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The Influence Industry of Rage

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Posted on Jul 25, 2011

By Eugene Robinson

The monster who slaughtered at least 76 innocent victims in Norway was animated by the same blend of paranoia, xenophobia and alienation that fuels anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Yes, it could happen here.

One could argue that it already did, in Oklahoma City. The difference is that Timothy McVeigh’s apocalyptic anger was diffuse and nonspecific. Anders Behring Breivik—who has acknowledged detonating a powerful fertilizer bomb in central Oslo and then killing scores of teenagers and young adults on a nearby resort island—was focused like a laser beam on what he saw as the “threat” posed by Islam.

The judge who presided over Breivik’s arraignment Monday said the accused mass murderer “believes that he needed to carry out these acts to save Norway (from) cultural Marxism and Muslim domination.”

In a 1,500-page screed setting out his philosophy, Breivik referred favorably to the work of several well-known anti-Muslim polemicists in the United States—zealots who usually boast of their influence but now, for some reason, seek to deny it.

Breivik quoted Robert Spencer, a writer who runs a website called Jihad Watch, more than 60 times. Spencer is the author of such books as “Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs,” “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t” and “The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.”


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On his website, Spencer responded Monday that “the Breivik murders are being used to discredit all resistance to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.” He sought to draw a parallel: “Charles Manson thought he heard instructions to kill in the Beatles song ‘Helter Skelter’ and committed mass murder. There were no instructions to kill in the song.”

The comparison is absurd, of course. There’s nothing in “Helter Skelter” about Sharon Tate or any of Manson’s other victims; the angriest line is “You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer.” Spencer’s oeuvre, by contrast, is all about how Muslims supposedly threaten all who love peace and freedom.

In his manifesto, Breivik also cites the Atlas Shrugs blog run by Pamela Geller, who was one of the most vitriolic opponents of the proposed Islamic center and mosque in Lower Manhattan. On Sunday, Geller wrote that the “Islamic/leftist machine” is trying to blame the massacre on “those of us who are working diligently to educate the people.”

Who, then, was responsible for Breivik’s rage? “Anders Behring Breivik is responsible for his actions,” Geller wrote. “If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists.”

At least one anti-Muslim blogger had the decency to acknowledge feeling “terrible” about being cited in Breivik’s writings. The anonymous “Baron Bodissey,” who runs a website called Gates of Vienna, wrote that Breivik “is a monster and deserves just as little pity as he gave to his innocent, unarmed victims.”

Unfortunately, the blogger went on to write that Breivik’s “total lack of respect for human life is not, however, something he can have picked up from me, or from any of the other Islam-critical writers I know. ... Indeed, the lack of respect for human life is often one of the great shortcomings of Islamic culture that we have consistently pointed out.”

Think about the implications of that last sentence. If Muslims have no respect for human life, then why should anyone respect their lives? Or, for that matter, the lives of the government officials who invite Muslims to live among us? Or the lives of the sons and daughters of such traitorous quislings?

Breivik apparently saw the Muslim presence in Norway and the rest of Europe as a result of immigration and “multiculturalism”—and as a threat to indigenous civilization and culture. It is true that European societies have struggled at assimilation; witness the growth of right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties across the continent. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that Europe’s adjustment to its new diversity will take time and effort.

But the reality here is completely different. Assimilation is something the United States does as well as any country on Earth. Our proven ability to transform immigrants into Americans gives us a competitive advantage at a time when the populations of developed nations are aging rapidly.

One reason the world’s best and brightest still want to come here is that the Constitution protects freedom of worship. No matter what the prejudiced purveyors of anti-Islam vitriol might say, this guarantee covers Muslims just like everybody else.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

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By norry, July 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

“One reason the world’s best and brightest still want to come here is that” their stupid?

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, July 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.

—Woody Guthrie

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, July 26, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

regarding this: “If anything, the recycled propaganda shows that this probably
won’t be the end of the line for it.”

