As you probably heard, someone bombed downtown Oslo, Norway and shot up kids in nearby Utoya, killing 93 people. it turns out that the suspect is not a jihadist but an anti-jihadist — Anders Behring Breivik, a real deport-them-all, Norway-for-the-Norwegians type who denounced “multiculturalism,” “political correctness,” the war on Christmas, etc.
So, OK, he’s a conservative. It would be sensible for conservatives to point out that, while they and Breivik share some views, they do not support mass murder as a means of promoting them, which is a large difference.
The sensible is, alas, usually too much to hope from rightbloggers, and sure enough, they lament that they are the real victims of Breivik’s rampage, and that everyone is out to get them.
When the news from Norway first started coming in, many bloggers and some regular newspeople were not very careful about calling it for global jihad before the facts were known. (As for the alleged Islamicist group that originally claimed responsibility for the attacks, “American officials said the group was previously unknown,” reported the New York Times, “and might not even exist.”)
A stupendous example was provided by Jennifer Rubin, rightwing affirmative-action hire at the Washington Post, who immediately declared, “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists… Obama would have us believe that al-Qaeda is almost caput and that we can wrap up things in Afghanistan,” etc.
Those who can be bothered may follow a link from there to Rubin’s update, in which she blames the attacks on “Undiluted evil. The dark side of humanity,” which is a lot less specific than jihad and our cut-and-run Commander-in-Chief. Also, “That the suspect here is a blond Norwegian does not support the proposition that we can rest easy with regard to the panoply of threats we face,” blah blah blah. It seems anything is a good argument for vigilance against Muslims.
When Breivik’s identity and ravings became known, some people began to remember that right-wing nut groups have been getting bigger in recent years, and maybe it was time to pay attention.
“Killer personifies rise of new far-right,” reported the Financial Times, connecting Breivik’s hatred of multiculturalism with that of politicians like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and blogs like Gates of Vienna, both of which Breivik had singled out for praise.
Gates of Vienna is a ferociously anti-Muslim site, where bloggers with Dungeons-and-Dragons pseudonyms like “Baron Bodissey” rail against the sons of Monhammed.
Like other rightbloggers, Gates of Vienna’s “Fjordman” quickly bought into the Oslo jihad story: “Please keep in mind that the left-wing government of Jens Stoltenberg that was just bombed is the most dhimmi appeasing of all Western governments,” he roared. “…How do you explain that as a response to Western ‘aggression’?”
After the facts came out, the Gates of Vienna crew didn’t show any sign of abashment, nor of mourning for the victims, who after all were in their view “dhimmis” and unworthy of attention. They did exhibit a form of PTSD, though, clinging as if shock-addled to the idea that Arabs *had* to have had something to do with it.
In “No Jihad Angle — Or Is There?” Baron Bodissey agreed that Oslo resembled the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, but aha: “there almost certainly was an Islamic terror connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. I refer, of course, to the book The Third Terrorist by Jayna Davis…” The Baron buys Davis’ “Islamic signature” conspiracy theory, which the sheeple “may never have known, thanks to the American government’s actions and the media spin that followed.”
Don’t you get it? To protect his Muslim murderer friends, Bill Clinton told you that Oklahoma City was the work of wingnuts — and you fell for it! Now Clinton walks free while Tim McVeigh lies a-moulderin’ in the grave. Suddenly it all makes sense!
Later, the Gatesians mainly expressed concern for Fjordman’s reputation, such as it is (“The idea that he could be capable of such an act is so outrageous, so deeply insulting, and so vile that I feel soiled simply having to discuss it here”), and anger about “the left’s relentlessly malign attacks on anyone who sets foot outside the narrow multicultural ghetto.” So according to Gates of Vienna, the real victim of the Oslo and Utoya attacks was Gates of Vienna.
Other rightbloggers agreed that, with the possible exception of the dead people, conservatives had suffered most from the attacks.
