Why it is incorrect to call Breivik insane
With regard to Robert Spencer’s view that Anders Breivik is insane, there is room for a somewhat different take on the issue. Many traditionalist and conservative writers have been overly guilt-ridden in their reactions to Breivik (a spectacle liberals relish), and calling him insane—which means, to place his actions outside the circle of common humanity—is one way the conservatives distance themselves from him.
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Similarly, condemning Breivik’s act in the same terms in which one condemns the 9/11 attack, as these conservatives have done, is too simplistic. For the sake of argument, let Breivik be termed a counter-jihad jihadi, someone who acts somewhat like a jihadi, except that he acts against Islamic jihadis or their Western liberal facilitators.
An interesting point to note is that while respected liberals have put forth a variety of sophisticated-sounding theories to explain the original, Islamic jihadis (which you call “non-Islam theories of Islamic extremism,” because they all ignore Islam as the cause of Islam extremism), liberals have only two, highly simplistic theories to explain the counter-jihad jihadis: (1) that they are insane, and (2) that they are Nazi-like.
In other words, just as liberals deny that Islam has any causal relationship with Islamic extremism, they deny that the Islamization of the West, supported and facilitated by liberal elites, has any causal relationship with opposition to such Islamization, including Breivik’s terrorist opposition. To call Breivik’s act insane or Nazi-like is to deny that it has any causal basis in the real world. Insanity is irrational, and Nazi-like hate is also irrational.
There is, however, an age-old theory that makes far more sense than these: Actions lead to reactions. If Western elites continue madly to tolerate and facilitate jihadism in the West, and to prohibit all truthful criticism of and opposition to the spread of jihadism, then counter-jihad extremism, such as that of Breivik, will inevitably emerge.
It can therefore be surmised that even if the Breivik incident had not happened in Norway, some Breivik-like incident would have happened in some Western country. Thus the truth is the exact opposite of what many believe: it is not Breivik’s act of terror that is insane, but the surprise that many have professed at his act of terror, an act of terror made inevitable by the insanity of what is happening under Western liberal regimes.
Also, you wrote:
[Liberalism says that] Because I would not want Africans immigrating to America, that means I want to kill all Africans. and if I don’t advocate killing all Africans, that is only because I am being weak and inconsistent. Of course, we never say that my refusal to let strangers move into my apartment means that I want to kill them. We only say this when the refusal involves non-whites and non-Westerners.
For the sake of argument, consider not just yourself but a reasonably large group of people. And let it be supposed that the group is opposed to some form of immigration. Further suppose that a disproportionately large percentage of crimes are committed by the said immigrants (possibly the reason why your group opposes the said immigration!). If nothing concrete is done toward remedying the situation, for example some restriction on the said immigration, and also if the crimes by the immigrants keep rising, then someone from the large group is likely to resort to some extreme measure, and he need not be insane or Nazi-like. You, as a member of the immigration-restrictionist group, may disagree with or even condemn the extreme act, but you cannot refuse to perceive the inevitability of it.
My idea is not to justify Breivik, but to try to understand him. To call Breivik insane or Nazi-like is to misunderstand him. I am not suggesting that two wrongs make a right. But if an intolerable wrong, such as the liberal empowerment of Islam in the West, continues for too long, other wrongs will inevitably follow. To remain ignorant of this causal eventuality is to be simple-minded.
April 23, 2012
Simon P. writes:
Would Zimmerman be insane or immoral if he decided to flee the country to avoid a lynching? Only if you think he can get a fair trial.
Breivik is not insane, because he has a rational explanation for his actions. You can lose your job and have your life destroyed for voicing opinions that liberals don’t approve of. In some European countries you can even go to prison for racism. Since there is no more freedom of speech and democracy is limited to those political opinions that are acceptable to the elites, violence is the only path left for some people.
LA wrote to Irv P.:
What do you think of Simon P.’s comment? Of course i have always refused to post any comments justifying violence. But based on the thread a couple of months back, “Are whites brain dead, or living under the reign of fear,” in which it was established that even mildly non-liberal opinions on race are prohibited on pain of the ruin of one’s life, is there a logic in saying that therefore violence is the only recourse?
Irv P. replies:
Yes, there is “a logic” in saying it, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. There are still options available to those who are “oppressed.” Organizing with like minded individuals and peacefully protesting vigorously is one avenue that hasn’t been tried. People who live under the reign of fear are not being assassinated. In those places where imprisonment has begun, firm opposition short of violence has not been tried.
