VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto V

This reading carries on from here.

This section (pages c. 286-415) is entitled “Europe Burning” and details a deliberate strategy, on the part of Breivik’s enemies, to destablise the European continent. This is achieved through a variety of political and sociological means.

Breivik appears to be an ardent believer in the Eurabia theory. This theory has it that the elites of the European and Muslim spheres have secretly agreed to come together in order to act as a counterweight to the influence of America and Israel.

The Eurabia theory sounds plausible on the face of it. But much of the rhetoric around it is misleading. A cynic might argue that the Eurabia rhetoric was deliberately dishonest.

Mass Muslim immigration to France happened not because of a conspiracy but because of economic reasons. We can surmise this because other Western nations also saw an influx of poorly educated third-worlders to work the jobs that the natives had become too highly educated to want to do.

Likewise, European prejudice against Jews and Israel did not arise as a consequence of Muslim and Arab leverage on European politicians. Anyone with so much as a passing knowledge of European history will be aware that native Europeans were more than capable of hating Jews without outside encouragement.

This document exhaustively references antisocial actions taken on behalf of certain Muslims and explains them in terms of collective Islamic anti-Western action. It’s certainly true that if a person would read a several hundred page list of crimes committed by Muslims they could come away thinking that such an agenda existed, but the document does not make an effort to determine whether such a list of crimes is unusual.

Another place in which the document makes implausible assertions is with regards to the sentiment that Judaism and Christianity are traditional European religions and Islam is not. Why Christianity and Judaism should be considered any more European than Islam, when all three Abrahamic sects come from the same place and exhibit similar characteristics, is not discussed by Breivik.

Neither does Breivik explain why he can so ardently attack Communism, Marxism, liberalism, globalism and feminism, but defend the very same Judaism that is most commonly associated with those ideologies.

This unusually benevolent stance towards Judaism is underlined by the multiple references to the work of Bat Ye’or, – who is the most energetic proponent of the Eurabia conspiracy theory – and the claim that Israel is a “cultural cousin” to Europe.

It is, true, however, that Breivik’s grasp of history is much deeper than those of the mainstream commentators whose political opinions inform the masses. He points out that the advent of the nation state, this enemy of the globalist, was itself a reaction to the religious wars that plagued Europe until the mid 17th century, and that wars predated the nation state by thousands of years.

Therefore, there is no reason to agree with the lazy consensus pushed by mainstream leftists that the end of the nation state will bring about a greater level of peace.

Ironically, Breivik “the neo-Nazi” comes across as decidedly less totalitarian than some of his enemies in certain regards. His dislike of the European Union is based in part on the phenomenon of unelected Eurocrats having more power than elected representatives of national governments.

He is correct to point out that critics of the unelected Eurocrats are often dismissed as “anti-democratic” elements – an absurdity on its face.

Although Europe has many enemies in Breivik’s analysis of the world, from the European Union to the mainstream media to mainstream academia to right-wing libertarians who deny the pull of culture, the major enemy is undoubtedly Islam: “The Islamic world always has been our enemy and always will be.”

Throughout this section, Breivik demonstrates an acute historical knowledge on the one hand, and a tendency to rapidly jump over several logic steps on the other. This leads to a number of uneasy conclusions.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto IV

This reading carries on from here.

Much of this section (pages c. 200-286) relates to further elucidation of the nature of the relations between Muslims and Christians. Here Breivik takes care to ensure that the Christians are always cast as the victims. When recounting the Muslim conquest of Lebanon, he draws special attention to the fact that the percentage of Christians there has declined from roughly 79% to 25% in the last century.

One point that is hard to refute is that Islam conquered immense swathes of territory in the century after the death of Muhammad. Breivik points out the unlikelihood of a fundamentally peaceful religion spreading so rapidly and so violently so quickly – indeed, such a rapid, aggressive expansion can only be explained by the religion being fundamentally violent.

