In the wake of Anders Breivik’s murderous rampage in Norway on July 22, there has been a frantic hunt for motives. The goal is simple: Find a motive you can link to someone you don’t like, and then hold him indirectly responsible for the bloodshed.
Lefties do this every time a white man commits political violence. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in 1995, they tried to blame a “climate of hate” stirred up by conservative talk radio. When Jared Loughner went on a killing spree earlier this year they tried to blame “right-wing rhetoric.”
The “climate of hate” campaign is in full swing again, helped greatly by Mr. Breivik’s long manifesto about his motives and influences. Mr. Breivik clearly doesn’t like Muslim immigration into Europe. He cited many sensible people and politicians as influences, and the open-borders people wasted no time in pouncing on them. “Europe’s Far Right Parties Go on the Defensive,” read the headline of a July 28 Wall Street Journal article that gets right to the point:
Europe’s anti-immigrant parties . . . use rhetoric very similar to Mr. Breivik’s. Those parallels have exposed the movements to accusations that they have fostered a political environment that encourages intolerance that can spill into violence.
“When you repeat these theories over and over again, crazy people get ideas,” said Mehmet Koksal, a Belgian-Turkish political analyst.
A “Belgian-Turkish political analyst” certainly ought to know.
The New York Times rolled out Marc Sageman, terrorism expert and former CIA spook, to complain about Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and the Gates of Vienna, both of which keep a sharp eye on what Muslims are up to. “This rhetoric,” Mr. Sageman fretted, “is not cost-free.”
The message is clear: People must write more kindly about Islam. Some at the Times and the Journal may even wish the United States had European-style “hate speech” laws so that Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna could be shut down.
Of course, when the 33rd Muslim is arrested for mayhem or attempted mayhem, the reaction is the opposite: We mustn’t see patterns, mustn’t draw conclusions, mustn’t doubt the wisdom of welcoming more of these wonderful, peaceful people into the West.
Unfortunately, at least in Europe, the “climate of hate” campaign seems to be working. Some of the sensible people Mr. Breivik quoted are repudiating him, not just for what he did but for agreeing with them. Geert Wilders, who has campaigned in Holland against Muslim immigration, called Mr. Breivik “a lonely, ill-adjusted idiot” and said he was “repulsed” that Mr. Breivik had mentioned him in the manifesto. The Norwegian blogger who goes under the name Fjordman and writes insightful articles on the threat of Islam said he “intensely dislike[d]” being mentioned by Mr. Breivik.
The Progress Party, which opposes Muslim immigration, is also back peddling. “It is painful to know that he [Mr. Breivik] has been a member,” said a spokesman. Top leaders held a “crisis meeting” to discuss “how to adjust campaign rhetoric” in light of the killings.
This is completely wrong. Mr. Wilders and Fjordman should have said: “Of course he agreed with me; it’s because I’m right. And of course I condemn his horrible act of violence.” The Progress Party should have said: “Mr. Breivik was a member because our vision of Norway is best for the country.” Even to consider changing its campaign message is to suggest they have been saying something wrong.
The Left would never make mistakes like that. Let us imagine that a global-warming nut walked into the headquarters of an oil company and shot the place up. Would Al Gore stop promoting his book? Would the New York Times apologize for the “climate of hate” its editorials had stirred up? Not a chance. The Unabomber’s killings never gave environmentalists a second thought.
What if a homosexual activist shot a state governor because he vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage? Would the people who promote homosexual marriage worry about “how to adjust their campaign rhetoric”? Hardly.
Mr. Breivik was a Freemason and an ardent Zionist. No one is asking Freemasons and Zionists to reexamine their beliefs.
Someone can snap in the name of any controversial issue. That does not mean the people he agrees with are wrong, or are responsible for what he does. Leftists understand this perfectly when a fellow lefty jumps the tracks, but conveniently fail to understand it when they think a murderer supports ideas they don’t like.
Islam is a terrible threat to Europe, and those who oppose it are fighting for the survival of their civilization. They must not slacken their efforts because of Anders Breivik. He is a heartless mass murderer who would deserve the death penalty if Norway still had it. But he is still right about Muslim immigration.