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July 22, 2011

Comments

Most of the discourse surrounding the acquisition of land and slaves revolved around the perpetrators believing their way of life was indeed threatened.

But, if your way of life depended on using slaves to cultivate land, that would be true, despite the immorality of your way of life. So, they were right (or at least more understandably wrong than Breivik), and not crazy, at least not in the way Breivik is, IMO (beyond simply amoral or immoral or stupid).

or maybe threats, of existential annihilation, are usually bullsh!t.

Erasing the political nature of this attack requires wilful blindness

No, it doesn't. To get from "The Muslims are taking over the world and the liberals are letting them get away with it" to: (1) The Muslims are taking over the world . . . plus (2) I can make a difference, I can take action that will impact this horror (profound messianic/narcissistic overtones--I think I have the pathologies correctly named) plus (3) to make this difference, I will have to kill many of those of who support the Muslim takeover, the more the better (severe disassociative pathology[ies]) plus (4) I will plan an operation to maximize casualties and draw attention to my message (2 + 3 together) plus, most of all, (5) here I am, actually pulling the trigger on this young girl, perhaps not even twenty, and now I am shooting a young man cowering, and now I am shooting . . . and now I must reload (a level of pathologies that can only be guessed at) and so on.

The farther someone goes from fantasy to planning to actual execution of a plan like this, the farther down the road that person is from the mere 'political' to deranged.

The particular political view that underpins someone with this level of pathology is incidental. This is more of a Jim Jones/Jonestown type of incident, from Breivik's end of things, not his victims'.


Is there any evidence that insanity played any role at all here?

Technically, insanity is a legal term and it means the inability to know right from wrong. No, Breivik was not insane, in that sense.

I doubt very much that the Norwegian guy has a mental illness.

No person free of profound mental/psychological/psychiatric "disorders" and other pathologies could commit multiple acts of up-close-and-personal homicide and believe they were doing the right thing.


I’m the last person in the world to object to trying to understand why people do what they do, but that effort doesn’t preclude also having feelings about what people do.

The issue isn't trying or not to figure out why Breivik did what he did. Simply look at the nature of the act(s) and Breivik's proclaimed rationale, and consider the incidence of this type of conduct to the many, many millions of people with passionately held political and religious beliefs throughout the West: the incidence of this level of violence is statistically so small, you cannot draw a cause and effect relationship between ideology and act, only between mental state and act. Do you think, if everyone was a true-believing conservative and the Muslims were kept in their rightful places, that his disorders would not manifest in some other way?

What he did is a logical extension of what they say. I personally know an Islamophobe who said Muslims shouldn't have the same rights as people of other faiths.

So, you own Ted Kaczinski, the Weathermen, FARC, Hugo Chavez, et al?

What he did is a logical extension of what they say. I personally know an Islamophobe who said Muslims shouldn't have the same rights as people of other faiths.

Also: killing is a logical extension of talking?

Interesting. I'd like to hear more on that, but not so much that I wind up dead.

Do you think, if everyone was a true-believing conservative and the Muslims were kept in their rightful places, that his disorders would not manifest in some other way?

While I'm all-in for the "this guy is crazy" position, it's entirely possible that his buttons may never have been pushed in a different world, at least not his "go out and kill a bunch of people" buttons. I think it's both clearly political and clearly crazy.

I personally know an Islamophobe who said Muslims shouldn't have the same rights as people of other faiths.

So do I. His name is Herman Cain, and he's a Republican presidential candidate.

Slarti and McKinney

I'm not sure how you classify someone who's insane as being right-wing or left-wing, in any important way. The important thing is: they're insane.

I want to build on this logic that two of you use.
Only logic you use is that willingness to kill kids makes people insane. That would mean that Casey Anthony was not guilty by insanity. Any killer is not guilty by insanity.
Well, since any dash of insanity in Breivik is the belief that his actions will do anything to help his cause. Then, Weather Underground were also insane since they were willing to kill or destroy without actual possibility in success, so they were not left or right wing. Many communist revolutions started where there were no chance of winning against full army and they were willing to kill, so they were insane. and as insane, communist revolutions can not be described as left leaning.

That was not very good logic, as it ignored most of everything that I said.

Legal insanity, such that one cannot be found guilty of criminal charges, ain't what we're talking about here. The guy's competent and responsible AFAICT, and I think McKinney and Slart would agree with me on that.

