Bawer vs Bawer

Jul 25 2011 @ 12:02pm

"When I first heard the news of the explosions at those buildings, my first thought, of course, was that it was a jihadist attack. But it wasn’t: it was a right-wing lunatic. It wasn’t jihad. It was a meaningless killing spree by a madman, like the ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech," – Bruce Bawer, July 23.

"In bombing those government buildings and hunting down those campers, Breivik was not taking out people randomly. He considered the Labor Party, Norway's dominant party since World War II, responsible for policies that are leading to the Islamization of Europe—and thus guilty of treason. The Oslo bombing was intended to be an execution of the party's current leaders. The massacre at the camp—where young would-be politicians gathered to hear speeches by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland—was meant to destroy its next generation of leaders," – Bruce Bawer, July 25.

How can a mass murder be both right-wing and meaningless? There you have the cognitive dissonance of someone devoted to stopping terrorism only to find his own rhetoric may have played a part in motivating a terrorist. It is to Bruce's credit that by Monday he acknowledged that the Christianist terrorist had been deeply influenced by the anti-Jihadist blogosphere and his own work, quoted 22 times by Berwick. It is not to his credit that he fails to assess for a second whether the rhetoric used by him and so many others, was an inspiration for this political mass assassination. In fact, he uses the occasion to mourn the fact that it could hurt his cause:

This cause has been seriously damaged by Anders Behring Breivik. In Norway, to speak negatively about any aspect of the Muslim faith has always been a touchy matter, inviting charges of "Islamophobia" and racism. It will, I fear, be a great deal more difficult to broach these issues now that this murderous madman has become the poster boy for the criticism of Islam.

In fact, this "madman" was, by Bruce's own judgment, "both highly intelligent and very well read in European history and the history of modern ideas." It is precisely this blind spot by the anti-Islamist right that made me and others get off the train. They have every right to point out supine government capitulation to restrictions on free speech, and the worst forms of Islamist violence and rhetoric. I second every one of them. Where they went over the top was in the demonization of an entire religion, and in fomenting the Steynian specter that Muslim aliens were bent on destroying Christian Europe by demographic numbers, and that all this was aided and abetted by every European leader in a multicultural, left-wing conspiracy to destroy Christendom.

If you buy those very arguments, as expressed by Berwick (and Geller and Spencer), what option do you really have but the fascist solutions he recommends and the neo-fascist violence he unleashed? When an entire population in your midst is the enemy within and your government is acquiescing to it and your entire civilization is thereby doomed, what does Bruce think a blue-eyed patriot like Berwick should do? Is the leap to violence so obviously insane? Or is it actually the only logical conclusion to the tyranny Berwick believed he faced?