Ideas and the Culpability for Violence
The violence perpetuated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway unleashed the usual torrent of blaming anyone who might have influenced the murderer's thought. He was first described as a right-wing Christian – a description designed to put a certain community on notice. As more evidence rolled in, he has been more accurately described as an anti-Islamic nationalist, but the tendency to pin this violence on any non-leftist is still there.
There were footnotes in his 1,500-page manifesto to many dozens of books and articles – including a few published by the Mises Institute. Looking at the balance of his citations, however, it's clear that his main influence had nothing to do with libertarianism. His inspiration was a point of view reminiscent of American neoconservatism. He cited articles in this tradition – particularly on the fear and hate of Islam – far more often than any other.
So, does this violence discredit neoconservatism, as when then-President Clinton tried to blame libertarians and the "militia" movement for the Oklahoma bombing in 1995? The point of this game is to silence the opposition, shut down debate, and fundamentally discredit the body of ideas on which the violence can be blamed.
It's pretty much been this way since the ancient world. Governments can perpetuate violence in war and against the civilian population every day, but when a private person does the same for political reasons, a struggle ensues to see which line of thinking will pay what price.
The truth is that every political point of view can be twisted into a rationale for violence. If you think that the rich should be expropriated, there are generally two ways to bring this about: you and your friends can steal from the rich directly – maybe killing some fat cats in the process – or you can lobby Congress to do it for you.
The second method is preferred in a democratic society. When violence against person and property operates under the cover of the law, it is rarely called out for what it truly is. It is only when the legal cover is removed that the violence shocks and alarms us. But what about the morality of it all, whether we are speaking about private violence, the redistributionist state, or the war-making imperial state? In moral substance, they amount to the same thing.
One of the least reported biographical details of Timothy McVeigh, executed for the Oklahoma bombing that killed so many innocent people, is that his own disregard for life was cultivated during his time as an American soldier from 1988 to 1992. He was awarded the bronze star for service in the first war on Iraq, where he killed civilians and teenage conscripts under the cover of law. It was here that he learned how to suppress the whisperings of his conscience, and to harden his heart. As he said, "If there is a hell, then I'll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war."
Let's try a thought experiment that is not entirely implausible. Let's say that in the future, some psycho kills innocent people and blows up buildings. But this time, he is directly influenced by libertarianism, and was driven to desperate measures in the interest of overthrowing the state.
This could happen. It hasn't happened, but it could. The question is whether this person's intellectual influences would discredit the libertarian tradition. That would certainly be the attempt of the mainstream media. Even after 9/11/01, the pundits were screaming that this event alone was enough to discredit libertarianism, that the destruction and the aftermath offered positive proof that we need a gigantic state. So, yes, I think we can be confident that if some violent person had libertarian influences, libertarianism would catch the blame.
In the event of such a thing, what should be the response of libertarians? It wouldn't be that hard. Libertarianism is the one political theory extant that consistently preaches non-violence in every way, condemning all aggression against person and property whether it is done by a private party or under the cover of law.
Libertarianism posits a belief that is not widely held today, but is nonetheless true: namely, that society can organize itself without violence (no theft, no murder), but only using that blessed institution of mutual cooperation among individuals. The use of violence in any form is not only contradictory to libertarian theory, libertarianism stands alone as the only political outlook that makes non-violence its core tenet.
Of course, this implies an anti-government stance because government is the organized, consistent, relentless, large-scale center of violence on earth. It enacts this violence for a huge range of reasons: to bolster economic growth, to protect us from invasion, to prevent the population from being exploited by business, to keep the culture pure from alien influences, to protect us from our own bad decisions, to grant us health and income security from birth to death, and much more.
But in doing all these things, it has only one lever to pull: aggression against our lives and property. This is because government cannot do anything on its own; it exists entirely in a parasitical relationship to society.
What if a person who sees this point is driven to desperation and acts in a way that is contrary to the fundamental ethics of libertarianism? In other words, what happens if a person influenced by an anti-government theory undertakes actions that are more of the character of what governments do every day? That would not and could not damage the credibility or integrity of the libertarian idea.
