Fjordman Reviews Bruce Bawer’s Book

Shortly before the Baron put on his traveling shoes and danced out the door, he expressed the hope that Fjordman would publish his take on Bruce Bawer’s book regarding the Breivik massacre and its aftermath and Norway and etc.

Well, it’s here! Or rather, it’s there — The review I mean. I’d read it earlier today whilst visiting Tundra Tabloids for a quick look-see. But then an email from Fj arrived with a snip of that review — I presume for publication here…? [Since the Baron is the main interface with our essayists —I’m just along for the ride these days + thank you notes — I’m guessing on that. So let’s just assume that was the reason for Fj’s email and we’re all set. Of course, I don’t know if I’m supposed to go with what he sent of if I can improvise. Hmm…better to apologize, right?]

The New QuislingsHere’s the book: Interestingly, this one appears to be available only on Kindle. I ordered it quickly — $2.99, y’all! — and will read it this evening. Meanwhile, let’s look at a few things.

First, I’m presuming our readers are familiar with the “old quislings”. But on the other hand, ‘quisling’ isn’t a term Americans of this generation necessarily would know, especially given the state of our putative education. I only knew the word growing up because my immigrant mother used it. Years later it was a surprise to learn Mr. Q was Norwegian; I’d just presumed as a kid that he was the epitome of an English bad guy. That word sounds so quintessentially English somehow, connoting things that slip and slide around in the dark. Or so it seemed to me back then. And so it sounded to the English also.

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Here’s part of the editorial review at Amazon:

In his New Quislings, Bruce Bawer explores the world-wide response to Breivik’s rampage, from the Norwegian cultural elite to Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times’ Roger Cohen.

He provides a fascinating portrait of the left-wing cultural elite in Norway—revealed to be the birthplace of political correctness—and shows how they have become apologists for radical Islam. Bawer further argues that they are the heirs of Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian fascist who administered Norway under the heel of the Nazi regime. And he explains how those who oppose open debate and seek to control the conversation about Islam pose the greatest threat to liberal society.

I remember when the Norwegian press was gunning for Fjordman post- Breivik. Those were difficult times — the press even came after us, trying to reach Fj. And they put on the pressure nationwide, trying to get someone, anyone, to come forward with his picture. Perhaps so they could paste it around the country for target practice? One of the daily rags ran a two-page Sunday spread complete with photos of infamous Norwegian traitors — Quisling and Breivik being quite prominent. But where they wanted to put Fjordman’s face was a blank rectangle with a big question mark. It was just one more mean-spirited attempt to get someone to rat out Fjordman and provide them with his identity.

That experience was merely another example of why folks in Norway keep a low profile. For us those weeks were a series of close-enough encounters with real bullies. Perhaps one has to go through it to understand. Now we know, and know well that in Norway unless you’re in lockstep with the government’s coercion consensus, best stay anonymous. I pray it doesn’t happen here, though our own Leftists long for such control.

And now for the snip from Fjordman’s review:

I haven’t changed Fjordman’s wording, though my editor’s fingers itched to do so. Thus you get the real deal here, Fjordman’s first-person response to The New Quislings:

The author [Bruce Bawer] regrets seeing me “being tarred mercilessly by Norwegian media” in the aftermath of 22/7 because some of my essays had been quoted without my knowledge or approval by a mentally disturbed person I had never once met. He states repeatedly that he thinks the terrorist Breivik is insane, or at least partly so. It is true that insane or mentally disturbed individuals can still potentially be influenced by society around them. If this was the case with Breivik, Bawer agrees with those suggesting that to the extent that ABB had “indirect accomplices,” these are the Multiculturalists who have suppressed real public debate about vital issues.

He ends his book with a comment by an unnamed observer stating that it’s not the people whose books Breivik read and quoted who created the mental atmosphere prior to July 2011. “It’s the people who refused to debate and discuss the contents of those books and instead chose to stigmatize their authors — and who in the aftermath of the Oslo massacre decided that this was an opportunity to win the argument without having to address the evidence. They’re exploiting this episode as viciously as they can to try to restore their control over the parameters of public debate — not understanding that that is precisely what caused the problem in the first place. And not understanding, either, that their ‘solution’ will only make things worse.”

