If you’re a conservative, you can guarantee that if there’s a terrorist attack or an act of violence, there is going to be a pack of leftists letting you know that it is somehow your fault. The rise in Irish terrorism was blamed on conservatives because apparently it was Margaret Thatcher that had upset them; when the planes hit the Twin Towers on 9/11, we had academic leftists like Noam Chomsky informing us that this was actually the fault of neoconservative US foreign policy; when London was bombed on 7/7, that was because Britain had bent the knee to conservatives in America on Iraq; when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot earlier this year along with other innocent civilians, this was due to “hateful rhetoric” from right-wingers such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (despite the fact that the shooter identified himself with anti-capitalist left-wing views).
So when it was first reported that some nutter had set off bombs and had started shooting people in Norway, I knew that conservatives would be blamed for it somehow. To prove my points, when the first reports came in that a radical Islamic group had taken responsibility, lefty journalists started pointing towards Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan – “Shouldn’t have gotten into bed with Bush” was the implication. It was the fault of conservatives!
And of course when it turned out it was in fact a blonde haired, blue eyed (did you ever hear a news report inform you about the colour of someone’s eyes before?) Norwegian, it was still the fault of conservatives. However, this time it was actually partly justified; as drips of information came in, we found out that Breivik actually claimed to be a conservative, was against forced multiculturalism, opposed the appeasing of radical Islam, wasn’t a fan of the European Union and opposed his nation’s open immigration policy.
Could this be the case, could we have found this “violent conservative” that the left have been warning us about? Whenever a conservative group gets momentum, such as the Tea Party in America, we have hysterical leftists telling us about how it’s going to provoke violence etc, despite the fact that almost all political violence belongs to either Islamists, radical leftists or plain old nutjobs. Was this the exception that proves the rule?
In short, no. A closer look at Breivik doesn’t fit the model of “angry conservative” that many in the media are trying to fit Breivik into. My first suspicion that something wasn’t right was when the media told us that this guy was right-wing “just like Timothy McVeigh.” I winced at this, because the “Timothy McVeigh = Rush Limbaugh Republican” is one I hear a lot in America. Yet although McVeigh was a registered Republican and was against the federal government, that was about as far as it went. His primary motives for the Oklahoma bombings were the attack on the Waco compound (which garnered more objection from the left than from the right) and his opposition to the Gulf War, in which he accused the US of hypocrisy for having WMDs and not letting Iraq have them too – a staple left-wing view of the time! I’m not arguing that he was left wing, just that McVeigh doesn’t fit the mould made for him.
Suspicions were raised further when we were told that Breivik’s manifesto had enormous chunks of it lifted from the manifesto of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Would this be the same Unabomber who, although opposing what he called “leftism”, was motivated primarily by his ardent anti-capitalism and called for a “worldwide revolution” against industrial-technological society, and described the Industrial Revolution and its consequences (i.e. global capitalism) as the biggest disaster ever witnessed by the human race? The Unabomber’s manifesto was not a right-wing document by any stretch, so why is Breivik using it?
The real answer is that there is some truth to the media reports, but the correct conclusions are not being drawn as they are based on false premises. There is a widespread view that both McVeigh and Kaczynski were right-wing terrorists and that by association Breivik is too. Throw in his anti-EU, anti-multiculturalist sentiments and we have the classic right-wing terrorist, right?
Wrong. The fundamental flaw with this logic is that it assumes McVeigh, Kaczynski and Breivik all had coherent political ideologies, and close examination proves this to be false. Picking out a few beliefs that sounds right-wing is not a sufficient analysis. Yes, Breivik was anti-EU (does this make anti-EU politician Tony Benn a right-winger then?) and yes he rants about the effects of cultural Marxism, but he is also anti-individualist, anti-globalisation, anti-free trade, he uses Kaczynski’s anti-capitalist rants as his own, his actions don’t suggest he is pro-life, and he spends much more time wittering on about reforming the “Knights of the Templar” than talking about anything else – perhaps it’s all Dan Brown’s fault?
Again, I am not trying to paint Breivik as a left-winger, nor do I deny that there are elements of conservative thought quoted in his manifesto, but ultimately Breivik is not a socialist loon, nor a conservative loon, he is just a loon. His final tweet was a quote from John Stuart Mill, but I have not seen anyone try to say that he Breivik is a libertarian. Whatever political “viewpoints” he espoused were the expression of his deranged anger, not the cause of it, and desperate attempts to crowbar him into a coherent political ideology are opportunistic and pointless.