I must admit that I have a couple characters in City of Heroes inspired by Norse mythology. It lends itself quite well to warlike heroes… in a fantasy world.
As I expressed on Google+, there was something off about the bomb in Oslo. It did not follow the pattern of al-Qaeda or their Islamic copycats. The timing in particular was a bit off. Once I heard that someone was shooting at UtÃ¸ya, the traditional summer camp site of the Social Democrats, I knew it had to be a nationalist. At that time, I still did not know he was also behind the bomb, just that something was subtly “off” about it.
You see, this guy was not the only one thinking of the (more or less) ruling Social Democrat party as quislings. I would guess somewhere around 1/4 of the adult population would agree with that, possibly more. And I mean quisling in a very literal sense. Nationalists consider the Muslim immigration more of a threat to Norway than the German invasion ever was. As it happens, I agree with that, in a manner of speaking. But it really does not matter now. History is coming to an end, and Norway and Islam both will become like dust on the wind. Not in my natural lifespan, perhaps, but in less than a century is my guess.
But most people don’t look forward. They don’t even look backward properly. They don’t realize that the world has changed more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500, or quite possibly 5000. They don’t notice that the acceleration of accelerating change is accelerating – that the pace at which chance increases is itself increasing. An exponential function of knowledge and change. All that you knew is slipping between your fingers. Your grandchildren will either be as gods, or not alive at all. The squabble between cousins that we call a clash of civilizations is … insignificant. Unless it somehow manages to inspire us to blow up the planet, I guess. And you have to wonder, after days like these.
As I said, nationalists consider the current stock of politicians to be guilty of high treason, so it would make sense to assassinate them. I can certainly understand their feelings, having been human myself. For much of my life, there was this constant undercurrent in my life of thinking “evil people must die, evil people must die”. It took me many years of self-reflection to realize that I was basically one of the evil people, and I am still not completely dead, although I am certainly much reduced. For someone stuck at the mental level I was at in my 20es, blowing up a government building or executing Evil People (TM) would certainly be a holy duty and a great joy. Having a good enemy to project your evil on makes life a lot more bearable.
You may have heard that Norwegians are eager to help all kinds of people and try to negotiate peace all over the world. That is certainly true. What you don’t know is that we do all this because we know, but dare not think of, that deep inside we want to throttle people with our bare hands, or at least cleave their skull with a good axe, and laugh as we watch the light die in their eyes. Do you really think our genes have changed that much in 1000 years? They have not, we just go out of our way to not trigger them.
“From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, o Lord!” So prayed the English monks during the viking age, and rightly so. Scandinavians may be slower to anger than people in warmer climes, but once the bloodlust rises in them, there is no holding them back. I am not really surprised that we have a throwback to that time: In school we used to learn a slightly glorified version of the old Norse history, with the strong and proud warriors as an ideal. “Noregsveldet” was it called in my grade school, meaning roughly “the lands ruled by Norway”, encompassing such vassal states as Ireland and Great Britain and parts of France, not to mention Iceland, Greenland and snippets of North America. I am sure Swedes are thinking back to the time when they ruled much of Germany as well, but let us stick with Norway for now.
It should not surprise anyone that people who take the Vikings as ideal, can get a bit … bloodyminded, so to speak. And one habit of old (which is unfortunately not restricted to this corner of the world) was, when you had an enemy you really hated, to kill his children in front of him before blinding him.
I see international media represent UtÃ¸ya as a political youth camp, and that it is too. But especially for the younger (and more vulnerable) teens, it is mainly a summer vacation resorts for children of the Social Democrat political elite, the leaders locally and nationally and their friends in the party. I think you see what is coming here.
“They were friends” said Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, after the massacre, and he was right. Those kids were his friends and children of his friends.Â “This place was my summer paradise, and it has been made into a hell.” The Oslo-bomber did not kill the traitors, as he (and many others) thought of them. Instead, he killed their children. I have on good authority that this is far worse.
And it makes sense. You destroy our future, we destroy yours. An eye for an eye. This man was perfectly sane – within his worldview. If the world he lived in were the real world, he would have been a hero. I am sure that is how he regards himself even now.
I am pretty sure there aren’t many others who think of him as a hero, though. Not even among his fellow nationalists. Most of us have the good sense to notice when the berserker rage begins to creep up on us, and go to extremes to avoid it. Because once it takes us, the old gods of thunder and spears are very much alive and well in the land.
From the fury of the Northmen, deliver us o Lord! Â Amen.