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Opinion: Was Breivik inspired by Libertarianism? – by Johan Norberg

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I am still in shock and disbelief over the mass murder in Norway, and I have nothing especially intelligent and comforting to say. The most important thing was said on the first evening by Norway´s Prime MinisterJens Stoltenberg: “Our response is more democracy, more openness and more humanity, but never naivete.”

Here is an important and honest article by a Norwegian critic of Islam that I think is worth reading.

Considering what has happened, I hesitate to discuss the terrorist´s politicial views. That is obviously not the most important thing about him, and it might be a way of taking his hobby theories too seriously. But since some in the online commentariat now try to portray him as inspired by neo-liberalism and libertarian ideas in economics – after all he mentions books by Adam Smith and Ayn Rand as some of his favourites – it makes sense to contribute with a few facts:

– Anders Behring Breivik was once active in the Norwegian populist party Fremskrittspartiet, and since that is an odd alliance of conservatives, liberals and anti-immigrant populists it is not strange that he has met several different and opposing ideas on his way. In his bizarre manifesto – where he combines ideas from all sides – he explains that when he was 16 to 21 years old, he was already a cultural conservative but at that time also an economic liberal and interested in economic laissez-faire ideas. This is probably why he thinks Smith and Rand wrote great books.

– But he also writes that those libertarian ideas “completely collided with my increasing interest for cultural identity and a more traditionalist conservative school of thought”. He explains that he realised that “libertarianism was not a sustainable political concept” and that under its influence combined with multuculturalism, “society would eventually fracture and seize to function”. He concluded that he wanted to fight for a cultural and national identity rather than individual self-interest, which he thought libertarianism was all about.

– Yes, he is in favour of entrepreneurship on a national and local level, but concludes that “I oppose globalist capitalism”, and includes us free market globalists and free traders among the “cultural marxists” that he hates more than anything.

– And in his new cultural conservative order: “All globalist [multi-national] companies will be nationalised.”

– He is a hardcore protectionist. He wants high tariffs, and wants to stop trade with for example China and the Middle East. “And yes, I am aware of the fact that with these policies – goods will be more expensive, but at least we keep the capital within our own countries and avoid trade deficits to non-European blocks.”

Again, I don´t want to make too much of his views. They are confused and at many times just a sorry excuse for all his hatred rather than real theories, but for those who claim that he was in any way inspired by libertarianism, it is worth emphasising that he wrote that libertarianism would destroy society, that pro-globalists are amongst his worst enemies, that trade must be stopped and all big companies taken over by the government.

Source: Johan Norberg (Sweden)

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