NORWAY'S TERRORISM IN CONTEXT
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
In the past, one had the cold comfort of knowing that deranged acts such as his were carried out by individuals under the sway of extremist ideologies. Not so Behring Breivik. This terrorist lists among his favorite authors George Orwell, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, and William James. The disconnect between Behring Breivik's mainstream political Conservatism and his psychological derangement presents a shocking new dilemma and challenge.
That said, there is no reason to think that Behring Breivik has a single follower, that any other mainstream political Conservative will emulate him and massacre Socialists. This has never happened before and will probably never happen again. This is a gruesome, freakish exception.
And, yet, this exception does tell Conservatives that we have to be aware of a danger we had not thought of before. We may oppose Socialists, but not vilify them.
Given how meticulously Behring Breivik planned not just his bombing attack and gun rampage, but also his posting of a manifesto and a video, and given his plans to turn his trial into political theater, his terrorism appears ultimately intended primarily to bring attention to his political views. Indeed, during his initial court appearance on July 25, the Associated Press reports, he presented the violence "as 'marketing' for his manifesto," 2083: A European Declaration of Independence.
In this way, Behring Breivik resembles the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who engaged in violence as a means to market his 1995 manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future. Indeed, the tie between these two is very close: Hans Rustad documents how extensively Behring Breivik plagiarized from Kaczynski, changing only some key words.
Add to these two Timothy McVeigh (the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber) and Baruch Goldstein (the 1994 Hebron mass killer) and one has the four outstanding exceptions to the dominant rule of Islamist mass murder. One website, TheReligionOfPeace.com, counts 17,500 terrorist incidents on behalf of Islam in the past ten years; extrapolating, that comes to some 25,000 since 1994. We are dealing with two very different orders of magnitude. As David P. Goldman notes, "there is a world of difference between the organized use of horror by terrorist movements and the depraved actions of individuals." Yes, we must worry about non-Islamist violence too, but the Islamist variety prevails and, being a vital extremist movement, will continue to do so.
Ravi Shankar, Executive Editor of the New Indian Express, writes that "What happened in Oslo Friday may be the early beginning of a new civil war — Europeans fighting each other, both Muslim and Christian." He could well be right. As I argued in a 2007 analysis, Europe's Stark Options, the continent's future is likely to consist of either Islamization or protracted civil conflict. I sketched the possibility of --
Although he attacked Socialists, not Muslims, Behring Breivik clearly fits this chafing. More broadly, he fits into a pattern of growing Christian-Muslim violence visible from Nigeria to Iraq to the Philippines.
Not surprisingly, Behring Breivik belongs to the "Islam is evil" school of thought, as he frequently signaled in his manifesto:
". . . to take the violence out of Islam would require it to jettison two things: the Quran as the word of Allah and Muhammad as Allah's prophet. In other words, to pacify Islam would require its transformation into something that it is not."
Islam today is what it has been for the last fourteen centuries: violent, intolerant, and expansionary. It is folly to think that we, in the course of a few years or decades, are going to be able to change the basic world outlook of a foreign culture. Islam's violent nature must be accepted as given.
Many moderate cultural Conservatives have suggested that banning Sharia will solve all our problems and force the Muslims to integrate. Unfortunately, Islam is a lot more resilient than most people can comprehend. Taking Sharia (and all political aspects) out of Islam is simply not possible.
This position differs fundamentally from my own, which holds that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution." While sharing common opponents, these two outlooks differ on the nature of Islam, its potential for change, and the possibility of allying with Muslims.
Beyond massacring innocent Norwegians, Behring Breivik damaged Conservatism, the Counter-Jihad, and (in particular) those authors he cited in his writings, including myself. A close reading of his manifesto suggests this may have been purposeful. Noting that his former membership in Norway's Conservative "Progress Party" would do it harm, he evinces satisfaction that this will forward his revolutionary goals:
In a similar spirit, he writes: "America as a polity is scr*wed, and thank the gods for that."
By extension, Behring Breivik may well have wanted to harm those analysts of Islam cited in the manifesto. He calls me a "moderate," which obviously is not meant as a compliment, and dismisses even the hardest-line critics of Islam as lacking in courage:
Behring Breivik hopes to undermine anyone he perceives as obstructing his dreamed-for revolution. Temporarily, at least, he has succeeded.
© Daniel Pipes 2011. All rights reserved.
Originally Published in National Review Online, July 27, 2011
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List, July 27, 2011
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Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
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