OK, I didn’t plan to write a blog post on the Norway tragedy, but here goes. I think it’s good that I at least try to summarise what I’m feeling right now.
So, a summary: I believe this is as good as time as any for people to start really talking about the thin line between rationality and craziness.
The annoying thing about Anders Behring Breivik’s rhetoric is that we saw it coming ages ago.
Once again, I feel compelled to plug a website called Fundies Say the Darnest Things; they collect quotes from various fundamentalists from many sources. It has been described as the most depressing website on the Internet, and sometimes I tend to agree.
You’d be surprised how many Breivik sympathisers I’ve seen there in the years before. There have been countless - countless - quotes from people who advocated violence toward the left wing and toward Moslems and gays and whatnot - ranging from random nobodies on random websites to popular mainstream media pundits.
I won’t even bother linking to individual quotes. You’ll find them. Just go to the archives and start digging.
Of course, after the Norway attacks, some of the same commenters are coming back, saying that they’ve seen the light and condemn this sort of violence.
But many don’t. Some actually go out and say that they agree with Breivik.
Here in Finland, I kept some eye on what the mainstream media was talking about Breivik’s political implications. There were some people who just dismissed Breivik as an idiot whose ramblings do not, and should not, influence political discourse.
Oh, Breivik will influence politics. The bad thing about democracy is that the idiots who agree with this idiocy also get to vote.
Which is why I say this: We must start thinking on how to respond to people who seriously advocate violence as a political tool. Rational people might not consider Breivik’s manifesto to be legitimate or worth considering, but a lot of people who already had the seed of hatred in them think it is quite legitimate.
Because people who advocate violence are not behaving with the best interests of democracy in mind. You can’t join in a reasonable political debate if you’re hospitalised or dead. People who cause their political opponents to get hospitalised or dead are not upholding their end of democracy.
Fascinating additional reading on the topic: Scum, all scum.
…also, I can now legitimately say that people who remove backgrounds in profile photos are just as bad as people who overuse exclamation points. Clear signs of madness.
(Obligatory ironic disclaimer: I write stories and draw a webcomic about assassins. In case it’s unclear, let me state that it’s totally a work of fiction; I strongly believe that in real-world societies, decision-making doesn’t need to involve any blood. =)