Keep in mind that we are alive in an unprecedented moment. The state in all countries in the developed world is working its mischief as never before in world history. It taxes more, regulates more, manipulates more than ever. The state has never been more pompous, arrogant, and ambitious than it is today.
The police state has visited the developed world in a manner none of us have seen in our lifetimes. The local police reflect that ethos. They disregard their heritage of wearing a civil mask and now bully people openly in a way contrary to freedom. The U.S. in particular has erected a giant prison state that exists outside the observable sphere of social life. The state has cut off employment opportunities for an entire generation, looted the savings of older people, and even made it nearly impossible for people to provide for their own savings.
Public opinion is increasingly aware of the problem and the source of the problem, and so the public anger at the political and bureaucratic elite is intensifying, especially as the economic depression deepens. The nation state is growing ever more fierce even as it becomes more decrepit in the digital age. It would hardly be a surprise to see this anger turn violent in the coming years.
There is a very easy answer to the problems that afflict us today. The nation state needs to civilize itself and bow to the realities of our times. It needs to dismantle its apparatus of control, call off the dogs of war, rein in its police and armed bureaucrats, and permit society to develop and flourish on its own. It's not complicated. Why won't the state take this path? Because it thrives off violence, domestic and international.
These are fundamental truths, and they are becoming more obvious by the day. No amount of propaganda can wish them away. The only real means of achieving peace is to reject violence as a means of social control or political activism. We must withdraw our consent to violence, the consent that is the basis of all government. What the great theorist Etienne de la Boetie wrote in the 16th century remains true today:
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.
Posted by Summer on 08/02/11 06:48 PM
"Breivik attacked and murdered social democrats. No one else was threatened. Why did he attack this group? Breivik find this group responsible for having destroyed his civilization, which he as I do perceive to be under the threat from Islam."
Hang on a minute am I on the Daily Mail website? Erm no. Then what on earth kind of 'educated' view is this?
"Listing all the rapes of European ethnic women by Muslim men, bullying of non Muslims and use of coercion to scare Europeans into white-flight from Muslim neighborhoods would be a peace of paper longer than Breivik's manifesto."
You believe that? Then you'll believe anything!
"This means that Europeans have a good reason to fear continued Muslim immigration and expansion in Europe."
I think the Africa and the East have far more reasons to fear Western people attacking their countries and killing their women and children than a Western person facing the ravages of immigration.
Have you not noticed that colonialism and neo-colonialism have been the means for the West to feed off of poor nations for decades? Do you not know that Western darling countries with all their wealth have starved others to sit in their luxury? And they protest when 'poor' people come over to have a few crumbs of what's been seized? Give me a break!
The some of largest influx of immigation in the world are in countries such as Pakistan and Iran (much more than most Western countries put together)!
"There are no inter marriage between Muslim women and non Muslim men to prove we can mix."
That's just the nail n the coffin! How dare anyone chose a partner as to their preferences!!! I mean why the hell won't my neighbour marry a brunette, it's so annoying, he must be anti brown-heads - Get him out!!!
"The shelters for battered women are filled to breaking point with Muslim women exposed to threats or violence from their own community, some escaping female genital mutilation, some for having become to western or for being interested in a white boy."
No criminal violence among the rest of the host nation eh? They must be angels - or should their violence be attributed to Christianity - no it would be absurd - as is your position!
"Compared to the Muslim make up of the population, in every country in Europe, they manage to have all their members highly overrepresented in institutions like jail and social well fare compared to any other group. These are facts the MSM deliberately hide from the European population."
If this is true, with views such as your own are you surprised?!!!
Posted by Summer on 08/02/11 06:19 PM
"These are fundamental truths, and they are becoming more obvious by the day. No amount of propaganda can wish them away. The only real means of achieving peace is to reject violence as a means of social control or political activism. We must withdraw our consent to violence, the consent that is the basis of all government."
Impossible - Unless people agree it's wrong in principle which requires general/all-encompassing morality, not just a few stand-alone principles. such as non-violence
Posted by peri1224 on 07/28/11 03:43 AM
Yes, that is a good way of putting it. People that are too much oppressed will sooner or later rebel. In this case it was the ruling social democrats, inspired by the new atmosphere of tolerance and multi-kulti, which was invented by the Frankfurt School, and ultimately orchestrated by the City of London central banksters, that put too much pressure on people opposed to the new policies. There is a lot of similar pressure in many places. In this case the pressure ended in the horrible actions of Breivik. Although many sympathize with the cause, most would condemn his actions. It does take a level of insanity to shoot innocents.
