The Dim-Post

July 27, 2011

Unsound

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 8:10 pm

I’ve been meaning to blog about the Sounds Symposium for a few weeks now, and here it is in an NZPA story:

The Norwegian man accused of killing at least 76 people, Anders Behring Breivik, based part of his 1500-page manifesto on a speech an Australian historian gave in New Zealand.

“Breivik quotes several statements I made in a paper to a conference in New Zealand in February 2006, titled The Adversary Culture: The Perverse Anti-Westernism of the Cultural Elite,” Quadrant magazine editor Keith Windschuttle told The Australian newspaper.

The speech was delivered at the Summer Sounds Symposium, at Punga Cove in the Marlborough Sounds, on February 11, 2006.

The Sound Symposium is a right-wing gab-fest held in the Marlborough Sounds. They seem to be defunct, which is a shame because their programs sound fascinating. Here are excerpts from 2007, 2008 and 2010:

SATURDAY March 20, 2010
9. 00 am Professor James Allan – The Decline of Democracy
Dr Andy Pratt – Transparency and the Manager’s New Clothes
Transparency is widely used as a feel-good term by politicians, managers and the
like. Often there is a darker side to their ministrations which involves the conscious
or unconscious shackling of creativity within a quicksand of administrivia. This will
be a brief effort to try to shed light on this murky underworld and its implications.
Chaired by Greg O’Connor

3. 45 pm Hal Colebatch – Is the Survival of the West Actually Guaranteed?
Bill Muehlenberg – The Threat of Secular Humanism
Chaired by Dr Neville Bennett

9. 30 am Dr Hal G.P Colebatch – A fragile Flame?
The uniqueness of, and the present attack upon, scientific and technological civilisation
Chaired by Dr Don Brash

11.00 am Peter Westmore – Organ harvesting in China: an olympian horror
Chaired by Nevil Gibson

3.45pm – Keith Windschuttle: The Adversary Culture: the perverse anti-Westernism of the culturally elite.
Chaired by Matthew Hooton
Symposium Bar Open

A friend of mine went in – I believe – 2008 and found himself standing around a bonfire singing ‘God Defend New Zealand’ while holding hands with Muriel Newman and Kerre Woodham. I’d give almost anything to go to one of these things.

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85 Comments »

  1. Wait… this post is satire, right?

    Comment by Rangi — July 27, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  2. Putting two and two together, Muriel Newman was on a flight I was on last year from Nelson to Wellington that weekend (I was there on holiday I swear). I distinctly remember it because she was wearing a badge that just had her name on it….

    Comment by max — July 27, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  3. You’ll have to sign up as Lachlan McDanyls — a good Celtic name, that, fit right in — otherwise they’ll blackball you and take away your voucher granting unlimited access to the gin and kool-aid punch.

    L

    Comment by Lew — July 27, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  4. You have to sleep with Woodham though.

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  5. Greg O’Connor — are we talking Police union Greg O’Connor? If so, that is too perfect.

    Comment by Stephen — July 27, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  6. While Don Brash and Greg O’Connor watch.

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  7. Nope. Not me. I never sang around a bonfire. Nor did I sleep (what a coy little euphamism) with anyone at the Symposium.

    Comment by Kerre Woodham — July 27, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  8. You’ll have to forgive will, Kerre. He’s one of the prices we pay for living in a tolerant and open society.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 27, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  9. …standing around a bonfire singing ‘God Defend New Zealand’ while holding hands with Muriel Newman and Kerre Woodham

    I can see why that would launch a thousand libertarian fantasies.

    Comment by NeilM — July 27, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  10. No worries, Andrew. Just saying.

    Comment by Kerre Woodham — July 27, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  11. At least they opened up the bar early.

    Comment by Richard — July 27, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  12. It must have been Don Brash while Woodham and O’Connor watched. The participants don’t matter it’s the protocol of those events.

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

  13. Who in their right mind could object to transparency except for a despot?

    Comment by Philoff — July 27, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  14. Dear God, also endorsed by Jim Hopkins?

