Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norwegian Massacre

While the response of the Left to the Norwegian massacre is fairly predictable and opportunistic, there is also evidence that there are some on the Right willing to indulge in similar double standards. On the Left there is a palpable sense of relief that the spree killer was white and clearly identified with the Right. It enables them to trot out the old clich├ęs about neo-Nazis and the internet, it tars with the same brush all those who have concerns about multi-culturalism (presumably not those of us who are dark-skinned though), and they can have a pop at Norway for being xenophobic enough not to want to be sucked into the EU. All so predictable and all so boring.

On the Right, however, we have a parallel story. While few outside of Stormfront or other Nazi forum will applaud Anders Behring Breivik for his actions, there are some who will use the attack as a means of getting back at what they see as a corrupt, liberal society. They will suggest that it is the closing down of discussion on multi-culturalism that is at fault here. They will reason that Breivik was robbed of legitimate avenues of protest, that his views have been marginalised and criminalised so that an explosion of violence was inevitable – if not from Breivik, from some other deranged individual.

The mistake being made by both sides is to give credence to Breivik’s rationalisations for his actions. There are no rationalisations. We need to look at the psychological defects in Breivik to understand what drove him to his spree. In ‘Lone Wolf’, one of the few books on the subject of spree killing, a number of commonalities emerge from the individuals profiled: delusions of grandeur, paranoia, difficult relationships with parents (especially the father), a degree of social isolation etc. So far there’s no evidence that Breivik deviates too far from this profile. Like other racist spree killers – Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, Bufford Furrow, Baruch Goldstein – Breivik had rationalisations for his actions, but to credit these with having wider significance is to miss the point that he was primed to go off.

For those on the Left there is always the feeling that we should take note of the rationalisation for Islamic terrorism – whether this is said to be because of Western actions in Islamic countries, Israel/Palestine or simply at a way of getting back at a decadent civilisation that marginalises Muslims. On the Right these rationalisations are rejected, but there is a willingness to listen to the purported reasoning behind Breivik’s actions – a feeling that his culture was under attack, marginalisation of Christianity, disgust with a decadent and sick society, mistrust of Western politicians. These are the same rationalisations, the same complaints and the same wallowing in a feeling of victimisation. It’s interesting to note that it is reported that Breivik referred to his actions as a ‘martyrdom operation’.

Breivik was following the same multi-culturalist script as Islamic radicals. He had the same psychological defects – an ability to murder at random, to view people as legitimate targets because of where they are, to want to die to preserve his culture or religion. This isn’t politics, this is abnormal psychology fed by a culture of victimisation and a focus on race/religion/culture as a holy trinity more important than anything else.

Is there a way of stopping this happening again? No.
Is there anything that we can do? Yes, carry on as normal.
What lessons do we learn? That an open society gives its enemies the means to attack it, but to clamp down on discussion gives credence to those who want to turn murderers into prophets and martyrs.


Span Ows said...

Good post, came here via your comment on Autonomous Mind blog. I suspect you are right and your conclusions are fine but the point is that this WON'T happen, the ruling elite WON'T allow us to "carry on as normal"; isn't that one of the points AM was making?

On another blog I read the comment that the shooter was probably acting on what he perceived as the only way to make the elite listen to his complaints and act on them (learned from violent Islamists)

Contrarian said...

I agree. The establishment will always take advantage of a crisis, especially one so shocking. They'll use it in the same way they have used Islamist terrorism - to clamp down on civil liberties.

However, the point I am making is that there are some on the other side who will do themselves no service by also attepting to score political points off the back of this. There are lots of legitimate concerns, but to seek to bolster them by saying that Breivik was driven to his actions by these is to miss the point that this was essentially a random event.