The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
– Umberto Eco. Foucault’s Pendulum
It’s a cheap shot to smear political movements by the actions of their extremists – but watching the video posted by right-wing anti-Islamic zealot and self-identified Knight Templar Anders Behring Breivik before he carried out his terrorist attacks, I can’t help but feel unnerved by the fact that I’ve seen the exact same images and cartoons on various right-wing blogs in New Zealand.
The fantasy that the left are secret Marxists in league with Islamic fundamentalists to destroy western civilisation enjoys a surprising amount of support for a doctrine that makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Ian Wishart and former ACT Party Vice-President Trevor Louden are probably its most prominent champions – although I believe they are amusing rather than dangerous.
Breivik’s plan seems to have been the destruction of the political left in Norway, by blowing up the current generation of left-wing politicians with a car-bomb in central Oslo and then murdering their next generation at their youth camp. The second phase of his plan was more successful, but I’m not sure it will have the impact on Norway’s domestic politics that Breivik intended. I think political parties function similarly to revolutionary movements – other capable people will step forward and replace those he killed.