The Norway Murders, Christianity, Darwin, and tolerance

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As predictable as the sunrise, creationists are launching another round of the disgusting practice of trying to tie every mass murderer to Darwin and evolution, self-consistency and logic be damned. This time it’s about Brevik, the bomber and shooter in last Friday’s killings. We saw this at Uncommon Descent on Sunday (“Norway shooter a Darwinian terrorist?”) – itself relying on an article from the fundamentalist WorldNetDaily (“Terrorist proclaimed himself ‘Darwinian,’ not ‘Christian’”), and today from alleged scholar John West at the Discovery Institute (“Fundamentalist Christian or Deranged Social Darwinist?”).

West does the usual thing, word-searching Brevik’s 1500-page screed for the few references to Darwin, and brazenly playing down the hundreds of references to Christianity and God and the Templars and Christian holy war against Islam. These are just brushed off by West. West pretends that Brevik calls himself a “Christian atheist” through pretty optimistic (optimistic from West’s perspective) readings of some Brevik passages, which completely ignores the various quite direct references that Brevik makes towards his own belief in God. Here’s West:

Although he adds that he has not yet actually prayed to God for strength, he expects that he may do so when he goes on his murderous rampage: “If praying will act as an additional mental boost/soothing it is the pragmatical thing to do. I guess I will find out… If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past.” (p. 1345) Note the “if” in his statement about whether God exists. Breivik himself doesn’t even appear to believe in God. He frequently identifies himself as a “cultural Christian,” a term which he defines at one point as the same thing as a “Christian atheist.” (p. 1360)

About the last sentence – it’s pretty clear that while Brevik thinks you can be a cultural Christian without being a practicing Christian, he doesn’t see the categories as mutually exclusive. Practicing Christians would be a subset of cultural Christians in his view. I think Brevik sees himself as a cultural Christian who definitely believes in God, but doesn’t practice much (undoubtedly quite a common position in the general public, by the way).

West also draws the dubious conclusion that Brevik doesn’t believe in God, based on “optimistic” readings of a Brevik passage on prayer and a use of the word “if”. This is ignoring direct contradictory evidence. Here is a section from Brevik’s journal from June where he discusses his praying with God. I include the surrounding passages about bomb-making, which Brevik was in the midst of.

From page 1459 (italics added):

[…]

Friday June 10 - Day 40: Continued synthesizing 4 and 5 of 10 batches picric acid and placing the finished compound to dry. I placed 50g of my best batch in the oven to prepare for testing and to use it for DDNP manufacturing. Potent PA should burn when lit with flame.

To my great disappointment, nothing happened when I did the fire test…! What the hell, how is that possible, it was completely dry and that particular batch was manufactured perfectly according to specifications!? I did everything according to specifications… Could the compound I have manufactured be inert???? Unfortunate circumstances rams cock in arse once again…! I started to have serious doubts and my morale and motivation started to shatter…

I concluded that given the recent events, I would now have to move forward with operation B, at least continue to complete all preparations for this as the primary operation seemed to wither away.

Saturday June 11 - Day 41: As I was doing research on the net, a thunder storm approached, but it was still very far away. I have never had any problems with electrical overcharges the last 15 years because I always use specialty electrical outputs with gas cylinder electrical overcharge protection. Suddenly my PC made a relatively large bang, and the electricity went out. Once electricity was back on I noticed that my PC was dead. FFS, not again… As it was in the evening, I couldn’t fix it until Monday…

I prayed for the first time in a very long time today. I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamic alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail. He must ensure that I succeed with my mission and as such; contribute to inspire thousands of other revolutionary conservatives/nationalists; anti- Communists and anti-Islamists throughout the European world.

Sunday June 12 - Day 42: Although highly demoralized, I decided to do one last test of the PA compound. I decided to create a batch of DDNP using my best batch of picric acid. This was to be my last attempt to move ahead with operation A. I didn’t have much faith in creating such a difficult compound as DDNP when I couldn’t even manage to create a decent batch of PA… I spent most of the day preparing that batch of DDNP, then drying it in the oven for 4 hours.

Monday June 13 - Day 43: I prepared a test device today and drove off to a very isolated site. The test bomb was composed of a 3g DDNP primary and a 30g PA secondary. If this test would fail, I would abandon operation A and move forward with the non-spectacular operation B.

I lit the fuse, went out of range and waited. It was probably the longest 10 seconds I have ever endured…

BOOM! The detonation was successful!!!:-) I quickly drove away to avoid any potential unwanted attention, from people in the vicinity. I would have to come back a few hours later to investigate the blast hole, to see if both compounds had detonated.

A few hours later, after returning from a restaurant in the southern town to celebrate this success, I went back to the blast site to evaluate the detonation. The DDNP primary detonated successfully but the dry picric acid booster did not detonate at all. So I confirmed that the PA was not inert, just of a very low purity grade. This could be sorted as I would now move forward with purification after completion of the last PA batches. Today was a very good day as I really needed this success.

Tuesday June 14 - Day 44: Continued synthesizing picric acid and placing the finished compound to dry.

[…]

There are a lot of disturbing things about this passage, ranging from Brevik’s use of smiley-faces while building a bomb (as if his journal entries were goddamn facebook updates), to the fact that Brevik’s bomb-making efforts were experiencing setbacks, reversals, bad luck, etc. – until he prayed to God, at which point it appears that things started working.

West goes on to claim that “Social Darwinism” and “eugenics” are Brevik’s recommendation for the future. Well, there might be a little of that in Brevik’s plan, he does give a few brief references to eugenics – but what’s Brevik’s main idea? Well, it’s holy war! Holy war against the cultural Marxists and multiculturalists, and once they are out, deportation of all the Muslims from Europe, never to return again. There’s actually not a heck of a lot left for eugenics to do, even theoretically, if Brevik’s holy-war-and-deportation agenda were ever carried out, anyhow!

And what is Brevik’s inspiration for and defense of using violence, both in his future envisioned holy war, and in his planned July attacks, which he sees as the first strike in that war?

Well, let’s see who Brevik cites and quotes for inspiration and justification. Is it Darwin? Here’s pp. 1326-1334, all bolds original:

[…]

Would Pope Benedict XVI take the initiative for launching a new crusade?

