But not so Breivik. The prosecutor told a news conference that Breivik “lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.” But could this not be said of anyone who adheres strictly to a particular set of beliefs? Unlike Loughner, Breivik was a successful, fully functioning adult in society who also held a thoughtfully articulated, if rambling, ideology laid out in a 1500-page manifesto. That ideology led him to blame what he saw as the traitorous multiculturalist European elites for embracing the Muslim immigration causing the disintegration of Western culture. That ideology ultimately compelled him to declare war and to target an Oslo government office and the next generation of those elites at a leftist youth camp.
If he is insane, why not Osama bin Laden or another Islamic terrorist as well? When bin Laden declared all participants in democracy to be valid targets of violent jihad because Allah, not man, should rule man, did this statement stem from personal lunacy or from the “delusional universe” of Islamic fundamentalism to which he subscribed? When he described the worldwide Muslim ummah as being under attack from infidels and therefore justified in waging defensive jihad, could it not be said that, like Breivik, he considered himself “chosen to decide who shall live and who shall die,” and “chosen to save his people”?
If Breivik is insane for waging war against those he perceived to be the enemies of civilization, why not also Nidal Hasan, whose slaughter of 14 people (13 adults, one of whom was three months pregnant) at Fort Hood in 2009 was likewise premeditated and derived from his absolute devotion to Islamic supremacism?
Many would argue that the systematic mass murder of innocents is prima facie evidence of insanity. How could a sane person possibly rationalize the Final Solution for Jews, or justify the Great Purge of political dissidents, or cheer as the collapsing Twin Towers buried innocent fathers and sons, mothers and daughters?
To excuse such horrific deeds as the acts of madmen is to let their ideologies off the hook. To dismiss Hitler as insane is to divert blame from anti-Semitism. To excuse Stalin as insane is to absolve Communism. To label bin Laden insane is to say, as the Obama administration would have us believe, that the atrocities he committed and inspired have no grounding in Islamic theology.
This is not to equate Breivik’s belief system with that of Islamists like bin Laden or Hasan, only to point out that lumping Breivik in with the truly insane like Jared Loughner opens the door to calling Islamic terrorists insane as well, which takes our eye off the ball of the ideology that inspires their terrorism.
I’m no psychiatrist. I cannot say that Breivik was not psychotic during his rampage. He may indeed have had delusions of grandeur, as bin Laden may have had in his dream of a worldwide caliphate. But he committed those murders in the name of his beliefs. We must not declare the ideologue to be insane. If we do, then we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to hold believers and their belief systems accountable for their victims.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Pages: 1 2