Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anders Breivik’s World of Ideas

The following article about Anders Behring Breivik appeared today in Aftonbladet, a major Socialist newspaper in Sweden. Many thanks to our Swedish correspondent LN for his heroic exertions in translating it, and to Steen of Snaphanen for helping me figure out the difficult sections.

Regular readers of Gates of Vienna will notice that once we get past the author’s sneering tone and obvious distaste for conservatives, his descriptions of the political opinions held by the Counterjihad are not particularly inaccurate. In fact, that’s one of the disturbing things about Anders Breivik — when simply voicing his opinions, he sounded a lot like normal, non-violent people who oppose the Islamization of the West. And this is not all that surprising, given that he plagiarized quite a number of us for his manifesto, but it’s still disconcerting to read about it.

Prof. Gardell’s view of the Right in the USA is somewhat more peculiar. His description of “Ku Klux Klan-style American patriotism” — which he says was the norm here until the 1980s — does not describe an America I recognize. I was here at the time, but maybe I missed all that somehow. I’ll leave it to the reader to judge the accuracy of that part of his account.

The goal of the Swedish Left is, of course, to use Mr. Breivik and the Norway massacre to discredit the Sweden Democrats, marginalize anti-jihad activists, and squelch any form of nationalist resistance to the multicultural project in Sweden and throughout the rest of Europe.

Remember: to the Left, Breivik’s opinions and our own are identical. I categorically reject the assertion that violence is inherent in what we say, but that view is widely held among the Progressives and Multiculturalists of the West.

Mattias Gardell examines Anders Breivik’s world of ideas

“As Righteous Knight you are the jury, judge, and executioner on behalf of all free Europeans,” says the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik in his manifesto 2083.

Anders Behring Breivik

“It is better to kill too many than not killing enough”, because “the time for dialogue is over” and “time for armed resistance has come.” The terrorist attack in Oslo was not irrational madness but a calculated political assassination. The carnage was a manifestation of a certain logic that can and should be explained, if we want to avoid a repetition. “Our shock attacks are theater and theater is always performed before an audience,” writes Breivik. The self-appointed knight gave himself the stage name Sigurd — Crusaders and had prepared himself by sending out his manifesto to thousands of recipients in the Islamophobic environment, posting a quick message on YouTube, and providing the world’s journalists with promotional pictures of himself, which he easily constructed featuring himself in captivating poses, dressed in formal uniform or combat gear. When Breivik is brought to justice, he is remarkably happy. Newspapers and television have willingly released his promo pictures, his YouTube movie has been downloaded thousands of times, the manifesto has been translated into various languages, and hundreds of anti-Muslim websites and Internet users look to spread it further.

The attacks were carried out, therefore, by a man of faith, which he shares with the political environment of which he is a product, an environment which he hopes to steer into an even more violent path. Let’s step into the world of Breivik’s ideas by reviewing his extensive manifesto in 2083, named after the year of the attack in which the man imagines that the goal must be achieved: a mono-cultural Christian Europe without Muslims and traitors.

It has been pointed out that the work is largely a concoction of texts, whose authors are not always listed, which is true. It does not make 2083 less interesting, because it gives us the ability to track his library. By reading what Breivik reads, we gain entry into his thinking. Thus, we are better equipped to recognize such thought when it pops up elsewhere in today’s public speeches.

The day after the attacks revealed Hans Rustad, initiator of the Norwegian anti-Muslim forum where Breivik has been a frequent participant; that large parts of 2083 were copied from the Unabomber Manifesto, published in 1995 by anti-modernist and technology-critic Ted Kaczynski, who conducted a series of 16 bomb attacks on universities and airlines.

Johan Lundberg, chief editor of Axess, transformed that information into the very core of Breivik’s ideology, and the news was cabled into the thought of supposedly respectable anti-Muslim circles. Is the claim true? No. Three (3) of the 1516 pages are taken from the Unabomber Manifesto, from a section where Kaczynski attacks the Left. The rest comes from elsewhere. Looking at Breivik’s main influences, four influential idea streams may be identified: contemporary Islamophobic thought and culture, conservative traditions, elements of modern White Power ideology, and anti-feminism, all framed by a distinctly romantic masculine warrior ideal.

The leitmotiv is Islamophobia. Breivik draws his material from the American anti-Muslim writers Robert Spencer, Gregory M. Davis, Andrew Bostom, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes, the British conspiracy theorist Bat Ye’or (Gisèle Littman), the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, the Flemish nationalist Koenraad Elst, and the Norwegian anti-Muslim who writes under the pseudonym Fjordman, whose thinking was marketed in Sweden by, among others, SD’s Kent Ekeroth and Jimmie Åkesson.

