg) but those don't last. What were the chances that Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia etc. were going to stay organized under one House?

Even highly authoritarian ideological secular organizations i.e. USSR failed. Napoleon failed outside his borders whereas within France, it might have just worked for him.

Religious Empires aka Arabic conquest, have some lasting impact but that didn't change borders in any lasting way mostly (although maybe in SE Europe).

Despite a degree of 'multi-culture' in China, the CCP authoritarianism hinges on Han ethnocentricism without which it probably would not hold together.

Where those 'ethnic lines' are drawn poorly, we see trouble.

Belgium is almost a 'failed political state' (literally 100's of days in a row without a government) and the 'division' is 100% because of Flemish/Walloon divide.

Canada has the 'Quebec' factor which has really fundamentally affected things and has a profound effect.

The 'Long Straight Lines in the Desert' in the Middle East were arguably drawn poorly after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and a lot of people tend to point at that as an existential source of instability and why we see problems to this day. Iraq is not a functional state as the Kurds have de-facto independence, and the primary source of instability is the Shia/Sunni divide, unfortunately inflamed by neighbouring parties for their own gain.

The 'New World' aka US, Canada, Australia, Brazil represent something different surely, but even there, it's hard to ignore strong ethnic foundations of the colonizing powers.

Greece is still Greece today after 2500 years, the borders are similar. Also note their 'primary antagonists' i.e. 'Persians' are also something very roughly resembling a state today.

Of course for every 'long lived state' there are 10 that don't exist anymore, but there seems to be resiliency in culture more than anything else.

So I think it's a matter of keeping 'true extremists' (aka not vast government spying and overreach) under wraps as individuals, not so much thinking about specific kinds of movements.

I also believe that these kinds of people would just as easy fall under some other cultural/religious/ideological/extremist umbrella.

I don't think there's much difference between 'XXX extremist' and 'YYY extremist' even if they are ostensibly opposed to one another.

Ok, so you take belgium "as a failed state", and the "Quebec factor", while ignoring, let's say... Switzerland?

> If you look at the borders of Europe and how they flop around over time, it becomes clear that the 'delineating' factor is mostly ethnicity, at least crudely.

No. I don't know why you would think that. Brittany was Gallo-Breton, and the two ethnicity almost cut the duchy in two. Two very, very different languages and ethnicity. I would know, i was born on the lingual border. Occitan was closer to Ligurian than to Paris' French, Normand was closer to London's, I would like to think that Liege was always speaking alsacian rather than French, and that Burgundy was speaking more French than the Armagnac Duchy was. The Basque ethnicity was always separated between two crowns (at least)

You know what defined the national borders during the nationnalism epidemic of the 19th century? Natural borders. And when none exist, you create artificial ones, not a all following ethnicity. Ukraine? Lithuania? Poland even? No natural borders => the borders cut with forests or swampsm not "ethnical divide" (or else eastern Europe would NOT look like this).

> Napoleon failed outside his borders whereas within France, it might have just worked for him.

Yes, and what was France looking like when he took power? How yeah, Savoy, Piedmont, Liguria are really French. As are the netherlands... It worked for him until he started to meddle into other kingdom's/Empire internal affairs.

> Greece is still Greece today after 2500 years, the borders are similar.

Yeah, no. The old Greece western borders stopped before that (linguistically at least), the northern border reached higher, as were the eastern borders. I know that Iran fancy themselve as persia successor, but let's be honest, their border follow more natural borders than the old Persian Empire.

If ethnocentrism were "as old as time", what about the Mughals? What about the Romans? What about the "King of Franc" ruling over a lot of non-Franc (a majority of non-Franc even)? And the Holy Roman empire? What about the Commonwealth of Poland? The truth is, ethnicity is a lot like language, and follow the same rules language used to do.

Just want to say thank you, you made all the points that I wanted to make (but could not summon the energy to) in a reply to this comment.