And being wrong about what you believe or what you believe you can do about it isn't necessarily crazy. It's just that the particular crap that this particular guy believed and what he particularly chose to do about it was crazy, even if it doesn't make him insane from a legal perspective.

"What he did is a logical extension of what they say. I personally know an Islamophobe who said Muslims shouldn't have the same rights as people of other faiths.

"So, you own Ted Kaczinski, the Weathermen, FARC, Hugo Chavez, et al?"

"What he did is a logical extension of what they say. I personally know an Islamophobe who said Muslims shouldn't have the same rights as people of other faiths."

Dang it, people are now responding to what I actually did say.

On McK's point, it depends. Do I personally own those guys? No, because I don't like or support their ideologies. I don't know that much about Ted, really, so I can't comment there, but I probably wouldn't like him. The Weatherman--I loathe idiot lefties who romanticize revolutionary violence. Ayers and his crowd might not have meant to kill people (or so I've read), but they played with bombs. Morons. FARC was originally a leftist guerilla movement and those, when they win, usually end up setting up leftist dictatorships. Bad idea. But it's my understanding FARC is mainly just a drug smuggling organization nowadays. Chavez is tougher--some lefties I respect like him, but he's clearly got some dictatorial tendencies (Chomsky criticized the way a judge was being treated recently), so if some lefties defend that then they own him. I don't.

Now I'm having trouble understanding why you and Slarti aren't bothered by my friend (yes, he's a friend--I've always had friends with horrifying beliefs) and his Islamophobia. What do you imagine it would mean if Muslims didn't have the same rights as other people or if most Americans came to believe that they shouldn't? We've gone down that road before and what it means can be things like concentration camps (not necessarily Nazi style, but what happened to the Japanese Americans) or it can mean Jim Crow and it can mean lynchings that go unpunished. So yes, if enough Americans actually embrace the views of the Islamophobes (Bush, to his credit, was pretty good in rejecting this when he was President) then being Muslim in America could become deeply unpleasant in ways that other American minority groups have already experienced. And , if Islamophobia becomes the mainstream position, I'd expect some people to go further and kill them now and then, or maybe kill their sympathizers as "Muslim-lovers". Hell, I grew up around kids my age who hated Martin Luther King--one said he was glad he was shot. Change enough views in the wrong direction and I'm sure we could see violence against the wrong sort of people become acceptable.

Plus Islamophobia is part of why the Christian Right supports the Israeli right and whatever Israel does, not to mention our own behavior in Iraq. Islamophobia already has blood on its hands, long before this creep went on his murder spree.

So, you own Ted Kaczinski, the Weathermen, FARC, Hugo Chavez, et al?

I must be missing something, because I have no idea what this "own" business is about.

Seriously, what? You've lost me here.

I think it's both clearly political and clearly crazy.

Yeah, that's my take also.

it's entirely possible that his buttons may never have been pushed in a different world, at least not his "go out and kill a bunch of people" buttons

Hard to prove this one either way. First, we'd have to have a world that was button pushing-free. The capacity, or propensity, to hold a belief so profoundly that one can and will kill another up close and personal to vindicate or advance said belief--how do you make a world where someone like that is happy?

Now I'm having trouble understanding why you and Slarti aren't bothered by my friend (yes, he's a friend--I've always had friends with horrifying beliefs) and his Islamophobia.

How bothered by your racist friend do you want me to be? I've never even met him.

What do you imagine it would mean if Muslims didn't have the same rights as other people or if most Americans came to believe that they shouldn't?

I'm not sure why you're asking that. I had thought we were talking about what your racist friend thinks, which has nothing whatever to do with current or future reality.

Not trying to bicker, here, but it's completely unremarkable that there are people in America with oddball beliefs.

Plus Islamophobia is part of why the Christian Right supports the Israeli right and whatever Israel does

Tangentially, I'd imagine that Israelis have little to no problem with Muslims that don't wish them dead. But I can't know that for certain.

Most of my point in this conversation is trying to blame The Right for Breivik's rampage is wanking. We might as well tot up all of historical leftist and rightist death tolls, blame anyone whose political needle points the least bit off-center, and have those people win this thread. We could even engrave a plaque, or hand out some discount coupons.

The capacity, or propensity, to hold a belief so profoundly that one can and will kill another up close and personal to vindicate or advance said belief--how do you make a world where someone like that is happy?