As horrible as it is, with scores dead, this act is political in nature. Looking at it that way, it pales compared to the political actions of the war criminals Bush and Blair (on behalf the selfsame banksters) who instigated and started the unjust wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, with millions dead and wounded. Politically, these actions are even less justified than Breivik's. If the outcries against the actions of these war criminals were in proportion to what Breivik did, the world should still be wailing.
Are the banksters getting the message or care that we are near some limit, and that they should stop pushing? Unlikely. Maybe a radical, nutty, (mostly American?) wing of the paper money racketeers has taken over and is calling the shots now?
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 07/28/11 02:57 AM
"in which the writer Will Grigg toys with the idea that the Breivik character is actually an artificially constructed personality being used to further someone, or somethings agenda. "
Damn Grigg. He writes too fast. After reading that I probably won't bother.
Well maybe I will anyway. It's always nice to have a second opinion and I owe it to Grigg for all the outstanding writing he's done in the past.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 07/28/11 02:22 AM
Mr. Rockwell, I seriously considered responding to your eMail offer earlier today but decided against it. I'm composing a response now and intend to post it here when it's finished.
One thing I'll observe about the Breivik event that I think important and also brief: Northern Europeans are now on the terrorist menu. As far as I can see, this is the crux move, the entire purpose of the episode.
I will follow with more latter.
Posted by CogitoMan on 07/27/11 11:24 PM
This is exactly what I believe. I see the act of Breivik as born out of desperation where all other legal means of protest were taken away from him and others who think the same. I have posted under another article on similar topic simple question; "What right majority has to impose on minority against their will, especially when minority has no means to legally resist consequences of such decision and is obligated by law to carry the burden?" There are follow up questions but you got the gist of it. Im my opinion when minority is deprived of their right to effectively influence goverment decisions it ends up in bloodshed as in this case. Let's hope that immigration as the one that was imposed on Norway ends and broad OPEN and UNRESTRICTED discussion begins. In the end there is no democracy when the rights of the minority are ignored/supressed. Beside I do believe that in this case minority would become majority if their case was represented without bias and ridicule/suppression as is now.
Posted by CogitoMan on 07/27/11 11:03 PM
Let me digress. Contrary to most beliefs I do not share common opinion that more people on the same area equals more prosperity to all. In the end resources are finite and dividing them among growing population leads to lower piece of pie for each. Therefore the only conclusion I can come to, is this; Immigration serves elites as an additional source of wealth and power FOR THEM ONLY (more taxes, more subjects under control, bigger economy, cheaper labor) at the cost of their subjects (smaller share of the pie, proportionally higher share of the tax burden to upkeep mostly uneducated immigrants, competition for jobs and living quarters just to name a few). This leads to negate some basic cannon of libertarians that free migration and open borders are the key to prosperity. I'd say immigration yes, but only when it can provide visible net gain to all, like for example immigration of highly skilled workers. Letting in an uneducated workers only gives gains to those who employ them and additional social cost that need to be carried to upkeep them (schools, health care, often food stamps and the like) shifts the burden to others. Potential economic gain as lower prices for agricultural products does not compensate for that. In short, the less people to the same pie, the more each gets even if the cost is slightly higher.In the short term mitigation of an potential shortage of workers will be paid in many times in the future bu the means of social fracturing, unrest, and general lowering of standard of living for all whereas my theory of bigger part of the pie points to huge future increase of real wealth in non immigration case. The key to succes lies in finding solution without increasing immigration even at the temporary cost of lowering living standards. In the end, Japan follows approach of no immigration and their problems are far worse than those of Europeans.
Posted by CogitoMan on 07/27/11 10:26 PM
Ditto, agree 100%. History proves that without violence there is no change. Maybe that is not the libertarian view but this is the way it works. Please show me any example where ruling elite gave power without fight.
