As more information comes out on Anders Behring Breivik, the reactions are all over the map.
Sam Harris, for example, complains that Breivik is making his side look bad:
What cannot be doubted, however, is that Breivik’s explicit goal was to punish European liberals for their timidity in the face of Islam.
I have written a fair amount about the threat that Islam poses to open societies, but I am happy to say that Breivik appears never to have heard of me. He has, however, digested the opinions of many writers who share my general concerns—Theodore Dalrymple, Robert D. Kaplan, Lee Harris, Ibn Warraq, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, Mark Steyn, Samuel Huntington, et al. He even singles out my friend and colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali for special praise, repeatedly quoting a blogger who thinks she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. With a friend like Breivik, one will never want for enemies.
He then goes on to pout over crossed arms that now no one will want to talk about the awfulness of Islam anymore. While I am unimpressed with his attitude, at least he acknowledges that Breivik’s actions cannot be laid at Islam’s door.
Mark Howard, meanwhile, digs up examples of right-wing asshattery so that we don’t have to. In 8 examples of obnoxious responses to the mass murders, more than half are basically shouting, “Oh yeah! Well we’re STILL gonna point the finger at those nasty Muslims!” The others are Glenn Beck comparing the victims to Hitler Youth, and someone at RedState blaming abortion culture for Breivik being all fucked up. The last one we can file under N for Not Even Wrong, but interestingly enough, Breivik is also an anti-choicer.
PZ Myers shows us that, among other things, Breivik favors policies that would force white women to make more babies:
1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.
2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.
3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.
4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.
Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.
It’s fascinating how his attitude is basically that taking away reproductive freedom is a necessary evil. He acknowledges that denying women higher education and family planning would violate women’s rights, and he apparently feels that’s not a good thing…but Europe really needs more white people, so back in the kitchen with you, ladies! Fill those cradles!
If he’s all that concerned about demographics, though, it was awfully counterproductive of him to kill all those teenagers before they could make more white Europeans. Perhaps he was afraid they would procreate with brown people with Arabic surnames. I guess he sees it as a matter of eggs and omelets.
Finally, Bill O’Reilly goes all No True Scotsman on us, while Andrew Sullivan is having none of his bullshit:
Breivik is not a Christian. That’s impossible. No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder. The man might have called himself a Christian on the net, but he is certainly not of that faith.
says O’Reilly, and Sullivan sees right through him:
Because it is obvious that Christians can commit murder, assault, etc. They do so every day. Because, as Christian orthodoxy tells us, we are all sinners. To say that no Christian can ever commit murder is a sophist’s piffle. Did Scott Roeder stop being a Christian when he assassinated a man repeatedly demonized by Bill O’Reilly, George Tiller? Do the countless criminals who have gone to church or believe in Jesus immediately not count as Christians the minute they commit the crime? Of course not. What O’Reilly is saying is complete heresy in terms of the most basic Christian orthodoxy.
Mass murder? Of course, deluded Christians, infused with a sense of holy righteousness, can do such things. History is proof of that, from the Crusades to the Inquisition. We know also, for example, that countless Catholic priests raped and abused countless children in past decades and today. When they did so, did they instantly become non-Christians? O’Reilly’s formulation is entirely that of a propagandist: circular, self-justifying nonsense.
And, of course, if you used this formulation for Muslim mass murder, you would have to argue that Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim at all, because Islam clearly abhors the murder of innocents. But somehow, one senses that O’Reilly, in that case, would want to look a little further (as he should).
I would like to offer Bill O’Reilly some aloe for that burn.
Bill-o abhors the idea that a Christian could be a mass murderer because that would get in the way of his claiming that being a Christian makes you a good person. The news that Breivik identifies with Christians and abhors Muslims while going on a prolific killing spree is deeply uncomfortable to someone who insists that Jesus is the key to salvation, so he responds with, “but HE doesn’t count!” If a Christian is by definition a person who does not commit violent acts, then the label should not be used as a demographic descriptor, it is not a useful predictor of behavior, and it should not be applied in childhood. It should not be a matter of, “to live a good life, you must first be a Christian,” but rather, “to be counted as a Christian, you must live a good life.” It’s like the landlady said when Moll Flanders insisted there should be no concerns about her ability to pay the rent, as she was a gentlewoman: “A gentlewoman is one who pays her rent on time.” You meet your obligations, and then we’ll decide whether you’ve earned the title. Otherwise, what you choose to call yourself is just a bunch of syllables.