    Comment by Sam F — July 27, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

  15. This is like an NZ version of Bohemian Grove.

    Except with less money.

    Comment by Hugh — July 27, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  16. Please let this be a piss-take

    Comment by aj — July 27, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

  17. 8-year olds? It calls to mind the Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”, except that it’s several centuries out of date… Nowadays it should be, “Give me a child and he will inevitably rebel against absolutely every value I tried to instill in him/her when they become an emo teenager.” Beck, keep it up!

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  18. Hmm – a New Zealand Bilderberg of the shadowy movers and shakers who really make the decisions about stuff. Or something like that. Was Ian Wishart there? If not, why hasn’t he reported on it…

    Comment by Dr Foster — July 27, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  19. But wait! There’s more! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8664738/Glenn-Beck-likens-Obama-administration-to-the-Third-Reich.html

    Right wing extremism has become so prevalent in the past decade or two that some glassy eyed fruitloop seems to pop up every few years and wipe out good portions of a community. The council on foreign relations, http://www.cfr.org/terrorist-organizations/militant-extremists-united-states/p9236, has this to say on the subject:

    RIGHT-WING GROUPS: The most recent swell of extremist violence began to emerge from right-wing militants in the late-1980s and 1990s. According to a 2005 FBI report on terrorism, these groups, which are “primarily in the form of domestic militias and conservative special interest causes, began to overtake left-wing extremism as the most dangerous, if not the most prolific, domestic terrorist threat to the country.” Right-wing extremists champion a wide variety of causes, including racial supremacy, hatred and suspicion of the federal government, and fundamentalist Christianity. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activities of hate groups, suggests militia groups declined every year since 1996 but have seen a dramatic resurgence since 2008.

    There seem to be a load of disenfranchised people out there who have deep problems with the way Western societies have developed in the past 20 – 30 years. The root cause isn’t the lunatic right fringe but with the society that nurtures them.

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  20. “The root cause isn’t the lunatic right fringe but with the society that nurtures them”

    I love how right-wing apologists for nutjobs believe in individual responsibility … except when it comes to the actions of nutjobs.

    “It wasn’t me officer, liberal society made me do it!”.

    Read a little history. In the USA, for example, there have been lunatic fringes as long as there’s been a nation. Society doesn’t “nurture” them, except simply by being a society, with the human interdependence that requires.

    Not having the vote in Alabama because of your colour – that was “disenfranchised”. Watching FOX News and getting angry … not so much.

    Comment by sammy — July 27, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  21. You throw the right-wing apologist tar around a little to easily then resort to name calling and poo pooing to cap off the argument, nice work. The simple proposition that society makes its’ freaks is bread and butter for justifying social spending so why isn’t it OK to discuss the rise of the fruit loop right in that frame?

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

  22. It’s fine to discuss it. So, enlighten us. How are these people “disenfranchised”, and by whom?

    Being angry is not synonymous with being a victim. Especially when they live in free democracies that give them every opportunity to argue for change. It’s not like the Tea Party are being kept off the ballot, is it?

    Comment by sammy — July 27, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  23. They are obviously deeply unhappy people who have disassociated themselves from the society they grew up in because they cannot see a way to influence through peaceful means and have lost faith in their political classes otherwise they wouldn’t go psycho with automatic weapons and fertiliser bombs.

    The question is what has changed in Western society in the past decade or two that has caused a significant increase in right wing nutjobs wanting to off the rest of mankind.

    Comment by will — July 27, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

  24. “scroll to the autobiographical photo’s at the end”

    Do you mean the guest bloggers down the right hand side? They’re not terribly creepy. If you click through to their blogs they’re generally arguing that Norway needs to remain an open society, notwithstanding the events of last weekend, and that they should resist becoming a paranoid society like the US. Which I think is a very good thing to argue. The headlines at the end of the page seem rather unremarkable.

    Comment by Dr Foster — July 27, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  25. “Administrivia” is my portmanteau of the day…

    Comment by Conor Roberts — July 27, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  26. Oh – I see the new link. Well, yes. I’ve always thought it wise to avoid people who have a thing about uniforms. The black suit with gold braid and medals is very smart, though. I bet they didn’t have anything as classy as that at Punga Cove.

