We are presently being treated to the rather undignified and unedifying spectacle of the political right — particularly the authoritarians and liberthoritarians — crying foul because people are drawing cautious, well-documented linkages between their own rantings and those of the Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik. We had a dry-run of this following the Tucson massacre. Russell Brown has NZ’s most thorough treatment of this argument, and Peter Cresswell has NZ’s most succinct whine about it, with links to more examples.
One such piece bears particular mention: by Merv Bendle, it was published in Quadrant, and questioned whether Breivik’s attacks were “a covert, â€˜false-flagâ€™ operation, carried out to give just this impression that it was conducted by anti-Muslim, right-wing extremists, but actually conceived and directed by other forces?” Quadrant is edited by Keith Windschuttle, whose statements at a seminar given in New Zealand in 2006 (and chaired by Matthew Hooton) were quoted by Breivik in way that Windschuttle states is “not inaccurate or misleading. I made every one of these statements and I still stand by them.” The argument is essentially that “civilisation” is under threat from “the perverse anti-Westernism of the cultural elite”. There are many, many more such cases in overseas forums and I trust readers will have no difficulty finding them.
But Pascal’s Bookie, in comments at the Dim-Post, has found the nub:
They either need to disown the claim of existential threat, or explain why an existential threat does not justify violence.
This is exactly it. The right-wing commonplace that “Western civilisation is under threat” is at the heart of all the rhetoric being compared to Breivik’s nominal casus belli, and in many cases the similarities are more than merely cosmetic. This general line of argument has been popularised in its modern form by Samuel Huntington, but is much older in its essence (and I must note that Huntington’s theory is considerably more robust than the arguments I’m talking about here.) The problem for the wingnuts presently whining about these comparisons is that their bluff has been called. They’ve been squawking about the existential threat posed by “others”, much as Breivik has, but he has gone one better and actually done something about it. And so they must pick a side: either “Muslims” (or “MÄori”, “socialists”, “teacher unions” or the “cultural elite” or whoever “Western civilisation” is at war with this week) actually are the existential threat the wingnuts claim they are, or they are not. If the former case is true, by their own logic the wingnuts would not only be justified in taking up arms in defence of their civilisation, they would be practically required to do so, as Breivik did. If the existential threat is real, they must hail Breivik as a hero. If they don’t, we can assume there is no existential threat, and that they’ve merely been spouting melodramatic masturbatory fantasy this whole time.
By their works ye shall know them. If there really is an existential threat, as they claim, then surely we can expect the rallying cry “wingnuts of the world, unite!” to go up from the towers where they reside, and their legions pour forth with tacticool assault rifles, iPods full of Wagner and Muse and Mario Lanza, and neoprene bodysuits with faux unit patches on them. And if they do not, then surely by their own admission, there is no threat, and there never was.
I know which I’m picking.
Update: ‘Nemesis’ at Crusader Rabbit has answered the clarion call to action with …. yet more words. But they are fighting words:
Whatever one may think of Breivikâ€™s murderous rampage one needs to concentrate on the message the massacre has most surely sent to Europes political elite if one wishes to understand his motivation. One question the elite must now be asking themselves should be this; Is Breivik really a â€˜lone wolfâ€™ or is his manifesto to be taken seriously? If his manifesto is to be taken seriously, then how many other â€˜lone wolvesâ€™ are out there waiting to enact their own â€˜fantasyâ€™ and against whom and what?
I am now seeing the â€˜peace signsâ€™ being offered from those blogs [Gates of Vienna, &c], and individuals who abhor violence of any description. To me this smacks of typical appeasement by those anti-jihadists who donâ€™t appreciate that their greater enemy is the Left and not Islam. They donâ€™t appreciate that Islam is a symptom of a delusional political system that parades the â€˜religion of peaceâ€™ as more worthy to life than their own cultural heritage. They donâ€™t appreciate that the Left have effectively shut down any debate they know they canâ€™t win, and that the Left will now â€“ spurred on by the Norway massacre – go to extreme and effective measures to curtail any â€˜dissentâ€™ from their agenda. Those fascist ideals of intolerance of â€˜othersâ€™, â€˜hate speechâ€™ and any other euphemism or ban, especially on â€˜Far Right Extremistsâ€™ will now be put in place.
They donâ€™t appreciate the fanatics that the elite are fast becoming!
The time for talking and making friendly peace gestures is finished! Let the start of the ending begin!
Commenter ‘WAKE UP’ says:
Brievikâ€™s action is but a small, overdue response to the cultural murder that has been done daily by Western Leftists for decades now. It wonâ€™t be the last.
Addendum from Oswald Bastable:
One can start to sympathize with shooting snot-nosed loud-mouthed socialist oiksâ€¦
And ‘KG’ in response:
One can. :)
Smiley-face in the original. But there’s more. The charming Nemesis, again:
Some [victims] were kids, most were adults hmm. […] If given the opportunity would you take a trip back down the time tunnel to kill Hitler, Stalin, Himmler, Ribbentropp, Hess, Bormann, Trotsky, Lenin or Marx when it would be easy, like when they were kids or young adults?
Itâ€™s a hypothetical, but I guess you will get the point?
I think we get the point. That’s a rather melodramatic, arguably even masturbatory, ‘watch this space’, I suppose.