Today I’ve noticed a lot of people coming to my blog, looking for details on the story about Varg’s arrest in France – so let me indulge you. Varg was recently arrested at his farm in Corrèze France after his wife bought four rifles. The authorities claim that he was planning a “large scale act of terror.” The origin of this investigation, according to the DCRI, was that Varg was one of the 530 people to receive a manifesto from Anders Behring Breivik, the man who committed two attacks in Norway that left 77 dead. However, Varg has publicly condemned the actions of Breivik.
The details of Varg’s condemnation of Breivik can be found at Metal Sucks.
The original story about the arrest can be found at the following French News Source.
About Varg’s Past…
Varg Vikernes (for the few of you who don’t know) is the mind behind the one man black metal project Burzum. He was arrested in the 90’s for the murder of Mayhem’s guitarist Øystein ‘Euronymous’ Aarseth as well as the arson of at least three Christian Churches. In 1994 he was arrested for these charges and sentenced to 21 years in prison. He was released after serving 15 years of his sentence on parole in 2009. Afterwards, he settled in France with his wife and children on a farm.
During his time in prison he became heavily involved in the Heathen Front and the promotion of what he calls Odalism and Volkish ideas on European Ancestry. After prison he continued his involvement in these activities. He has produced a vast trove of writing, books, music and even a Role Playing Game.
Did he deserve to be arrested this time?
Honestly, much of the details of his recent arrest are very unclear. I think it would be quite bogus if he were arrested simply for the purchase of four rifles and a past correspondence with Breivik – a man he has denounced. As one commenter said on Metal Sucks, “buying four rifles on a farm in America is baby’s first birthday.” Yet, there could be a vast number of circumstances in this case that we have no idea about.
However, given the nature of France’s laws on Hate Speech, it is actually surprising that he hasn’t been arrested already. In France certain types of hate speech can get you landed in prison or require you to pay a fine. For example, according to the Gayssot Act, one can go to jail for five years or pay a fine for denying the existence of the Holocaust.
Given the nature of Varg’s writings – many of which happen to be Anti-Semitic, it is probably not wise for him to live in France.
A word about Hate Speech Laws…
While this blog is firmly against ideas of racism, sexism or targeting specific groups for hate in general (see my Paganism and Racism post), I do firmly believe in the Freedom of Speech. Here in the United States, Hate Groups have the freedom to express their views openly. Yet even with the freedom to promote their ideals – such hate groups are still a minority that have little influence on the public mainstream.
It is important for us to be able to discuss views we disagree with openly so that we can find their flaws and devise the best possible system for all peoples. Throwing people in prison for hate speech won’t make them less hateful, if anything, it will add flames to their fire. It will create a martyr complex or cause a situation where certain groups will resort to large acts of violence to make themselves heard.
Rise of the “Terrorist” State
Criminalizing hate speech is criminalizing thought. One of the key dangers in this policy is that it is becoming easier for governments to arrest people on grounds of terrorism, especially if this particular individual happens to own weapons and disagree with the government’s point of view.
Some really retarded arrests have been made recently in light of terrorism fears: such as the 19 year old boy who was given a felony and ten years for writing a sarcastic Facebook comment. Yes, this is a rare case, but definitely a negative portent of what is to come.
Fears of Terrorism are also causing the United States government to gain massive surveillance rights into our private lives in order to “protect us” from terrorism: i.e. the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of millions and PRISM’s backdoor access into our electronic communications. I could go on with this topic for a while.
But let’s get this conversation back to Varg! The news story says that he was arrested for planning a “terrorist plot.” All we know is that he bought four guns, had past contact from Breivik and happens to do a lot of anti-semitc writings. Could it be possible that he was involved in something sinister we don’t know about? Maybe. But right now, from a media standpoint, that is speculation until further facts on the case are revealed.