Should add re: Greece that there was few points at which the Greeks ever even considered themselves any kind of "ethnic "nation"; in pre-Roman times they recognized the existence of "Hellenes" but were constantly at war with each other. In Roman times (which went on much longer there than in the west) they came to consider themselves Romans. And in post-Roman Ottoman times they were one of ethnicity of many in what is now Greece and Asia-Minor and identified more around religion. Until the great ethnonationalist catastrophe of the forced population relocation of Greeks and Turks in the last century in which all sorts of people who didn't fit the "right" categories were mixed up (Christian Turks? Muslim Greeks? etc)

This line of reasoning of 'finding examples where ethnicity fails to provide the boundary distinction' doesn't make your case.

I know about 'Switzlerand', thanks. Which is why I brought up USA/Australia/Brazil etc..

Nobody is going to argue that there are many factors that drive boundaries (aka natural boundaries) merely highlighting some counter examples doesn't deconstruct the fact that ethnicity is the primary marker.

"No. I don't know why you would think that. "

Well I don't know what to say because to me, it's 'very obvious' that ethnic boundaries are strong - I don't know how anyone could think otherwise.

In fact, if there is 'nuance' it's probably the things that you are stating that are 'less obvious'.

Here is a map of Rome in the year 0 [0]

Here is a map of Europe today [1]

They are incredibly similar.

By pointing out 'that there are differences' doesn't deny that fact.

Again: "Yeah, no. The old Greece western borders stopped before that (linguistically at least), the northern border reached higher, as were the eastern borders."

That borders have shifted materially, doesn't change the underlying fact that 'Greece is strongly related to Greece'.

I think that's the clearest example of where your argument does not cross the threshold you think it does. You say 'the borders have changed' - fine - I say 'it's still pretty much Greece', which it is.

The Duchy of Savoy was mostly a political organization, not an ethnic one, and guess what? It doesn't exist.

The fragmented borders have mostly collapsed - along the lines of ethnicity, crudely. And of course, within those borders, it's fragments like a fractal (great analogy by the commenter above).

And finally, yes, 'natural borders' are obviously a framing reference, because they keep people apart, which allows groups to develop, we agree there.

[0] https://www.conformingtojesus.com/images/webpages/map_roman_...

[1] https://geology.com/world/europe-satellite-image.shtml

It's a bit precious to point to the Greek borders and say "look, there's Greece" when you're pointing to a territory in which a half million people were forcibly expelled based on ethnonationalist politics and ideology, only 100 years ago.

Likewise to "French ethnicity", a place where government policy is still actively engaged in destroying minority languages (and their cultures) and has been since Napoleon.

These "ethnic" borders you're pointing to are as much a product of political maneuverings using ethnicity as a platform, as they are any kind of "natural" product of ethnicity.

Again, dismissing my points. What about Britanny (breton and Gallo, see my previous post)? What about the Basque country? What about Alsace? What about Savoy then, if it was "mostly a political organization" (that created modern Italy by the way)? What about Occitanie? and Catalonia (Roussillon mostly)? Aquitaine? Do we talk about northern France then, since we saw pretty much All the south is NOT French? Is Normandy French? Culturally? When the original normand had so many word from the danes, and even the name tell us where they come from (NOR-mand)? Picardia (from Baie de Somme to liege basically), do you consider it French? Because i'm pretty sure, it use to be way closer to the lowlands than France, culturally (when the Duchy of Artois existed, at least).

I only know one contry well, mine, and a bit of northern Italy (i'm a 1750-1911 history nerd).

So now i'm gonna dissect northern Italy: you can count Liguria (closer to Occitan than Rome), as well as Piedmont ethnicity (but since the Duchy of Savoy is mostly political, i guess it doesn't exist... Ho, wait, did this duchy not inherit Sardinia from the pope and the Hasburg and form the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont? I guess it was based on ethnicity then.) Do you think Venitians where closer to Roman (or i guess Piedmont) than they were to Dalmatians before the 18th century? I am sure it wasn't the case.