Not likely. The closest Pope Benedict has come to anything controversial was his statement in a lecture delivered on September 12th 2006. Pope Benedict XVI quoted from a dialogue that occurred in 1391 between Manuel II Palaiologos[1], the Byzantine Emperor, and a Persian scholar and recorded in a book by Manuel II (Dialogue 7 of Twenty-six Dialogues with a Persian) in which the Emperor stated:

“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Many Muslims were offended by what was perceived as a denigration of Muhammad, and many reacted violently. Several churches were burned and many Christians were killed in multiple locations in the Middle East (including a nun). In his book, Manuel II then continues, saying:

“God is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”

As a result of this controversy the Pope had to indirectly apologise and has since that time not tried to do anything of significance to prevent the ongoing Global Jihad against Christians or the ongoing Islamic colonisation of Europe. As such, Pope Benedict has abandoned Christianity and all Christian Europeans and is to be considered a cowardly, incompetent, corrupt and illegitimate Pope much like his most recent predecessors; John XXIII (1958-1963), Paul VI (1963-1978), John Paul I (1978), John Paul II (1978-2005). If Pope Benedict had any shred of integrity he would at least attempt to contact all European senior and junior military officers and ask them to inintialise coups against the given multiculturalist European regimes and contribute to repell Islam from Europe for a third time. Pope Benedict, as his most recent predecessors, have failed to identify multiculturalism as an anti-European hate ideology championed as an instrument for unilaterally dismantling European Christendom. As of now, no Pope have even attempted to reach out to all European military leaders and demand action against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites who have implemented given ideology. Pope Benedict has a responsibility to act against the deliberate and systematical annihilation of European Christendom. Yet he has not even tried to do anything of significance.

When we, the cultural conservatives of Europe seize power in approximately 5-7 decades, we will take the necessary steps to eradicate the corruption which is continuing to plague the Church (both the Catholic and Protestant church). We must ensure that we have Christian leaders who believe in; self defence, protection of Eastern Christendom and the protection of Christians worldwide.

Source:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel[…]_Palaiologos

3.149 The Bible and self-defence

Many Christians claim that acts of self-defence are unbiblical, unscriptural and ungodly. However, they are un-doubtfully wrong.

The Bible couldn’t be clearer on the right, even the duty; we have as Christians to self-defence.

Let’s start in the Old Testament.

Exodus 22:2”If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him,”

we are told in Exodus 22:2. The next verse says,

“If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be bloodshed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”

In other words, it was perfectly OK to kill a thief breaking into your house. That’s the ultimate expression of self-defence. It doesn’t matter whether the thief is threatening your life or not. You have the right to protect your home, your family and your property, the Bible says.

The Israelites were expected to have their own personal weapons. Every man would be summoned to arms when the nation confronted an enemy. The people defended themselves.

Samuel 25:13: “David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.”

Every man had a sword and every man picked it up when it was required.

Judges 5:8: “They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?”

Reminds us of what happens to a foolish nation that chooses to disarm. The answer to the rhetorical question is clear: No. The people had rebelled against God and put away their weapons of self-defence.

Psalms 144:1: “Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight,”

Clearly, this is not a pacifist God we serve. It’s God who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament, His people are commanded to fight with the best weapons available to them at that time.

And what were those weapons? Swords.

They didn’t have firearms, but they had side-arms. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus commanded His disciples to buy them and equip them.

Luke 22:36: “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

Matthew 26:52-54: “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

If you read those verses in context they support the position of self-defence. Jesus told Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a fight in this situation, as well as undermining God’s plan to allow Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection.

Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place - at his side. He didn’t say throw it away. After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves. The reason for the arms was obviously to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God. What Jesus was saying was: “Peter, this is not the right time for a fight.”

In the context of cultural conservative Europeans current war against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites and the ongoing Islamic invasion through Islamic demographic warfare against Europe, every military action against our enemies is considered self defence. There will be much suffering and destruction but eventually we will succeed and may be able to start rebuilding.

We should recall Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 4:17-18: “Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon”. “As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built,…”

More information about Christianity and self-defence

There are many passages that talk about war and violence that God approves of, such as David slaying Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Not to mention the fact that God commanded the Israelites to completely destroy everyone and everything in the Promised Land!

As with many questions in our lives, self-defence has to do with wisdom, understanding, and tact. For instance, in the Luke 22 passage stated above, Jesus does tell his disciples to get a sword. Jesus knew that now was the time when Jesus would be threatened (and later killed) and his followers would be threatened as well. Jesus was giving approval of the fact that one has the right to self-defence. Now just a few verses later we see Jesus being arrested and Peter takes a sword and cuts off someone’s ear. Jesus rebukes him for that act. Why? Peter was trying to stop something that Jesus had been telling His disciples was in fact going to happen. In other words, Peter was acting unwisely in the situation. He was trying to stop something that was not supposed to be stopped. We must be wise as to when to fight and when not to.

Exodus 22 does show quite a bit about God’s attitude towards self-defence. “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed. A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft” (Exodus 22:2-3). Obviously here we see that when a thief breaks into someone’s house at night and that person defends his home and slays the thief, God does not hold that death over the defender’s head. However, God does not wish for anyone to take law into his or her own hands. This is why it is said that if a thief is struck down during the daylight the defender is guilty of bloodshed. Now this is speaking of thievery, not an attack. So if the thief were to attack the defender even during the day, self-defence would be justified.

Battle verses

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them … you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.” (Leviticus 26:3)

God will anoint you with his power to go into battle

If you are operating under a full surrender with God the Father, and walking in all of God’s ways and staying out of any serious sins and transgressions against Him - then the next thing you will need to fully realise is that God will now anoint you with His power if you are forced to go into battle with your enemy.

The Bible tells us that we are now all good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Whether we want to face up to it or not, we are all living in a war zone as a result of the curse of Adam and Eve that is still in full operation on this earth. Anyone of us at anytime can come under human or demonic attack. The daily news will prove that to you without any shadow of a doubt.

Each Christian must now make their own personal decision on all of this. You can either choose to learn how to rise up in the power of your Lord and Saviour and learn how to become a true warrior in the Lord, or you can continue to keep your head in the sand and oppressor after oppressor keep beating you down. The choice is yours.

The following verses will show you that God can anoint you with His power to defeat any enemy that may come your way - but you first have to be willing to step into that anointing, and then be willing to take your enemy head on before God will release His anointing through you to be able to defeat that enemy.

Again, study these verses very carefully - as they will show you the incredible supernatural power that God can channel through you if you would be willing to step into and walk with His anointing.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

”… but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)

“Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle - my loving kindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)

“It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze … I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. I have wounded them, so that they were not able to rise; they have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” (Psalm 18:32,37)

God can anoint you with His supernatural power to defeat any enemy that may come your way - but only if you are willing to step into it and not be afraid to directly engage with whatever storm cloud is getting ready to come your way.

