This week’s syndicated column is about the shameful spinning of the Norway Massacre. But I would like to post a more personal comment.
As I noted in the column, my name is mentioned nine times in admitted killer Anders Breivik’s so-called “manifesto.” Also as noted in the column, from what I can tell to date, this “manifesto” is a 1,500-page compendium of plagiarism (including from the Unabomber!), name-dropping, quotations from historical works, and multiple cut-and-pasted essays and interviews originating with who’s who of mainly English-speaking anti-Islamization writers. There are Wikipedia entries, what looks like cribbing from bomb-making or weaponry guides, Wikipedia entries, etc. It also includes what appear to be Breivik’s own banal ramblings about partying, people “constantly bugging me about getting a girlfriend,” his “martydom operation,” favorite (violent) TV shows and games, “au de toilette,” wine — do I have to go on? Yes, I will go on. Breivik writes:
I have been storing three bottles of Chateau Kirwan 1979 (French red wine) which I purchased at auction ten years ago with the intention of enjoying them at a very special occasion. Considering the fact that my martyrdom operation draws ever closer I decided to bring one to enjoy with my extended family at our annual Christmas party in December.
Can we now leave this tripe to specialists who study sick minds? I’ll throw them a clue: That favorite scent of his, Breivik writes, is Chanel Platinum Egoiste.
Just what you might expect from a psycho killer. The elevation of this clipjob-cum-journal into “manifesto” status, a la Luther, Marx or Hitler, men with world-changing followings, is ridiculous. Actually, it’s worse than ridiculous. It’s a cynical strategy of “elites,” the Left, and whatever other catch-all phrase describes the MSM and “liberal” politicos the world over. Their goal is to force the numerous counter-jihadist writers, historians and culture critics whose work is cut-and-pasted into this mess of a pdf to hoist the white flag and shut up, as though their works of analysis, history-writing, commentary, reportage, and discussion bore their natural fruit, finally, ultimately, inevitably, what-else-could-you-expect? in a massacre by a lone, apparently psychopathic killer of Labor Party followers in Norway.
The depth to which this is equally disgusting and cynical is difficult to plumb. That doesn’t mean it won’t in some way work. But since the post-massacre operation to silence critics of Islamization and its Leftist enablers (and political benficiaries) rides on the status of the “manifesto,” this is probably where further reflection and investigation is necessary if the drive to bring about an intensified reign of censorship beyond what we know as “political correctness” is to be halted. In other words, the hodgepodge of a disturbed, criminal mind must not be the driver of a brave new censorship.
But that, also as noted in this week’s column, is precisely what Norway’s foreign minister is darkly hinting at in comments to the New York Times.
The Times reports: “While many in Norway do not want Mr. Breivik’s actions to affect politics here, Mr. Store said that was inevitable, too. Politics, once the mourning period passed, was the way to deal with the issues raised by the killings, he said. “‘What kind of statements and actions can lead to this?’ he said. ‘How can we have an inclusiveness that brings all views inside the camp of democracy while drawing lines in the sand about incitement and hatred?'”
I know what “statements” the foreign minister means — and it’s not the saying of Muhammad, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” Store means any and all of the academic, historical, journalistic, satirical, conversational or political critiques related to Islam, Islamic law and Islamization that have been copied and pasted into the phony “manifesto” — and, what do you know, are in whole or in part advanced by political opposition parties in Europe. It probably includes the following paraphrase in an essay (cut and pasted by Breivik) by the excellent and prolific Norwegian blogger Fjordman, now Feeding Frenzy Victim No.1, as far as Norway’s MSM is concerned because many of his essays are copied into the document: “As columnist Diana West of the Washington Times puts it, we should shift from a pro-democracy offensive to an anti-sharia defensive.” In the prevailing spin, it is a statement like this people are supposed to believe “led” to mass murder — not the madness and evil actions of a drugged-up killer.
Consider also the lengthiest quotation of mine that appears in the “manifesto.” It comes from a review essay of my book The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’sArrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, also by Fjordman, that shows up in the “manifesto.” The quotation, by the way, originally comes from a 2007 Frontpage interview about the book with Jamie Glazov.
In considering the strong links between an increasingly paternalistic nanny state and the death of the grown-up, I found that Tocqueville (of course) had long ago made the connections. He tried to imagine under what conditions despotism could come to the United States. He came up with a vision of the nation characterized, on the one hand, by an “innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls,” and, on the other, by the “immense protective power” of the state. “Banal pleasures” and “immense state power” might have sounded downright science-fictional in the middle of the 19th century; by the start of the 21st century, it begins to sound all too familiar. Indeed, speaking of the all-powerful state, he wrote: “It would resemble parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but, on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood.” Perhaps the extent to which we, liberals and conservatives alike, have acquiesced to our state’s parental authority shows how far along we, as a culture, have reached Tocqueville’s state of “perpetual childhood.”
Not too bad a critique of the nanny state that Norway’s Labor Party, for one (not to mention Uncle Sam), stands for. But then what? Where does a body go from there? To suit up in a police costume and kill scores of young campers — and then decant a bottle of red wine at a Christmas party?
Clearly, this is a big set-up. If the Left’s move to censor and demonize its political and cultural opposition is successful, another kind of crime will have been committed in the massacre’s wake: a crime against liberty.