I hope to give a more in-depth review of this book later, but I find it to be somewhat uneven. Bruce Bawer does not lack courage or writing skills, he can read Scandinavian newspapers in the original languages and has followed the local political debate for years. In short, he is in a good position to describe Norway after the Breivik case as an outsider who is at the same time knowledgeable about this country. When writing at his best he does precisely that, but he could have been more effective in achieving this goal if he had structured his book differently.

I understand the intent behind his provocative title. He is tired of being on the defensive vis-à-vis the political Left and the Multiculturalists. Just like you cannot win a football match by doing nothing but defending yourself, so you cannot win a verbal battle by constantly being on the defensive. You need to take the initiative and go on the offensive. I firmly believe this analysis to be correct and sympathize with the author’s intent. Attacking is necessary, but not if this means scoring a rhetorical own goal. Unfortunately, I fear that this is precisely what Bawer has done by choosing a title like The New Quislings.

The pro-Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling was executed by firing squad for treason at Akershus Fortress in Oslo on 24 October 1945,being at that point one of the most universally reviled Norwegians who ever lived. Linking his name with the Norwegian political elites nearly 70 years later was strategically unwise and largely misses the mark, politically as well as ideologically. It probably scared away parts of Bawer’s potential target audience, too. I say this as a friendly person. There are good reasons to be critical of the ruling elites and their Multicultural ideology in many Western countries, but the criticism of them has to be precise and accurate.

In general, the Western world often seems to be mentally stuck in the age of the Second World War, which after all ended three generations ago. The text is also not as international as it could have been. It might have benefited from including more examples of how Breivik’s massacre was exploited politically in countries other than Norway.

Summed up, this is a book that contains some good sections, but overall it’s not as good as it had the potential to be. It is not Bruce Bawer’s best work, although it reminds us that he is not a coward. His adopted homeland has a shortage of dissidents and could use Bawer’s writings skills and insights, but he would be more effective in his struggle if he channeled his rage more efficiently and attacked the problem from a different angle. The author would have benefited from spending a few more months polishing his material and focusing it in another way

I will say in Mr. Bawer’s defense that I’m glad he rushed to print with this; I’m glad it’s available now before the trial. It is my impression that this Kindle book is a preliminary effort, one he needed to get out now. I predict a longer, more “polished” version after the trial has taken place, and after that new trauma (most of it an unneeded show)has been metabolized and processed.

We did need this effort by Mr. Bawer as it stands, however rushed, just as we need Fjordman’s own admittedly preliminary review here. I’m glad to have New Quislings now, while things are still in flux. I look forward to reading a more complete account after the show trial is completed.

One thing you can count on: there will be any number of Books-About-Breivik for the next few years. For that, I feel sorry for Norway’s own trial by fire in the global press. Make that somewhat sorry: sadder and wiser now that I have experienced what a totalitarian democracy looks like.

So pretty on the surface.

20 thoughts on “Fjordman Reviews Bruce Bawer’s Book

  1. It’s a pity that Fjordman’s critique doesn’t include his reasoning for why Bawer should have attacked his latest work ‘from a different angle’. I think the title of the work is very effective, and it certainly leaves no doubt in this commentors mind of the treachery that is the current ‘status quo’ of modern day Norweigian government.

    I’ll buy the book too!

  2. Mr. Bawer is quite right labeling the elites(both in Europe and the U.S) the “New Quislings” because that’s exactly what they are. And I wouldn’t worry about the book scaring away the elites, they wouldn’t read it anyway. Committed ideologues don’t read opposing POV’s. We should know that from how Marxists in real life handle dissension. They don’t, they either kill or imprison those who disagree with them.

    You can see it played out on college campuses with speech codes, use of informers, and intolerance of any speech that goes against the PC/MC administration and professorial mandarins of the humanities dept.

    Free speech in public discourse is always the first victim of these tyrants in waiting.