Notice the first verse tells you that you can have God’s power and authority to trample over “all” the power of the enemy - not just against some or part of his power. This means you can have God’s anointing and power operating in you to come out completely victorious against any enemy that may attempt to come against you.

God will give you his strength, boldness and courage to walk with his anointing

All of the above Scripture verses are definitely telling you that God can anoint you with His power whenever that power is going to be needed to take on any kind of enemy or challenge. However, there is one more thing that you are going to need before God will release His power through you. And that one more thing is the mental strength, courage and boldness to step out with His power to use it to directly engage with your enemy.

If you are not willing to step out and flow and operate with God’s anointing for whatever you are going to need it for - then absolutely nothing is going to happen. If you are not willing to speak out to any enemy that may be trying to attack you - then God’s power will not come into the situation to blow them out of there, and they will thus stay right where they are at continuing to attack you.

As you will see when reading some of our own personal testimonies - nothing was happening in all of these adverse situations until that person was ready and willing to step out of his boat with some mental confidence, courage and boldness to face and take their enemies head on.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)

The verse is telling you that if you faint in the day of any kind of adversity, that your strength will be considered small in the eyes of God.

In other words, God is telling you that He does not want you to be a wimp - and He is expecting each and every one of us to learn how to war against any enemy or challenge that could come our way operating under His authority, power and anointing to be able to do so. This is why we are all called to be soldiers of Jesus Christ, not just a select few.

God will go before you to fight your battles

Sometimes God will simply run a protective shield around you where nothing can get through to attack you. Other times something will start to slip through to come directly against you - and then God will move ahead of you to take it out. This is where God will literally take your enemy head on and do battle with it.

Sometimes God will fight the actual battle through you - other times He will simply tell you to hold your ground and position and do absolutely nothing - and then He will move Himself to completely take out the attack coming against you. This is where God shows you how powerful and how awesome He really is when He moves into battle to personally protect you.

Again, these next set of verses are extremely powerful as all of the other ones listed above. Notice the very intense language God is using when these verses describe Him moving into actual battle for you.

These first two verses are specifically telling us that God can be a Man of War if He needs to be and that He can actually be stirred up to go into battle for you if He has to.

“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name … Your Right Hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence you have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath which consumed them like stubble.” (Exodus 15:3,6)

“The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.” (Isaiah 42:13)

“For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12)

“Therefore understand today the Lord your God is He who goes before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you.” (Deuteronomy 9:3)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, ‘Destroy!’ “ (Deuteronomy 33:27)

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you …” (Genesis 12:3)

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” (Psalm 35:1)

“When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.” (Psalm 9:3)

“God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If He does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.” (Psalm 7:11)

“He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed. (1 Samuel 2:9)

”… For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You … Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel … thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s … You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!” Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12-17)

“Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them - those who contend with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ “ (Isaiah 41:11)

“You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked.” (Habakkuk 3:12)

Other verses:

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

“And let the angel of the Lord chase him … And let the angel of the Lord pursue them … Let the destruction come upon him unexpectedly.” (Psalm 35:5-8)

“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20)

“Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath … but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 21:27, 29)

“And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when the people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses - all dead.” (2 Kings 19:35)

“Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:23)

The last verse shows that sometimes angels can literally appear to you as a normal human being, usually for the purpose of helping you out with something. There are countless testimonies from people who have been helped out by angels in a moment of crisis - and then all of sudden they are gone as quick as they came.

We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)

Whenever a human command goes against God’s command, we are to obey God.

And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)

This passage allows for the use of fighting in self-defence.

All who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52)

To use the sword (or any other weapon) carries the greatest responsibility, and it can indeed be used in self-defence. That is the way I see to balance Luke 22:36 and Matthew 26:52.

Sources:

1. http://www.counterpunch.org/complaint.html

2. Norsk Folkehjelp/NTB-DPA

3. http://www.iacenter.org/warcrime/11_weapn.htm

4. http://www.counterpunch.org/dead.html

Sources:

http://www.bible-knowledge.com/Batt[…]e-Bible.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/self-defense.html

http://www.loveyourenemies.org/sword.html#start

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/a[…]CLE_ID=25442

3.150 A Book for the Knights Templar: In Praise of the New Knighthood (Liber ad milites Templi: De laude novae militae)

[…]

I haven’t taken the time to do a thorough analysis, but it looks like the sections I’ve quoted are a mixture of material Brevik plagiarized from various websites (he cites many of them at the end there) interspersed with his own comments.

But what websites is Brevik plagiarizing from? Well, fundamentalist Christian ones. Have a look at that last link: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/a[…]CLE_ID=25442 . What website is that? Why, WorldNetDaily! Who is the author? Why, Joseph Farah, head of WorldNetDaily, the very guy who will do news stories promoting the craziest claims of fundamentalists, including creationists/IDists, when no one else will!

What’s the passage that is quoted? It’s from an article that Farah wrote on the Biblical justification for self-defense, just after 9/11/2001. I’ve pasted it below. Stuff that Brevik plagiarizes is in bold:

Joseph Farah Between

WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary

The Bible and self-defense

Posted: November 26, 2001 1:00 am Eastern

By Joseph Farah 2011 WND

After my plea to Americans last week to buy firearms as a first step to fighting terrorism, a number of Christians wrote challenging my prescription as unbiblical, unscriptural and ungodly.

Wrong.

The Bible couldn’t be clearer on the right - even the duty - we have as believers to self-defense.

Let’s start in the Old Testament.

“If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him,” we are told in Exodus 22:2. The next verse says, “If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”

In other words, it was perfectly OK to kill a thief breaking into your house. That’s the ultimate expression of self-defense. It doesn’t matter whether the thief is threatening your life or not. You have the right to protect your home, your family and your property, the Bible says.

The Israelites were expected to have their own personal weapons. Every man would be summoned to arms when the nation confronted an enemy. They didn’t send in the Marines. The people defended themselves.

In 1 Samuel 25:13, we read: “And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.”

Every man had a sword and every man picked it up when it was required.

Judges 5:8 reminds us of what happens to a foolish nation that chooses to disarm: “They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?”

The answer to the rhetorical question is clear: No. The people had rebelled against God and put away their weapons of self-defense.

“Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight,” David writes in Psalms 144:1.

Clearly, this is not a pacifist God we serve. It’s God who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament, His people are commanded to fight with the best weapons available to them at that time.

