NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Homegrown Norweigan terrorist is a right wing eliminationist, authorities say

Although few­er than one hun­dred hours have tran­spired since the world learned of the hor­rif­ic ter­ror­ist attacks in Oslo and Utøya, we’re already start­ing to get a clear­er por­trait of the man who Nor­we­gian author­i­ties say was the mas­ter­mind behind the cold-blood­ed spate of killing and destruc­tion.

Anders Behring Breivik, thir­ty-two, appears to be the worst kind of per­son there is: A big­ot­ed elim­i­na­tion­ist who under­went a dan­ger­ous, yet unno­ticed, trans­for­ma­tion from fanat­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist to ter­ror­ist.

He is among a cadre of fright­en­ing indi­vid­u­als who believe that slaugh­ter­ing inno­cent peo­ple will bring about some sort of good in world.

Breivik pur­port­ed­ly authored a pair of man­i­festos  — one is a doc­u­ment and one is a video. The Asso­ci­at­ed Press sum­ma­rized the for­mer as fol­lows:

Breivik’s man­i­festo chron­i­cled events that deep­ened his con­tempt for Mus­lims and “Marx­ists” he blamed for mak­ing Europe mul­ti­cul­tur­al. He sug­gest­ed his friends did­n’t even know what he was up to, and com­ments from sev­er­al peo­ple who had con­tact with the qui­et blond man indi­cate he was right.

From Sep­tem­ber 2009 through Octo­ber 2010, Breivik post­ed more than 70 times on Dokument.no, a Nor­we­gian site with crit­i­cal views on Islam and immi­gra­tion. In one com­ment, he enter­tained the idea of a Euro­pean Tea Par­ty move­ment.

The AP quotes the edi­tor of the afore­men­tioned web­site as say­ing he had no idea of Breivik’s mur­der­ous plot. Evi­dent­ly Breivik kept his plans to him­self. If he had co-con­spir­a­tors, there weren’t very many of them.

In the doc­u­ment Breivik styles him­self as a Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tive, patri­ot and nation­al­ist. He looks down on neo-Nazis as “under­priv­i­leged racist skin­heads with a short tem­per.”

Part of Breivik’s man­i­festo was tak­en almost word for word from the first few pages of the anti-tech­nol­o­gy man­i­festo writ­ten by “Unabomber” Ted Kaczyn­s­ki, who is in fed­er­al prison for mail bombs that killed three peo­ple and injured 23 oth­ers across the U.S. from the 1970s to the 1990s.

David Nei­w­ert, a respect­ed jour­nal­ist and friend of NPI who has writ­ten exten­sive­ly about right wing elim­i­na­tion­ism and its trig­gers (he has even authored books on the sub­ject), weighed in an hour ago with his thoughts at Crooks & Liars.

Breivik’s man­i­festoes remind me a great deal of the man­i­festo left behind by an Amer­i­can right-wing ter­ror­ist who tried to embark on a sim­i­lar ram­page tar­get­ing as many lib­er­als as he could kill, but who was con­sid­er­ably less suc­cess­ful: Jim David Adkisson, the Knoxville church shoot­er, who exhort­ed his read­ers to “Go Kill Lib­er­als”. His man­i­festo was func­tion­al­ly the log­i­cal absur­dio ad reduc­tum of the hatred spewed dai­ly by the Fox News talk­ing heads and radio pun­dits whose works filled his library — whose word­ing it rather close­ly reflect­ed in the lead­up to the exhor­ta­tions to vio­lence.

Like­wise, Breivik’s work is large­ly a regur­gi­ta­tion of ideas and claims that have been cir­cu­lat­ing on the Right for a long time, includ­ing main­stream sources such as Fox News and Andrew Bre­it­bart. There’s noth­ing orig­i­nal here — except that he, like Adkisson, sim­ply takes the “log­ic” (as it were) of the cul­tur­al war­riors he par­rots and ratch­ets it up the next log­i­cal step into vio­lent action.

We know that hate speech is a pre­cur­sor to vio­lence. Intol­er­ance has a way of lead­ing to more intol­er­ance. It’s time that we, as a soci­ety, stopped per­mit­ting the right wing to spew so much filth over the pub­lic air­waves. There is no room in our dis­course for hate speech. Con­trary to what the right wing hate talk­ers may say, there is a con­nec­tion between their rhetoric and the destruc­tive actions of fanat­ics like Breivik. Their rhetoric is what influ­ences the think­ing of the Breiviks of the world, who go on to com­mit mass mur­der. So they are indi­rect­ly respon­si­ble.

When a tragedy like the ter­ror­ist attacks per­pe­trat­ed by Breivik occurs, the inevitable ques­tion, How could some­one do some­thing like this? is always asked. The answer is that when a per­son­’s mind becomes filled with fear and prej­u­dice, he or she can become capa­ble of doing some very evil things. If we want to stop future atroc­i­ties, then we have to stop the hate speech. Pro­longed expo­sure to hate speech does ter­ri­ble, awful things to a vul­ner­a­ble mind.