Posted by mpresley on 07/27/11 05:49 PM
"Libertarianism posits a belief that is...nonetheless true: namely, that society can organize itself without violence..."
It is not true, and has never been true on more than a very limited scale. Libertarianism can only manifest within a very homogeneous group. Peaceful, non-libertarian coexistence can occur among a larger, more heterogeneous mix, but only to a certain degree. The mix must possess a basic shared cultural continuity, and even then problems may arise. Once the mix becomes more than a little diverse (ethnically, racially, and religiously) it is over.
The general libertarian argument for open borders (or at least very limited exclusions) exacerbates the condition, and is based upon a naive view that people are essentially autonomous, interchangeable units that can be persuaded by reason. I have always argued that one can never underestimate the power of difference, and difference is usually agonistic. In fine, libertarianism, by admitting difference into its midst, makes its own survival unlikely.
Posted by Spectator on 07/27/11 05:44 PM
Does Lew Rockwell genuinely not know the difference between "perpetrate" and "perpetuate"? What gives?
Posted by abdulHadiscott on 07/27/11 02:37 PM
Praise be to God who Created mankind of different nations and colours that they should know each other and themselves. Differences are strengths which broaden the shoulders of any society. May He teach us Tolerance and Love and Grant us an opening to spirituality.
Posted by MetaCynic on 07/27/11 02:00 PM
How much of the European immigration phenomenon is the result of a desperate attempt to keep the European welfare states afloat? Europeans are not reproducing themselves sufficiently to provide enough taxable income to support those in retirement and on disability. The only solutions (temporary at best) to the unsustainable reality of relatively more impoverished nonworking persons dependent on relatively fewer productive workers are much higher taxes and waves of young, taxpaying immigrants. Taxes probably cannot go higher without triggering a revolt in the ranks of young workers. Hence the young Muslim immigrant workers.
Unfortunately the Muslim immigrants are themselves taking advantage of the European cradle to grave welfare system and might even be a net drain on the welfare state. Furthermore they appear to be a cultural irritant. So the immigration ploy has failed and the welfare state model is nearing total ruin. But the unassimilable others remain and will probably be the target of violence as the European welfare states default on their unviable obligations.
Immigration is probably as much a scheme to save the welfare state as it is a power elite conspiracy to undermine European notions of family and culture.
Posted by onebornfreeatyahoo on 07/27/11 01:32 PM
peri1224 said :
"If someone publicly admits a crime, then that is GUILTY, "
Perhaps in yours and Mr Rockwell's and the rest of that little old "libertarian" universe- not in mine.
How do you even know for certain that he claimed responsibility- because you read it somewhere or saw it on TV?
And even if he did already really claim responsibility, it _still_ does not mean that he actually did the deed - there is simply way, way to much that we cannot possibly know at this time. Regards, onebornfree.
Posted by peri1224 on 07/27/11 12:40 PM
If someone publicly admits a crime, then that is GUILTY, not labeling or assuming guilt. Especially when he wrote a 1500 page book about it.
Posted by peri1224 on 07/27/11 12:32 PM
The method for "marketing" his book was totally crazy. So in that sense Breivik is insane.
But the first few pages of his book, whether he wrote them or chose material from others, are quite rational. Have read only partly into the Introduction where Political Correctness and the Frankfurt School are treated. Quite contrary to some mainstream writerlings who ripped the book as crazy ramblings of a nut, I found the analysis hard hitting but very accurate. Of course leftists and the children of the Frankfurt School wouldn't like it and rip it to keep others from reading it. But that should not be a measure for us. The subversive FS does deserve much more exposure. But it must be short and sweet, not 1500 pages.
My comment is valid only for that chapter, as I haven't seen anything after.
If the rest of the book is of the same quality, (although reportedly a lot was copied from the Unabomber manifesto) he could have marketed it in a civilized way, without setting back legitimate grievances with his crazy act of killing.
Posted by WorkingClass on 07/27/11 12:05 PM
Relax Lew. The folks who are eager to blame "the right" for these murders don't know the difference between a NeoCon and a Libertarian.
Posted by onebornfreeatyahoo on 07/27/11 11:59 AM
"I'm afraid sticking labels to Breivik simply won't do,Click to view link should not be the libertarian way. ..."