And what were those weapons? Swords.

They didn’t have firearms, but they had sidearms. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus commanded His disciples to buy them and strap them on. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

Luke 22:36: “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

I know. I know. You biblically literate skeptics are going to cite Matthew 26:52-54 - how Jesus responded when Peter used his sword to cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest: “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

[Brevik cuts the indicated “I know I know” bit above, and inserts “If you read” here:] Read those verses in context and they support my position. Jesus told Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a fight in this situation - as well as undermining God’s plan to allow Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection.

Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place - at his side. He didn’t say throw it away. After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves. The reason for the arms was obviously to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God. What Jesus was saying was: “Peter, this is not the right time for a fight.”

In the context of America’s current battle - as we make plans to rebuild after the devastation of Sept. 11 and defend ourselves at the same time - we should recall Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon,” we’re told in Nehemiah 4:17-18. “For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.”

Any more questions, skeptics?

[Instead of the last 3 paragraphs, Brevik inserts:

In the context of cultural conservative Europeans current war against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites and the ongoing Islamic invasion through Islamic demographic warfare against Europe, every military action against our enemies is considered self defence. There will be much suffering and destruction but eventually we will succeed and may be able to start rebuilding.

We should recall Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 4:17-18: “Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon”. “As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built,…”

]

Now, let me clear about what I am saying and not saying here. I do NOT actually think Brevik was really a Christian fundamentalist in the traditional sense of these words (the traditional sense relates to split within American protestant churches in the 1920s between “modernist” and “fundamentalist” camps, with the fundamentalists emphasizing Biblical inerrancy and literalism). This would be the same kind of silly demagoguery that West is engaging in. Amongst other things, Brevik does accept evolution, modern science, etc., even above the authority of the church, which almost by definition disqualifies him from being a “Christian fundamentalist”, since those issues were key to the original fundamentalist split.

However, if one uses West’s method, which is to just trawl through the 1500-page screed and unthinkingly assume that whatever references Brevik makes to X mean that we can blame X for his murders, well then, there’s a lot more in there about Christianity and the Bible justifying violence, and explicitly so, than there is about Darwin. That is undoubtedly why Norwegian officials initially used the words “Christian fundamentalist” rather than Darwinist, and why much of the press quoted those officials.

So West is just being inconsistent, and defending his corner in what West sees as a culture war against the media, the Darwinists, the secularists, etc., rather than attempting some actual scholarly objectivity.

So, what is an objective view of Brevik? I’m no expert, but from what I’ve read this is a balanced picture:

* Brevik was a Christian and believed in God, although he is not theologically conservative nor a fundamentalist, nor really an actively practicing Christian. He appears to be a religious moderate on many of the “standard” culture war issues (science, evolution, stem cells, reproductive issues, etc.).

* Brevik accepted evolution, but racism, biological racialism, Naziism, etc., did not play a major role in his views – in fact, he repeatedly denies racism and states his disagreements with the neo-Nazis on this issue, which he has apparently interacted with a great deal in the CrazyRight-o-sphere.

* It seems extremely likely, although I haven’t seen it discussed in the media, that Brevik’s anti-immigrant views were radicalized by 9/11. Brevik seems to have launched on his “crusade” in 2002, and his quoting of Farah’s post-9/11 “self-defense” screen is another piece of evidence.

* Instead of race, Brevik focuses obsessively on culture. He is a political extreme right-winger and a European/Christian cultural supremecist. He endlessly self-describes as a cultural conservative, anti-Marxist, anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalist, pro-Christian-civilization/anti-Muslim-civilization and he is against the “multiculturalists” because they are allowing, allegedly, demographic takeover by Muslims.

(Note: Amongst the bizarre-but-unquestioned unspoken assumptions that Brevik implicitly relies on, a key one is the following: while Brevik focuses on culture, not race, he treats culture as it if it were inherited just as rigidly as genes are inherited. He seems to assume that Muslim immigrants will not only stay Muslim but will “stay” anti-democratic, authoritarian, violent, Koran-brainwashed, etc. Over here in reality-land, of course, (a) most Muslims that immigrate to Europe (or the U.S.) are likely already pro-democratic, more liberal than average Muslims, etc., or they wouldn’t have immigrated in the first place, and (b) in all likelihood they will get more and more so as they move from being immigrants, to being second-generation immigrants, to being third-generation immigrants. Heck, long historical experience shows that after 3 generations almost everyone is so thoroughly naturalized to the local culture that they are practically indistinguishable from the “traditional” population. Heck, give it a few decades, and Muslim-descended immigrants to Norway will, in the main, be just as secular as everyone else, eat lutefisk for fun, and be ranting and raving about immigrants from backward and collapsing economies like America.)

None of the above really gives a “good explanation” of Brevik’s actions, which are unjustifiable, and don’t really even make sense even on his own crazed terms (slaughter native Norwegian youth to stop the takeover of Norway by immigrants?). However, the points above are much closer to the truth, than blaming Brevik’s actions on evolution, or Christian fundamentalism, or video games, or the social isolation allowable by online culture, or whatever.

It is tempting to declare illegitimate all attempts to take some common-but-contentious feature of civilization and blame it for the latest horrible crime in the news. Certainly I think that blaming “religion” or “Christianity” or “Islam” or “evolution” for the actions of murders and terrorists is rarely or never a good idea. In my experience, the logical connections between these background features of cultures are always very weak, and the actual proximate causes are things like politics and intolerant hatred of others you don’t understand.

However, almost every commentator on a tragedy like this feels the need to draw some lesson from it. It is probably unavoidable, so if we are going to do it anyway, we might as well think hard and try to draw a decent lesson that would make things better rather than worse. So here’s my suggestion.

A common feature of mass murderers and terrorists is that they lack empathy for their victims. They view them as opponents in some kind of war. Instead of seeing complex and diverse people, they see a simple category. One way or the other, they have become convinced that something that is actually a pretty minor thing – a difference in religion or politics, typically – is actually a life-and-death matter. And so they take action to give “the other side” what it deserves.

Here’s the thing – these people rarely get into these extremist mindsets all by themselves. Our culture is riddled with extremists who engage in continual verbal warfare. The weapons are things like demagoguery, exaggeration of differences, and lack of proportionality. The dark path towards extremism starts by targeting a complex system of thought meaningful to a large number of diverse and mostly nice, nonviolent, society-contributing people. Someone dislikes or disagrees with this system of thought on various points, but instead of interacting with it in a fair, scholarly, and proportionate way, giving credit where credit is due and criticism where it is deserved, they attempt to incite the public against it by scapegoating it and the people in it for the actions of extremists and criminals, no matter how remote and illogical the connection. Usually all that results is flame-wars and bad feelings. But, sometimes, someone actually takes peoples’ inflammatory language seriously, and acts accordingly. That is clearly what Brevik did, uncritically imbibing irrational right-wing anti-Muslim rhetoric.

