A Review of 2083: A European Declaration of Independence
August 16, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

 
Do we really want to help promote this guy's book of murdering instructions?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


It was unnecessary to link to the original and unnecessary for anyone to publish a review. There are plenty of much more deserving odd books to read - ones whose marketing strategy did not include murdering a few score people. C'mon Ms Anita Dalton. Think. The only reason you found yourself reading that crap is because the author killed a bunch of kids so that he would become famous so people like you would read his book. It worked. You dummy.

Let's not give this asshole and his views any more voice.
posted by three blind mice at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm about to like "I hate reading."
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's so weird how the new business models of the internet age have made us believe (rightly or not) that our mere attention is equivalent to money/payment, and thus, we should only pay attention to or look at things which we believe are good and ought to succeed.
posted by clockzero at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [33 favorites]


Well, there goes my evening. I'm definitely not reading Breivik or his sources, but I'll be reading Ms. Dalton's analysis. It's interesting to see that I'm not the only one to see the parallel between the "Eurabia" conspiracy theory and the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion". Maybe this should be read as a companion piece, or an epilogue to Umberto Eco's latest novel, "The Prague Cemetery", which explores, with far less fiction than one would reasonably think, how the "Protocols" evolved from an anti-Jesuit screed...

The target changes, but the lies and hatred remain the same.
posted by Skeptic at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Information isn't poison and reading something isn't an endorsement of its values. Should we have pretended Mein Kampf didn't exist?
posted by ignignokt at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [31 favorites]


You don't have to pretend a book doesn't exist not to hand a copy to someone.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2011


Flagged, add this to the existing Oslo thread.

Topics that might deserve a new thread : How the Norwegians are coping. Norway's upcoming election. Information on right wing extremists elsewhere in Europe. Some deeper analysis of America's influence upon Breivik. American right wing extremists saying stupid insulting crap about Norway after the shootings. etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Information isn't poison

You haven't seen my library, have you.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was unnecessary to link to the original and unnecessary for anyone to publish a review.

Says you, i read part of this, this whatever but I would NEVER supress someones right to read it or qoute from it.
posted by clavdivs at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2011


Umm, maybe I should RTFA before flagging.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


By all means read Mein Kampf because Hitler managed to sway millions and drag the world into a morass. Reading it can start to bring an understanding of how broader humanity chose the wrong path.

But why spare even a second for this Norwegian loser? There is nothing new in his story, nor any understanding to be gained.
posted by storybored at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think that book is *meant* to be read. It's meant to be weighed.

(you know, like the apocryphal university professor that graded by throwing papers down the hallway, the ones which flew furthest got the A)
posted by notsnot at 9:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't want to spare a second, that's fine. But I truly don't understand why one would scorn others for wanting to see what was in his head. What's the harm? Spending time reading what someone wrote isn't aggrandizing them. And how do you know that there's no understanding to be gained if you're not going to look at it?
posted by ignignokt at 9:09 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


My even briefer review, on a (hey Woody) skim read: It's like Time Cube with extra Islam.
posted by jaduncan at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2011


On one hand there is an argument to be made, as some have done, about the book is not the person but on the other, wasn't it all the right wing raving that has been found to have directly influenced Breivik and his actions?

Why perpetuate the thinking?
posted by infini at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2011


There is nothing new in his story, nor any understanding to be gained.

How do you know? Did you read it?
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I didn't want to editorialize in my post, but I would urge those who are critical of the idea of reviewing this manifesto to take a glance at Dalton's review -- this is a serious and, I think, interesting and valuable discussion of the manuscript, its author, and his sources.

While I understand the desire to bury Breivik and have done with the matter, unfortunately the man was not simply a lone nutcase spewing out his own proprietary brand of hatred. His ideas came from a number of sources, and are endorsed by a number of public figures. Dalton does a good job of tracing out the larger picture.

Reading it can start to bring an understanding of how broader humanity chose the wrong path.

Exactly the reason this book should be reviewed and discussed. Breivik and his hateful views did not exist in a vacuum.
posted by Pants McCracky at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


Metafilter: I'm about to like "I hate reading."

Also, Mein Kamph is far better written. For a start, it actually had a workable plan for acquiring political power.
posted by jaduncan at 9:16 AM on August 16, 2011


FatherDagon: "Information isn't poison

You haven't seen my library, have you.
"

Epony...IA! IA! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
posted by Splunge at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


On one hand there is an argument to be made, as some have done, about the book is not the person but on the other, wasn't it all the right wing raving that has been found to have directly influenced Breivik and his actions?