This perhaps has led to the world-view expressed in the early part of the document as being one of noble resistance against the plundering Islamic hordes. It also explains why much of this document painstakingly recounts the specifics of the conflicts.

This world-view has led to some far-reaching conclusions, such as that a reluctance on the part of European leaders to protect Christian communities in the Middle East is the equivalent of high treason. This might make some sense if a person considers themselves part of the Christian yang locked into an eternal struggle with the Islamic yin, where all Christians are part of the same “team”.

Most of Breivik’s rhetoric appears designed specifically to appeal to Christians: the “us and them” nature of relations between Christendom and the Islamic world is emphasised. There doesn’t seem to be much room for people who aren’t particularly enthusiastic about Christianity – if these people are Westerners, they have let Team Christian down by refusing to join them in their eternal struggle against Islam.

That concludes this section of Breivik’s manifesto. The next section looks at the problems currently besieging Europe.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto III

This reading carries on from here.

In this section (pages c. 90-200), Breivik details the history of relations between the West and Islam. In his analysis here, there is nothing peaceful – Islam has been attempting to conquer the West since its inception, and would have succeeded already if not repelled at either Tours or Vienna, or other places.

The destruction of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War One, Breivik claims, is how the West has earned some breathing space against this relentless assault. The Caliphate was shattered after the Battle of Megido in 1917, and only because of this has Islam been unable to attack Europe in recent decades.

With sentences such as “the Islamic sources make clear that engaging in violence against non-Muslims is a central and indispensable principle to Islam,” and “Those cultures and individuals who do not submit to Islamic governance exist in an ipso facto state of rebellion with Allah and must be forcibly brought into submission,” a particular kind of Nordic bleakness shines through in this document.

It’s a kind of bleakness that has resigned itself to violence as a grim but inevitable outcome of the play of natural forces. They are attacking us is Breivik’s message. They always have been attacking us and they always will be.

Perhaps the following paragraph summarises this section of the document best:

The spectacular acts of Islamic terrorism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries are but the most recent manifestation of a global war of conquest that Islam has been waging since the days of the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th Century AD and that continues apace today. This is the simple, glaring truth that is staring the world today in the face — and which has stared it in the face numerous times in the past — but which it seems few today are willing to contemplate.

In this section Breivik continues to emphasise the point that no reformation of Islam is possible, for the reason that would-be reformers are unable to refer to any scriptural injunctions towards peace with non-believers. The example set by Muhammad himself was an example of war and of violence, so anyone with a will to reform is snookered from the beginning.

Essentially, anyone trying to move Islam away from violence has to work against the scriptures. Therefore, Islam cannot be used as a civilising force in the same way that Christianity could; no-one could discover through serendipity a message of peace and tolerance in their study of the Koran.

From reading this section there are two elements of Breivik’s reasoning that seem objectionable.

The first is that, although the list of historical atrocities by Muslims and modern apologies for these atrocities by Muslims is long, there are over a billion Muslims and Islam stretches back to the seventh century. As an inevitable consequence of existing for that long on a planet as violent as Earth, a cherry-picked list of bad things committed by or in the name of a group that large and old is going to be lengthy.

There’s no doubt, for example, that one could compile a hundred pages of grossly supremacist and chauvinistic admonitions to violence from a number of nationalities, including the Spanish, the French, the Germans, the British, the Russians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mongols, Huns, Persians and others, not to mention every other major Abrahamic sect.

Breivik may well have a point that most Westerners are not taught a deep general historical knowledge of Islam, but this only reveals a kind of autism on his part – after all, most people couldn’t care less about history full stop, let alone someone else’s.

The second obvious point of objection is that, although Breivik is correct in many ways when he criticises the unwillingness of Western historians, historical educators, or politicians to write or speak honestly about Islam, he doesn’t say much about an alternative.

If his contentions about the warlike nature of Muhammad and of Islam are accurate, and that they intend to subjugate the entire rest of the world, then there is a very good reason to not acknowledge this: doing so would be tantamount to an immediate declaration of war.