This evoked a Manichean picture with apocalyptic overtones. Quite contrary to existing empirical evidence, it is alleged that for 1300 years the Western world has been in a fateful conflict with Islam, depicted as an actor with a sinister agents, who tirelessly seek the eradication of Christian Europe, an outpost of freedom in the world. Muslims, who all share the same immutable and malevolent being, colonize the West by stealth and through its continuous childbearing wage demographic warfare that will be militarized as soon as they become sufficiently numerous. It is supported by the Islamic world conspiracy in collusion with specific categories of Westerners: politicians, scientists, teachers, large entrepreneurs, and journalists who speak of dialogue, consensus and equality, and brand the standard-bearers of truth as “racists” and “Islamophobes.” For resistance to arise, the people must be awakened from the spell cast by the intellectual traitors. Download Breivik’s texts from cultural- and radical-conservative sites. As an anti-intellectual, his weapon is directed by populists at “political correctness”, “multiculturalism” and “cultural Marxists”, and their supposed hegemony in the universities.

Breivik complains, with support from William S. Lind, the Princeton-educated director of the Center of Cultural Conservatism, about many of our most important thinkers, such as Freud, Marx, Gramsci, Adorno, Reich, Marcuse, Foucault and Derrida, and has a special grievance against Edward Said, post-colonial studies, post-structuralism and queer theory.

The antidote is to banish them from the universities, and for conservative thinkers to restore the value of European culture and its achievements, including the benefits brought by colonialism. This is easier said than done, as the power of the traitors is omnipresent. So assumes Breivik from two guiding conclusions of modern White Power ideology. In the early 1980s, the battle by American white racists for state power was lost. The movement’s enemies had taken Congress and eliminated the racial laws that had previously guaranteed white Americans’ defined privileges.

Ku Klux Klan-style American patriotism was thus outdated. The violence was not primarily directed against blacks, but against traitors in power. As police and security services were transformed from friend to enemy, the resistance could not follow the classic model with member-based organizations that could be infiltrated and surveilled. Instead it evolved a leaderless resistance strategy, with a propaganda-oriented branch that remained within the legal framework and an underground armed branch of small cells and individual killers, who were responsible for their own finance and operations. The perspective spread in the globalized White Power milieu, including in Sweden where, inter alia, it inspired the Laserman. The parts of 2083 which deal with organizational issues and strategy and explain how to obtain weapons, make bombs, and plan attacks, are in line with this. On other important points Breivik differs from the White Power mindset. About race he is ambivalent. 2083 both distances itself from and embraces racism. Breivik writes that at first he “hesitated to include the words race, white or ethnicity” because I “convinced myself that I was primarily against Islam” and “would only complicate the fight” if I “wrote about skin color.”

Nevertheless Breivik includes excerpts from “From Titans to Lemmings — The Suicide of the White Race”, published by the British National Party. On one point the break, however, is total. Breivik has no sympathy for the Nazis’ hatred of Jews, which he finds totally irrelevant. Instead, he embraces, like the English Defence League and the Sweden Democrats, a right-wing Israeli agenda, in which Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu are seen as allies in the war against Islam.

Since feminism is a movement for equality and emancipation, it sticks is Breivik’s craw. From his cultural-conservative perspective, feminism is a natural enemy ideology, which undermined the nuclear family and contributed to Western decadence. He was born in 1979, but dreams of a return to an idealized 1950s, when he imagines that the men were men, women managed the household, children were well-behaved, and when there was no crime or Muslims in our countries. Feminists enable Multiculturalism, romanticize Multiculturalism, and feminize Western men, so that they are unable to resist. This will facilitate the Muslims’ power grab, which Breivik, like the conservative writers Phyllis Chesler and Melanie Phillips, believes will lead to a real (rather than imaginary) female subordination. This opens the door to the male warrior-hero’s entrance. Animated tales of chivalry, movie epics such as 300, The Lord of the Rings, The Passion Of The Christ, Serb nationalist narratives of Radovan Karadzic’s bloody actions during the Bosnian civil war, and the exploits he performed in World of Warcraft equipped Breivik for battle. He comes from a privileged family, where his father was a diplomat and his stepfather a military officer. He grew up in Skøyen, a wealthy district in western Oslo, went to the same school as the royal children, went on to business school and became a millionaire by his own affidavit in stock trading and e-business. As a white, Christian, heterosexual, and wealthy man Breivik believes that he has fixed the native privileges that are now threatened by all sorts of minorities, gender ideologies, and the general decay that has opened the gates to Europe’s supposed arch-enemy, Islam.

Like the radical conservative philosophers Julio Evola and Ernst Jünger, Breivik says that Western decadence can only be cured by a violent cleansing. 2083 contains two ultimatums. Before 2020, Muslims convert to Christianity, adopt Christian names, abandon their native languages and foreign customs, or prepare for expulsion and death. The armed forces in Europe’s countries must stage coups, introduce martial law, execute all traitors, while all Muslims and Islam must be forbidden. Otherwise, the Templars have no choice but “take matters into their own hands.” Spectacular attacks against traitors and Muslims will lead to a civil war, which Breivik wanted to herald with his attack. “Thousands of innocent people will die”, but “the majority’s welfare comes before that of the few.”

Mattias Gardell is a professor of religious history.