As we absorb the shock of what happened last week in Oslo and Utoya, we’re also starting to get a clearer picture of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, now in Norwegian police custody. His manifesto, which largely consists of uncited work from a host of other right-wing thinkers, is now available online. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence gives us a picture of a man who is deeply troubled by multi-culturalism, by Islam, by modernity, by feminism, and by what has happened to traditional masculinity.
Breivik’s manifesto features an extended section called “Radical Feminism and Political Correctness,” cribbed uncredited from an American writer named Gerald Atkinson. The section complains “that the ‘man of today’ is expected to be a touchy-feely subspecies who bows to the radical feminist agenda.” Feminism’s aim, the manifesto continues, is to “emasculate” men, and render them “unwilling to defend traditional beliefs and values.” This rage at women in general, and at progressive feminists in particular, runs through much of the long and unwieldy 1187-page text. It’s a rhetoric familiar to anyone who reads the writing of Men’s Rights Activists.
So are anti-feminists and Men’s Rights Activists directly to blame for the actions of Anders Breivik? Of course not. Most MRAs – perhaps almost all – reject violence and mass murder as a political tactic. To suggest otherwise would be an indefensible and tasteless attempt to capitalize on a tragedy. But to pretend that there was no coherent political component to the tragedy would be almost equally indefensible.
There’s no escaping the reality that Breivik has painstakingly sought to ground the rationale for his acts of terror in ideological necessity. Judging by the manifesto he compiled shortly before Friday’s horrific rampage, he saw himself as a white knight standing up not only against liberal values, but against feminism and for an endangered traditional masculinity.
It is telling that Breivik targeted a Labor Party youth camp filled with young activists who were deeply committed to the very things he despised. The Norwegian Labor Party has long stood for greater rights for women; the Party’s “Women Can Do It” Project became a template for encouraging women’s empowerment across Europe. That empowerment, as far as Breivik was concerned, came at the price of the collapse of manhood and Western Civilization.
The mass murder of so many young people (of both sexes) may well have been his way of cutting down not only the best and the brightest of the future Norwegian progressive elite, but of killing off those who were personally and ideologically committed to the idea that men and women are radically equal.
Those who died at Utoya were not chosen at random. They were killed because of who they were and who they were going to become. Judging by the values of their parents and their party, these martyred young people were radically committed to pluralism, to progress, and to sexual justice. Those were the causes they gathered for on that little island, and those commitments were the reason they died.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As always, we are interested in publishing opposing points of view and particularly in this case when we are taking about such a horrible tragedy. Also, please remember our commenting guidelines, here.