Nor, I would humbly suggest, is it "the libertarian way" to automatically label/assume guilt [as per Mr Rockwell or Justin Raimondo [See: Click to view link ] at this point in time.
The only really "open to all the possibilities" [and therefor far more thought-provoking] "libertarian" commentary that I have seen to date on this sorry affair is this: Click to view link , [ironically also posted at Mr Rockwell's site], in which the writer Will Grigg toys with the idea that the Breivik character is actually an artificially constructed personality being used to further someone, or somethings agenda. Regards, onebornfree.
Posted by mikal13 on 07/27/11 08:06 AM
I'm afraid sticking labels to Breivik simply won't do, if people won't to understand where he came from and how he could do what he did. Its also the usual leftist practice to be emotional and irrational when approaching subjects beyond comprehension. It should not be the libertarian way. I haven't Breivik's manifesto, it should be no more than 10 pages, not 1500 if he wanted to reach anyone.
Breivik attacked and murdered social democrats. No one else was threatened. Why did he attack this group? Breivik find this group responsible for having destroyed his civilization, which he as I do perceive to be under the threat from Islam. Listing all the rapes of European ethnic women by Muslim men, bullying of non Muslims and use of coercion to scare Europeans into white-flight from Muslim neighborhoods would be a peace of paper longer than Breivik's manifesto. This means that Europeans have a good reason to fear continued Muslim immigration and expansion in Europe. There are no inter marriage between Muslim women and non Muslim men to prove we can mix. The shelters for battered women are filled to breaking point with Muslim women exposed to threats or violence from their own community, some escaping female genital mutilation, some for having become to western or for being interested in a white boy. Compared to the Muslim make up of the population, in every country in Europe, they manage to have all their members highly overrepresented in institutions like jail and social well fare compared to any other group. These are facts the MSM deliberately hide from the European population.
Breivik, like a lot of Europeans have called their governments traitors and Quislings for a long time on various internet fora. The governments have not addressed the immigration issue, on the contrary people that spoke out against it starting with prominent Enoch Powell are just one of many that have been excluded from union boards, parties, positions as priests in the national state church, teachers, advancing in the mainstream political parties and have had their essays censored for the past 50 years by MSM papers. All those papers, non-government officials and organizations in my country Norway, including the national broadcaster, are financed from taxes. The internet revolution have worked to establish that there exist a major opposition to the currant political order, where numerous Europeans finally have an alternative media to keep their voice alive compared to the 'democracy' that did everything in its power to label ,marginalize and exclude its own population from having a saying in its own future.
When arranging birthday BBQ with halal sausages only to see that no Muslims from the school turn up, we really have nothing left to offer but to surrender, and we won't. Off course the government will continue to transfer our wealth to all immigrants that should never have been allowed into the west. Probably, this is a major cause of the deficit spending in Europe at this time, though the outcome eventually would have been no different because of monetary policy and the well-fare state.
Since the social democrats, a political ideology dominating almost every European party, will continue a 'democracy' confused to be a society of freedom, where you can(not) speak your mind and print some very offending cartoons, because the government won't protect you, their actions will produce another Breivik, because when you kill the conversation with your own people while talking to Hamas, you create an opposition free to do whatever it will with any ideas supporting his or her conviction. Spot on, Mr Rockwell.
I think I should leave it there, none of you want to read a hole book about this. But if you do, 'Democracy- the God that failed' by Hans Herman Hoppe describes the failure of this political system. Thank you for paying attention.
Posted by gunter on 07/27/11 04:37 AM
I was wondering a bit why the subject of Anders Behring Breivik wasn't adressed before in the DB.
My gut-feeling is telling me something is going on here. It's all a bit too obvious. Of course Breivik was an extreme-right ultra-nationalistic crazy white young man. What else could he be.
The problem is that too many people do not make a distinction between Breivik and Libertarians.
Mr. Rockwell, and DB, however have adressed on numerous occasions why education is a much more powerfull tool in getting people to stop allowing the "Church of State" to grow and control our lives then violence.
Posted by onebornfreeatyahoo on 07/27/11 04:09 AM
"The violence perpetuated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway ....."
Hah! Dear Lew, whatever happened to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" ?