  3. an informative comment from an Anon…I’m stripping it of its strange asterisked signature to give you the rest:

    Bawer is writing writing more for Americans and Brits, rather than the English-speaking Scandanavians who will certainly feel very, very upset by the name “Quisling.”

    The fact remains, the WWII veterans whom I got to let their hair down to me said, Norway was the best place to be sent, Yugoslavia the worst.

    Most ended up in Russia, of course, and suffered wildly divergent outcomes—one was only repatriated in 1954, after spending years finishing luxury duplex apartments in Moscow!

    Still, the Norwegians have shown strange responses to their ancestors’ behavior: Norwegian children of German fathers were raised in mental institutions.
    This fact came public in the Seventies, and with luck, you will find an article or two about it in the New York Times. How Soviet!

    This revelation forever compromised my respect for Norwegian psychiatry. At any rate, the Norwegian political leadership is as painfully PC as it is because, like a neurotic, it cannot confront its past or look to the horrible future it faces because it can not respond to the demands of the culturally enriched present.

    What will they do when their oil money runs out?

    A good question. If their immigration patterns in urban areas continue then perhaps the rural ethnic Norwegians will balkanize an already small country. Those “country bumpkins” so looked down upon by the elites may survive in greater safety than their putative “betters”.

  4. I will buy it. But right now I am waiting for more options than Kindle. I like traditional books.

    Finnish lurker

  5. I am like Fjordmann a Scandinavian by birth , and this gives me a right to try to say to him the following : we scandinavians have a lot to UNLEARN . One thing we can learn from americans (and others) is the existential value of going to atack-mode without too much fussing about around the consequences. People are inspired by fearlessnes . The best kind of courage to a scandinavian is the icecold calculated one , true enough..but then you cant always get everything just the way you want it !

    Ole Burde

  6. Damn, it is possible to download Kindle application for your PC. So I downloaded it and bought Bawer’s Quisling-book too.

    Finnish lurker

  7. Ultimately, Norwegians cannot correct their course until they recognize that their current leaders fully deserve the name “Quisling”.

    At the same time, Fjordman is absolutely right in his assessment that this is simply too difficult for most Norwegians to face while those leaders are in power.

    Does this mean that Norway cannot be saved by its own people, or just that it will be a bit of an uphill struggle for the minority that does recognize their leaders for the traitors they are?

    I firmly believe that no humans–ever, either individually or as a group–have saved themselves. The tendency towards self-destruction is the essential and defining characteristic of humanity as such, it is what makes humans human. Of course, this imposes a theological framework on a pragmatic political question, but I must agree with Benjamin Franklin when he said, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

    I have not yet attained to the years Franklin had when he said this, but I have lived through a period of world history that proves this ever more profoundly than did the years which he observed. Franklin also appealed to the Psalmist who said, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

    Thousands of years of wisdom teach us that, ultimately, we are dependent on God for every genuine success. Left to their own devices, humans can achieve nothing but an unending cycle of desolation and despair.

    The paradox of Norwegians, that to save themselves they must do what their present mentality prohibits, is the condition of all humanity, and always has been.

    At the same time, God directed the prophet to declare, “if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.”

    It appears that God, according to His own word, helps those who help themselves.

    Chiu Chun-Ling.

  8. A good reason to post anonymously or
    all of us would be more likely to end up like the real Quisling, DOA.

  9. I agree with some of the commentators here that Bawer is 100% correct to title his work ‘the New Quislings’ because that is what they are! Quisling collaborated and betrayed his country to foreign fascists (the Nazis), and that is exactly what the Leftist elite in Norway are doing, collaborating with foreign fascists (Islamists) in the betrayal of their country.

    The fact that history is repeating, although not exactly in the same way (history never does repeat *exactly*) is why Bawer’s title for his book is apposite.

  10. We’ve been working on categorising the various enemies to freedom here:

    Having a well-rehearsed set of topics/strategies for a sub-set of opponents means that when confronted with one of the group, one can work out where they sit on the spectrum of opposition, and only focus on the issues where someone who is in that position is most weak.

