Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Commentary on Anders Breivik: Max Blumenthal, Alex Pareene, and Chris Hedges

More valuable commentary on the atrocities in Norway:

Max Blumenthal at AlterNet on why Anders Behring Breivik cannot be dismissed as a "madman": 

As horrific as Breivik’s actions were, he cannot be dismissed as a “madman.” His writings contain the same themes and language as more prominent right-wing Islamophobes (or those who style themselves as “counter-Jihadists”) and many conservatives in general. What’s more, Breivik was articulate and coherent enough to offer a clear snapshot of his ideological motives.

Blumenthal rejects the "lone wolf" explanation of Breivik's actions, and says that from a tactical perspective, Breivik employed a "leaderless resistance model" akin to that employed by Christian anti-abortion terrorists Scott Roeder and Eric Rudolph.
And, writing at Salon, Alex Pareene issues a note to conservatives: Anders Breivik is a Christian.  Contra (Catholic) media guru Bill O'Reilly, who has, Pareene notes, been at the forefront of the reality-twisting argument that Breivik is not a Christian, Pareene writes, 

Breivik chose to be baptized at age 15. He self-identified as "Christian" on his Facebook page. He thought "Christianity should recombine under the banner of a reconstituted and traditionalist Catholic Church" or, later, under a new (traditionalist) European Church.

Though Breivik may not be a fundamentalist Christian in the American sense of that term, he decidedly does identify with (and cite) American cultural Christian conservatives, and considers himself to be fighting on behalf of "our Christian cultural heritage."

I'd judge that he's just about as Christian as the vast majority of American Christian conservatives are Christian.  If we're going to start parsing who's Christian and who's not on the basis of fidelity to the gospels and Jesus's kingdom vision that puts the last first, we may have to parse even Rev. Rick Warren out of the Christian equation.  And Bill O'Reilly, for that matter.

And at Truthdig, illuminating commentary by Chris Hedges on just how fundamentalism kills--how it has "poisoned and degraded" our civil discourse, how it has infected that discourse with a "coarse language of fundamentalist hatred," how it has fed dangerous fantasies about the Second Coming and an infatuation with the apocalypse now on full display in the debate about the debt ceiling, how it has dumbed us down and fostered "uncritical self-worship at the expense of conscience" in the American public, how it has duped us with a simplistic binary view of the world that allows us to imagine we're the good ones and they the bad ones.

Hedges writes, 

All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. They worship the future prospect of their own empowerment. They view this empowerment as a necessity for the advancement and protection of civilization or the Christian state. They sanctify the nation. They hold up the ability the industrial state has handed to them as a group and as individuals to shape the world according to their vision as evidence of their own superiority. Fundamentalists express the frustrations of a myopic and morally stunted middle class. They cling, under their religious or scientific veneer, to the worst values of the petite bourgeois. They are suburban mutations, products of an American landscape that has been perverted by a destruction of community and a long and successful war against complex thought. The self-absorbed worldview of these fundamentalists brings smiles of indulgence from the corporatists who profit, at our expense, from the obliteration of moral and intellectual inquiry.

And so it is not any accident at all that the mainstream media, which have been so central to the process of dumbing the American public down, and who serve the economic lords and masters who keep peddling us the toxic, simplistic, self-serving fundamentalist worldview of good Christian America vs. bad Islamic everywhere else, are now doing everything they can to divert our attention from the Christianist roots of Breivik's actions.

It would have been so much neater, so much more useful for their memes and the political future of the Republican party in the 2012 elections, had this shooter only been Muslim, you can hear them thinking wistfully in the wake of the horrific tragedy.

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