Here is some background on Norway:
Norway uses a "Nordic Model," which Wikipedia describes as:
This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by more generous welfare states (relative to other developed countries), which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights and stabilizing the economy. It is distinguished from other welfare states with similar goals by its emphasis on maximising labour force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, large magnitude of redistribution, and liberal use of expansionary fiscal policy.I will say that this seems to work well for them. Of course, that doesn't mean that it would work well in other societies.
Norway is an extremely wealthy, oil rich nation. It has one of the world's highest standards of living, and has had the world's highest Human Development Index (HDI) ranking for 8 of the past 10 years. According to the American think-tank Fund for Peace's Failed States Index, Norway is the world's most well functioning and stable nation.
Aside from the efficacy of Norway's economic policies and the weath Norway's oil provides to its small population, Norwegian society appears to be highly flawed (at least from my biased perspective). Please read this excellent post by Bruce Bawer at Pajamas Media (h/t Diogenes Borealis). Here are some excerpts from that post:
This lack of security was certainly not unusual for Norway, where the police don’t carry guns, and where the very idea of police carrying guns is widely looked upon as some holdover from an earlier stage of human evolution. But — hello — in front of the main office buildings of a Western European government? After 9/11? It seemed sheer madness.
When I first heard the news of the explosions at those buildings, my first thought, of course, was that it was a jihadist attack. But it wasn’t: it was a right-wing lunatic. It wasn’t jihad. It was a meaningless killing spree by a madman, like the ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech. A headline in one Norwegian newspaper today noted that the death toll in Oslo and at Utøya yesterday was higher than at Columbine and Virginia Tech combined. The Norwegian media have always reported on mass murders by lone gunmen in the U.S. as if they were things that could never happen in Norway: rather, they were symptoms of a sick society that Norwegians could never possibly understand. In Norway, they use the term “amerikanske tilstander” — American conditions. It never means anything good. Yesterday’s nightmare, from a Norwegian perspective, was the most American of American conditions.
Those of us who thought, in the first hours after the blasts in downtown Oslo, that we were witnessing yet another act of jihad can be forgiven. In a way, it made sense. 9/11, London, Madrid, Beslan, Bali, Mumbai — why not Oslo? Then again…Norway, although a member of NATO with troops in Afghanistan and Libya, was not exactly in the forefront of the struggle to defeat jihad. On the contrary. Norway calls itself “the peace country.” For years, the Norwegian government and cultural establishment have striven to communicate to even the most extreme elements of international Islam that they want to be friends. They've shown their good faith in a number of ways:
- They’ve dropped displays of Islamic totalitarianism down the memory hole. Two years ago, on two separate nights, a small army of Norwegian Muslim youths rioted in the heart of Oslo, turning a usually placid quarter into something reminiscent of Sarajevo or Beirut at their worst. The alleged motive for this explosion of violence was displeasure over the situation in Gaza; the real intention was to mount a display of power — to intimidate, and to communicate to Norway that their time had come, and that they had better be listened to with respect, or else. And in February of last year, another small army of Muslims, this time not rioting boys but sullen-looking men in long coats and full beards, gathered in downtown Oslo, in the same square where Vidkun Quisling once held his Nazi rallies, and listened with apparent pleasure while a young speaker named Mohyeldeen Mohammed threatened Norway with its own 9/11. Both of these events came and went, and the people who make decisions about this sort of thing plainly decided that it would be best to pretend that they had never happened.
- They’ve openly supported terrorist groups. In the last few days, one of the major stories out of Norway has been the declaration by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of his country’s support for the effort by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state. This stance scarcely came as a surprise, given the Norwegian government’s longstanding effort to “build bridges” to Hamas. It was Støre, after all, who — when a couple of dozen Western diplomats walked out on a rabid anti-Israeli speech by Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the 2009 UN conference on racism — was the only Westerner who chose to stay and hear him out....
During those hours when we all thought this was a jihadist attack, one thought that crossed my mind was that this would change the political map of Norway. For years, the Progress Party, which is the second largest of Norway’s seven or eight major parties, has led the way in calling for more responsible policies on the immigration and integration of people from Muslim countries — and has been demonized as a bunch of right-wing extremist xenophobes who hate Muslims. I assumed that after this attack, Norwegians would vote in a Progress Party-led government in the next elections. Now it appears that the man who committed all these murders is a former member of the Progress Party and is, indeed, a right-wing extremist xenophobe who harbors (according to Dagbladet) a “violent hatred for Muslims” and multiculturalism, and who targeted the Labor Party youth camp because he blames the ruling Labor Party for the Islamization of Norway. Norway’s political future looks very different now, in short, than it did 24 hours ago.
I will say that I thought many of those same things. He said it better than I ever could. More:
...it is deeply depressing to see this evil, twisted creature become the face of Islam criticism in Norway. Norwegian television journalists who in the first hours of the crisis were palpably uncomfortable about the prospect of having to talk about Islamic terrorism are now eagerly discussing the dangers of “Islamophobia” and “conservative ideology” and are drawing connections between the madness and fanaticism of Breivik and the platform of the Progress Party. Yesterday’s events, then, represent a double tragedy for Norway. Not only has it lost almost one hundred people, including dozens of young people, in a senseless rampage of violence. But I fear that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic.It is evident that Norway is anti-Israel and pro-Palestine. I am not capable of comprehending this, given Norway's claim of being "the peace country."
These points are important to consider, and I hope, for their own sake, Norwegians get some common sense. Conservatives are not responsible for this man's horrible act of terrorism, and any rational person should be able to see that acts of violence on the part of those opposed to jihad are not only hypocritical, but also counter-productive (not to mention horrible). It saddens me that "Islamophobes" are labelled as "extreme far-right." "Islamophobia" is not racism. Any rational person should be able to distinguish between the two. The reason I put that in quotation marks is that it is a label with an (unjustifiably) negative connotation.
I will reiterate something I said in a previous post: I do not hate Muslims in general. I hate jihadists, Muslim extremists, and Sharia law. I hate Islam's treatment of women and homosexuals. I hate some Muslims' and Islamic nations' views of Jews and Israel. I hate the hatred these Muslims spout and act upon. I hate the hatred Islam engenders. I am making a distinction between Muslims and Islam here. Islam is a hateful and oppressive religion. Not all Muslims are hateful or oppressive. The vast majority of Muslims are not violent. For the record, I also hate extreme Christianity. I hate extremism. I hate violence. And I hate unjustified hatred. I believe my hatred is justified. I realize that I failed to effectively communicate my views in that previous post, and I apologize for that. Hopefully I managed to clarify my views in this post.
Furthermore, I hate the bleeding-hearts who hatefully accuse conservatives of unjustified hatred. Yes, some conservatives do posses unjustified hatred. But, the majority of conservatives are much less hateful than most bleeding-hearts realize. Any rational person should be able to distinguish between uncompassionate, frank discourse and hatred. Over 60,000 people have died as a result of Islamic terrorism. Islam is a threat. Although most Mulsims are not a threat, it is difficult to distinguish between the ones that are and the ones that aren't. Western nations are slowly transforming into Islamic nations.
UPDATE: See also, this. Norway is repulsively soft on criminals.