July 27, 2011

The Mental Abyss

Last weekend a sociopath by the name of Anders Behring Breivik murdered 76 people in Norway. Without a shred of doubt a horrible act. Personally, I wonder how a person can reach a point in his mind where brutal, senseless violence and murder is perfectly justified. Because disagreeing with an ideology or politics and taking extreme violent action are two separate points widely apart on a linear scale. Disagreeing is one thing but making your disagreement known in barbaric fashion is quite something else. I truly wonder how a person can fall into the mental abyss like that.

Breivik seemed to disagree with the social-liberal policies of the Norwegian Labour Party. He is very much anti-Islam and against a multi-culture society which of course involves non-Christians. Yet in all that widespread hate he picked out his fellow countrymen, the young and the innocent of the Labour Party. Clearly we're dealing with a full blown psychopath here who wants to make a statement and maybe leave some sort of legacy behind for the like-minded. The latter is what scares me the most because what he is advocating on some level is that people should become a terrorist like him if they really want to change anything.

This we must avoid.

What scares me somewhat is that on a Dutch newspaper website 'de Telegraaf' (the Telegraph) similar to identical right-wing sentiments can be found in the commentary section of articles. Often these people are advocates of Geert Wilders' right-wing party PVV, which Anders Breivik listed as 'the only true conservative party in Europe.' That kind of makes you wonder since some of the commentary on the newspaper website is not that different from Breivik's rhetoric. Wilders also aims his sights on Islam and protecting the Christian identity, combined with verbal attacks on left-wing parties. Make no mistake, similarities are there.

The mental attitude of some people can be quite disturbing. Void of critical thought a number of Wilders supporters often make the shallow comment; 'he's right!' Another seemingly constant thrust of critique is to put blame on left-wing parties and also make them responsible for political decisions decades ago. 'It was leftist policies that got us into this mess!' Never mind of course that there never was a full left-wing government. The Dutch Labour Party, when it was in control, always had to share power with right-wing parties such as the CDA (Christian Democrats) and VVD (Liberals). Right wing influence was always there in the Netherlands but these people seem to be in denial over this fact.

That kind of mindless finger pointing and assigning blame is really scary. It displays a lack of insight and ultimately if we are not careful radicalization. Breivik apparently showed us the next step after becoming radical and extreme. I sincerely hope that a lot of disgruntled folks agree that we should not go there. Continuing the dialogue and re-examining our positions is the way to go.

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