Brendan O’Neill is revolted by the prospect that Anders Breivik’s rampage might be exploited by the Left the way 9/11 was exploited by the Bushite Right and its European fellow travelers: “while the attacks may not be ‘Norway’s 9/11’, they could well be the cultural elite’s 9/11 – in the sense that this is an act which the influential liberal classes may seek to politicise in an opportunistic fashion, to make moral mileage out of, in the same way that the right did after 11 September 2001.” The killer could hardly have been custom made to better fit left-wing ideas about society’s true villains.
O’Neill’s piece is doubly notable, however, for the case he makes that Breivik himself is much more of creature of multiculturalism than he realizes:
In his claim that he wanted to protect ‘white Christian identity’ from being overrun and crushed by an external powerful force – in this case Muslim immigrants – Breivik is merely indulging in an alternative form of multiculturalism. In different ways, both the 7/7 bombers and Breivik express the same sense of cultural paranoia, of cultural siege and victimhood. In recent years the right-wing critique of multiculturalism has ironically been shaped by the ethos of multiculturalism itself. From the English Defence League (which Breivik apparently had contact with) to authors who fret about Muslim immigration into Europe, there has been an attempt by right-wing elements to transform whiteness and Christianess into threatened identities, under siege from an almost colonialist tidal wave of Otherness. This sounds remarkably similar to the outlook of radical Islamists. Both groups accentuate and advertise their victim status and effectively compete for the respect of the overlords of identity-management in the multiculturalist elite. Where right-wingers warn of the rise of ‘Eurabia’, Islamists fret about the return of Christian crusaders; where right-wing activists claim their ‘white identity’ is not being accorded respect, Islamists claim their ‘Muslim identity’ is treated badly. The outlook of both groups is informed very powerfully by the victimology and craving for recognition inherent in multiculturalism.
Breivik’s alleged hatred of multiculturalism actually seems to be driven by a belief that it does not sufficiently respect his cultural identity; his violent act can be seen as a crazy, barbaric attempt to expand the remit of the politics of multiculturalism. (This is not to argue, by the way, that the EDL or anti-immigration thinkers bear any responsibility for Breivik’s violence. They do not.)