Confessed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik's "manifesto" references many statistics and papers dealing with both science and global population. But what if you were a writer — and you learned that the man who killed 77 people had quoted some of your work?
That's the odd situation in which Phillip Longman finds himself. As he describes in a piece written for Foreign Policy, Longman learned that his article "The Return of Patriarchy" is in Breivik's writings — reprinted in full.
Longman says he spent three days poring over the killer's manifesto, a blend of the killer's own writings and ideas and statistics cut and pasted from other sources. Longman says that Breivik's worldview is very hard to pin down. For instance, Breivik has high hopes for religion, Longman says — but even higher hopes for science; he comes off as a fascist — but he also denounces Hitler.
In the end, Longman concludes:
This century is likely to be dominated by eugenic thinking, and all the more so as different populations face the specter of demographic decline and environmental threat. Let us all try to keep our heads, maybe invest more in children, and remember our common humanity.
And whatever his motivations, Longman notes, Breivik's rage was taken out mostly on young, white Norwegians, not Muslims or immigrants. Thus, the task of making sense of Breivik's ramblings may be pointless, Longman says.
Still, in the wake of last month's killings, Breivik's political and ideological connections, both real and imagined, have brought new scrutiny to immigration and integration. That scrutiny has now fallen on the political party Breivik joined, later quit — and denounced in his manifesto.
As the AP reports:
Warning voters about the danger of increasing Muslim influence in Norway, the Progress Party rode a wave of anti-immigrant feeling and took nearly a quarter of the seats in parliament in the country's last election.
Now one of Europe's most successful right-wing parties is on the defensive after one of its former members massacred 77 people in the name of fighting immigration.
The Progress Party has confirmed that Anders Behring Breivik,the confessed perpetrator of last month's massacre, was a member between 1999 and 2006.
Of Breivik, Progress Party leader Siv Jensen told the AP, "He has obviously developed some very, very strange, sick ideas over the years. His manifesto is perversely unique and cannot be linked to any organization or legal political party of Norway."
Breivik's bizarre beliefs made headlines Tuesday, after he requested to be examined by Japanese — not Norwegian — psychiatrists. He also said he would cooperate with investigators, but only if Norway's government were overthrown.
News that Breivik is making erratic demands may be an omen that he could be declared insane. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, if that happens, he could avoid criminal prosecution. But the AP earlier reported that investigators believe that Breivik's execution of his elaborate plan proves that he was in control of himself.
More details are emerging about Breivik's life. In a story out today, Reuters reports that after he planted a car in Oslo on the day before the attack, Breivik hailed a cab and made small talk with the driver about his desires to live on a farm. The story also looks at his background for signs of pending trouble.