You map of Rome is funny. Here is what i found [0]. This is obviously not following ethnic divisions. Unless the basques moved during the time period, but i'm certain they did not.


I'm not dismissing your points - I accept there's a lot of ambiguity.

Given the level of fragmentation you want to get into by highlighting tiny, short-lived political entities that had small populations and exited only for a blip in history ... well, you'll find many of them.

But you're missing the forest through the trees: the borders are unambiguously ethnic, to the point where it's not really even an argument.

'So What about Basque Country'?

Yes - thanks proving my point!

The 'Basque' fit so poorly within the constraints of Spanish borders that there is literally 'terrorism' and a systematic malaise: separatists groups and violence!

It might very well bode better if there was a separate nation state, or some degree of sovereignty there. I don't know, that's besides the point.

And what about Occitane, Catalonia, Alscace? They are, for the most part, ethnic subdivisions that fit more or less within the bigger systems they are in. Some better than others, but almost all of them to some reasonable degree.

But you're arguing against reality to insist that the line between Poland and Germany isn't relatively clear at some point, even if it's not perfect. It fuzzes over a few leagues, but by the time you hit Warsaw or Berlin it's clearly 'a different culture'. Again that there are strong subdivisions in Germany doesn't change the fact because the subdivisions are 'mostly' Germanic.

The Swedes and Finns have very distinct ethnostates, even if they have pockets of Swedes (historically, not just expats) in Finland, and even with distinct 'aboriginal' groups within both.

Again, in the big picture - hard ethnic delineation.

The map of the Roman Empire you provided only reinfornces my case: many of regions form the basis for many nation states today.

The more developed the system, the more likely it would be to have continued existence.

The demarcation point between the old Roman Empire and the Germanic states today is stark - written in politics, language, culture.

Europe didn't end up with a bunch of Switzerland - it ended up mostly with a bunch of Germanys, i.e. the sub-fragmentation is mostly related in some way and the external boundaries forming a kind of ethnic delineation.

There is 'malaise' in Basque country because of the ethno-nationalist/ethnostate nature of France and Spain, not because of some nonsense essentialism that a country with ethnicities in its boundaries naturally tends towards chaos and malaise. The lack of actual multiculturalism in both those states is what gives Euskadi (and Catalonian) nationalism its grounding.

Same in my country, Canada. Quebecois nationalism exist/existed in large part due to the experience of British colonialism and the awful way that the Quebecois and their language were treated and the dumbass way many English Canadians still talk about them.

You're reversing the causes and effect here. The basque did not have any issue being divided between 3 kingdoms for a thousand years. Breton did not mind being ruled by Gallo for at least as much time. Somehow, they started revolting when the state, the nation rather, started imposing their own languages and forbidding them to keep their cultural identity. Everybody talk about the Armenian genocide, but this is only the last of a long history, the 19th century is riddled by ethnic displacement to make the nice looking european border match the ethnicity. Italy did exactly the same, Austro-Hungary too. The Balkan crisis is caused by an ethnonationalism the did not exist before.

You know that have multiple culture in your kingdom was a sign of strength until the end of the 18th century, right? Despite the Villers-Coteret directive, nothing could please a King of France more than listening the his multilingual, multicultural country. It is really obvious than the cultural area we have no were forced. I know there is a lot of fear behind the sinicization, but France did the same in less than 50 years, although at a smaller scale, with a modicum of violence and some small concessions.

Aragon was probably one of the most multicultural, multilingual kingdom of old, but since the concept of nation did not exist, and that ethnicity was just another word for language 95% of the time, it did not cause any issue, and certainly not ethnic tensions.

A recent study concluded that Breivik’s influence on right wing terrorism is close to none. But yes, the 22 july attacks is certainly a critical chapter in the overall rise of nationalist movements in the last decade.

Link to study: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/assets/cu...