I have a belief that no one should kill my kids. It's so profound that I would kill another up close to advance that belief. I just haven't had to.

Now, that belief might not be such a crazy one to hold so strongly. But, you proposed a condition where Muslims were kept in whatever condition it would be that this nut would approve of. Whether that would make him happy or not, it might keep him from shooting a bunch of people. Certainly not provable, though.

Can you prove that he would have gone out and shot a bunch of people no matter what the political or societal circumstances of his day were?

That was not very good logic, as it ignored most of everything that I said.
I copied everything on this logic you said. You never said what makes him insane.

Weird response, Slarti. You're really not aware that Islamophobia extends a little further than my friend? I mean, aside from very recent events? I don't even know what to say to that, except that I agree that if my friend is the only person who reads Robert Spencer and thinks there is a vast Muslim menace that threatens Western civilization, we don't have anything to worry about.

"Tangentially, I'd imagine that Israelis have little to no problem with Muslims that don't wish them dead. But I can't know that for certain."

Um, yeah, sure. You sort of tune out discussions on that topic, don't you? I can't blame you--there are a lot of topics I ignore.

Incidentally, I seem to recall a presidential candidate who constantly had to fend off "accusations" that he was a Muslim. What was that all about?

You're really not aware that Islamophobia extends a little further than my friend?

I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, Donald. You spoke of one friend, not any larger movement. If you want to discuss some systematic move to deprive Muslims of their Constitutional rights, we can do that.

"'m not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, Donald. You spoke of one friend, not any larger movement."

What conclusion? I know about Islamophobia because I read about it lot. Sometimes at this blog. I read Sam Harris (not a rightie) singling out Islam as particularly evil. Herman Cain (mentioned by Phil) runs on an Islamophobic platform. Peter King holds hearings that single out Muslims as a terrorist threat. Rightwing Christians in particular demonize Muslims.

< a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/opinion/08tue1.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=peter%20king’s%20obsession&st=cse">PeterKing

It's not a movement that is set to overturn the Constitution anytime soon, but it is a movement that can lead to domestic violence (apart from influencing our foreign policy in bad ways).

link

I must be missing something, because I have no idea what this "own" business is about.

Seriously, what? You've lost me here.

One of the memes that pops up when something like this happens, and we see some of that here, is this: What he did is a logical extension of what they say. This is holding X responsible for Y because, in accuser's opinion, X's views cause Y to commit mass murder.

Well, there are common views across the political spectrum. Simply because someone espouses a negative view of Muslims, or even a view that Muslims have lesser religious rights in the US than other faiths (stupid, bigoted, constitutionally ignorant), that view does not equate rationally to inspiring mass murder of Muslims or people who feel like Muslims ought to be treated like other citizens. Just as some of the more overheated rhetoric here expressing concerns about, e.g. anti-union legislation or wealth distribution, doesn't mean the people holding these views want a Hugo Chavez-like dictatorship or would support acts of violence against conservatives or wealthy people.

Messed up the first link.

link

Anyway, what's happening here is another good reason for rationing my blog participation. My claim is that Islamophobia is a form of bigotry and to the extent that it spreads it will lead to violence of the sort we saw in Norway and elsewhere (someone was recently executed in Texas for his killing of Muslims after 9/11) and if it became a widely accepted belief it could lead to the loss of rights by Muslims. This was said in response to Slarti and McT not understanding why I thought Islamophobia naturally would lead to violence. Now Slarti seems to want proof that there is an Islamophobic movement poised to take over the country. If I can't give it I'm wrong. Islamophobia is just some harmless pecadillo. Okay.

So far as I know there aren't any bigots poised to overthrow the Constitution, but one can still worry that bigotry can lead to violence and other lesser forms of discrimination, and also influence our foreign policy in negative ways.

" Simply because someone espouses a negative view of Muslims, or even a view that Muslims have lesser religious rights in the US than other faiths (stupid, bigoted, constitutionally ignorant), that view does not equate rationally to inspiring mass murder of Muslims "

True. Just because one doesn't think blacks should have the same rights as whites didn't mean that one supported lynching. It really didn't. But it's not difficult to see the connection.

Now I have to go.

I don't disagree with any of that last comment, Donald.

