Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”
“This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”
[...] Mr. Breivik frequently cited another blog, Atlas Shrugs, and recommended the Gates of Vienna among Web sites. Pamela Geller, an outspoken critic of Islam who runs Atlas Shrugs, wrote on her blog Sunday that any assertion that she or other antijihad writers bore any responsibility for Mr. Breivik’s actions was “ridiculous.”
“If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists,” she wrote.
The tragedy of the scores murdered can only be mitigated, however slightly, if we attempt to understand the fueling of people, including lone wolf domestic terrorists, though Breivik may have had accomplices, because it’s never just them in the picture.
All you have to do is take a look at the Republican party’s 2012 roster for examples of who’s fueling this stuff. William Saletan over at Slate did that today. Herman Cain comes to mind, but he’s by no means alone.
And the hypocrisy doesn’t end with Geller. It permeates the Republican presidential field. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Newt Gingrich agree with Geller that no mosque should be built near Ground Zero. Herman Cain, in the style of George Wallace, just went to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to support local bigots who want to stop the construction of a mosque there. Rick Santorum told a Christian school audience: “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical.” And Michele Bachmann defended a congressional inquiry into Muslim violence by pointing out that recently,
Two of our soldiers were gunned down in Germany, and the fellow who shot them shouted “Allah Akhbar” before he did that. And just the week before that, we had a 20-year-old from Saudi Arabia, here on a student visa in Dallas, who had accumulated all of the chemicals necessary to create a bomb on the order of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. … If we don’t understand that there are Sharia-compliant terrorists in our midst … we will make ourselves more vulnerable.
Geller responds by calling anyone questioning her Islamaphobia and fearmongering “media assassins” against “voices of freedom.” People like Geller and others of her ilk simply think freedom is not for Muslims or anyone outside their wingnut hysteria club, with the impetus behind much of Geller’s invective style and hate speech her anti-Israeli paranoia, which is all consuming.
Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs has no problem writing the obvious:
There’s no doubt whatsoever that Anders Behring Breivik was seriously influenced by these people, and they know it. Their guilty consciences are showing.
But not to worry, there’s always someone willing to make excuses for these inciting wingnuts. Cue David Horowitz, writing under the title of “The Character Assassination of Robert Spencer,” which is as appalling as most of the wingnuttery from this man.
Hate is the driver, a reaction to what some right-wing fanatics see as all around them, which in Europe finds the numbers rising. From the Atlantic:
Over the last decade, the extreme right in Europe has become more palatable. The overt racism and chest-beating nationalism of previous years have been discarded. What characterizes the new far-right is a defiant, aggressive defence of national culture and history in the face of a changing world, of secularism, and even of democracy and liberty. While each has its idiosyncrasies, far-right parties are responding to genuine concerns of many voters: that modern globalization hasn’t benefitted them, that mass immigration — especially from Muslim-majority countries — is threatening local and national identity.
[...] Perhaps most important, these new far-right parties like Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in the Netherlands or Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France expertly portray mainstream politicians as spineless, soft-boiled, venal, self-serving slaves to political correctness and orthodoxy. Recent events — such as banking bailouts, the Eurozone crisis, and the News International hacking scandal — certainly lend some credibility to the view that politicians are indeed out of touch with ordinary people.
[...] A significant chunk of European voters is clearly impressed. Le Pen is currently third in the polling for the 2012 French presidential election. Wilders’ Freedom Party is also the third-largest in the Netherlands. In Scandinavia, the True Finns, the Danish People’s Party, and the Swedish Democrats all secured their best-ever electoral results over the past 18 months. Germany and Austria’s far-right parties are resurgent, sparking atavistic European fears. Further east, the Jobbik Party is now the third largest political party in Hungary, having doubled its seats during the last election.
Right-wing “populism” is an oxymoron.
But as the Tea Party rose in America as a response to Barack Obama’s presidency, though the foundation was economic and born in the Bush era, the fuel has come from extremists questioning Pres. Obama’s Americanism. These individuals charge some bizarre otherness they feel about Obama, resembling the same paranoid fears of the Norway domestic terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, a kinship of people who believe their future is being taken from them.
Right-wingers are having their day due to many things, including economic and cultural, but also because of feckless posturing from people who make false equivalencies under the guise of being “balanced.”
When you have someone like Donald Trump joining in on the rhetoric of birtherism it gives you the best example anywhere on earth at just how easy it is for this insidiously dangerous fearmongering to spread if even business tycoons feel comfortable repeating the most dangerous charges.
Poor Glenn Beck, he’s got to be really gnashing his teeth he doesn’t have his Fox megaphone anymore. But at least he was able to spew his “Hitler youth” invective on right-wing radio, so he shouldn’t feel he missed out.