    Comment by Dr Foster — July 28, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  27. Are these people plagiarising David Haywood?

    Comment by Russell Brown — July 28, 2011 @ 12:07 am

  28. @will: What has changed in Western society? Probably the same reasons the League of Empire Loyalists fought bitterly to prevent the British Empire from breaking up, despite the fact Britain could no longer afford to keep it in one piece – the loss of entitled superiority.

    Comment by DeepRed — July 28, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  29. A friend of mine went in – I believe – 2008 and found himself standing around a bonfire singing ‘God Defend New Zealand’ while holding hands with Muriel Newman and Kerre Woodham. I’d give almost anything to go to one of these things.

    I heard it was ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ — and they were dancing around the bonfire. Serious.

    The whole thing peaked, I think, when the saner guests realised that the core crew were basically a bit weird or (cf. Windschuttle) just pretty mediocre. It will be interesting to see if any of the journalists who have attended– Karl du Fresne and David Cohen among them — write about it now.

    Comment by Russell Brown — July 28, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  30. Every now and again you get a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain in elite society – in Britain with the phone hacking scandal (tweet of the week: “Rupert Murdoch says he has been touched by all the messages left on Amy Winehouse’s phone.”), and with this sort of revelation here. And what you see is, to paraphrase Ariana Huffington is a country where journalist A is reporting on businessman B, but also having dinner with him – and Politician C appoints businessman B to a commission because he’s good friends with Editor D, who was at Politician C’s wedding. And round and round the connections and the corruption go. It’s elite society modeled on an organized crime family.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 28, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  31. Check out the Summer Sounds photo on this page. I wonder what those druids were going to do with the cray:

    http://www.summersounds.co.nz/what-participants.html

    Comment by uke — July 28, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  32. There was a quote in the DomPost from Hooton to the effect he stopped going to Summer Sounds because it was getting a bit extreme.

    Comment by Owen — July 28, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  33. @will: “The question is what has changed in Western society in the past decade or two that has caused a significant increase in right wing nutjobs wanting to off the rest of mankind.”

    That’s A question. I think the answer is pretty clear … read what they say. The more important question then is, what do you want done about it?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 28, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  34. Saturday June 23, 2007
    9.00am Dr Chris de Freitas – Refl ections on current global warming.
    Chaired by Dr Don Brash

    HAHAHAHA oh to be a fly in the room at that one..

    Comment by Hobbes — July 28, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  35. It would have been a very short session, seeing as there isn’t any current global warming. Take his introductory geography course at Auckland – it’s true!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-changing-world/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502962&objectid=10738739

    Comment by Grassed Up — July 28, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  36. Somebody at the Herald has a serious hardon for him, there was another “great debate” article with him in it the day before yesterday.

    Funnily enough they never mention in his bio that he was the editor of a journal which published an article by Willie Soon, he of 100% oil company financing fame, which was disowned by 13 of the authors it quoted, and that the editorial/review board of the journal resigned in protest soon after. Or how much money he gets from right-wing American thinktanks to go pontificate about global ‘cooling’ or whatever the in-thing is these days. (see; http://www.desmogblog.com/chris-de-freitas )

    Comment by Hobbes — July 28, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  37. Also, if you want a laugh, in the Herald comments section on the ‘great debate’ article i found this gem:

    Ian Wishart (Auckland City)
    09:01 AM Tuesday, 26 Jul 2011
    Get real, Keith Hunter. The inconvenient facts keep getting in the way of your theory.

    Comment by Hobbes — July 28, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  38. “The question is what has changed in Western society in the past decade or two that has caused a significant increase in right wing nutjobs wanting to off the rest of mankind.”

    The thing is, in that period the US murder rate has dropped back to the rate last experienced in 1960, and the overall violent crime rate has dropped.. dramatically.

    See the graph on the RH side:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

    Looks like those nutjobs are doing a damn fine job.