If Western leaders chose to go on television and say that the Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile and that the history of Islam was one of bloodshed, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy in short order.

They appear to be gambling on the idea that, if left for long enough without provocation, Islam could reform itself. In this they stand in complete opposition to Breivik.

However, a wiser head might make the claim that if faced with an apocalyptic war today, just about any alternative is preferable, and therefore if there’s any doubt about the willingness of Islam to subjugate the world we should accommodate that doubt in our conversations with them.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto II

This reading carries on from here.

The first part of the document proper is devoted to the “falsified history” of the West and “other Marxist propaganda”. It begins with a review of the history of Islam, in which Islam is declared responsible for the murder of over 300,000,000 non-Muslims throughout history.

It also lists, at length, the historical crimes of Islam. This exhaustive list of genocides, coupled with lines like “more than 95% of today’s Journalists, editors, publishers are pro-Eurabians” makes it easy to get the impression that Breivik has a particularly paranoid Weltanschauung.

He catalogues in detail the strategies that he considers the Islamic “theofascists” and Marxists to be using to manipulate the popular opinion of the religion in the West. Most of these strategies boil down to either lying or intimidation.

Curiously, despite that he describes himself as a Christian, he nonetheless is able to correctly point out that the vast historical crimes of Christianity are mostly inspired by religious features that are shared by all the Abrahamisms.

Without irony, Breivik describes a supposed rule of the Islamic theofascist propagandists: “If people ignore or refute your distorted version of history, accuse them of distortion and political abuse of history.”

It is taken for granted that his own understanding of history is complete and accurate.

Breivik doesn’t seem to have much time for the idea that there could be many different reasons to believe in different accounts of history. The history of Islam is one of evil, and any attempt to paint a more positive picture can only be part of a campaign of deliberate misinformation.

A noticeable pattern is that Breivik is very selective in what he cites as evidence. At one point he cites a Danish literature student who “concludes that Islamic texts encourage terror and fighting to a far greater degree than the original texts of other religions.”

There is nothing objectionable about this in isolation, but in the context of a determined attack on the legitimacy of the university system – with the attack itself centering on the degenerative effect that subjective textual analysis has had on the truth – it seems a bit contradictory.

However, the criticisms made of the content of the Koran and the Hadith cannot simply be dismissed. The plain facts are that the document calls for the killing and/or subjugation of non-believers at dozens of different points.

In fact, Breivik’s criticism of Islam raises some questions that, although deeply uncomfortable, are also unavoidable if one wishes to honestly evaluate the likely outcomes of Muslim culture expanding into the West.

If Muhammad was the perfect man who all Muslims should emulate, what do we make of the hadith that describes him as consummating his marriage to a nine-year old? Likewise, what do we make of his admonitions to kill adulterers and apostates? Or his decree to have a poet killed for mocking Islam?

“The entire Islamic moral universe devolves solely from the life and teachings of Muhammad,” Breivik contends.

So what do we do about the fact that some of these actions, believed by Muslims to have been undertaken by the perfect man in total accordance with the Will of God, are grossly incompatible with what Western culture considers to be good order?

Surrounding these very pertinent questions are long, paranoid expositions about the supposed Islamic sanctioning of lying and deceit, especially when speaking to unbelievers. Breivik certainly appears to believe that lying to non-believers is an inherent part of the Islamic religion and culture.

In some ways, the general criticisms of the unwillingness of Muslims to peacefully coexist sound entirely plausible, because we know of the history of the previous waves of Abrahamism to Europe. Christians also came to Europe professing a desire to live in peace, and they nevertheless found plenty of scriptural support for their efforts to terrorise the locals for centuries.

In other ways, things are less clear. It’s obvious that the other Abrahamisms – in particular Judaism and Christianity – are no longer as mindlessly bound in ancient tradition as they once were, but is this true of Islam? And if so, to what extent?

