I’ve been unable to shake thoughts of the Norway massacre. So I won’t try. We are all Norwegians now. This could have happened here, because it HAS happened here, in different forms, perpetrated by different monsters.
What happened Friday in Norway had the suddenness of 9/11. The Anders Behring Breivik borrowed a page from Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh. And he stole from the Unabomber: His manifesto, 1,500 pages long, apparently lifted passages from the Unabomber rant (Breivik’s lawyer has acknowledged that his client wrote the manifesto.) And the gunslinging terror spree on the small island, with its teenage victims, seemed to be inspired by Columbine.
It is perilous to try to divine meaning from the crimes of an evil man. Breivik lived in a fantasy world — a world like a video game, almost — in which he was some kind of knight, or one-man commando cell, poised to help liberate Europe from Muslims and Marxists. This is a guy who thinks Hitler was a sell-out. He has been described in the media as a “Christian fundamentalist” but that seems to be missing the point: He’s a violent racist. He doesn’t like people who don’t look like him. One doesn’t even want to credit his thinking as ideological, since an ideology ought to have some superstructure of reason and coherence and his writings indicate someone with extreme delusions of grandeur.
His actions echo 9/11 most of all, because they represent an attack on the modern world and, specifically, multiculturalism. But in Norway, in most of Europe and in America that is our present and our future. Building a multicultural society is something we should be proud of, and fight for. The haters are not going to win that battle.