    While we’re at the guilt by association phase, I note that Breivik also quotes approvingly from such nutters as George Orwell, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith and Edmund Burke.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 28, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

  39. “…The thing is, in that period the US murder rate has dropped back to the rate last experienced in 1960, and the overall violent crime rate has dropped.. dramatically…”

    I, to, have noticed & mapped this drop off in crime – it correlates well with the re-emergence of pirates. The answer to Brevik, then, is clearly to encourage Norweigans to step up longship production. Lindisfarne is looking mighty tasty at this time of year, and I predict a good old fashioned and sustained bit of Norse piracy will see the slump in the US murder rate continue.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 28, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  40. If that’s the 2010 programme, then I don’t think I was there. I remember going in 2006 I think and chairing some session about the Middle East which it think must have been the thing NZPA called me about yesterday. (2006 was also the weekend that I became friends with Nick Smith again – so VERY strange things happen at these events.) I think the last time I attended was in 2008 and I remember the bonfire incident. The NBR’s Ben Thomas (now press sec to Chris Finlayson) and I hid in the bar as it was going on. That was also the year that Finlayson and Tim Groser were declared persona non grata for dangerous left wing tendancies (Nick Smith was expelled a year earlier I think) and when Fran O’Sullivan and John Roughan (Irish surnames) disrupted proceedings attacking the monarchists. Amy Brooke was appalled – challening speakers was not encouraged.
    But, Danyl, you are absolutely right – there is no doubt you would have loved attending.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — July 28, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  41. Kerre Woodham baffles me. Can anyone tell me what the hell she’s done that’s kept her in the public eye for so long? Was she a journalist or something?

    Comment by Purple-Shirted Eye Stabber — July 28, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  42. You have clear recollections of this event 5 and 3 years ago, Matthew Hooton, but you can’t remember if you were there last year.

    Comment by Aztec — July 28, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  43. Kerre Woodham baffles me. Can anyone tell me what the hell she’s done that’s kept her in the public eye for so long? Was she a journalist or something?

    Someone at the Herald has a bubblehead fetish. Also accounts for their dishwasher blonde busybody whose name I can’t be arsed Googling.

    Comment by Joe Wylie — July 28, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  44. Who the hell is Kerre Woodham?

    Comment by ruskin — July 28, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  45. @ 38 Grassed up
    Great Article “It began with the China floods in May last year, coinciding, in June, with widespread fires and drought in Russia, coinciding with record breaking monsoon flooding in Pakistan that killed 1,500 people and left 20 million homeless”
    Seriously? “Began” only last year? China had no floods before that? Actually, that could be right: my childhood memories of watching the news (70s, when global cooling was feared) was that only (/sarc) Bangladesh (that was once kinda part of Pakistan, right?) had floods that killed millions and left one man homeless or something. Those floods (and Australian droughts and the snow on the Rimutukas of the 70’s) mustive been caused by the coming global warming rather than actual global warming.
    Some other brave souls who’ve put their heads above the parapet:

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-1276.html

    (of course, none of them know anything about global warming the way Greenpeace, Oxfam and that nice Doctor Patchy (industrial economist, railway engineer) does.)
    Still, it’s settled science, so why don’t I just hush my mouth.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 28, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  46. Yes. Because the only people who think AGW is a reality are Greenpeace and Oxfam and scientists like that. But speak up as much as you want – just don’t expect to be taken seriously.

    Comment by Grassed Up — July 28, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

  47. @andrew: re: “The question is what has changed in Western society in the past decade or two that has caused a significant increase in right wing nutjobs wanting to off the rest of mankind” and your response of “I think the answer is pretty clear … read what they say. The more important question then is, what do you want done about it?”

    What ‘they’ say is “” Right-wing extremists champion a wide variety of causes, including racial supremacy, hatred and suspicion of the federal government, and fundamentalist Christianity” which is not the answer to my question as racial supremacy, hatred and suspicion of the federal government, and fundamentalist Christianity has been around for a lot longer than the present upsurge in right wing nut jobs.