Unsure about the downvotes, but needless to say, the results of the study are, well, positive:


On the contrary, I don't see any widespread nazi ideology. I see people open disagree with the left and some of its goals but that is, and I hope you agree, not the same thing.

> I don't see any widespread nazi ideology

Perhaps they have played too much Wolfenstein VR to come to that conclusion of seeing Nazis everywhere or some sort of hidden agenda of a secret Nazi invasion from space.

SlateStarCodex (A HN favourite) put it more accurately about the media (and social media) during the recent events in 2017 and still to this day:

"I also think events proved me right in saying that the media was going crazy in a particular way where they would read racism into anything..."

"...At some point you just have to admit everyone went crazy for a few years and seeing started seeing Nazis in trees and rocks and grilled cheese sandwiches and Trump was an especially tempting target."

[0] https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/mantic-monday-grading-...

Speech obesity is an inherent need of attention economy: the heavier the words the better they sink.

I don't understand why they mention the terrorist so much in this in memorial, also photos of him in combat gear. The majority of comments here are about him and his deeds; this is exactly the kind of thing these people want, to be remembered. Discussion about motives, political background are warranted but these people really should not be remembered by name or face.

I concur. I have great respect for the PM of New Zealand and the media that subsequently followed who refused to name the shooters in the Christchurch mosque massacre. Also, the Canadian media that refused to name the Nova Scotia shooter.

I remember how most were sure it was an islamistic assault. In the aftermath the press gave him to much room with pictures of him and citations from his "manifest".

Even the attacker of the Christchurch mosque massacre referenced him.

Ban his name and pictures, remember his victims instead.

Banning his name and pictures? On what basis? I guess you're not also asking for Stalin and Hitler plus a whole galaxy of mass killers who've massacred their way across the 20th century to join the list of banned killers? Or do they not qualify for banning because they killed orders of magnitude more people than the appalling Breivik?

Should Breivik have killed more to qualify for banning. Yes, a ridiculous suggestion as with the idea of banning mention of him.

There is probably even more work to do on Stalin's legacy not to mention the others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Great_Purge_victims

Yes, ban their names and pictures too. I'm asking to ban every mass murder because part of their plan is to gain fame to recruit followers and create copycats. I'm against death penalty but not against killing their legacy.

Hitler and Stalin are already partly banned.

And in the news this morning it was called a "drama" or "tragedy", not a "right-wing terrorist attack" as it would have been called if it was done by muslims.

Not defending it, but I'm not sure the concept of "right-wing terrorism" was a commonly known concept at the time.

People commit acts of terror for all types of reasons; holy wars, separatist movements and other political movements, etc. There had been attacks and events in the US for similar right wing reasons, but there wasn't really an umbrella term for this type of event at the time. The fact that this motive is now as commonly known as jihad terrorism is, is rather worrying.

There is a long history of right wing terrorism, Timothy McVeigh committed the deadliest act of terrorism in the US until 9/11.

In Italy right wing terrorists from the stay behind army Gladio committed several false flag attacks to prevent the rise of communist parties.

1980 a right wing extremist bombed at the Oktoberfest in Munich.

Before 9/11 it was one of the dominant forms of terrorism. The movie The Sum of all fears is bases on the book of the same name. In the book the terrorists are muslim extremists, but they deemed the scenario as too unrealistic so they changed it to Neo Nazis for the movie.

Anyone know what Norway will do when Breivik's 21 year prison sentence [0] is up in 10-12 years? Difficult to imagine him being released back into society.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Anders_Behring_Breivi...

He was not sentenced to regular prison, but rather detention[1]. The difference being that the former is a punishment and the latter is to protect the public.

While detention must be evaluated at given intervals, it can be extended indefinitely[2].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preventive_detention

[2]: https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forvaring

It's 21 years because that's the longest formal imprisonment sentence allowed for crimes (other than war crimes) in Norway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_imprisonment_in_Norway.