“This is war,” ululated Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs, of whom Breivik appears to be a fan. “And the left is vicious, amoral and depraved. They mean to win, and that is the only way they know how.”
Commentary‘s John Podhoretz knew who should be called out: “those, particularly those on the Israeli anti-Zionist left, who took to Twitter seemingly in celebration of the fact that the killer was not an Islamist… one can only say that it is very strange and very sad to see what gives some activists pleasure.”
At Pajamas Media, Bruce Bawer called the rampage “A Double Tragedy for Norway.” One of those two tragedies, we may infer, was the death of all those people, though Bawer didn’t waste much ink nor tears on them. He did speak feelingly of the second tragedy — “that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic.” Priorities!
Andrew McCarthy, one of National Review‘s leading torture enthusiasts, after getting jihadi with it when news first broke (“the attack comes only days after Norway finally indicted Mullah Krekar”), later complained that Breivik had been identified in the press as a white Lutheran. “Having debated the subject of profiling for years,” he sniffed, “I am always amazed at how quickly the people who say we must not profile become committed profilers when it suits their purposes.”
While admitting that the absence of any Muslim conspirators “does cut against the likelihood that this is another episode of Islamic terrorism,” McCarthy said we still ought to remember that “most terrorism is carried out by Islamists”; thus the moral of this story, and of all others, is still Profile Muslims, so there.
Get Religion complained about the press, too — specifically The Atlantic, which had noticed that Breivik “identifies himself as a Christian and a conservative” and headlined one post “The Christian Extremist Suspect in Norway’s Massacre.” Thus, Get Religion deduced, The Atlantic was “dramatically pushing this idea that Breivik was motivated by Christian fundamentalism.” GR then accused all the media of a “rush to judgment” against Christians. (We are very tempted to say: Let’s see how you like it.)
The Anchoress fretted that “the press is running with the ‘right-wing Christian Fundamentalist’ narrative with almost unseemly enthusiasm… [Breivik] apparently clicked ‘Christian’ on facebook. Fundamentalist, though? Do they have that category?” Well, that’s why Google+ will be huge!
The Anchoress then quoted some Ann Althouse commenter who called the characterization “grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, ‘You shall not murder.'” Say, he’s got a point — you never hear about a Christian killing anyone!
As for Althouse herself, here’s her offering: “Assuming [Breivik] set up this page and he is the murderer, these statement could either be precisely true, deliberate misinformation, or something in between. The man knows about Machiavelli. What would Machiavelli post on Facebook before embarking on a massacre? ADDED: Of course, disinformation is a big theme in Orwell’s ‘1984.’” Jayna Davis, you’ve been seen and raised.
Ace of Spades moped that the BBC “have a big cheerleading section for the White Rightwing Terrorist Scenario” and denounced their accurate description of the suspect as “wishcasting.” Later, he said, “I don’t like calling him ‘right wing’ and honestly he’s not what I think of as ‘right wing.’ But he’ll be branded as such, of course” — which makes a fascinating intro to a passage in which Breivik is described as wearing a badge that reads “Marxist Hunter.”
At The PJ Tatler, Mike McNally claimed “the rush to get Breivik’s profile out their suggests an eagerness to exonerate Muslims by the authorities” — which is no less diabolical, apparently, for Muslims being in this case blameless. McNally lamented that the media had reported Breivik’s identity with “relief and relish — not only do we not have to report bad things about Muslims, we get open season on right-wingers.”
But what do the media like better — protecting Muslims, or persecuting conservatives? McNally seems to incline toward the latter opinion. “The very term ‘far-right,'” he declaimed, “is an invention of the liberal-left, employed to discredit the opinions of anyone holding conservative views.” Conservatives should instead be called People Who Are Always Right and Handsome. McNally ended by saying conservatives would get more bad publicity out of the incident than Muslims, which he seemed to think was unfair.
Right Turn Forever thought the white wingnut nature of the killer actually proved Islam was to blame. “But given what we do know – that the man behind the attacks was white, Christian, Norwegian, and right wing — we should have seen this coming,” said RTF. “It is, in many ways, the inevitable outcome of a multiculturalist ideal that, in practice, has failed – and in this case, failed fatally.”