    If you refer back to the original context of my comment which was “The root cause isn’t the lunatic right fringe but with the society that nurtures them”, you’d understand that I was asking for some illumination from the deep thinkers here about what has been the root cause of the changes in society that seen the massive increase in nutjobs wanting to off everyone.

    Obviously you need to fully understand the cause before you can design a solution although to answer your question I’d like to see the nutjob violence stopped.

    .

    Comment by will — July 28, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  48. will,

    By “they” I mean the rwnj’s themselves – why not take them at face value? They’ll tell you Western society is under threat from outsiders and fellow travellers within (the “cultural Marxists”/leftists/etc) and that action must be taken to protect it. The “causes” are pretty clear (if misdescribed).

    Point being, it’s not so much that society “nurtures” these folk – it’s that society is changing in ways that these folk deeply, deeply dislike (and which they make abundantly clear at great length – Breviek’s manifesto was 1500 pages long) and they want to stop it. Hence the real question is what to do about their gripes – do we stop/reverse the changes they dislike in the hope it might stop them blowing things up/shooting people, or do we treat them in much the same way we treat al Qaeida (as a national security threat to be monitored and disrupted), or do we just ignore them and hope they go away?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 28, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  49. Regardless of “they or “they” the root cause still isn’t apparent and without that there’s not much chance of sorting out the problem besides applying a blanket ‘solution’ of some kind and hope that it works-ish.

    .

    Comment by will — July 28, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  50. The question asked of the Norwegian Police “why didn’t you shoot the guy” does make you wonder although again won’t solve the underlying problem.

    .

    Comment by will — July 28, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  51. “But speak up as much as you want – just don’t expect to be taken seriously.”
    I don’t expect to be taken seriously, (especially not in this forum) after all, like many warmists (Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, Nic Stern et al) I’m not a climate scientist.
    But I would expect you to at least think about what these guys say.

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-1276.html

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 28, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  52. “do we stop/reverse the changes they dislike in the hope it might stop them blowing things up/shooting people”

    But they don’t blow things up and shoot people to any important degree. When the question arises people quote about the Unibomber, McVeigh and a couple of others.. compare that to the 15,000 Islamic terrorist acts over the last decade or so to see the laughable comparison.

    You can comment and worry about “right wing nutters” killing dozens, hundreds, thousands and hundreds of thousands but the reality is it just-does-not-happen, largely because it falls outside the culture of the modern Western mind. In almost every case where mass killings occur in the West you are dealing with obsessives with little religious and/or left/right motivation. Breivik is a classic case.. he is not religious, has rejected Norway’s right wing party as too politically correct but justified his massacre with quotes from such people as Winston Churchill, philosopher John Locke, Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi, and former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson.. Ghandi?? Christ, he even recruits quotes from Naomi Klein to his cause.

    However, in an earlier post I did mention that Breivik speaks to a significant minority in Europe, including the leaders of the UK, France and Germany who have all made similar anti-Muslim/multiculti statements in recent months. Breivik has some heavy hitters in his corner.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 28, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

  53. The opportunity to get worldwide attention may be a factor for some like Breivik. The publicity of other mad massacres may also play a part. But then you have to wonder if the David Grays are different altogether.

    Anyway, is it a modern phenomenon,or do we just see more of it because of new media?

    Comment by Pete George — July 28, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  54. JC wrote: “But they don’t blow things up and shoot people to any important degree. When the question arises people quote about the Unibomber, McVeigh and a couple of others.. compare that to the 15,000 Islamic terrorist acts over the last decade or so to see the laughable comparison.”

    I don’t know where the figure of 15 000 Islamic terrorist acts came from, but the number of people killed in islamic terrorist acts is itself dwarfed by the number of people killed in wars over oil.