It doesn't mean that such prisoners are definitely released with 21 years - it can (and likely will) be extended indefinitely for as long as a prisoner remains dangerous to society:

> If the prisoner is still considered dangerous after serving the original sentence, the detention can be extended by five years at a time. Renewal of the detention every five years can in theory result in actual life imprisonment.

It’s fascinating getting glimpses of other justice systems like this. Meanwhile in the US many states have three-strikes laws where you can get a mandatory life sentence for repeat offenses, even if the last offense is relatively minor or non-violent. Insanity.



Why exactly is it insanity? I like the 3 strikes better (my only concern is drug crime and other non-crime) - 3 separate occasions of disregarding others' most basic rights establish a clear pattern; the society reciprocates by not respecting the rights of the criminal as it protects itself from them. It's only incidentally a punishment, it's really removal - in fact, humanistic removal, the more cost-effective one would be execution.

Now, in case as unique and clear-cut as that of Breivik, I would advocate for an extremely rare application of actual punishment-punishment - e.g., keeping him alive for as long as possible while torturing him.

As for three-strikes-society-removes-you, that's probably my favorite part of the justice system in the US.

He will be considered a threat to society, and kept locked up for another 5 years.. rinse and repeat

"They tell Breivik to lie on the ground, and handcuff him. The terrorist tells them that one of his fingers hurt, and asks for a band aid."


As chilling as this all is, I appreciate you sharing.

The headline of the English translation is "The Terror Attacks That Changed Norway". Did anything actually change?

In the US, we're accustomed to mass killings not changing anything, and I'm curious if Utoya was different.

Maybe nothing needs to change -- it appears that this event was a statistical outlier, and making everybody's life worse to prevent low-probability events (e.g., flying after 9/11) is not necessarily a cost that a society is willing to bear.

Warning: There are some fairly graphic photos in here.

I can't help but think that if the actual impact of gun violence (and violence in general) was shown in the media, we'd have a lot less of it to deal with...

Probably not though, gun violence is not caused by people not being aware of the consequences or the shock thereof. It's not even caused by gun ownership itself. There's a whole slew of issues behind gun violence in the US.

It could cause people to take action around laws or other issues that contribute to gun violence - because they want less of it to occur.

Maybe, but it seems like people largely don't care enough to take action unless it has impacted them locally. Even then, many people have personal problems that affect them more directly that they tend to focus on.

For example, genocide in Sudan was pretty heavily covered, including some graphic content. Yet we didn't do much of anything to fix it. There were not many people saying "send me over there so I can stop it".

Most people always want someone else to fix the issue for them rather than take direct action themselves. We know that socioeconomic issues are the main drivers of gun violence and violence in general. Most people are not willing to address those issues through paying higher taxes (it's always tax some other person), volunteering, or even being neighborly. Many of the better off people do not live in the areas affected most by gun violence.

How so?

Edit: Why downvote? I'm asking for details on the mechanism that would lead to this reduction.

> Why downvote?

Unfortunately on HN, some won't give a reason, explanation or any evidence of the details you are asking for.

Claims are left without any substance and are left to you or someone else to refute them. Leaving everyone confused.

What a shame to a discussion.

That's fine if they don't want to explain their statements. It's just frustrating when I ask for an explanation and get downvoted for asking.

Maybe I'm just posting really unpopular stuff recently, because I've noticed 2-3x the downvotes without explanations the past week as compared to normal.

The guy was an incel (before the term existed) and also evolved to become raging mad (but not clinically insane).




> Was the Godhra train arson[1] where 100+ Hindu pilgrims including women and children were deliberately set afire by a Muslim mob every covered by the Western press?

That's a pretty easy answer: the very first item in the bibliography of that Wiki article is from BBC News, and the Indian government says it wasn't arson. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4180885.stm

"We killed 1k people because you killed 50" isn't a great defense, even if it was arson.