I also don't think there's anything unsettling about being as wary of radical Islam as you'd be of radical anything else. I'm not going to address Herman Cain right now because I don't know much about him. He doesn't seem to be much of a factor in national polling at this point.

"last comment" should be pointed at Donald's 4:24PM comment.

Slarti seems to want proof that there is an Islamophobic movement poised to take over the country.

I think you're reading things into my comments that simply aren't there, Donald. It'd help, in my opinion, if you actually attempted to discuss what you wanted to discuss, rather than danced into it with your racist friend as a partner.

Not trying to be snide or anything, just genuinely wondering why you didn't just go right to widespread Islamophobia as a concern.

I think I've beaten that dead horse enough, now.

Slarti
Since you are refusing to answer i will keep trying to guess what makes Breivik insane.
Is this your answer?

I guess there's a point of view that has organized mass murder as something other than sane.

any mass murderer is insane
Again, there is many massacres in communist revolutions, hence they are insane, hence they are not leftist acts.

HSH
Your statement

And being wrong about what you believe or what you believe you can do about it isn't necessarily crazy. It's just that the particular crap that this particular guy believed and what he particularly chose to do about it was crazy, even if it doesn't make him insane from a legal perspective.
perfectly describes any communist revolution.
Hence it is not politicaly motivated and it is not leftist, nor rightist.

I'm back.

"It'd help, in my opinion, if you actually attempted to discuss what you wanted to discuss, rather than danced into it with your racist friend as a partner.

Not trying to be snide or anything, just genuinely wondering why you didn't just go right to widespread Islamophobia as a concern."

I thought I was doing that--it wouldn't be the first time where I typed something thinking my meaning was clear only to find out it wasn't. It wouldn't even be the first time in this thread, given the fiasco with JanieM upthread.

Ugh. Commenting is addictive in a bad way--lurking is much better, especially when there are people already taking one's own viewpoint.

Donald -- before I go back to lurking (or not-even-so-much-as-lurking), I want to say that I'm not at odds with you and don't want to be. Your phrase "emotionally satisfying" came at just the right (i.e. wrong) time, when I was upset about ... other people's comments, not really yours.

I should have taken your earlier observation about "cross-purposes" to heart and not come here at all today.

Better late than never.

Thanks Janie. No problems. And yeah, if you have the self-discipline for it (I don't have any today, but have been better in the recent past), lurking is the way to go if you get tired of the arguments, but still want to read what other people are saying.

Or you can skip the comments altogether, of course.

Since you are refusing to answer i will keep trying to guess what makes Breivik insane.

You can guess all you want, but I thought my reasons for not answering would go something along the lines of: I'm not a clinical psychologist, so any diagnosis of his insanity made by me would be so suspect that not even I would believe it.

Again, there is many massacres in communist revolutions, hence they are insane, hence they are not leftist acts.

I've never argued that crimes cannot be both insane and politically motivated.

it wouldn't be the first time where I typed something thinking my meaning was clear only to find out it wasn't.

Far be it from me to ding you for being unclear. Just trying to explicate why I answered the way I did, is all.

Adorn any of my previous remarks with as many smileys as it takes for you to at least occasionally de-lurk and comment. I was tempted to put a link on your racist friend to lighten things up, but sometimes lightening up doesn't work.

;)

hairshirthedonist: I think it's both clearly political and clearly crazy.

So do I, and I said so, here: It takes a sickMF to stand around for an hour shooting people, period. This is a massive tragedy.

But the mental image of a "lone nut" massacring children mystifies the events. This was a calculated, vicious targeting of the young, activist leadership/future leadership of the Labor Party, by someone who connected with a widespread, growing, and fanned-by-media right-wing ideology.

Despite Slarti's digs about a "struggle session", my only point has been to urge that the focus on the crazy not obscure the nature of the political attack.

Slart seemed to me to be doing exactly that when he said: I'm not sure how you classify someone who's insane as being right-wing or left-wing, in any important way. The important thing is: they're insane.

That paragraph says to me: "The crazy is more important than the political motivation" (which Slarti and McK also, in other comments, characterize as ambiguous).

Without ever denying the crazy, I continue to urge clarity about the political intent and context of Breivik's murders and assaults.