    Comment by Kahikatea — July 28, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  55. “the reality is it just-does-not-happen…”

    Yes it does. It just did. Breivik was both religious (by Norwegian standards very much so) and right wing. Your “argument” is that Breivik isn’t right wing because he found Norway’s version of Act too left wing. By that definition the nutters at Crusader Rabbit aren’t right wing either. That’s just silly.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — July 28, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  56. Worth noting that the ‘nutters at Crusader rabbit’ are claiming Breivik as one of their own, and distancing themselves from ‘anti-jihadis’ who suggest that he was either crazy or wrong.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 28, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  57. So, I’ve heard enough about these people he quotes that I became interested in why he quotes them. And this is what I’ve found.

    He quotes Gandhi, Locke and Jefferson in the context of the justification for rebellion, and, in Locke’s case, a passage from the Second Treatise about how government forfeits power and becomes arbitrary when it endeavours to take away property. His Churchill is the one that wrote “”How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy” in the River War (1899), rather than the “fight them on the beaches” Churchill (although Churchill seems to figure as a saviour of Europe throughout.

    He also features a list of authors from whom “ideological fundaments” should be taken, which includes Locke, but also Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and Ayn Rand, as well as John Stuart Mill, Orwell and the Bible. And Machiavelli.

    His use of Mill seems to be entirely based around the quote “A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury,” which appears twice and is both times followed by rants about the multicultural Marxists who have taken over the governments and made them dictatorships. And we all know that the right love to claim Orwell as one of theirs despite the fact that he was a socialist until the day he died, so there’s no real inconsistency there.

    The part in which Naomi Klein appears seems to be lifted from Fjordman, and is definitely not approving — Fjordman says that he gave up after a few chapters of Shock Doctrine and implies that Klein is responsible for the crimes of Pol Pot, before defending Milton Friedman against her charges. There’s also one point in which she features in a bibliography of anti-globalization texts, but it’s from a syllabus that the murderer appeared to have found online, for a course about revolution, which he hoped to repurpose for his conservative revolution despite being written “by a Marxist.”

    So, I think that although two or three of those thinkers outlined above may broadly be described as “left,” especially by those who wish to distance their own political ideas from the murderers, the context in which he uses them is purely to support a violent rebellion. Churchill is a hero not for the defeat of the nazis, but for his hatred of muslims. I’m not going to look into it any more because I find the whole thing extremely distasteful. It’s pretty clear that the political is pathological with this guy, but to deny that his political ideas were not right wing by name-checking two or three of the people he quoted without understanding the context in which he quoted them is facile.

    Comment by Jake — July 29, 2011 @ 3:46 am

  58. Breivik is a classic case.. he is not religious

    Quoted for humour.

    Also, since when has Churchill been anything other than a man of the political right?

    Comment by Hugh — July 29, 2011 @ 7:31 am

  59. Left/right, bite/smite. Bush invaded Iraq with his trusty friend Blair, Obama invaded Lybia with his friend Cameron. Key is in a similar mold to Cameron & Balir.
    “the number of people killed in islamic terrorist acts is itself dwarfed by the number of people killed in wars over oil.”
    Kahikatea @ 56

    “And we all know that the right love to claim Orwell as one of theirs despite the fact that he was a socialist until the day he died, so there’s no real inconsistency there.”
    Don’t you think Orwell’s point is that power corrupts, always? Sure he embraced the socialist ideal, but he also seemed to be painfully aware that the men at the top didn’t, they had simply chosen a vehicle to get them the power they deserved. Same with the (allegedly) god-fearin’ conservatives.
    Hence the libertarian wish to reduce the power that government wields. You just know it makes sense! (Although PC & Co desire to privitise all roads shows how some of them can be a trifle doctrinaire.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 29, 2011 @ 7:52 am

  60. My reason in mentioning all those famous people was *not* to impugn they were left or right, but to show that the killer is using them to justify his obsession-his only relationship to politics and politicians is in how he can bend what they have said to give authority to his Manuscript and obsession.

    “Breivik was both religious (by Norwegian standards very much so) and right wing.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Norway#Religion_in_Norway_today

    Your statement doesn’t mean what you think it means.. 83% of Norwegians are “religious” but only 3% attend church weekly and 10% monthly. Norwegians see no conflict in stating they are 83% members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and being unobservant and even atheist. Brevik is well within this tradition in stating he is Christian but in name only.. he even explains that he’s referring to culture, not religiosity.

