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SOCIAL STUDIES DIARY

Is the Norwegian Tragedy a Trend?

Terror associated with political ideology is a growing trend suggesting that individuals are willing to strike out against their own society in an attempt to influence the mindset to change a commonly held outlook. In the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the 32 year old Norwegian with a Serbian background, apparently had developed an anti-Muslim outlook growing out of the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Following a 1,500 page manifesto that he tailored after Ted Kaczynski, Breivik appears to have taken action in an attempt to awaken an awareness of the global trend toward globalization and the Islamization of Europe. Norway, a country known for its liberal immigration policy has in recent years witnessed a reaction to the Labor Party's policies. Breivik interpreted these policies as aimed at destroying Norwegian traditional culture and its ethnic core. Terror, evidently was seen by Breivik as a means to providing a trigger to cause the Norwegians to stop, think, and change the policies of their government. If this is the case, one must ask the question: Is terror, in the name of protest, an effective means of civism or political mindset change? The common sense answer is no. Breivik was possibly hoping to start some sort of Tea Party Movement in Europe as a means to stop what he fears -- the Islamization of Europe. The Tea Party Movement in the United States, however, has nothing to do with terrorism nor can it be seen as a means of mindset change. The Tea Party Movement is a protest movement against tax spending by certain liberal politicians. According to its mode of operations, it is the opposite of terrorism except for those politicians who become the object or the target of the Tea Party Movement. A politician who becomes the target of the Movement is politically challenged and is possibly driven from office by a contending politician sponsored by the Tea Party Movement. Most democratic citizens, including most Norwegians, tend to reject terrorism as a means of political activity. It is simply not seen as a legitimate political expression in a modern society. The Tea Party Movement, on the other hand, has been considered successful in the United States because of its grassroots movement. A grassroots movements tends to appeals to the American electorate. The middle-of-the-road-voter, therefore, tends to view the Tea Party Movement as a means of reigning in those political policies that are unpopular with the middle-of-road-public. In other words, the Tea Party Movement is a relatively new means to be used by moderate conservatives to stem what appears to be an out of control political activity that cannot be stopped by traditional political means. The Tea Party Movement could never succeed to the extent that it has through any form of terrorism. Its main appeal tends to cut across social, economic and political lines and, so far, It has succeeded to the extent that it has because of a growing frustration with the two-party political system in the United States. In other words, The Tea Party Movement is a movement that has taken advantage of an already existing mindset (civism) that is currently held by a cross-section of the public. According to its followers, it is seen as a new means for correcting non-responsive political actions that cannot be influenced by any other means.
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