@JanieM: At no point did I intend to single you out, nor to dismiss your very natural feelings, much less be telling you how to feel. There were in fact some children attending the event, and some among those murdered and wounded. All I wanted to do was hold in focus that the nature of the event is a gathering of political activists [as one example, earlier in the month there was coverage of the participants urging a visiting Labor minister to support a boycott of Israel (he declined to do so)].

Slarti
5:52pm

I'm not a clinical psychologist, so any diagnosis of his insanity made by me would be so suspect that not even I would believe it.

9:49am

The important thing is: they're insane.

5;52pm

I've never argued that crimes cannot be both insane and politically motivated.

9:49am

I'm not sure how you classify someone who's insane as being right-wing or left-wing, in any important way.

Where are you going with this? How wide corner do you need?
Besides, i did not ask for diagnosis, just what makes you think that he is insane.

I continue to urge clarity about the political intent and context of Breivik's murders and assaults

Meaning what, either generally or specifically? Many people hold views that I consider extreme and many here believe many of my views are extreme. That said, I don't detect a single commenter here who appears even remotely likely to even get into a fistfight over politics, much less do real harm, and then, way off in the very, very far, telescopically far distance, anyone who would murder dozens and dozens of young people/teenagers firing at point blank range repeatedly to make a freaking political point.

Do you have any idea of what kind of mind can do this, without remorse?

I have only the vaguest notion, and it is a mind that will find a reason, regardless of what the reason is, to fulfill it's imperative.

crithical--

I'll take that one. I think Slarti thinks he is insane because he murdered a bunch of people for no good reason. (There were some bad reasons.) It's turning into a semantic discussion, maybe, concerning what we think should be labelled "insane". There might also be some serious issues involved (I think there are), but people may just want to drop it.

For me part of what triggered my participation was my reading of the book about the Comanches that I think I mentioned above (unless I deleted it as too tangential--can't recall). According to the author extreme cruelty towards captives was common with them and when you consider what people have done to each other in many societies throughout history it makes me think "insane" should be reserved for people who really are mentally ill in some well defined way. Alternatively we could just say the human race tends to be insane, and I'd go along with that.

Some thoughts. I hate to go down the whole Nazi route. But, I’m insane, here it goes.

After WW2, many European intellectuals kept asking, “Why?” Jewish intellectuals, Leftist Intellectuals and Jewish Leftist Intellectuals (did I cover it all?), the Frankfurt School being the most popular, began to argue that this anti-Jewish impulse does not happen in a vacuum. They began to study the history of Aryanism and Christianity, and the society at large, placing all types of anti-Semitic acts under a microscope, throughout the history of Europe. Most conservative/right-wing intellectuals pushed back, arguing the Nazi’s were special and out of the norm, and many acts of anti-Semitism were grounded in rational thinking, since all cultures desire to preserve themselves as they traditionally understood themselves. When these criticisms reached American and British history, (Aryanism, racist sciences, genocidal land grabs, racist organization of society) it became a communist plot to destroy the foundations of Great Societies. Being an anti-Semite or racist used to be terms any right-acting Christian would embrace. And most of the intellectuals, if not all of them, were indeed Leftist or liberals. But they won out. To hold that Nazism was special and not the product of a type of sustained attitude within Euro-Christian culture, in academia today, would get you “marked.” That’s not say you can’t get work in academia, but you are not very popular:

http://www.vdare.com/macdonald/090729_kaufmann.htm

http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=227999

But casual anti-Semitism is still a social no-no. Because as the Frankfort School guys would point out, casual anti-Semitism, much like casual racism, makes pogroms and lynching possible, when they are demanded. Remember, these guys would have viewed PC language as the only way a civilized people should act. But who gets to decide what and who is anti-Semitic and racist, today? But what happens when anti-Semites and racist no longer embrace those terms. Macdonald, by all accounts is both of them But will deny it, even as he gives political advice to white nationalist movements here in Southern California.

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2010/01/notorious_jew-bashing_long_bea.php

http://revisionistreview.blogspot.com/2011/03/white-nationalist-professor-calls-for.html

All that to say this, I think Islamophobia is beginning to look like anti-Semitism. That is to say, we are witnessing a “religious identity” turn into an “ethnic identity.” Living among or with Muslims, marks you even if you are a casual believer or an atheist. Most Jews who were not “believers” still had to answer for their “Jewishness,” even when they were Communists. Communists from Christian communities were not treated like that. As a matter of fact, being Communist could get you excommunicated, while many Jews who were excommunicated, were still regarded as Jews.
The difference, among many, is national identity. To have an ethnic identity, at the turn of the century, with no nation to back you up, made you suspect. (Jews, Gypsies, etc.) It’s stupid, but we also see Zionism grow from this attitude.