John West is going down a similar dark path when he tries to blame the theory of evolution for Brevik’s murders, and inconsistently ignores all of the more evidenced and much more direct alternative explanations. Anyone who blamed fundamentalist-Christianity-in-general for Brevik’s attack would be engaging in similar sins, at least if they did it after being fully informed. And those who exaggerate the dangers of Islam, the invasion of “Sharia” law into the West, etc., are doing the same bad thing. Unfortunately, some “skeptics” are as guilty of this kind of thing as anyone else – Sam Harris’s sometimes-unhinged statements about Islam and Muslims come to mind.

Demagoguery is bad no matter who does it, and whether or not it actually leads to violence. It sheds heat rather than light on a matter, and distracts us from defending the things that are the most important preventors of war, violence, and general misery – namely tolerance of diversity, democracy, and human rights.

103 Comments

If everything evil in the world is caused by Darwin, wouldn’t that make Darwin the antichrist? And if Darwin was the antichrist, doesn’t that make the end of the world about one hundred and fifty years too late?

Nick: An excellent analysis showing West’s usual inability to understand what he reads - or he lies to make his false conclusions (something he often does). vh

Nick, thanks for this.

Nick,

Again thanks for yet another perceptive post. Poor West needs to take a course in excellent quote mining or in better reading comprehension (or both).

Appreciatively yours,

John

Wow, excellent, thanks very much. The last few paragraphs and the emphasis on empathy and “we-vs.-they” are really important.

Another way to put it, Breivik’s understanding of evolution appears to be as poor as West’s, yet Breivik’s meager exposure to evolutionary theory is supposed to be crucial to his ideology and terrorism.

Then again, when has anything ever been addressed with intellectual honesty by the DI’s CSC?

Glen Davidson

Whatever you do, don’t miss the July 27, 2011 Daily Show with Jon Stewart as soon as it is available on line in the next couple of hours. It is most relevant to this thread.

Okay. Wow. New Comment system.

Hey- very nice article. Thank you very much.

It is so very disturbing to see Jesus’ words twisted like this, taken completely out of context, to imply that he advocated violence, at the very moments when he was decrying it. I could go on in detail, but I don’t think this is the place.

It strikes me that Hitler as well, while advocating eugenics, used Christian imagery. I know Hitler is the go-to guy that destroys arguments and discussions- but I think in this case the analogy is rather spot-on.

I would disagree with you that the traditional early Fundamentalists could be identified by their rejection of evolution. After all, some of the essays in The Fundamentals actually supported evolution.

Nick Matzke said:

For a shorter version of what I was trying to say, see:

In response to Norway attacks, right-wing bloggers suddenly demand nuance

Nuance is something a lot of people can learn. Like when the media connected the imaginary dots between Palin and Loughner. When left wing bloggers learn nuance they may have firmer ground upon which to criticize.

bigdakine said:

Nuance is something a lot of people can learn. Like when the media connected the imaginary dots between Palin and Loughner. When left wing bloggers learn nuance they may have firmer ground upon which to criticize.

Classic tu quoque, with a large helping of “the librul media’s agin us”, and an equal portion of denial. There are connections between Palin’s material and Loughner’s act, and that’s a fact.

Dave Luckett said:

bigdakine said:

Nuance is something a lot of people can learn. Like when the media connected the imaginary dots between Palin and Loughner. When left wing bloggers learn nuance they may have firmer ground upon which to criticize.

Classic tu quoque, with a large helping of “the librul media’s agin us”, and an equal portion of denial. There are connections between Palin’s material and Loughner’s act, and that’s a fact.

First, my point is that the criticism goes both ways. I make no attempt to justify right wing bloggers ill conceived and hasty hasty claims that the Norway bombing was jihad.

Second there is no more connection between Loughner and Palin then there is between Al Gore and the Unabomber.

Third if you think you are divining something about my politics, you’ll only wind up embarrassing yourself.

I make no apology.

But Dave, if a man justifies killing a hundred innocent people with Christian dominionist ultra-right-wing arguments, and a different Christian ultra-right-wing dominionist commentator lies that the murderer justified his acts with modern evolutionary theory, then both the murders and the subsequent lies have nothing to do with ultra-right Christian dominionists. No, they are the fault of the liberal media! You should know that by now.

Thanks for this post, very enlightening.

The thing about this Brevik fellow is that he has many of the same ideas as all those Christian fundamentalists without actually requiring the God to anywhere near the same extent. I can imagine they don’t like it, since it shows that it’s all fundamentally political and conservative and not dependent on any particular religion at all.

I’ve seen all sorts of anti-Marxist/Communist/Islam/multiculturalism/all-the-rest (and all the way into Nazi Race War type) nutters boasting about their guns and blabbering about how they’ll use them to take down the government when the time comes. This guy simply shut up and did it. And when you do it, you’re a terrorist and you go to prison.

With something like this I suppose you can be against the action but support the reasons for it, which is a position a number of Muslims seem to be in. Here, they seem to be saying “we’re the good guys, the Darwinists, etc. are the bad guys, so if a guy does a bad thing he must be more bad than you think.”

Great article, except for one thing: Sam Harris is less unhinged than most people represent him as being. The Wikipedia article linked to is primarily about Harris’s legitimate concerns about a culture that celebrates martyrdom; the article says nothing at all against middle-easterners as a race, and Harris has been emphatic that he has nothing against the people themselves. In fact he has expressed frustration at being repeatedly misrepresented: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/[…]hris-hedges/ Given the calls for greater nuance here, it is a bit irritating to see Harris’s own nuance ignored.

Reading through the comments at Uncommon Descent, you can see Elizabeth Liddle trying to bring some sense to their discussion. She is usually very even-tempered there in spite of provocation, but in that discussion she is sorely provoked and almost “loses it”.

Aside from figuring out whatever Brevik’s worldview is, it is important to understand what the blame-Darwin commenters at Uncommon Descent are up to. This seems to be part of a major new trend in antievolutionary arguments – people like the Discovery Institute talking heads are spending more and more of their time misrepresenting history and associating Darwin and evolutionary biology with noxious causes. We can of course quote more sensible history back at them and point out that

* The rise of the Nazis had much to do with 1000 years of antisemitism plus the rise of militaristic nationalism in Europe throughout the 1800s and early 1900s.