Com­bat­ing hate speech is dif­fi­cult. That is because there are no easy reme­dies. For instance, even if the First Amend­ment per­mit­ted the ban­ning of cer­tain kinds of speech, a ban would be inef­fec­tive.

Per­haps the place to start is with our hap­less media, which equates ter­ror­ism with Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism. In truth, a ter­ror­ist is not an angry Mus­lim, but rather, any per­son who uses vio­lence or the threat of vio­lence to fur­ther some agen­da. One trou­bled per­son can do a great deal of dam­age if he or she takes the trou­ble to.

If our media own­er­ship was­n’t so con­cen­trat­ed (and we had more media diver­si­ty), per­haps hate speech would­n’t be so preva­lent. The rea­son the Glenn Becks of this coun­try can get on air and find a fol­low­ing is because their shows make mon­ey for the media con­glom­er­ates that dis­trib­ute or syn­di­cate them.

If media own­er­ship was­n’t so con­cen­trat­ed, there would be more non­prof­it and local­ly-run media out­lets broad­cast­ing bet­ter pro­gram­ming.

Revers­ing the trend towards con­cen­trat­ed own­er­ship could do won­ders for our dis­course in so many ways. We ought to make it a top pri­or­i­ty.

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One Comment

  1. David Nei­w­ert has a very small and select cir­cle of respect, one must how­ev­er, be very care­ful: Friends doing “peer review” is near­ly inces­tu­ous.

    There was a time where “sticks and stones would break my bones, but words will nev­er hurt me”, no more. We have cer­tain­ly pro­gressed past that sil­ly notion.

    Where do you peo­ple get this kind of “stuff?” (“Stuff” is the sim­plest descrip­tion I can give this polemic.)
    You pluck an obscure “right wing” wack job out of the ether, (how iron­ic he was from the South…), hold him up as the norm, quote your­selves as irrefutable, and vio­la’ the bad, bad eeevvvil­ll con­ser­v­a­tive paint brush has been put into action.

    “Hate speech,” as you have termed it, isn’t a result of the rant­i­ngs of the Glenn Beck­’s or Kei­th Olber­man­n’s of this world, but rather a desire to cre­ate an imag­ined crime. “Hate speech” would not even be an issue if this soci­ety would NOT have embraced, and run off the cliff with “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness”; had not strove to re-define “free speech” as pro­vid­ing forums for pro­tect­ed class­es to enjoy not-open-for-debate unop­posed speech. You should lis­ten to your­selves when you sit in dark and chic Seat­tle pubs and den­i­grate you fel­low cit­i­zens, when you hold the “unwashed” in utter con­tempt.

    The fact of the mat­ter: intol­er­ance is not a child of the “white Anglo-Sax­on-Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist-homo­pho­bic, unjust-impe­r­i­al” Amer­i­can soci­ety. Intol­er­ance is a prod­uct of so-called pro­gres­sive atti­tudes. Re-read Bill Ayer’s and Berna­dine Dorn’s Weath­er Under­ground “Prairie fire” polit­i­cal state­ment. Those peo­ple are on record in advo­cat­ing the elim­i­na­tion of 20 mil­lion US cit­i­zens if they did­n’t see things the “The Weath­er­man” way? How’s that for elim­i­na­tion­ist?

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the very fact you have ven­tured forth advo­cat­ing the reg­u­la­tion of speech is just aston­ish­ing. (Cue Paul Robeson’s stir­ring ren­di­tion of the Sovi­et Nation­al Anthem) And out of the same side of your mouth, you make com­ment that this Nor­we­gian is the “worst kind of per­son there is… who under­went a dan­ger­ous and unno­ticed trans­for­ma­tion.” Unno­ticed? How did that hap­pen in social­ist-pro­gres­sive Nor­way? And do we real­ly know who he is? I pre­fer to know who the nuts are, and shut­ting them up won’t help me in that endeav­or.

    Here’s one for you: When Con­gress­woman Gif­fords and her entourage were shot up in Tuc­son, the progressive/democrat par­ty media machine did­n’t hes­i­tate to lay the blame for that hor­rif­ic act at the feet of the right-wing. It was lit­er­al­ly min­utes post event when that dia­tribe went forth. The nar­ra­tive con­tin­ued to paint con­ser­v­a­tives and their speech as the cause, that is, until it became over­whelm­ing­ly obvi­ous that Jared Lee Lough­n­er was­n’t a hat­ing white con­ser­v­a­tive. Then all went qui­et.

    Your myopic and big­ot­ed orga­ni­za­tion needs to do a re-inven­to­ry of those that have insti­gat­ed the hor­rif­ic.

    Tell you what, for every “Adkisson”, call, I raise you three Loughner’s/Kaczynki’s/McVeigh’s. All of which embraced left-wing/pro­gres­sive mul­ti-cul­tur­al notions.

    # by Nate Hale :: July 25th, 2011 at 7:36 PM