Casual, Islamaphobia seems to be dangerous, as well.

DJ
Im sorry if you got the wrong impression, but i wasn't confused by slarti's comments. I just wanted to raise the mirror for him to see it, dismantle his logic and show him his hypocrisy. Right-wing bias, subjectivity, how his brain is twisting dictionary definitions to fit his logic, semantics, typical response to shameful acts of his tribe... Whichever term you wanna use i'm fine with.
In yesterday's comments i described what i know of how self-alienation and sense of rejection leads to extreme and tragic events. Narcissism leads to victimhood, which leads to decision to stop suffering, which leads to messianic obsession and need for being idolized. All that in order to feel the power over others which would, in their mind, satisfy inferiority complex. Looks filled with fear is what is satisfying their power hungry needs.
Many, i say, many people

This past summer [a study of] a nationally representative sample of 35,000 Americans found that 6 percent of Americans, or 1 out of 16, had experienced [clinical narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)] at some point in their lives.
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/04/21/narcissism-epidemic-why-there-are-so-many-narcissists-now>US News
feel this way but they do not act upon it unless they are sure that their peers will idolize them for such extreme acts. Present hateful and violent right-wing rhetoric gives these crazies the indication that they will be glorified for such acts. This is how it can gradually grow into wars and civil wars trough positive feedback within the tribes.
When war starts, these acts are not insanity but self-defense.

This is holding X responsible for Y because, in accuser's opinion, X's views cause Y to commit mass murder.

The first thing I want to say is that I don't see you, or slarti, or anyone else here, as having any personal responsibility for what happened in Norway. I'm not asking any of you guys to "own" anything.

This particular thread of argument came off of slarti's response to my characterizing Breivik as a right winger. He's insane, says slarti, what does right or left wing have to do with it.

OK, so here's where we agree:

Breivik is messed up, and the conservative points of view he embraces likely did not make him that way. Absent conservative politics, he'd likely find some other cause to justify his violence.

The number of conservatives who are interested in actually doing harm to anybody else for reasons of political persuasion is very very small.

Here's where we (perhaps) disagree:

IMO folks who indulge in violent political rhetoric do, in fact, incur some responsibility when other folks take that as their inspiration to actually go and kill people.

By "responsible", I don't mean "they made them go do it". I mean something more like the responsibility you might have if you leave the matches around where the kids can get at them, and the house burns down.

Especially if you didn't just leave them laying around, but put them right out in the middle of the floor, with big arrows pointing to them, and a big sign saying "Hey, look, matches!"

On blogs, people say, "don't feed the troll". Well, in real life, there should be an analogous saying:

Don't feed the crazy.

There is a lot of crazy-feeding going on, and the distribution of crazy-feeding skews strongly to the right. I'm not talking about over the entire span of human history, I'm talking about today, in this country and countries like it. The guys with guns and bombs, and the guys who like to talk about guns and bombs, skew to the right. For whatever reason. It's just a fact.

I'd appreciate it if folks could acknowledge that. Not own it, not endorse it, not feel like it reflects on them, personally. Just acknowledge it as a fact, so we could all move on to more useful topics.

40 or 45 years ago, the shoe was on the other foot. If somebody was cooking up a bomb in the basement, it was likely some alienated pissed off hippie kid.

Nowadays, not so much. Nowadays it'll be some disaffected sociopath who thinks the government is coming to take his Uzi, and that the Muslims | Mexicans | gays | whoever are coming to make him eat broccoli.

And that guy will be living in a claustrophobic little world whose sound track is histrionic right wing noise, expressed in angry, violent rhetoric. Gun-toting, no compromise, kill them all and let god sort them out rhetoric.

It's really time to stop feeding the crazy. I doubt you disagree.

Yeah, Breivik is nuts. Not meets-the-bar-of-legal-defense, criminally insane nuts. Just sociopathically, divorced from any shred of basic human feeling nuts. That's nuts enough to earn the name "crazy", in my book. I hope in yours, too.

But he's not nuts in a vacuum.

It's time to stop feeding the crazy. Enough, for god's sake.