Probably not, but this sort of copy-paste work smacks a lazy, unimaginative hack
operative on the planning team at Vauxhall Cross - a potential connection well
worth examination, especially when we get the so-called ‘founding meeting’ to
revive the Knights Templar in London in 2002 - a ‘rich legend’ is unfolding - one
that appears ready-made to further fuel the Clash of Civilizations, one of the
corner stones to the Global War OF Terror, from which, it’s worth pointing out,
Norway was preparing to resign - recalling its aircraft from the Libya bombing
campaign by month’s end

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By SoTexGuy, July 26, 2011 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

It’s an integral part of the self gratifying myth of the Human (some, but not all
of which is demonstrable) .. that as separate and superior to average Nature, we
humans exercise unique and superior powers of perception and a view of the

I’m big into nature and natural systems and it seems that view of Humanity as
unique in some of it’s perceptions and vision may be true.. Is Humanity superior
overall? .. measured in our ability to persevere.. in geologic time? It’s yet to be
proven to me.

Just from the news it looks as if we do have an animal or animalistic side.. and
it’s not the best of what nature and animals have to offer.


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By gerard, July 26, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

SoTexGuy suggest a common idea:  “Is it possible the seeming growing and more deadly strife and struggle of Humanity on our earth is nature taking it’s course?”

My problem with that it that it suggests there’s nothing we humans can do.  Whereas the fact is that “deadly strife and struggles of Humanity” are caused by Humanity—that huge generalization which also disguises the fact that individual human beings have been able, from time to time, to get together and solve problems, prevent enormous sorrows, stop destroying—particularly when they take personal responsibility for making changes constructively, humanely, fairly.  Creativity, empathy and justice combined.  Plus a determination, a can-do spirit, a courage that is every bit as “human” as fear, deceit and violence.

Isn’t it an integral part of human nature to have choices—hence to make good choices or bad ones—or any one of a number of choices in between?

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By SoTexGuy, July 26, 2011 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Is it possible the seeming growing and more deadly strife and struggle of Humanity on our earth is nature taking it’s course? Are wars and hate politics and murders and irrationalities a direct and predictable result of overcrowding, environmental change and even genetics.

I don’t recall whether it was H.B.B. Leakey or in that book ‘The Territorial
Imperative’ but the thesis is that at a certain point, brought on by
environmental changes resulting from population density and so-on, new behaviors take over. And these new behaviors are destructive to the individual and the ability to survive and pass on their genetic potential to future generations.

The author or authors used rodent colonies to model this, demonstrating that even with unlimited food and so-on.. murder, infanticide, rape, theft and etc..  resulted from population densities beyond some particular point.. And the physical and behavioral changes in the animal communities ultimately doomed the populations. It was very controversial at the time.. and I think taboo as it attacked the prevailing and popular ideas of Human exceptionalism and our detachment from nature.

Perhaps it’s plain inbreeding? I mean whether you believe in Biblical Genesis or Evolution we all come from a pretty small genetic sample.. in effect we are all everyone else’s first cousins and we’ve been marrying our cousins and nieces and nephews forever! .. so we’re all ‘ridge-people’.

Explain a lot!

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screamingpalm's avatar

By screamingpalm, July 26, 2011 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

Is that the only passage in the entire 1500 page manifesto that he copied from the unabomber? I think that’s a bit underwhelming. I’m more interested in who else is involved in this recreation of the Knights Templar. He signed off as Commander of the Norway part of the Europe Division. Plagiarism is the least of our worries I think. If anything, the recycled propaganda shows that this probably won’t be the end of the line for it.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, July 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

deranged devoté or useful dupe?

Suspect Anders Behring Breivik’s Manifesto Plagiarized From The Unabomber
By KRISTEN WYATT   07/24/11 06:07 PM ET  

DENVER—Parts of the manifesto written by the suspect in Norway’s terrorist
attack were taken almost word for word from the writings of “Unabomber” Ted

The passages copied by Anders Behring Breivik appear in the first few pages of
Kaczynski’s manifesto. Breivik changed a Kaczynski screed on leftism and what
he considered to be leftists’ “feelings of inferiority” – mainly by substituting the
words “multiculturalism” or “cultural Marxism” for “leftism.”

For instance, Kaczynski wrote: “One of the most widespread manifestations of
the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of
leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of
modern society in general.”

Breivik’s manifesto reads: “One of the most widespread manifestations of the
craziness of our world is multiculturalism, so a discussion of the psychology of
multiculturalists can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems
of Western Europe in general.”

Breivik did not cite Kaczynski, though he did for many other people whose
writings he used in his 1,500-page manifesto.

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