Why perpetuate the thinking?


perhaps you should read it for yourself, is it all right-wing non-sense? Your making a statement, about the very matter at hand, without any data to support your conclusion. I love these posts, why, because I love when people (not you infini) frame an argument were one has to defend a horrid book in order make to take a postion against censorship.
posted by clavdivs at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2011


Also, Mein Kamph is far better written. For a start, it actually had a workable plan for acquiring political power.

But "On the Jews and their lies" said everything you needed to know in the title.

Mein Kampf could be a treatise on various headache remedies, you just don't know.


Anyway, the idiot from Norway isn't bothersome because he killed a bunch of people. That problem has been solved - he won't do it again.

He's bothersome because the ideas that drove his actions are held by a large and broad number of people - even if they are essentially a complete rehashing of what Martin Luther said 400 years ago.

Some of these people are running for president of the US. Bachmann and Cain, et al, adhere to this worldview that the muslims are coming to eat your children. Some of these people are already governors, senators and representatives.

A refutation of these points cannot arise from ignoring them. Good people are going to have to get on the TV and the radios and the blogs and take this nonsense down, point by point.

And don't think you can ever quit fighting against this nonsense. It keeps coming back because "this time is different". It never is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Dalton directly addresses half the comments in this thread, which might not have been made had they RTFA.

Echoing Pogo's comment on preview, she writes For many the natural impulse is to dismiss ABB as a crazy man, and we dismiss him as a lunatic at our own risk because if he is a lunatic, so are many, many others.... We have a vested interest in dismissing all violence as crazy, labeling people like ABB as The Other, but his views are derived from other people and are influencing other people even after anyone with common decency would dismiss him.
posted by dhartung at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Those who are advocating ignoring this book must be outraged that there's an exhibit on Protocols of the Elders of Zion at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum right now.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:49 AM on August 16, 2011


Know your enemy.
posted by fuq at 9:51 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why perpetuate the thinking?

I have absolutely no interest in reading this, but that being said, isn't the idea that sunlight is the best disinfectant and all that? These ideas will persist and be passed around in secret regardless, so doesn't it make the most sense to be familiar with the arguments, and understand the language so that people can recognize it when they see it?

At the very least, when we then hear people on Fox using dog-whistle phrases that would fit into this way of thinking, we can call them on it.
posted by quin at 10:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I read the manuscript a few days after the murders and blogged about it. My main takeaway was that I have a better understanding now of the rhetoric of radical violent Islam, all the nutty stuff around 72 virgins and the necessity of violent jihad and the recalling of historic wrongs from 1200 years ago. Because the manifesto is the same kind of extremist fantasy. Only it's a familiar Christian mythology, with Knights Templar instead of mujahideen and Vienna instead of Jerusalem. The parallel was fascinating.

So I posted it to my blog, and then a Norwegian friend of mine gently chided me for giving any exposure to this murderer's narcissistic fantasy. I've felt a little bad since then, although the blog post is still online.

What I've read since is how much of the manifesto is plagiarized without attribution. Dalton's review picks up on how half the thing is republished essays from Fjordman. It seems that instead of being 1500 pages of insight, it's just lazy, sophomoric pasting together of other cultural criticism. But it's still dangerous thinking and I guess there's some value in examining it.

If you want to get really weird, there's some sort of geographic data hidden in the manuscript which results in a map. Some folks are working to decrypt it, but my guess is it's just more meaningless fantasy.
posted by Nelson at 10:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe things would have been different if Mein Kampf got a solid drubbing.

I disagree that talking about ABB's manifesto does additional harm. The racists/separatists are out there and need to be held accountable and ridiculed when they publish bullshit.
posted by Renoroc at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It had been years since I had visited Little Green Footballs. Last time I visited the site, it was a hive of scum and villainy. Discovering the site is no longer devoted to race hate and biogtry was perhaps the sole pleasant element to come from reading 2083.