    Quisling is a distinct category we are focussing attacks upon.


  11. I’ve read some of Bawer’s earlier work. Not this document, although I did see it available on Kindle.

    I don’t know what Fjordman’s issue is about Bawer’s title, to be honest. Europeans are stuck in WWII? Yes, we know this – we’ve all heard people like Fjordman called the N word often enough.

    If Bawer wants to crash into that whole WWII mentality and overturn the leftist paradigm, by using another WWII term to label the Norwegian higher-ups, well I can see why he would do that, and I can see why it might be effective.

    “The criticism of them has to be precise and accurate.” Like their criticism of Fjordman was?

    Criticism of them has to be EFFECTIVE.

    We’re not dealing with rational thinkers here. Producing a calm, reasoned argument, with sources cited etc isn’t going to impress them one iota.

    Fighting fire with fire & using their own tactics against them is A-OK with me.

  12. “Fighting fire with fire & using their own tactics against them is A-OK with me.”

    Actually, conservatives never need to sink as low as the Left because we don’t need to lie or smear the good. Facts are a conservative’s friends whereas a lib’s entire system would fall apart if he gave up illusion (man made global warming is destroying the planet) and admitted evidence and logic (long before the Industrial Age, the world saw warmer temps and higher CO2 levels and it’s getting colder if anything). This constant refrain by some conservatives that we shouldn’t sink as low as our opponents is a false dichotomy, Little Lord Fauntleroy flapping his scented handkerchief at bullies with brass knuckles and shuddering at the thought of being “like them”. There’s a lot of ground between the lace hanky and the brass knuckles and conservatives better occupy it soon, pounding libs into submission with bald facts at lib decibel levels and nauseating repetition. THAT’s the Left’s main tactic, repeating disinformation over and over again loudly. It’s pure indoctrination technique and it works. It needs to be countered with the same doggedness.

  13. Yes I do agree in the main, however what I was driving at was that since we are continually being subjected to labelling through a WWII paradigm, why not as one tactic, crash through that paradigm, and use a WWII label upon the labellers in response.

    I never suggested that we “lie or smear the good”. I suggested we accurately label (i.e. tell the truth about) the bad, using their own WWII paradigm, thus taking its strangely totemic power and exclusivity away from them.

    It’s all well and good saying oh let’s draw up some logically sound, well cited arguments, but the people we’re dealing with don’t care about that. Not one jot.

    You can’t just ignore the weapons they use, & wish they didn’t say what they say, or do what they do. They’ll just keep on saying it. The N word, etc.

    Undermining their own paradigm, forcing people to examine their use of language and the way they insist on looking at the world, through a WWII lens, just might have some effect. Worth a go anyway. (Saying nothing about their WWII labelling tactic will have no effect, by definition.)

    I’m off to read Bawer’s essay today, just bought it off of Kindle for the princely sum of one pound and forty nine pence.

  14. “The paradox of Norwegians, that to save themselves they must do what their present mentality prohibits, is the condition of all humanity, and always has been.”

    True, man has a bent toward thanatos; the longer his societies endure the clearer it becomes.

    The above quote, by the way, is also true but it’s only an apparent paradox. In fact, it’s exactly the state of affairs desired and engineered by the global elites (yes, they do exist) and perpetuated by their useful idiot minions who think they, too, will benefit from treason against the West and against all that built the West.

    Revolutions or not, the puppet fools will find out someday they bet on the wrong side, when it’s them kneeling in the ditches the elite will force them to dig. It’s happened before, it will happen again.

    The elite itself has nothing to fear in this life. That’s why I take solace in the fact of the Lake of Fire awaiting them all.

  15. As the first person that I recall using the word quisling in recent memory on this site, I am happy to see the word gain use wide and far.

    Fjordman’s criticism of Bawer’s use of the word echoes and amplifies the ideas of our erstwhile friend Hesperado who believes that PC MC advocates have good intentions – a naive and erroneous idea which Fjordman extends now to argue that the Anti-Islam Movement (Hesperado’s AIM) should avoid ‘mislabeling’ or offending those indigenous Islam enablers who have good intentions.