Breivik would evidently answer in the negative. He would have it that Islam has not changed at all since those early days of caravan raiding, and that even if it has, it’s liable to regress back into violence on account of the precedent set by Muhammad himself.

It’s certainly a very dark and dire perspective – but is it wrong?

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The VJMP Reads column will continue with Part III of Anders Breivik’s manifesto.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto I

Few are aware that the manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik has already had a considerable impact on the narratives within Western popular culture, but over the next few months we will have a close look at how. Today we introduce the VJMP Reads column, in which we try to get to grips with lesser-known or suppressed works of philosophy, especially those of a political bent.

Titled 2083: A Declaration of European Independence and published in 2011, the manifesto is not a light read. The version we are using weighs in at 1,515 pages – a similar length to War and Peace or The Stand.

Neither does it have any ambitions to be a light read. The vast scope of the document can be appreciated from a cursory glance at the table of contents, which runs to over 300 items.

The introduction starts off with a very powerful, and very unsettling, argument: that all ideologies are necessarily false. All ideologies, according to Breivik, declare a model of reality to be reality itself, and, when inevitably proven false, attempt to suppress that reality to the extent that they have the power to do so.

Their ultimate goal is to suppress the very thinking of thoughts that, although they may reflect reality, do not further the ideology.

Breivik is very direct about approaching these questions from a conservative perspective. Like many other conservatives, he harkens back to an idyllic Golden Age in the past – in Breivik’s 1950s,

“Our homes were safe, to the point where many people did not bother to lock their doors. Public schools were generally excellent, and their problems were things like talking in class and running in the halls. Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes…”

Western Europe, he laments, has been conquered by ideology. The dominant ideology – variously referred to as ‘Marxism’, ‘political correctness’, ‘cultural Marxism’ and ‘feminism’ among others – is one that seeks a classless society where the outcome for every person is the same.

Because people are different, they will end up with different outcomes as a consequence of natural laws. Therefore, in order for equal outcomes to be reality, people have to be forced into this reality against their will and against nature.

Variants of this basic argument are made by most conservative commentators, and to that end Breivik is not unusual.

Much of the introduction to the manifesto is taken up with a history of the ideology of political correctness and Marxism, which Breivik treats as having waged a many-decades long war against the order of the West.

What Breivik is decrying, fundamentally, is chaos; what he fundamentally desires is order. The current order is correct, and therefore efforts to destabilise it are wrong. Although the situation is grim – there is a distinctly paranoid tinge to the introduction – Western Europe can still be saved through a sufficient effort of will.

One curiosity is that Breivik, who is approaching the issue from a conservative perspective, uses many arguments that echo George Orwell, who was a leftist libertarian. “Whatever controls language also controls thought” is a paraphrasing of a famous line from 1984.

This explains why many of his arguments have broad appeal. His criticisms about how the emphasis of higher education has changed over time, from providing an education in the liberal arts to providing a cultural uniform that one learns to wear to display one’s political virtue, ring home with any freethinker that has been through university.

Breivik also identifies with Christianity, decrying a university course “designed to denigrate the Bible as cleverly crafted fiction instead of God’s truth.” The patriarchal nature of this Abrahamic cult is considered by Breivik to be a positive thing.

Indeed, the enemy, in summary, is “anti-God, anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-nationalist, anti-patriot, anti-conservative, anti-hereditarian, anti-ethnocentric, anti-masculine, anti-tradition, and anti-morality.”

And it’s these qualities, Breivik contends, that have weakened European culture and society to a point where Islamic conquest becomes possible.

What’s clear from the introduction to this document is that, if there’s a team yin and a team yang, Breivik is fully committed to team yang. For him it is order, not free expression, that is the foundation of all that’s good and moral in the world, and threats to that order cannot be improvements but are necessarily evil.

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The VJMP Reads column will continue with Part II of Anders Breivik’s manifesto.