Wait... what? What happened to LGF?
posted by MrVisible at 10:47 AM on August 16, 2011


MrVisible: Began with Charles Johnson supporting Obama for President, really, but back in 2009 he and Pamela Geller became arch-enemies, due to her European Islamophobe summit attended by members of the far right, after which there were purges of sorts on both sides.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was wary of Dalton's review because it seemed to me at first to be yet another example of The Cheesehater's Response to Horrible Events. There is a particular type of thinking that always happens when something horrible occurs:
1) I hate cheese. 2) Horrible event happens. 3) Cheese is to blame for horrible event.
Most early responses to horrible events fit that pattern. I thought Dalton would fall into that trap, with her 'cheese' being 'conspiracy theories.' But instead she did something that you don't see often with analysis of writings by people like Breivik and Fjordman, she took it seriously. Not seriously as in 'this guy is onto something' but as in 'this was written by a human being.' Breivik and Fjordman are, to put it mildly, deluded, but the contours of their delusion should be described and Dalton does an excellent job of it. I have high hopes for future entries. This is book reviewing at its best, taking a work seriously enough to explain it to the world and critique its faults cogently. It is not often said, but it should: The world is saved with book reviews.
posted by Kattullus at 11:07 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you don't want to spare a second, that's fine. But I truly don't understand why one would scorn others for wanting to see what was in his head.

He's made it pretty clear the main reason he committed these acts was to create an audience for his "manifesto." So reading it is giving him exactly what he wanted and positively reinforcing mass murder.

You can do that, if you want, but I don't want to, and I wouldn't encourage anyone else to either.

Linking the review is one thing; linking the document itself is another. Not linking something is not "suppressing speech" (or if it is, everyone of us is as guilty as hell of suppressing all kinds of speech every second we don't put links to every possible thing uttered on the web in every comment we make).
posted by saulgoodman at 11:09 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Began with Charles Johnson supporting Obama for President, really

Actually, Johnson's acrimonious parting of ways with Geller et al pre-dates his support for Obama and can be quite accurately traced back to this 2007 post.
posted by Skeptic at 11:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't read the manuscript and I don't intend to, but I did watch his video shortly after the shootings, and it clarified a lot about the twisted mind behind this mass murder. While his fantasy about the new Knights Templars may be unique to him, a lot of his views are increasingly common and ignoring them doesn't do any good. I appreciate Dalton's work here.
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


1) I hate cheese. 2) Horrible event happens. 3) Cheese is to blame for horrible event.

In essence this was the conclusion C.B. Flood (PTP, pg. 594) came to when he summed up Mein Kampf.

"It was a supremely false redefinition of the human condition, but it was not stupidly written. Morality is different from the logic of argumentation. Again and again, Hitlers' premises were wrong, in every sense of the word, but he argued from the false premise to the horrendously evil conclusion in a logical manner"
posted by clavdivs at 11:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]




In the area of weirdly-disjointed murder manuals, the Bible wins hands down every time.
posted by telstar at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


unfortunately the man was not simply a lone nutcase spewing out his own proprietary brand of hatred. His ideas came from a number of sources, and are endorsed by a number of public figures. Dalton does a good job of tracing out the larger picture.

This is where I think we disagree. You see someone who acted based upon a foundation of prior (extremist) political thought.

I see the key element in this tragedy in the fact that he acted alone. This is the difference between the marginal individual of history and those who (for good or evil) end up historically significant. The latter get organized. They are sane enough to get other people to believe and work for them. That is why I'm saying one *should* read Mein Kampf, Mao's Little Red Book, Protocol of Zion and so on.

It seems that instead of being 1500 pages of insight, it's just lazy, sophomoric pasting together of other cultural criticism.


Exactly. This is the pseudo-intellectual rambling of a borderline personality. This isn't about politics.

The more attention you give to this guy, the more we will all pay for it in future rampages.

If you want to understand anti-Muslim sentiment, are you telling me you're going to start with *this* book? Give me a break.
posted by storybored at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2011


That is why I'm saying one *should* read Mein Kampf, Mao's Little Red Book, Protocol of Zion and so on.

...but not this tract because of the lack of rhetorical premises that are false or that it does not contain a political tract that is current. For example TPOTEOZ, (protocols) were they intermixed with current political situations to "prove" the thesis? Since it is a fact that various forms of the text have existed and have been used for propaganda makes your statement all the more baffling, Hitlers people re-worked the protocols to fit their needs and it was not left undiscovered by Hitlers opposition.
posted by clavdivs at 1:32 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The more attention you give to this guy, the more we will all pay for it in future rampages.

