THE BANALITY OF EVIL

Posted in Rants on July 25th, 2011 by Ed

I propose a new rule.

If you're going to resort to murdering people in order to draw attention to yourself and your belief system – which, incidentally, is not a good idea – the least you could do is write an interesting manifesto. Honestly, when the media reported that the Norway terrorist had written one I was legitimately curious to see it. I wanted to see what ideas could be so important that it would be worth killing 95 people (not to mention that he could reasonably have expected to die himself during the attack) just so that the world would hear them.

And then I saw it (No, I'm not linking it. You can find it.)

I haven't felt this let down since Matrix: Reloaded.

The message he wanted us to hear so badly, badly enough to kill and risk his own life, is a lukewarm rehash of the same thing that already fills websites and Conservative Book of the Month Club hardcovers by the dozen. Basically he took a Mark Stayn book, melded it with Pam "Atlas Jugs" Geller-style OMG MUSLIMS! histrionics, and then pasted it on a layer of sad David Horowitz talking points about the Liberal Ivory Tower of Academia. Seven years and 100 corpses, and this is what you wanted us to hear? We have already heard this. This set of ideas, contrary to the spirit of the persecution complex that holds many white conservatives in its thrall, disseminates freely. Look at World Net Daily. Look at Atlas Shrugs (the website). Look at Mark Steyn, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain, and dozens of other bobbleheads / authors / AM radio jockeys. Neither the idea of the white majority being afraid of change and the racial "other" nor the specific application of those concepts to Muslims are new.

All this terrorist did was to reheat established if semi-fringe arguments and then tack on some adolescent ideas about going around killing "traitors" to the White European Culture in order to reclaim Christendom, followed by detailed (and now instantly obsolete) instructions on acquiring weapons and armor. Many authors and commentators do the first part without diving into the "Let's start rounding up traitors and killing them" part. Certainly in the next few days we will hear people like Steyn, Coulter, Horowitz, and Cain point this out; they will truthfully note that they merely discussed the "problem" – the Islamification of Europe and eventually, of course, the USA – and never advocated violence.

So here's the compelling question: Where else can these arguments lead?

If, as many people and media personalities are, you are afraid that the brown horde of Others is invading your country and threatening to conquer it demographically and culturally, how can that Problem be solved short of: 1) Genocide, in which Muslims are rooted out and killed, or 2) a closed borders, Festung Europe style immigration policy and the xenophobia to support it, which would necessarily require "patriots" like this guy to eliminate anyone who fails to share his reactionary worldview?

When one accepts the premise, "The Muslims are comin', and We need to defend Our Way", rarely does anyone outside of the neo-Nazi / fascist subculture follow that with, "and that's why we need to start killing them and their allies." Maybe it is unstated because it's implied. Western societies, with their rights and political systems that all but preclude the idea of making a religion illegal, can only achieve the right-wing nationalist goal of eliminating the cultural influence of Islam through upheaval and violence. Apparently this guy felt compelled to go the extra mile and state explicitly what the people who consume this kind of reading already understand.