Breivik is not insane, but not because what he did followed a logic. He is not insane because he understood what he was doing, was not delusional or responding to hallucinations. What he did veered from social norms so far that he is called crazy, mad, insane and the like. But for him, he was giving vent to his anger and frustration at not seeing the world as he wanted it to be. He committed a horrible crime which those of us who hate what the world is becoming can more readily understand, but we cannot condone actions like his. His actions would be logical if there was an actual civil war going on. As it is, his actions are those of a terrorist. You can compare him to Muhammad Atta or Timothy McVeigh. Not insane, but sociopathic.
Violence will become the only recourse, when real efforts at a “correction” have been tried. We understand intellectually what the reign of fear is, but we don’t feel it widely enough to get up and act and make real efforts at a correction.
Breivik acted, but criminally. He knew what he was doing. He should be tried and punished as a sane person.
In short, violence was not his ONLY recourse.
Sage McLaughlin writes:
Irv. P. says nearly all that needs saying on this subject, so I’ll just add a mite of my own:
The urge to call Breivik insane is understandable, but we should resist it. It is understandable because as conservatives we’d like to put distance between our own way of thinking and Breivik’s actions, and also because his actions were so depraved that they seem to sever his kinship to humanity.
However, the widespread tendency to deny the depths of human evil is partly a consequence of the rule of liberalism. As difficult as it is, we should reject this liberal take on depraved criminality, which states that the more evil a man’s behavior the less likely he is to be really culpable. Breivik is an evil man, but we have no evidence that he was not able to understand what he was doing or why he was doing it. He is, rather, a reminder of the evil of which ordinary people are capable. That is something conservatives qua conservatives should, with heaviness of heart, acknowledge.
James N. writes:
I don’t generally approve of the “if he did ‘x’, he must be crazy.” Insanity ascribed to criminals is, usually, a means for a liberal to distance himself from the agency involved in evil deeds. If men can be consciously evil then perhaps the liberal project could fail to create heaven on earth.
Of course, crazy people commit crimes sometimes, and there are several species of craziness that are especially dangerous.
But Brevik is not insane, he’s fighting a war at a time and in a place where his war is unrecognized and unacceptable. His society has the right and the responsibility to punish him, and I imagine they will.
Is there logic in saying that “violence may be the only recourse”? Well, I suppose that statement could be made logical by scribing the word “may” in 72-point bold type. It would be more appropriate, and entirely correct, to say “WAR may be the only recourse.” Brevik’s war was illogical because he had extreme disparity of force. War has many of its own rules, which have been codified over the years in many places.
Our current situation has a great risk of devolving into war. But not for a while yet, and not with the present correlation of forces.
Vivek G. writes:
Irv P.’s insistence that violence can be used only when it is the only option is somewhat too idealistic. For Jesus Christ violence was never an option (he blessed people who crucified him), while for Muhammad violence came too easily. Pragmatically, most ordinary people are somewhere in the middle. In less civilized societies they may be closer to Muhammad, while in more civilized societies they may be closer to Jesus.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 22, 2012 10:59 PM | Send
Islam says: slay the infidels. Liberalism says: tolerate the believers (read Muslims) no matter what. Both these are extremes too. But this does not make liberals Christ-like. On the contrary, while Christ suffered for the sins of others, liberals make others suffer for their (the liberals’) sins. Further, we must also realize that while we may take it upon ourselves to strive to be Christ-like, we have no right to expect others to be even half Christ-like.
When the combined prowess of Islam and liberalism is at the helm, to insist that violence be used only when it is the only option left, is to live in a make-believe idealistic world. Also, it makes the putative last-resort-violence group exceedingly vulnerable. Please also remember that on account of such vulnerability if such group fails to survive, the same Liberal clergy will term this group unfit in the Evolutionary sense!
Islam and liberalism are seeking to dominate the world, while Breivik’s attempt is at mere survival. As a third party to this conflict I view it as a battle between aggressor and defender with the aggressors having already committed (or facilitated) multiple acts of horrific violence. I would go to the extent of stating that the question whether Breivik’s act is moral or justifiable seems irrelevant to me, especially the attempt to view it in isolation. As a traditionalist I would opine that Breivik must be accorded as much fairness as is accorded to Islam and liberals, if not more. And in that light, the Breivik-act becomes easily understandable notwithstanding whether it is justifiable or not.