Or maybe learning more about this guy's mind will help prevent future rampages? I don't have a citation either.
posted by amorphatist at 1:46 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's made it pretty clear the main reason he committed these acts was to create an audience for his "manifesto." So reading it is giving him exactly what he wanted and positively reinforcing mass murder.

Okay, here's what doesn't make sense: You don't want to read him because you think it's exactly what he wanted and reinforcing mass murder, BUT the only reason you know that he wants is because you listened to what he says.

So, let me break the news to you directly. You've already been infected by the ABB meme. The only cure for this is mass quantities of alcohol.
posted by FJT at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's so weird how the new business models of the internet age have made us believe (rightly or not) that our mere attention is equivalent to money/payment, and thus, we should only pay attention to or look at things which we believe are good and ought to succeed.

This is not too far off from some aspects of cognitive behavioral counseling.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]



The more attention you give to this guy, the more we will all pay for it in future rampages.

Or maybe learning more about this guy's mind will help prevent future rampages? I don't have a citation either.
posted by amorphatist at 1:46 PM on August 16 [+] [!]



Citations? I have some lazy ones for you.

1. ^ Loren Coleman, (2004) The copycat effect: How the media and popular culture trigger the mayhem in tomorrow's headlines, Simon and Schuster, NY.
2. ^ Surette, R. (2002). Self-Reported Copycat Crime Among a Population of Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders. Crime & Delinquency, 48(1), 46-69.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:58 PM on August 16, 2011


I have no intention of ever reading "Mein Kampf", but I'm glad someone else did, and I'm glad neo-nazis can't claim we are hiding something from them.
In this case, I suggest you RTFA. Dalton goes directy to the sources, so it is not about the crazy guy. And those sources are real and lively. The European far right includes almost all parts of society. And we need to talk about them and confront them.
posted by mumimor at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2011


The girl with whom I was friends and was also in mad, unrequited love for my entire teenagerhood (and a couple of years after) bought me a copy of Mein Kampf for my 18th birthday.

I still don't know what she was thinking, there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:36 PM on August 16, 2011


Alright, I'll read the book review now.
posted by infini at 3:05 PM on August 16, 2011


At some point, the blogging world is going to have to understand that our words mean something, that they have overt meaning plus subtext, and that when information is so easily disseminated, words laden with subtext may reach an audience that may not know you were writing hypothetically. I can understand why Fjordman went into hiding. The horror of this situation alone has to be killing him.
posted by infini at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2011


At some point, the blogging world is going to have to understand that our words mean something, that they have overt meaning plus subtext, and that when information is so easily disseminated, words laden with subtext may reach an audience that may not know you were writing hypothetically.

Not only the blogging world. I was interested to read that Breivik had mentioned former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, with approval.

Howard won a couple of elections from the brink of defeat, largely through dog-whistle xenophobic anti-refugee (read: Muslim refugee) politics.

A lot of Howard's rhetoric was all about "sending messages". "This will send a message to people smugglers; harm minimisation sends the wrong message to teenagers about drugs" etc ad nauseam.

The thing is, once your message is out there in the public domain, you no longer have any control over who receives it & how it is used. Howard would certainly have been appalled at the events in Norway, and that his politics had given a prop to Breivik, but it's certainly worth reading Breivik's manifesto (or secondary sources like this review) in order to see tangible evidence that xenophobic politics can send the worst kinds of messages to the worst kinds of people.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stuff like this fascinates me, though I still hold to the theory that all the rhetoric is just a mask for curdled loneliness and frustration.

Not only the blogging world. I was interested to read that Breivik had mentioned former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, with approval.

Howard won a couple of elections from the brink of defeat, largely through dog-whistle xenophobic anti-refugee (read: Muslim refugee) politics.


And, ironically, after a similar massacre the hated John Howard pretty much banned guns (not that I agree with the rest of his policies).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:26 PM on August 16, 2011


In the area of weirdly-disjointed murder manuals, the Bible wins hands down every time.

I'm a big fan of Catcher in the Rye.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:28 PM on August 16, 2011


stavrosthewonderchicken: I still don't know what she was thinking, there.

