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Cultural warriors and civilized societies
It's amazing how a week is a long time in current affairs. This time last Friday people were preoccupied with the carbon tax, the vaguely comprehended budget deliberations in the USA and the continuing and painful saga of asylum seekers – and perhaps Cadel Evans' emerging Tour challenge.
Above all, they were subject to an unravelling story involving the autocratic and unscrupulous media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, a person many blame more than any other single person for the dumbing down of press and media and consequently, communities through pap at best, wilful disinformation on an industrial scale, at worst.
We mused, where would people end up if it kept up, they were already "superstitious" over science and ecology, or freaked on asylum seekers, for example – before returning to the contemplation of weightier matters, such as the Tour de France.
Bit by bit, a new story began to percolate up, involving a bombing, then a shooting in civilised Scandinavia. The death toll rose with each report, along with the story of an innocuous looking young fellow arrested at the scene, Anders Breivik, who had unabashedly confessed to the outrage, justifying his actions on the basis that he was a Nordic cultural warrior, descending upon his victims, largely very innocent looking young people at a Norway Labour Party youth outing.
In a strangely Quixotic way, this self-professed Christian (fundamentalist) had somehow come to think of these fresh-faced young kids as personal demons – "Cultural Marxists" – thus traitors, out to pollute Nordic racial purity and somehow responsible for the global people movements that have brought vast numbers of war and economic refugees from the developing world to Western Europe. He bragged at being involved with other right wing cells across a now turbulent Europe- more and more he resembled what we are used to calling, a "terrorist".
I ignored the comments about his right wing politics to contemplate the look and it came to me at last, Martin Bryant, the Port Arthur killer. Like Bryant he planned his action over some time and executed it coldly and without empathy.
Others have challenged me. They think him a terrorist (also – I agree) and feel that a mentally deranged person would not have been "together" enough to do something on the scale of the outrage. But people with personality disorders, as against emotional disorders, do seem capable of these crimes – there is a spectacular history of them – think McVeigh, a dozen other outrages in the US alone over time, Bryant.
Another factor has also since emerged also, that the fellow was likely actually hunting the Norwegian PM, the rest would have been just collateral damage, people who had asked for it any way, simply for being Labour.
As Andrew Bolt reminded us this week, Breivik's feelings about the Left are not confined to Norway. Breivik's apologists suggest he has been sorely provoked by immigration to Norway, like Hansonists here as to Asians or some less educated Brits as to Jamaicans, Indians and Pakistanis. Seems he admires Australian cultural warriors like Keith Windschuttle and Rupert Murdoch, he'd be happy with a copy of the Australian in his jail cell, right now. He fears "cultural annihilation", through an influx of the Great Unwashed and through some very vague concept of "socialism" , has had deeply inculcated in him that hatred of Muslims driven by tabloid media over recent times, for political reasons in the west.
Now, what I wonder is, is he an isolated mad dog, a patriot (as he probably imagines himself to be), or was he a pawn and foot soldier in a wider conspiracy emanating from the disgruntled fringe right, based on an incomplete or misunderstood reading of centre left politics and a tabloid understanding of "Muslims".
This cuts to international relations, globalisation and its realities in the neolib form (welfare/ infrastructure cuts as population increases and jobs are exported; big "C" capitalism and its divisiveness) and what to what extent his thinking was warped not only by his hard right confrateres, but the so-called "respectable" tabloid press and media run by people like Murdoch, who have so sucked meaning from news that the susceptible will rush off to commit violence, in the emotional and informational resulting vacuum.
Or the economic rationalist politicians who's divide and conquer sado- economics keeps the masses at each other’s throats, while everywhere from Africa, to America, to the Middle east to Australia itself, is plundered by the corporate string pullers, anxious to avoid overdue scrutiny as to their own machinations-witness the lock-down in Washington.
So I look back on the week somewhat amazed, both at the events and the strange treatment of them in the press and wonder what lies in the future, as a sort of lawlessness now permeates once civilised societies.
No doubt others have different ideas – let's talk!