    Well, I, for one, REFUSE to impute good intentions to those who are actively destroying EVERY great element of Western society from heterosexual marriage to the nuclear family to single partner marriage to freedom from coercion in marriage to free speech to the rights of the individual to the rule of law, etc, etc, etc.

    This battle is about more than the ‘delicate’ feelings of Norwegian traitors, this battle is between good and evil in all of Western society – and Westerners on the side of evil ARE quislings – and often Satanists.


    My comment from 2/04/2012 12:04 PM:

    “…there are people who want to move to Sweden and no one has seen any reason to stop it.”

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    As with the Mexican and other South Americans who ‘move’ to the United States, those ‘people’ who want to ‘move’ – really immigrate – to Sweden are attracted by the lavish financial incentives paid for by indigenous people’s money spent by indigenous quislings who intend to buy votes with the plan to stay in power AGAINST the will of the indigenous people who would NEVER consent to being replaced – and worse yet – being taxed to be replaced. Traitor!

    2/04/2012 12:04 PM

  16. Egghead, please see the categorisation I mentioned above.

    The Idealist/Utopians are another group who are to be combatted, along with the Quislings, although the Idealist/Utopians are not necessarily actively helping in the process of islamisation. The Qusilings are directly working for the enemy.


  17. All our quislings must be handled without gloves, and we should never stoop to tactics, while denouncing the depths of their treason..
    It is not surprising that right thinking norvikings feel shaken to the core by the term “quisling”, nor that they should have allowed themselves to contract this hefty a pc infection..: Stalin´s lie about german national socialism being rightist, fascist and the opposite of communism which, if perhaps somewhat harsh – in any case meant well, has thoroughly and fatally confused the norvikings.. Much more maybe than even the rest of the west, where we aren´t free of the confusion ourselves. This placid, peace loving people who, as mother Gro Harlem Brundtland observed have always been taught that it is very norwegian to be good are, precisely because of Quisling having an even harder time than the rest of us to even entertain the notion that socialism might be just as evil and destructive as the black strain Quisling seduced too many of his countrymen with only such a short while ago..
    The norwegian mind just can´t go there, for fear of relapsing into a sin even good norvikings have proven themselves to be capable of, and the same goes for the germans..
    It is extremely tragic and very inescapable I´m afraid that this suppressed tabu will eventually erupt in the mother of all wars..

  18. I just read Bawer’s short book today, and it’s not clear just what Fjordman is criticising him about. He asserts that any criticism of the “ruling elites” has to be “precise and accurate” thereby suggesting that Bawer’s criticism is not.

    However, Bawer argues his case. He explains the Norwegian WWII background, the career of Quisling, his political party etc. (Thereby informing an “international” audience who may not know about this.) Bawer also provides many examples of the “ruling elite” doing what they do & he also explains what they’re doing in some detail.

    Fjordman appears to think that Bawer could have written a different book, a more “international” book – but the book is what it is, and it’s meant to be about what it’s meant to be about. The shenanigans in Norway post AB. Nothing wrong with that – and by focusing in on that Bawer is in fact providing an “international” audience with valuable insight into what’s going on in Norway.

    If Fjordman believes there is another, different book to be written about AB, then he’s free to write it himself.

    (And there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. His perception of those events, & what’s happened since, would make interesting reading.)

    I prefer to take Bawer’s book as it stands: it’s an interesting, well written document which sheds light on the goings-on in Norway – giving people everywhere a good insight into & understanding of the political forces at play not just in Norway but throughout Europe, and elsewhere.

    As such, it’s well worth reading.

  19. @Egghead,
    The more I see, the more I agree with the view that there are no redeeming features of the multiculti elites – they do NOT have good intentions, and to think that they do is an unhelpful delusion (to put it politely.)

    Not for nothing is Satan referred to in the NT as “the god (little “g”) of this world”.

  20. Thanks for letting us even know about this book. $2.99 is a bargain, and it only took a minute to download to my kindle. Thanks again, GOV remains at the cutting edge.

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