* Yes, Darwin was “a racist” (nearly every major intellectual figure in the 1800s was, including Abraham Lincoln) but the relevant point is that he was less racist than almost all the others (about tied with Lincoln for that). So it’s very hard to make him into the leader of the pack.

* Yes, Darwin toyed with supporting eugenics and Social Darwinism at times, But these ideas had appeal across the political spectrum at that time, and ultimately were supported mostly by those on the political right, whose views were abhorrent to Darwin and to many evolutionary biologists.

And, most importantly, even if Darwin had been a leading spokesman for racism, a leading light in the rise of Naziism, and a raving Social Darwinist and eugenicist, none of that would invalidate the scientific points he was making. Isaac Newton was nobody’s idea of a nice guy, but that has not detracted from the towering status of his his work in physics and mathematics.

The real problem in all of this is how to gain any traction in countering the new pseudohistorical argument, or attempts to associate Darwinian views with this week’s mass murderer. Quote reams of historians? Somehow that seems unlikely to succeed against noxious sound-bites. William Dembski has a whole chapter in The Design Inference on the Genetic Fallacy, making the point that you can’t condemn an intellectual argument based on obnoxious political, social, or religious views of its proponents. Maybe quote that back at the Uncommon Descent types? Somehow there has to be a more effective approach.

Jedidiah said:

Okay. Wow. New Comment system.

Hey- very nice article. Thank you very much.

It is so very disturbing to see Jesus’ words twisted like this, taken completely out of context, to imply that he advocated violence, at the very moments when he was decrying it. I could go on in detail, but I don’t think this is the place.

It strikes me that Hitler as well, while advocating eugenics, used Christian imagery. I know Hitler is the go-to guy that destroys arguments and discussions- but I think in this case the analogy is rather spot-on.

I would disagree with you that the traditional early Fundamentalists could be identified by their rejection of evolution. After all, some of the essays in The Fundamentals actually supported evolution.

As Don Prothero has noted in his “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”, Fundamentalist Protestant Christian Americans did not reject evolution in large numbers until World War I, when they made the false linkage of equating Darwinian thought with Imperial German militarism, even though German intellectuals were justifying their country’s right to wage war due to Social Darwinian precepts.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Reading through the comments at Uncommon Descent, you can see Elizabeth Liddle trying to bring some sense to their discussion. She is usually very even-tempered there in spite of provocation, but in that discussion she is sorely provoked and almost “loses it”.

Aside from figuring out whatever Brevik’s worldview is, it is important to understand what the blame-Darwin commenters at Uncommon Descent are up to. This seems to be part of a major new trend in antievolutionary arguments – people like the Discovery Institute talking heads are spending more and more of their time misrepresenting history and associating Darwin and evolutionary biology with noxious causes. We can of course quote more sensible history back at them and point out that

* The rise of the Nazis had much to do with 1000 years of antisemitism plus the rise of militaristic nationalism in Europe throughout the 1800s and early 1900s.

* Yes, Darwin was “a racist” (nearly every major intellectual figure in the 1800s was, including Abraham Lincoln) but the relevant point is that he was less racist than almost all the others (about tied with Lincoln for that). So it’s very hard to make him into the leader of the pack.

* Yes, Darwin toyed with supporting eugenics and Social Darwinism at times, But these ideas had appeal across the political spectrum at that time, and ultimately were supported mostly by those on the political right, whose views were abhorrent to Darwin and to many evolutionary biologists.

And, most importantly, even if Darwin had been a leading spokesman for racism, a leading light in the rise of Naziism, and a raving Social Darwinist and eugenicist, none of that would invalidate the scientific points he was making. Isaac Newton was nobody’s idea of a nice guy, but that has not detracted from the towering status of his his work in physics and mathematics.

The real problem in all of this is how to gain any traction in countering the new pseudohistorical argument, or attempts to associate Darwinian views with this week’s mass murderer. Quote reams of historians? Somehow that seems unlikely to succeed against noxious sound-bites. William Dembski has a whole chapter in The Design Inference on the Genetic Fallacy, making the point that you can’t condemn an intellectual argument based on obnoxious political, social, or religious views of its proponents. Maybe quote that back at the Uncommon Descent types? Somehow there has to be a more effective approach.

An excellent assessment Joe, but as you may know, certain Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers, most notably Richard Weikart and David Klinghoffer, have been trying to make the most of the “Darwin equals Hitler” theme for years.

Just for your edification (as well as others) I just found this HuffPo commentary by Michael Ruse that offers some excellent talking points in a most lucid, quite succinct, form:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/micha[…]_601718.html

bigdakine said:

Dave Luckett said:

bigdakine said:

Nuance is something a lot of people can learn. Like when the media connected the imaginary dots between Palin and Loughner. When left wing bloggers learn nuance they may have firmer ground upon which to criticize.

Classic tu quoque, with a large helping of “the librul media’s agin us”, and an equal portion of denial. There are connections between Palin’s material and Loughner’s act, and that’s a fact.

First, my point is that the criticism goes both ways. I make no attempt to justify right wing bloggers ill conceived and hasty hasty claims that the Norway bombing was jihad.

Second there is no more connection between Loughner and Palin then there is between Al Gore and the Unabomber.

Third if you think you are divining something about my politics, you’ll only wind up embarrassing yourself.

I make no apology.

Only rarely do I disagree with Dave Luckett, but here I must concur that you are right in noting that there is no legitimate connection from Palin to Loughner (especially since it is known that Loughner had been stalking Congresswoman Giffords for years).

John said:

… as you may know, certain Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers, most notably Richard Weikart and David Klinghoffer, have been trying to make the most of the “Darwin equals Hitler” theme for years.

The point is that this has now become a major strategy for them and other opponents of evolutionary biology.

And let’s not forget a major charge that I failed to note: that Darwin also tortured puppies.

John said:I must concur that you are right in noting that there is no legitimate connection from Palin to Loughner.

I agree there is no legitimate connect but you have to admit, they travel the same side of the road, just different vehicles.

Joe Felsenstein said:

John said:

… as you may know, certain Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers, most notably Richard Weikart and David Klinghoffer, have been trying to make the most of the “Darwin equals Hitler” theme for years.

The point is that this has now become a major strategy for them and other opponents of evolutionary biology.

And let’s not forget a major charge that I failed to note: that Darwin also tortured puppies.

