t appears the plot has thickened in the horrific Norway massacre that involved bombings and shootings at two separate locations that claimed the lives of close to 100 innocents yesterday. Unlike many on the left, it made no difference to many of us what color the shooter's hair or eyes were; there only began to prove to be a strange twist when rumors of his worldview began to swirl around. It was only then that he began to appear to be a bit of a departure from the norm. After all, he would not have been the first European Islamist we've captured in the past ten years. But we one thing seems unchanged: he agrees with Norway's labor government's - and the Islamists' - anti-Semitism, and he agrees with the far left that terror and oppression are the only useful tools in governing a society.
At present, Anders Behring Breivik seems to be the sole suspect, contrary to earlier suspicions - mine included, as well as those of the BBC and other left-of-center media and government officials - that this was a coordinated Islamism attack. Of course, the BBC dutifully began filling the air almost entirely with speculation that it was Norway's almost non-existent role in Afghanistan and Libya that was the culprit and all but ignored the growing Islamist movement in Norway and how PM Jens Stoltenberg's government has chosen not to deal with it (when it wasn't supporting it, which was quite rare).
But of course, all of that talk may have become moot as more details seem to have surfaced. So naturally, conservatives will seek to fall back and suggest that perhaps this will become the exception that proves the rule, while the left will most certainly suggest the opposite: that this is the rule that proves the rule. In one sense, the left is right. When you begin to look at it a little deeper, you might begin to think this is the rule that proves the rule.
But what rule? While early reports suggest he was an ultra-nationalist á la Alex Jones-with-hand-grenades (though we do not know the philosophical basis of this or his mental health - so it is yet too early to determine what is at the root of his rampage) we do know that Europe has a long history in which the balance of power has either shifted toward the violent left or the violent right - a "right" quite alien from how we define it here in the US. Historically, this battle has not given much voice to the average, peaceful person living in the Old World. Marx or Hitler was your choice, so you were screwed either way. Over the centuries what started out as contests among nobility has evolved into what began to be known as leftist versus rightist in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Regardless of the name of the fashionable political philosophical candy du jour, this clash of titans remained one of the principle reasons so many fled to America.
Of course, much of the media in the US and the world today counts itself among the combatants in the Old World sense, so it will seek to make up for the Loughner that got away in its quixotic cultural quest to finally vanquish its ancient nemesis as well as put away this new post-1776 foe: the "third option". As you recall, before the blood had even dried on the pavement, MSM sought to paint Jared Loughner as a right-wing terrorist and then pin him not to the Alex Jones extreme but to the Sarah Palin mainstream. This was until Loughner's rantings on YouTube and testimony from those who knew him surfaced and it became clear he was a radical atheist and quasi-neo-Marxist. Loughner was also determined to be mentally unfit to stand trial, so the crestfallen media was able to quickly let the story drop with cover. The Obama administration was also forced to wait for another opportunity to push its anti-America class narrative.
If anything, yesterday's tragic incidents in Oslo and Utoya should serve to further support the reality that the traditional American conservative is the true "centrist" in the world body politic. While you still have at one extreme the deranged Hitlerites and at the other the genocidal Maoists, in the very exceptional and sane middle, you can still find the rational pro-America, pro-Israel constitutionalist. This third option is only option that has ever truly empowered the people. "Centrist" not so much in the more popular sense today; many see political actors such as John McCain and Jon Huntsman, Jr. as timid leftists. Rightly so, because these faux moderates seek to join their more radical comrades in turning back the clock on America to the old days, when we were subject to top-down governments and the kind of extremist clashes eternally ongoing in Europe.
Of course, the likely policy response in Norway and in other NATO countries to yesterday's attacks will most likely prove counterproductive and will also neither solve the growing and very extant Islamist threats nor the actual violence or the anti-Semitism that continues to thrive in Norway. Nor will it provide anything of use in dealing with the nascent and already very serious China threat. Instead, it will surely provide further cover for ignoring them. It will likely, however, encourage Janet Napolitano to grope Americans a little bit more. This incident will no doubt play right into the narrative Napolitano and the Obama administration have been working on more feverishly in recent days, which in itself makes for an exceptionally convenient set of circumstances in Norway. This will in turn play into the narrative of the Alex Jones sect, who will seek to continue to hijack what is truly American while the extreme left seeks to help the hijacking so they can be rid of us, the peaceful, civil American voter - and the exceptional idea of America - once and for all.
So you neither have in Anders the nail in the coffin that proves that ordinary people trying to live their lives are actually terrorists who should be locked up, nor the exception to the rule that all terrorists are Islamist - which isn't true at any rate. What we do find in Anders, if early reports turn out to be true, is that the rule that civil society is still caught between two extremes happy to use violence against innocents to attain their goals is still very much a reality. And we also see why our Founding Fathers were wise to want none of it in the US. At the end of the day, Anders serves as a reminder why we must divorce the kind of European thinking that has led to wars and so much suffering and loss of life around the world. It once again demonstrates that the idea that the Founding Fathers had was truly exceptional and that for democratic peace theory to work, there must be more freedom and power in the hands of the people, not less. The idea that "we the people", the civil society, oversee the affairs of state rather than the opposite and that differences are solved rationally through debate (at times impassioned) and elections rather than an endless cycle of oppression and uprising, tyranny and terrorism, is truly the most novel even some 235 years later; it is the best idea men have ever had and also the best in practice.
Martin is a master's student in national security studies and is the
executive director of Samizdat International, a genuine human rights
concern. Martin undertook his internship with the London-based Henry
Jackson Society in the summer of 2009. He hates the Turabian style