    The only relationship this guy has to religion and politics was to ignite a crusade to drive Muslims out of Europe and punish Marxists.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 29, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  61. “The only relationship this guy has to religion and politics was to ignite a crusade to drive Muslims out of Europe and punish Marxists.

    Because that’s not political at all, nope, looking in the wrong place there copper.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 29, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  62. “Because that’s not political at all, nope,”

    Nope. I think mass murder is mass murder, not politics.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 29, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  63. So the IRA, the UVF, AQ, the ETA, Shining Path, Hamas, the PLO, Émile Henry and so on til the cows come home. None of tit’s got anything to do with politics.

    I assume when the RAF bombed germany at various points, that was politics? Just trying to work it out. How about the US founders? Did they just become politicians after the killing was done? How does it work JC?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 29, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  64. So, I think that although two or three of those thinkers outlined above may broadly be described as “left,” especially by those who wish to distance their own political ideas from the murderers, the context in which he uses them is purely to support a violent rebellion.

    I think that was the point – he took anything to support a pre-existing conclusion.

    I think a considerable amount of far-right rhetoric is wrong and dangerous but that’s not the only possible factor going on. If this far-right rhetoric was so powerful then how come this didn’t happened in France, Germany, Austria?

    That there is a casual link between this event and particular forms of political rhetoric is an assumption as yet unproved. If there is no connection then that doesn;t make either any more acceptable.Waiting to ge tsome idea of hois state of mind beforee drawing conclusions I think is reasonable.

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  65. that’s “That there is a causal link..”

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  66. “How does it work JC?”

    Politics is defined as the art and science of governance, or the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.

    How does the actions of a single obsessed mass murderer meet those definitions? Your above examples are of movements and groups and can be described as having political motives albeit some through terrorism.

    I accept that on one level you can describe Breivik as having a political motive, but I think for most people his actions were so monstrous and mad as to completely subsume such a motive.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 29, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  67. A pretty narrow definition of politics JC, but it’ll do.

    How does the actions of a single obsessed mass murderer meet those definitions?

    The nature of his obsession was that he wanted to effect change upon how Norway, and Europe more generally, is governed. He percieved a threat to his civilisation, and was acting to protect it.

    Funny word that. Civilisation. Comes from ‘Civis’ which means, orginally, to lie down. From that the Romans got notions of home and love. That became extended to Citizen. We use it in the form civics, which is not unrelated to ‘politics’. A word which itself comes from ‘polis’, or city. A politician is someone from and of a polis. One for whom the polis, and it’s welfare and affairs, is important.

    You can deny his motive all you like, but I can’t really see the point in doing that.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 29, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  68. A quick squizz at Wikiquote yields this, from Carl von Clausewitz:

    We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means.
    Chapter 1, Section 24, in the Princeton University Press translation (1976)

    Variant translation: War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.

    It does seem clear to me that political acts cannot also be both monstrous and mad, nor that monstrosity and madness should be considered in isolation from the political motive.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  69. …nor that monstrosity and madness should be considered in isolation from the political motive.

    What I think is important is the issue of how someone’s mental state influences their politics: how that affects how and what influenced that politics and what influenced how they acted out on that politics.

    “Madness” happens in quite structured ways, it’s not some sort of random irrationality. Some people become paranoid because we all have to join dots, take mental shortcuts, since to do otherwise would take too much time. With some form of chemical disruption of the brain that “normal” process can become abnormal.

    It’s a very interesting fact that people who have no emotions, say from a brain injury, cannot make decisions. And we become consciously aware of our decisions only after we have made them.

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  70. Hi Neil,

    I’ve often, semi-facetiously quipped that all rationalisation is post-rationalisation.