How did he figure that? RTF admitted that “usually, one tends to think of this problem as one that leads to Muslim attacks on non-Muslim targets,” but “there are two sides to this coin, as any, and we’ve just seen the other one.”
RTF acknowledged that Breivik followed Geller and Gates of Vienna, but while those people are known to you and us as lunatics, to RTF they are “popular not only among anti-Islam activists, but amont even more moderate types concerned about the rise of radical Islam in the West.” (RTF doesn’t name any of the alleged “moderate types” who follow these nuts.) RTF also compared Breivik to “German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” which surprises us, but we don’t follow European politics closely and may have missed the announcement of her Exterminate the Social Democrats initiative.
Finally RTF gave the real reason why Breivik’s murders could be blamed on multiculturalism: “So that Breivik would have attacked Norway’s liberal Prime Minister and his party is horrifying – but it is therefore not terribly surprising: these are the politicians who, in the name of civil rights and equality, have made most of the concessions [to Islam].” In other words, they were asking for it: if the liberals hadn’t been so multi-culti, Breivik wouldn’t have had to kill them.
“The reaction to me and others being wrong [about the culprit] and to how the news is handling this event is quite instructive,” said Erick Erickson, RedState chief and, astonishingly, CNN commentator. (Let’s pause to consider: Does Erickson ever find his errors themselves “instructive”?)
“The New York Times is making sure in its first few paragraphs everyone knows the guy described himself on Facebook as a ‘conservative Christian,'” said Erickson, and that’s bad, because “it is rather rare to see a self-described Christian engage in heinous terrorist acts,” so even when it happens you shouldn’t mention it or people will get the wrong idea.
Also, Erickson added, “Secular leftists and Islamists are both of this world. Christians may be traveling through, but we are most definitely not of the world.” So liberals and their Arab terrorist buddies “can pile on and condemn the Christian because the Christian is just passing through, a stranger in a strange land.” Well, it sounds more theological and classy than “La la, I can’t hear you.”
Oh, we can’t leave out Erickson’s final argument: “A conservative Christian would not do what the guy did.” That Scotsman sure gets around.
Some denied outright and despite all evidence that Breivik was a conservative. At Big Journalism, Dana Loesch slammed the media for “inaccurate use of the term [‘right-wing’].” Thereafter followed a Bizarro-world political science lecture, including this passage: “Norway is ruled by the Labour Party, a socialist party, and is affiliated with the Party of European Socialists. The Labour Party embraces the Keynesian economic theory and more centralized state control. This, according to the proper definition of the term ‘right wing,’ would classify not only Norway’s socialist Labour Party as ‘right wing,’ but would also classify America’s Democratic Socialists as ‘right wing.'” We eagerly await Jonah Goldberg’s rebuttal.
One popular gambit, peddled by Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, among others, was that some of Breivik’s ravings against “Socialists, Collectivist[s], ‘politically correct’ types, feminists,” etc, appear to have been copied from the manifesto of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
You might be wondering: how does the copying of these impeccably right-wing complaints (which, experience shows us, rightbloggers share) from Kaczynski prove that Breiviks isn’t right-wing? We haven’t quite figured that out — most adherents merely assert this and don’t even pretend to explain — but some versions suggest it’s because Kaczynski is also an environmentalist, which magically turns his denunciations of the Left into Leftism.
And so on. You can’t blame them for not wanting to be associated with a homicidal maniac. But it’s strange that, as with other, previous acts of violence about which they have become defensive, rightbloggers never leave it at that — they always have to find other people to blame for the rough treatment they imagine they’re getting. Maybe it’s strategic — their politics, after all, are largely the politics of blame. But we assume it’s sincerely and deeply felt — we doubt even they imagine that anyone finds this crybaby act attractive. It could be that they just can’t help themselves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 25, 2011