Monday, July 25, 2011

Speculations about Breivik

We still know too little about the motivations and associations of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer. Yet this limitation does not prevent speculations from appearing.

Today's NY Times has (on the front page) an article by Scott Shane seeking to implicate US antijihadist websites in the atrocities in Norway. This claim amounts to guilt by association, and is especially dubious when it stems from quarters that keep telling us that the violence of "Muslim extremists" has nothing to do with mainstream Islam.

We must be alert to another form of guilt by association. In all frankness, Breivik's persona has a gay aura. He has resisted dating, and is closely attached to his mother. To be sure he has criticized gay activism, and he may be nonpracticing. Reputedly, however, he was photographed seven years ago dancing at a gay pride parade.

A uniform fetishist, Breivik has a particular attachment to the Knights Templar, which he calls an “international Christian military order,” fighting against “Islamic suppression.” As the Norwegian killer must have known, Philip IV of France accused the Templars of sodomitical practices. Beginning in 1307 he hunted them down, tortured them, and executed them at the stake.

None of these assertions offers any conclusive proof. Yet if there is any truth in the gay angle we may expect it to be exploited in an unpleasant way.

In fact, a somewhat mysterious site has already declared "Most Nazis would appear to be macho gay."

This slur has been circulating for some time. Traceable to the Roehm affair in early 1930s Germany (and even earlier in the stereotype of "le vice allemand"), it was given a certain theoretical formulation in a little book by Samuel Igra "Germany's National Vice" (1945). This screed has pretty much vanished from sight; and good riddance.

Yet fifty years later this particular homophobic meme ("the Nazis were gay") resurfaced in the book "The Pink Swastika" by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams. An enlarged version of this tendentious compilation is available on the Internet. It is rubbish, but some have been taken in by it.

It is to be hoped that efforts to overgeneralize from the Breivik case can be turned back. Time will tell.

PS, See the observations by the gay conservative writer Bruce Bawer (who resides in Norway) in today's Wall Street Journal. He was quoted 22 times in Breivik's vast manuscript. Bawer seems to think that the association will harm the antijihadist cause, which he supports.



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