It’s unclear to me whether you’re defending the massacre or what your argument is. It was set off by an arson. Ok. Are you implying that the reaction was justified?


Typical logical fallacy -- crimes and atrocities can be committed against Hindus and Hindutva can remain a noxious force in the subcontinent.


"Protest" is very much the wrong word here.

Weapons purchased completely legally.

This was an act planned for years by someone who was sane and seemingly normal. To get the weapons he had, he had to pass a test[1] and apply to the police for approval[2]. He got the approvals as he passed the test and had joined a gun club as is required.

Arguing that ABB using legally purchased guns means gun control doesn't work is pretty much the same as saying burglars will bypass the lock on your door so might as well not have any doors in your home.

[1]: https://www.nrk.no/osloogviken/breivik-kjopte-drapsvapen-i-r...

[2]: https://www.tv2.no/a/13199459/

This is not about gun control.

Just state your point explicitly?

As a thought experiment, do you think there would be so many casualities if this island was located in Texas, USA where socialists/labor party is also not very popular?

Very possibly. Even in Texas, a bunch of kids on a youth camping retreat probably aren't heavily armed and ready to do battle. The element of surprise helps, too.

For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutherland_Springs_church_shoo...

(it is probably a safe assumption that a Baptist church in a small town in Texas had at least a couple armed congregants)

The logical statement is that more the good guys have guns, the lesser chance the bad guys have to inflict damage.

It would be great to have no bad guys, but they will always exist, and will not follow the laws no matter what.

Laws should be written to enable good guys to protect themselves.

> The logical statement is that more the good guys have guns, the lesser chance the bad guys have to inflict damage.

I don't find this as logical as you do, I think.

> The logical statement is that more the good guys have guns, the lesser chance the bad guys have to inflict damage.

That's some crazy logic. A "good guy" doesn't mean a person capable of making the right decisions in front of a bad guy. Would they be able to deescalate? Would they shoot an innocent bystander? Would they shoot another good guy mistaking them for a bad guy?

The correct path forward is to educate and reduce the amount of guns, not give more out on the off chance a good guy happens to be there where something bad happens, while simultaneously increasing the risk a heated exchange/rage fit/whatever escalates to a gunfight.

in todays society, i look as guns not as a good, but as a necessary evil, needed to protect the weak from the strong, and level the playing field in a physical situation ( not ideal, but can't be wished away either)

For this reason, the gun ownership needs to increase among the traditionally weaker classes ( women, minorities ) who currently are at threat.

Humans break sometimes and get violent.

Just the other day a 16 year old student in Singapore used an axe to kill a 13 year old in a bathroom at school. They had never met.

This was a crime planned for months, carried out with care, and based in ideology. Comparing it to a random act of violence is disingenuous.

You think some 16 year just randomly decided to bring an axe to school and kill someone?

None of these are spontaneous.

My school had an ax in the fire equipment locker, and even if a kid's bringing a weapon from home, it's hardly comparable to a multi-month construction of a bomb followed up by a multi-location terror attack on a political party with a whole-ass manifesto playing a role.

Not sure how your school is relevant, but this kid apparently bought it weeks before. Again, we’ll planned and probably considered for months.

When ideologies are suppressed, they get pushed to the edges, where there is always some scum of society, who are disaffected and will latch on to it.

The best way is to identify the roots behind what attracts the followers of these ideologies, address any root issues, and attack the premises behind the ideologies itself.

Not talking to these incidents, but all over the world, people tend to violence when they feel that the system does not hear them.

So what should the "system" have "heard" in this case? "I don't want Muslims in 'my' country"? What's the root issue that needs addressing here?

> what should the "system" have "heard" in this case?

I have no dog in this fight, don't know much to be prescriptive of solutions for this case.

A generic statement I made which holds true as such, is being downvoted.

Just because I make this case, does not mean I know the solutions?

The UX on this page is awful. The text fades in way too slowly and not at all in a useful or aesthetic way. It could win an award for creatively poor UX.

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