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Monday, July 25, 2011 

Anders Breivik and "cultural Marxism".

When it comes to terrible, immediately unattributable terrorist attacks like the ones in Oslo on Friday, the best approach would be to take a step back before jumping to conclusions. The impossibility of doing so in the era of 24-hour-news, Twatter and everything else means that criticising those who are (mostly) being asked to do so knowing only what everyone else does, i.e. very little, isn't always entirely productive, even if Charlie Brooker does it very well.

It's certainly rather more justified when those who are in a hole then refuse to stop digging. Strangely, those associated with the Labour Uncut website seem more affected than most. Dan Hodges writes that this tragedy shouldn't be turned into a simple issue of solidarity, even after he admits it was a "targeted attack", while Tom Harris, having first pointed the finger at al-Qaida or its associates as so many others did, compounds the error. The left should not imagine that because this particular terrorist is white and indeed, killed teenage left-wingers, it absolves them from failing to acknowledge or adequately condemn jihadists.

Hodges does have a point however when he raises the comparison of Gabrielle Giffords and Jared Lee Loughner, if not with the implication that "the left" was blaming Sarah Palin and Tea Party before he'd even been charged. It was Giffords herself who said there were potential consequences to Palin putting her location in a gun sight, and it was certainly the case the political rhetoric in the US was raising to ever more ridiculous and potentially dangerous heights, even if the reaction now seems a little overblown. Loughner as it turned out did not have any associations with right-wing Republicans like Palin and Michele Bachmann or their supporters, to name but two: instead, the best explanation so far for his actions is that he was a mentally ill young man with conspiratorial tendencies, who having felt slighted by Giffords in the past decided to target her.

Anders Breivik by contrast couldn't really have been more clear in setting out the justification, such as it is, for his actions. His 1,500 page manifesto, which quotes liberally from dozens of writers, has an entire, supposedly hypothetical section titled "a declaration of pre-emptive war" (page 766 onwards). In it, his group, named hysterically the Knights Templar, which seems to consist of one Anders Breivik, offers a full pardon to the "Western European multiculturalist regimes" as long as they capitulate by 2020 to the Templar's military forces (page 785). Presuming that this pardon is quite unreasonably not accepted, he goes on to explain that all multiculturalists, whether they are "hardcore Marxist, cultural Marxist, suicidal humanist, career cynicist or [...] capitalist globalist" are essentially the same, and that the punishment for such high treason is also the same (page 806), although further on he only mentions execution as the penalty for "category A and B criminals" (page 930), while "category C traitors" can be considered legitimate targets "in larger operations where WMDs are involved". He also elucidates what the prime targets should be for a "Justiciar Knight Commander" (page 921):

Concentrate on massive and compact buildings that are vulnerable to a “single source” blast/assault. We must ensure that a maximum number of category A, B and C traitors are hit with a minimum of civilians. Specified targets fit that profile:

Prioritised targets:
- MA100 political parties - cultural Marxist/multiculturalist political parties. Prioritised targets include HQs or annual meetings of MA100 political parties

Breivik's influences for his personal ideology are writ large throughout. He most admires "Fjordman", the pseudonymous blogger who's written for a number of far-right sites, and cites numerous anti-jihadist blogs, such as Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs and others. Those looking closer to home will quickly see parallels between Breivik's belief in what is essentially a conspiracy between mainstream political parties to institute political correctness, or what he calls "cultural Marxism", leading to mass Muslim immigration and eventually the disintegration of democracy and the triumph of Eurabia, and the world view of groups such as the English Defence League, with which he's alleged to have dealings with, although they've never begun to aspire to his lofty pseudo-intellectual heights. Melanie Phillips, who has long despaired of the "suicide of the West", having found herself being quoted by Breivik has quickly pointed to his scattergun approach. As her blog seems to have collapsed under the weight of the traffic her defence piece brought in, all we can currently go by is her tweet, which says the "atrocity ignites left pathology".

