The Norwegian Terrorist
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I’ve got a 4,000-word article up at American Conservative on Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist. I think you’ll find that it explains more about this whole horrible event than you’ll find elsewhere. First, here are a few random observations: alt=
Breivik, a smug egomaniac who boasts, “I have an extremely strong psyche (stronger than anyone I have ever known),” looks rather like a 1975 Chevy Chase signing off from Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live” with the catchphrase, “I’m Chevy Chase … and you’re not.” …
Breivik’s weightlifting and narcissism-”I’m in the middle of another steroid cycle at the moment … I have a more or less perfect body”-call to mind Yukio Mishima, the bisexual militarist novelist and bodybuilder who attempted to overthrow Japanese democracy in 1970. Mishima then committed ritual seppuku, stabbing himself and having an acolyte behead him. (But notice the “more or less” in Breivik’s boast; Breivik is always tempted by the Norwegian urge to try to appear reasonable.)
The Norwegian killer’s assault is reminiscent of the 1997 shootout in North Hollywood, in which two steroid-using, body-armor-wearing bankrobbers fired 1,101 rounds of ammunition at the LAPD. At the time, they were assumed to be the first of an inevitable wave of unstoppable Terminator-like criminals. Fortunately, 14 years later, they remain the American high-water mark for criminals who could have appeared in a Michael Mann movie like “Heat.” Hopefully, Breivik will remain an outlier.
And here’s a summary of my main argument in Breivik’s Brain: The Norwegian killer is no Christian fundamentalist but a right-wing imitator of Marx and Lenin:
Among terrorist monsters, Breivik is perhaps the most lucid since the Unabomber, whom he plagiarizes in the 1516 page “compendium” he posted online just before his crimes. So I undertook the unpleasant task of trying to understand what motivates him. Is he a Christian fundamentalist fanatic, as has been widely assumed by the U.S. press? Or is there something else going on here that won’t make sense from an American perspective?
Having thought about this rotten person longer than I’ve wanted, I have finally grasped that Breivik only makes sense when viewed on his own terms, which are those of the bloody history of continental European ideology. Breivik, I’ve come to realize, is a Marxist heretic.
Breivik’s hundreds of pages of planning 72 years of conflict in his manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence reflects a Marx-like confidence in his own science of history. His turn to terrorism to begin the recruitment of a revolutionary vanguard is reminiscent of the urge of the first major Marxist heretic, Lenin, to hurry history along with violence. Like the second world-historical Marxist heretic, Mussolini, who substituted for Marx’s emphasis on class his own emphasis on nation, Breivik wants to substitute “culture.” He argues that white leaders influenced the Frankfurt School of “cultural Marxism” import Muslims to deconstruct the indigenous conservative culture they hate. In response, he will set off an (oxymoronic) “conservative revolution.”
Read the whole thing (there’s lots more) there.
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