The Discovery Institute also tutted that, even worse, Darwin was flatulent, could not stand eating his vegetables at dinner time, and worst of all, didn’t like math

Joe Felsenstein said:

The real problem in all of this is how to gain any traction in countering the new pseudohistorical argument, or attempts to associate Darwinian views with this week’s mass murderer.

You might as well bang your head against a brick wall. Material like this and other right-wing propaganda, such as the christian pseudohistory of David Barton, is for the consumption of an audience which isn’t going to believe anything you say, but will believe anything posted at Uncommon Descent, no matter how outrageous it is.

Bobsie said:

John said:I must concur that you are right in noting that there is no legitimate connection from Palin to Loughner.

I agree there is no legitimate connect but you have to admit, they travel the same side of the road, just different vehicles.

I’m not willing to admit that, and as much as I despise Sarah Palin, it is unfair to her and to her supporters to leap to the conclusion you’ve made (Just for the record, I am a Conservative and a Republican, but one who is science literate and recognizes the facts of biological evolution and global warming.).

Joe Felsenstein said:

John said:

… as you may know, certain Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers, most notably Richard Weikart and David Klinghoffer, have been trying to make the most of the “Darwin equals Hitler” theme for years.

The point is that this has now become a major strategy for them and other opponents of evolutionary biology.

And let’s not forget a major charge that I failed to note: that Darwin also tortured puppies.

I heard Darwin only tortured barnacles. However, seriously Joe, I concur with your assessment that “this has now become a major strategy for them.…”.

Irony alert: Fundamentalist Christians usually ARE Social Darwinists!

Joe Felsenstein said: The real problem in all of this is how to gain any traction in countering the new pseudohistorical argument…

I am not sure we need to. This seems to me more geared towards reminding the faithful to stay faithful, rather than towards proselytization. Call me an optimist, but I can’t see many neutral high school kids turning away from science due to “Curie was a communist” or “Turing was gay” arguments. The best cure in this case may be to keep teaching scientific discoveries without reference to the discovering scientist’s personal beliefs - IOW, exactly what we have been doing or should have been doing anayway.

eric said: I am not sure we need to. This seems to me more geared towards reminding the faithful to stay faithful, rather than towards proselytization.

Yeah, I can’t get too upset about this sort of lunacy either. It’s a blatant exhibition of crazy and unscrupulous, anybody with sense will recognize it as riding the crazy train, anybody insensible enough to agree with it is beyond useful discussion. I suppose listing obtaining a few useful soundbites as replies to troll postings is all for the good, of course.

Nick,

Thanks for doing this. I need to read Breivik’s manifesto and haven’t been able to muster the calm to do it. Thank you for taking the time and providing a thoughtful analysis.

My two cents:

While McVeigh didn’t seem as fond of playing dress-up as Breivik, I see similarities. I am as unsure of McVeigh’s ideology as I am of Breivik’s. I think they both liked murdering people. I think the racist/culture warrior bit is self defense. Breivik had to know how Norway would react to this. Not only did he not advance his culture warrior agenda, he set it back. While he’s a more than a few sandwiches short of picnic, Breivik is sane enough and smart enough to have pulled this off. I think he’s also smart enough to know that all he achieved was murder and property damage.

Thanks again for your analysis.

Second there is no more connection between Loughner and Palin then there is between Al Gore and the Unabomber.

This is a half truth.

Of course I very strongly agree that the utterly irrelevant Palin had never met Loughner and certainly never directly encouraged him.

However, the following is highly predictable -

1) Exaggerated, over-the-top, hysterical demonizing, political speech that uses “symbolic” or “humorous” violent imagery will lead to violence. (I am a “first amendment absolutist” and am not advocating that such speech be censored; I am noting something about it.)

2) The person who commits the violence will usually be disturbed, marginal, and male - like Loughner or Breivik. However, it is disingenuous to use the marginal, disturbed nature of the actor to deny the influence.

I don’t know whether Palin’s speeches and comments had a direct impact on Loughner or not, but she heavily larded her public communications with hunting and military terms. “‘Lock and load’ and ‘take aim’ at those America-destroying liberals whose districts I’ve marked with rifle sight images on this map”.

Since I believe in free speech, I believe that the remedy to this sort of thing is more free speech. This type of irresponsible dehumanizing, violence-implying hysteria, which is the default of the current US right wing, should be condemned. It does have an impact.

Loughner’s mentally ill mind was impacted by a culture of violent political rhetoric. He may or may not have even been aware of Palin, but she was a heavy contributor to that culture.

Al Gore, on the other hand, has never used language like “Those liberal airline executives and computer scientists will impose Sharia unless we ‘lock and load’, ‘take aim’, and ‘target’ them before it’s too late”.

Just Bob said: This and sagging pants.

“Say NO to CRACK!”

Here’s why I think Nick Matzke’s post was exceptional: he made a claim – refuting the notion that Breivik’s motivation was Darwinian – he backed it up with an abundance of evidence, and he summarized it brilliantly.

That last bit in the conclusion is especially striking, and is something of that should serve as an example to all of us (as people and as commenters); not only does he advocate for resolution of differences, with less heat and more light, he manages to defend his position while avoiding the common pitfalls of simple my-group vs. your-group defense/attack rhetoric. The focus of the article is the facts that are in evidence, yet the ending includes an element of full-disclosure introspection about those who agree with his general position. Overall – and much to his credit – after soundly refuting what certainly appear to be unfounded claims, his tone manages to remain calm and in keeping with his contention that our responses to demagoguery and/or violence (and our analysis of it) needs to be calmly analytical, honestly appropriate, but also humane – lest we fuel the very fires we seek to extinguish.

I think this is a useful analysis on how the Left has treated this tragic incident by a deranged young man:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art[…]silence.html

Here’s an intriguing bit of commentary noting that Breivik may have been influenced more by his drug use than his affinity toward any right-wing propaganda:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/a[…]ed-mind.html

NanoBadger said:

Here’s why I think Nick Matzke’s post was exceptional: he made a claim – refuting the notion that Breivik’s motivation was Darwinian – he backed it up with an abundance of evidence, and he summarized it brilliantly.

That last bit in the conclusion is especially striking, and is something of that should serve as an example to all of us (as people and as commenters); not only does he advocate for resolution of differences, with less heat and more light, he manages to defend his position while avoiding the common pitfalls of simple my-group vs. your-group defense/attack rhetoric. The focus of the article is the facts that are in evidence, yet the ending includes an element of full-disclosure introspection about those who agree with his general position. Overall – and much to his credit – after soundly refuting what certainly appear to be unfounded claims, his tone manages to remain calm and in keeping with his contention that our responses to demagoguery and/or violence (and our analysis of it) needs to be calmly analytical, honestly appropriate, but also humane – lest we fuel the very fires we seek to extinguish.

