“Fanaticism Eats Its Own Children”

Juan Cole skewers Breivik's obsession with the Knights of Templar, and explains how medieval Crusading knights paled in comparison to global commerce. He argues Breivik's distorted view of history won't win:

Breivik’s medieval romanticism, his artificial European nativism, his pan-Christian vision, his hierarchical, racist view of society, all belong to bits and pieces of past dark episodes in European history. It is as though he has picked through the trash heap of history and attempted to resurrect broken icons, toys and ruined weapons. The Knights, both Templar and Hospitaller, came to an end because fanaticism eats its own children, and because a new world was imagined by American and French revolutionaries and later on by people like Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, in which sharp divisions between Self and Other of the medieval variety were replaced by a global, modern Self. As Walt Whitman put it, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” Breivik and his Knights are small, and hateful and isolated. The rest of us are building a global civilization.