Anders Behring Breivik: Rightwing Christian Terrorist?
The Marmot's Hole blog had a discussion going on as to whether or not Anders Behring Breivik, the Norway shooter, was an insane spree killer or a rightwing terrorist. My initial assumption was that he was a crazed killer, but I soon began to re-evaluate that, and noted why in a comment:
He might be insane, but the sole reason that I would have for thinking so would be that he did something most of us would think is crazy.After posting that comment, I learned a bit more, so I posted another comment:
But so did the Unabomber, the Oklahoma Bomber, and the 9/11 terrorists. They all did things that I would at first judge as crazy. But I don't think any of them were insane.
What currently makes me lean toward judging this recent killer sane is that he spent nearly ten years planning this atrocity and that he has written a manifesto to explain his actions. The ideas come from the right, the violence from the extreme right. I'm pretty sure of this because I've been reading since 9/11 on Islamism, the Left, and the Right in an attempt to get a handle on what's happening and where we're headed, and I recognize many of his expressions.
I suppose that he could be a political terrorist and insane, but "evil" [rather than "insane"] might be a better designation.
We'll see for sure as we learn more from his writings.
Time Magazine has a short article on the motives of Anders Behring Breivik. Two terrorism experts are cited concerning Breivik's manifesto: 2083: A European Declaration of Independence.I'm still waiting for easy access to Breivik's manifesto. I won't have time to read all 1500 pages, but if I can search for key words, I know what to look for. Breivik has been called a "Christian Fundamentalist." I don't think he's quite that, but the question of his connection to Christianity does arise. Here's a quote, courtesy of Time Magazine, from his interview with himself:
Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College calls the manifesto "a complete mirroring of al-Qaeda, a cut-and-paste image of a jihadist manifesto."
Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism expert at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, agrees: "The document mirrors al-Qaeda ideology in a few important ways. The principal aim is to expel Muslims from Europe, just as al-Qaeda wants to expel Westerners from the holy lands."
I've read articles by Ranstorp and Hegghammer, and I've always found them levelheaded on terrorism.
None of this would mean that Breivik suffers no psychological problems. He might indeed have problems, but these wouldn't necessarily preclude his being a terrorist. Mohamed Atta had weird views about sexual purity, but that doesn't exclude him from the ranks of terrorist.
Breivik is quoted elsewhere as saying that killing too many is better than killing too few. He chose his target with the aim of generating as much horror as possible, much as the 9/11 terrorist chose their target and method.
From what I've seen of Breivik's writings by now, I don't see how I can do other than conclude that he draws upon the right, including the extreme right, for his political ideology. But he's wrong to believe that his action will galvanize the right in the way that 9/11 galvanized Islamists.
Most of those on the right whom he cited in his manifesto have expressed revulsion at what he did. He'll find little support for political violence except among the extreme right, i.e., people like him.
Around 2000, I realized that the democratic struggle against the Islamization of Europe, and European multiculturalism, was lost. It is simply not possible to compete with democratic regimes that import millions of voters. Forty years of dialogue with the cultural Marxists/multiculturalists had ended up as a disaster. It would now only take 50 to 70 years before we, Europeans, were the minority. So I decided to explore alternative forms of opposition. But the biggest problem then was that there were no options for me at all. There was no known armed culturally conservative, or Christian, anti-jihad movement.Note that Breivik's wording uses "Christian" and "culturally conservative" interchangeably. This doesn't sound like personal Christian piety, but rather an identification with Europe's Christian identity, focused on a time when European Christians were fighting holy wars against Islam, the time of the Crusades. In the Time Magazine article "Killer's Manifesto: The Politics Behind the Norway Slaughter" (July 24, 2011), William Boston tells us more about Breivik's fascination with the Crusades:
The secret society Breivik describes aims to re-create the Knights Templar. Known by their trademark white mantles bearing a red cross, the Knights Templar were skilled fighters during the Crusades who wielded enormous political and economic influence during the Middle Ages. Breivik wrote that there was a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to rebuild the order and that nine people representing eight European countries attended.Breivik's Christianity looks to be militant and political, not especially pious, but there is this, one of the recent entries in his journal, courtesy of The Telegraph, from the article "Norway shooting: Anders Breivik's diary of terror":
Saturday June 11 I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail.This isn't the manner in which pious Christians usually pray to God -- pious Christians don't presume to explain things to an omniscient God -- and Breivik admits that he hasn't prayed "in a very long time," but he sounds sincere. Six weeks later, he bombed Norway's Labor Party government in Oslo and shot dozens of the Labor Party's youth on Utøya Island. Some might wonder why Breivik didn't target Muslims if his aim was to expel Islam from Europe. I think that I can answer that question. Many on the right have noted the far Left's alliance of convenience with Islamism, but some have gone further and denounced the entire Left as composed of traitors to European civilization. The step from calling Leftists traitors to the conclusion that they deserve execution is not a very large one since the traditional penalty for treason has been death. I've not seen bloggers themselves calling for death to Leftists (though I don't doubt that such bloggers exist), but I have occasionally encountered comments that come close to demanding such extreme measures.
Counterterrorism will need to take such folk more seriously from now on . . .