    Essentially, I agree. “Madness” is not chaotic, but often very systematic. A point of the satire in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (and bear in mind, most of the major characters were closely modeled on real people) is that base impulses will seek rational articulation and be filtered and structured and achieve practical fulfillment through that rationalisation. That rationalisation or ideology can be insane because of its impulse (and Brevik might have instead joined the Aquarium Gravel Liberation Front and written a manifesto to explain why his aims are perfectly sensible and necessary for the sake of aquarium gravel everywhere and that growing daffodils are the only and best means to liberate aquarium gravel and gone on to grow absolutely enormous numbers of daffodils), but the ideology is inextricably fused with Brevik’s actions.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  71. but the ideology is inextricably fused with Brevik’s actions.

    there appears to be two aspects to his motivation: in-group/out-group differentiation and wounded pride.

    As a species we have an innate drive to form in-group/out-group distinctions, to construct The Other. Since so much of our history is that of waring tribes that’s not surprising. Brevik certainly had that motivation.

    He also felt his genius was unappreciated. That sort of grudge can really fester in some males. Hitler and Manson are other examples.

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  72. “The nature of his obsession was that he wanted to effect change upon how Norway, and Europe more generally, is governed. He percieved a threat to his civilisation, and was acting to protect it.”

    I would argue that when you have a well functioning democracy like Norway that was in fact responding to Breivik’s concerns.. witness the upsurge in the Progress Party support .. that Breivik in fact was operating above and beyond politics.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 29, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  73. The vast majority of mass murders are explicitly political. They usually go by the name “war”, though, which can be confusing.

    Comment by Hugh — July 29, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  74. Neil, not to browbeat, but to offer a reference that you might find interesting, see if you can track down a copy of Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies, a study of the kinds of pathology you describe.

    JC, I think that you assume that “politics”, by definition, cannot stretch to encompass the extreme and the insane.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  75. Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies

    looks interesting but it looks a little over-reliant on psychoanalysis which hasn’t stood the test of time and was produced a bit too early to take advantage of what we now know via evolutionary biology.

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

  76. Well, give it a go; you may draw different conclusions, but you can certainly interpret his cases according to evopsych.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  77. you might be interested in French and American noir: dark crossings

    the second half is on film noire with a bit of cognitive analysis of the femme fatale.

    http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=397275

    Comment by NeilM — July 29, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  78. Kewl, I’ll now have to wrest my attention from the Permian Mass Extinction in my reading. I do like my film noir.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  79. “JC, I think that you assume that “politics”, by definition, cannot stretch to encompass the extreme and the insane.”

    Heh.. reminds me of a joke about the Queen.

    When she first visited NZ she did the usual stuff and then was taken to see how we ran our mental institutions. She found staff and patients quite nice, and was particularly taken with one young man who impressed her with obvious intelligence and sanity. The young man pleaded for her to take up his case of wrongful committment. The Queen agreed and as she was walking out of the ward she was hit on the head by a flying brick.. dazed she was helped to her feet and found the young man before her, smiling, wagging his finger and saying “Now don’t forget!”.

    Sometimes its only the brick thats important..

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 29, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  80. “Variant translation: War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.”

    British military historian John Keegan has argued, eloquently and at length (in ‘a history of warfare’), that the inevitable result of the Clausewitzian philosophy as encompassed by that quote was the horror and madness of WW1.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Keegan

    Comment by Rich (the other one) — July 29, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  81. JC,

    I’ve heard other versions of that, so I think that it’s an urban legend – but a good one nonetheless.

    Here’s another – almost certainly invented as a joke: Margaret Thatcher is touring an old folks’ home, saying hello, jolly good job you’re doing here and all that until she comes across one old dear and asks, “Do you know who I am?” to which she replies, “No, but if you ask at the front desk they’ll be able to tell you.”

    Rich, that quote sums up also what is so despicable about the chickenhawks who frequent the various nutbar blogs calling for new crusades. Very few soldiers who are not psychopaths like Brevik and who have seen real combat think war is glorious. I could quote Wellington after Waterloo, but there’s Captain Edmund Blackadder:

    “It doesn’t mean that I’m not sick of this damn war: the blood, the noise, the endless poetry…”

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  82. Reference, not quote, I mean (need an edit button, blah blah).

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 29, 2011 @ 8:52 pm


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