Friday’s shocking massacre in Norway is a derisory excuse for some to reinvigorate their hackneyed racist agendas, but Anders Breivik left the debate some time ago.
It’s a rare thing that I agree with Boris but in his editorial in the Telegraph today he may well have a point (it should be noted I don’t read said newspaper but saw a link to it via Facebook). And whilst I am not a fan of Johnson’s slightly emotive and divisive language in some of his conclusions around Anders Breivik, I do think the main thrust of his argument is not only sound, but extremely prescient given the tirade of hateful and deplorable right wing bilge that poured fourth across the Telegraph’s comment feed directly below the article.
Unlike Boris seems to be, I am not going to evoke words like ‘evil’ or ‘mad’ because I think these are instinctual and emotional human reactions to something the majority of us find deeply disturbing, upsetting and inexplicable. But like Boris, I do think we immediately look to social forces and the politics of European multiculturalism and immigration to explain the behaviour of one who’s mind has become warped out of all recognition. It is clear that this man is not sane and we should be quick to admit that whilst social forces may have been an important factor in his descent towards fanaticism, we should not be putting these social forces themselves on trial alongside Mr Breivik.
When an individual slips so far from the narrative of a political or social debate that they start to subscribe to methods of indiscriminate violence under the misnomer of a revolution, they have not only left the debate but the arguments that they have hitherto expressed lose any small shred of applicability they may ever have had. The issue no longer becomes about the debate or the ideologies but the man himself and the psychological deteriation that has led him to commit such a gratuitous and heinous act. Any bearing Anders Breivik, a man who Boris contends, and to which I concur, is clearly a narcissist and egomaniac, has ever had on the debate in his own country, and the wider European community is now void. For the readership of the Telegraph to post such irrelevant drivel to the contrary simply makes my skin crawl at the depths people in our own country will go to claim credence for their own vile agendas.
And this is the Telegraph! As one of the few sane commentators puts it, ‘it’s like reading the Daily Mail these days.’
Perhaps the tendency I have towards the kind of journalism where subjectivity and tolerance tend to trump conjecture and blame, has prevented me from looking over to the other side from time to time and realising just how far away certain right wing elements of the mainstream media and its readership in this country seem to have drifted from these islands of sanity and rationalism. I dread to think that one day someone in its milieu could ever drift so far beyond the pale as the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik did on Friday.