One story which Breivik returns to throughout his manifesto (first appears on page 365) is this comment piece by Andrew Neather, seized on by the likes of the Daily Mail and Telegraph as the "proof" of a plot by Labour to recreate Britain as a fully multicultural society, where the party would forever remain in power backed by the votes of grateful immigrants. The only problem was, as Neather later responded, there was no plot and the minister he wrote the speech for was later removed from her position. Breivik not only quotes from Phillips' comment piece which more than misrepresents Neather (page 368), he uses Neather's supposed revelation as part of his explanation as to why "political activists, journalists, politicians, NGO leaders" should be treated as "traitors" (page 806) and ultimately, executed.

As much as Breivik has appropriated or indeed, admires al-Qaida's approach, as Will McCants and Spencer Ackerman have both noted, it's fairly apparent he has most in common with Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, although even Ted, who wrote a 35,000 word essay detailing his belief system, would have blanched at the excessive detail and personal information Breivik has left in his far longer tome. McVeigh, whom Breivik refers to on a number of occasions (page 950, 967) including once in his diary on the making of the bomb, exclaiming he now understands "why Mr. McVeigh limited his manufacturing to 600kg" (page 1466), was a believer in the now almost passe conspiracy theory of the "new world order" and was so angered by the heavy-handed raids on Ruby Ridge and Waco that he decided to strike back. Breivik doesn't even have a government "atrocity" to fall back on: his simple belief that Europe will be overrun by Muslims down to a mixture of demographics, immigration and "cultural Marxism", as easily debunked as any notion of a Zionist occupied government, was fuelled by paranoid hatred from far-right bloggers and nominally mainstream writers who make a living out of such alarmism.

The Heresiarch delicately considers whether, seeing as such individuals have long denounced non-violent Islamists and even ordinary Muslims for either enabling or tolerating the jihadists, it's possible that they've done the same with Breivik:

To some extent, Melanie Phillips and the others are now getting a taste of their own medicine. They have been far too quick in the past to elide the distinction between Islamist opinions and violence, and also between Muslims in general and Islamists in particular. The spread of hardline Islam is largely a phenomenon within Muslim communities, and poses the greatest problem to other Muslims (female Muslims, gay Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims...). If "Islamophobic" writers are now being tarred with the same brush as the appalling Breivik... well, perhaps it will give them pause for thought.

Well, it might. It will almost certainly temporarily lead to some soul-searching, such as that of Mark Humphrys, who goes through Breivik's writing looking for where their opinions went their separate ways, although he seems erroneously to conclude that Breivik suddenly decided upon violence last year, when it's apparent that his manifesto by his own admission has been years in the writing. At best it could lead a toning down of the rhetoric. On the other hand, it may well embolden some: already the EDL, while denouncing the attack has suggested that it shows what could happen in this country if their petty thuggery and attempts at riling up Muslims aren't given more political attention (surely if their case for a crackdown on Muslim extremists and Sharia law isn't addressed? Ed.)

Far more plausible though, and regardless of how Breivik's ideology was nurtured and encouraged, is that he's a one-off. So much of his manifesto appears to be utter fantasy, such as the sections dedicated to the medals and ribbons of his Knights Templar organisation (page 1075) (members likely to be one, despite his claim as to there being two other cells), not to the mention the sexual proclivities of his friends and relatives (page 1171), or his time as the biggest hip-hopper in west Oslo (page 1388) that it suggests someone, despite the intelligence necessary to produce such a document, that is simply not in full touch with reality. Others would have failed or given up at various stages in the planning process. It was a mixture of pure luck and Norway being unprepared for such an assault that led to his success. While some should be at the least examining their consciences, the rest of us can be fairly secure in knowing that there are most certainly not others waiting to launch further attacks on the "cultural Marxists".

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Nice post. Great antedote to the much rushed comment and misdirected conclusion jumping around this horrible event.

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