Maybe that love's for nazis?
posted by Kattullus at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2011


But this mass murderer's manifesto (unlike, say, "Mein Kamp") also includes detailed, practical how-to mass murdering advice (bomb making instructions, tactical guidance, body armor buying tips, etc.) on top of its murderous ideology. That makes it significantly more dangerous, if it gets broad readership, than an ordinary political manifesto.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:55 PM on August 16, 2011


It already has a broad readership. Averting our eyes is not going to help. I mean, I get the whole sickness of the celebrity we build up around mass murderers, and how that probably does end up being the trigger that sets off copycats. But. Anyone who could be triggered just by hearing about A.B.B. and his manifesto is already on the brink of something bad, for one, and for two, you can't battle something you don't understand.

Drag this stuff into the sunlight, put it under the microscope, demand explanations and point out contradictions, and then what you've put into the world for impressionable minds is a way of combatting it. Ignore it and it just breeds in the darkness.
posted by emjaybee at 6:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Urging us not to read something because it's "dangerous" is just silly. I have yet to read anything that put myself or others in danger because I read it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:00 AM on August 17, 2011


(Except 'Atlas Shrugged'. Fuck that book.)
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:01 AM on August 17, 2011


But this mass murderer's manifesto (unlike, say, "Mein Kamp") also includes detailed, practical how-to mass murdering advice (bomb making instructions, tactical guidance, body armor buying tips, etc.) on top of its murderous ideology.

Sure, but so did the Anarchists Cookbook.

Which, well, people also wanted to ban.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:45 PM on August 17, 2011


But nobody here has suggested banning it. Just not linking to it and increasing its search engine standing, among other things. Not just because it's dangerous (though that is a factor) but because it's a book deliberately marketed by a mass murder campaign.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2011






Anita Dalton has finished her series. Here are links to parts two, three and four. I encourage you to read the entirety, but here's one bit from the conclusion that struck me:
But it became something more than just one of my regular exercises. In my 20s, I went down some interesting roads as I tried to find that which was truth for me and even as I tried on appalling mental hats, my inner ideology never changed. I could never find it in myself to hate people. I loathe religion but that is not the same as loathing a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. And as an American I could never wrap my mind around racism and Nationalism in a land of immigrants. I just never could make that leap and because of it, I find those who made the leap more fascinating than I should. I think I am searching for an answer to the question of what makes me different from them. And I wonder sometimes why, as manifestly liberal and egalitarian as I am, I seldom take offense to mindsets I find horrifying. I may react and even overreact to ideas I find terrible but I often find myself in a strange mental position of being able to like people whose ideologies I think are terrible and I wish I knew why.

I found this manifesto absorbing in places because I thought I might finally find an answer to many questions about Breivik and those that I have about myself.

So I wrote and wrote and wrote and after my first entry it really did become a wholly different exercise. I met online a man who lost his cousin in Oslo, a woman who was just around the corner from where the bomb went off and is haunted by how close she came to severe injury if not death, and another woman whose daughter’s friend died on the island. Countless other e-mails flowed in, comments were left, and at the end of it, Breivik stopped being a curiosity. I needed answers. Maybe I searched too hard and found strange links that mean something only to me.

But even as I make assertions, I don’t really kid myself. Even after the psychiatrists are done with him I don’t think we will know the real mind of a man like Breivik to any degree so that we can make sense of what happened. Isn’t that why I read these horrible things? To be drawn to the darkness is to want to understand it? Possibly, but while I think reading this manifesto showed the strange contents and revealed some interesting things about Fjordman, I don’t think I really know that much about Breivik. I just know what he said in the manifesto and as I mentioned in Part Three, Breivik is a liar. I can piece all of this together with my knowledge of darkness, all the books I have read, all the psychology books, all the criminology books, all the books on intellectual racism, but all of that implies I had a place of firm ground when I was looking at Breivik’s words. I didn’t. His manifesto is a swamp and even though I engaged in this exercise knowing it was a swamp, I may have sunk into the mire even as I tried to avoid it.

So I have no answers, really. Just my beliefs from reading this manifesto. Hopefully the investigators and mental health workers will help everyone come to some understanding, but I fear that even if we understand Breivik, that means we just understand this one man after the fact. If there is a way to extrapolate this into a detection policy, a means of prevention, I cannot see it. Breivik is a monster and one cannot make policy out of a monster.
One thing that didn't surprise me per se, but was still instructive to have laid out, is how petty both Fjordman and Breivik are. Vain and hatefilled little men.
posted by Kattullus at 12:45 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


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