Agreed, but that’s Nick for you. He always does this IMHO.

bigdakine said -

My point is, is that use of language should be challenged as well not that it makes inappropriate imagery from the right more palatable, much less justifiable

Sorry, that makes no sense.

You could have used actual valid historical examples of rhetoric associated with something other than the US right that has provoked violence, instead of the false example of Al Gore.

It still would make no sense. Nobody said “violent rhetoric has never existed before”.

“Somebody else did it too” is still irrelevant.

Your reaction to an obvious example of far right violence was a hysterically defensive false claim that “Al Gore” is also associated with violent rhetoric. Again, even if it were true, so fucking what? I guess this is evidence that somewhere underneath the layers and layers of hard-wired Fox/Limbaugh brainwash, a tiny conscience felt a twinge of guilt.

Your original goal was to indulge in “everything is okay if I say Al Gore did it too” ethical analysis. You retreated when that was unexpectedly challenged. This isn’t Free Republic or a Yahoo comments thread. The more mindless games won’t work as well here.

Incidentally, you have no idea what my ideology is. All you know is that I criticize political speech that uses overtly violent assassination metaphors.

John Kwok -

I think this is a useful analysis on how the Left has treated this tragic incident by a deranged young man:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art[…]silence.html

I’m confused by that article, John.

After all, I’ve said multiple times in this thread that censorship isn’t the answer, but rather, free exchange.

Doesn’t the prime minister of Norway have a right to speak his mind?

Why is criticism of right wing speech “bullying”?

Why is it okay to criticize Al Gore, but “bullying” to criticize right wing speech?

And yes, of course drugs and mental illness (and the interaction between drugs and mental illness) are major contributors. I noted at the beginning of all this that inappropriate, excessively violent rhetoric is most likely to cause the marginal to act out.

Hmm, interesting differences in two DI blogs:

Anders Behring Breivik Shows That Ideas Really Do Have Consequences

from Intelligent Design The Future by Discovery Institute

As the world reacts to the depravity of Anders Breivik’s cold-blooded killings, the mainstream media is quick to label the heinous crimes as an act of fundamentalist Christian terrorism. Is this really the complete story of Breivik’s underlying motivations? In his manifesto, Breivik explicitly identifies himself as a Christian, but at the same time makes it clear that he views the label as a pragmatic political tool, not a religious statement. In this episode of ID the Future, John West gives a thorough account of the scientific fundamentalism and Social Darwinist ideals that ultimately inspired the murderous rampage of Anders Breivik.

Popout Original audio source (2011-08-01T16_39_20-07_00.mp3)

Anders Behring Breivik Shows That Ideas Really Do Have Consequences

Click here to listen.

As the world reacts to the depravity of Anders Breivik’s cold-blooded killings, the mainstream media is quick to label the heinous crimes as an act of fundamentalist Christian terrorism. Is this really the complete story of Breivik’s underlying motivations? In his manifesto, Breivik explicitly identifies himself as a Christian, but at the same time makes it clear that he views the label as a pragmatic political tool, not a religious statement. In this episode of ID the Future, John West gives a thorough account of the scientific fundamentalism and Social Darwinist ideals that inspired much of Anders Breivik’s worldview.

harold said: And yes, of course drugs and mental illness (and the interaction between drugs and mental illness) are major contributors. I noted at the beginning of all this that inappropriate, excessively violent rhetoric is most likely to cause the marginal to act out.

No harold, your assertion about “inappropriate, excessively violent rhetoric” is not supported by Loughner’s massacre at a northwest Tucson shopping mall. Nor is it supported by virtually every violent act against innocents I can think of, with the notable exception maybe of Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing. If you insist on continuing in this same vein, then you need to consider too the acts of terrorism commited by “Earth First” and even by Greenpeace. I’m not ignoring or condoning the potentail behavior of right wing wingnut groups like Aryan Nations. But if you were right in your assertion, then the organizations most responsible for terrorism are groups like Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan. Instead, virtually all recent terrorism has been committed by Salafist Sunni Muslim terrorists claiming to act in the name of Allah.

Dang, that Johnny guy gets defensive about any generalization (however valid) about conservatives.

Just Bob said:

Dang, that Johnny guy gets defensive about any generalization (however valid) about conservatives.

Just Bob, the ever delusional Pharyngulite, needs to demonstrate that a priori, terrorist attacks like those in the USA and Norway have been influenced by rightwing propaganda; the only notable exception that would support his contention is the Oklahoma City bombing planned and executed by Timothy McVeigh. While it is true that terrorist acts have been inspired by propaganda, virtually all of them have been carried out by Muslim terrorists - virtually all Salafi Islamist terrorists like those in Al Qaeda - who claim that they are commiting their acts in the name of Allah.

DS said:

If everything evil in the world is caused by Darwin, wouldn’t that make Darwin the antichrist? And if Darwin was the antichrist, doesn’t that make the end of the world about one hundred and fifty years too late?

Darwin was Satan’s St. Paul. He was inspired by his father the devil to write the New Testament of the ideology that would fill the sould of mankind with nothing but demon excrement! (Copernicus wrote the Devil’s Old Testament.) However, despite the praises sung to him on websites like this where the dead false prophet is idolized, he was till a man.

This androgynous Norwegian (redundancy) believed in evolution just like everbody else in Satan’s bumhole. Like the funny guy in the white hat from Rome, he dresses the wolf of Darwin in the clothing of the Lamb of God. Since Muslims are the only real men left in Euroland, he fears they will put an end to perpetual symposium (in the original meaning of that word) that his country has become.

bigdakine said:

In the mind of normal person, neither Gore’s rhetoric or Palin’s would motivate anyone to violence.

Yes, of course, but the point you seem intent on missing is that Plain’s rhetoric, and the rhetoric of many conservatives (as erroneously applied in our current politics), is the sort of thing that will motivate DISTURBED individuals to violence. The same is not true for statements like Gore’s because there’s no violent rhetoric there! Why you can’t grasp such a simple fact is beyond me. You sound like those who insist on actual physical violence before labelling a rightwinger “militant”, but for leftists, particularly atheists, all that is required as challenging speech.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on July 27, 2011 9:05 PM.

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