And now I'm going to bow out of this as well, it's making me feel increasingly slimy to be having political arguments about an island full of dead kids.

my only point has been to urge that the focus on the crazy not obscure the nature of the political attack

I'm not asking that anyone ignore the political nature of the attack.

The politics minus the crazy yields no attack, says I. The crazy minus the politics yields who knows? Maybe something more like that gunman at Virginia Tech that killed people for being there. Maybe nothing.

My point, and this is pure opinion, is that the politics all by itself doesn't drive normal people to take up arms, manufacture some homemade explosives, and go to town. If it did, Savage listeners would have eradicated the Gay Mafia™ many years ago.

Besides, i did not ask for diagnosis, just what makes you think that he is insane.

I've already answered this elsewhere. Sane people (IMO, of course!) don't plan and execute the murder of nearly a hundred people whose politics they happen not to like.

Possibly a circular definition of insane, but there we are. This would of course classify people like Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and many, many others as insane, which I'm perfectly fine with.

But let's look at it on a smaller scale: would you classify Ted Kacsynski as insane? Why or why not?

Possibly insane isn't the correct word to use, here. But I kind of balk at granting sanity here.

How wide corner do you need?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean, here, but if you're implying that I am being less than tidy with my arguments, I'd like to refer you back to your suggestion that a great number of WTC victims were government contractors and others whose activities might make them other than innocent victims. And when challenged on that, you acted as if you'd never said that. No substantiations; not the least tidbit of evidence.

So: it may very well be that I'm making a less than solid argument here, but when pointing that out you might want to consider that you're making a great many statemtents, in this thread and others, that you provide no basis for at all.

But, acknowledged: I am not making a strong statement of fact; I'm making a statement of opinion. That should have been clear from the start; if it wasn't: mea culpa.

Slarti
I do not disagree with you that the act of planned killing is insane to some degree. IMO any planned killing and suicide is insane in the same way. That includes wars such as Iraq, Afganistan.... That includes Unabomber
The difference is that i keep the standard of what is insane equally to every planned killing.
My bringing up of WTC victims is explained later when i got back to the internet, not right away, comparing attackers reasoning to burning down Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dresden was bombed by allies two months before the end of war with Germany and had more casualties then Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. And it wasn't collateral damage of bombing there.
It is a point of view of attackers not mine.
Only way to prevent more of massacres, Breivik's type and wars is to understand them and prevent them.
Russel's exit perfectly explains my view and motivations also.

"Dresden was bombed by allies two months before the end of war with Germany and had more casualties then Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined"

That's probably not the case. Dresden was horrific, but a recent study suggests the death toll was far lower than we've commonly heard, probably around 20,000.

spiegel

wikipedia

I agree with your basic points about mass killing though, but like others have gotten sick of arguing about it.

As if on cue!

The Frankfurt School, Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories, and American Conservatism

The Frankfurt School is probably familiar to most readers of this blog. Those of us who went to graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s almost certainly encountered the ideas of Walter Benjamin, Max Horheimer, and Theodor Adorno. And as early as 1941, when Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom became a surprise best-seller, the ideas of the Frankfurt School have had broad and deep influence in the United States. It's hard to imagine the American New Left without Herbert Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man. And Horkheimer and Adorno's ideas about the culture industry have long been a kind of commonplace in educated discourse, even as the more reception-oriented understandings of popular culture came to challenge them over the last quarter century.

But while I think I have a fairly good grasp of the Frankfurt School and its legacy, in reading coverage of this weekend's terrorist attack in Norway, I discovered that there was one aspect of that legacy of which I was utterly unaware: the role that the Frankfurt School plays in right-wing conspiracy theories about a Jewish, Marxist attempt to destroy Western civilization.

http://tinyurl.com/3relssc

Concerning Dresden:
Original estimates in the aftermath were about 30000 dead (I have no numbers on wounded). In official reports a number of 30xyz showed up. When this became a political topic later, there suddenly was a number of 30xyz0 that got used, i.e. a zero got added. Iirc I read about it in one of two books about the David Irving trial. One written by D.Lipstadt the defendant, the other by R.Evans the historian and her expert witness. Evans was able to track the development/tradition of the casualty numbers in Dresden down to the detail.
Dresden is like the Titanic. Most of what is 'common universal knowledge' about the tragedies is false because the legend sold much better.

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