Monday, 25 July 2011

Chris Port Blog #306. Hate Destroys Everything - Draft e-zine article on Norwegian murders for criticism

© Chris Port, 25th July 2011

(The following article is written in response to Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia posted by Sam Harris on his blog at

“A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle”. (Vique’s Law)

Breivik is a cold fish riding a ridiculous bicycle. So are all terrorists. Religion is an ‘inappropriate’ vehicle for political action.

Religion is more than personal belief in God (whatever ‘God’ may or may not be). It is the organized public submission of rational judgments to an unaccountable higher authority. Whether or not this higher authority factually exists is not my concern here. ‘God’ is never short of spokesmen - and they do factually exist.

The most important thing I would ask you to understand about religion is this: religion is political (whether we like it or not). If a person is genuinely religious, then that creed is a worldview and all political judgments inevitably defer to it. Politics may be the art of compromise, but religious politics go one better. There is no compromise with God. God is the ultimate arbiter of good and evil.

Now the true horror of religious politics becomes apparent. Religious politicians can literally invent their morality as they go by interpreting or writing scripture as they please. The oppression of women, the persecution of difference, the murder of innocents – all of these crimes can be excused if you are a hitman for God. Your ‘Get into Heaven free’ card can start to look like a ‘Get out of jail free’ card in your own mind, at least. The end justifies the means.

So, is Breivik religious? I think that he’s probably Christian in the same way that Adolf Hitler was Christian when it suits him. To steal the Christian bicycle is to freewheel into the abyss on two thousand years of cultural heritage. It lends the psychotic a spurious legitimacy. Ultimately though (like Hitler) I think that Breivik doesn’t so much worship God as identify with him. He doesn’t seem to be following codes of morality so much as making them up as he goes along. When it didn’t suit his purpose, “Thou shalt not kill” seems to have been definitively discarded.

Breivik’s interest in religion seems to be as a practical means to various imaginary ends. His ends appear to be ethno-political and mono-cultural rather than moral or spiritual. Perhaps most tellingly, ‘Breivik also claims membership in the Freemasons, which many Christians consider to be a cultic organization…’

I would argue that Breivik is the modern manifestation of sectarian Nazism. Modern Nazism wears both Christianity and Science as a reversible jacket, depending on which way the wind is blowing. Nazis are ugly narcissists, trying to attain fearful beauty through the aphrodisiac of power.

The Nazis ruthlessly adapted historical myths to give their own cult a spurious legitimacy. Be warned. Less trigger-happy (but equally psychotic) versions of Breivik are using sectarian organizations to infiltrate local politics and schools and businesses. These are the secular seedbeds of the new Nazi little world order.

So, how should decent skeptics respond to such atrocities? I would argue by belittling the criminals. This is not the same as belittling their crimes…

A friend recently observed on his Facebook wall: ‘Norway has no death penalty, and the maximum prison sentence is 21 years. So the gunman (if convicted) will get about 50 days of jail for each murder, and 30 days for each wounded person and 2 days for each wasted (shattered) building. How is such a mild punishment supposed to deter anyone from committing such a horrible crime ?’

I empathise with his sentiments. However, my skepticism led me in another direction. I posted the following response (which I still stand by):

‘Perverse though it may seem, the punishment may fit the criminal (if not the crime) here.

In another post, I described Breivik as ‘... the modern manifestation of sectarian Nazism. Modern Nazism wears both Christianity and Science as a reversible jacket, depending on which way the wind blows. Nazis are ugly narcissists, trying to attain fearful beauty through the aphrodisiac of power...’

The death penalty would give Breivik (in what passes for his mind) a martyr’s status. It would also raise him as an underground symbol for the neo-Nazi movement.

The most effective punishment for this criminal is to belittle him - to reveal him as a sad, inadequate little man with delusions of grandeur. This is not the same as belittling his crime.

He may be planning to use his time in prison to write some bonkers Nordic ‘Mein Kampf’. However, if he is belittled, hopefully nobody will be interested in reading it.

This revivification of aesthetics is vital. For decades, the press have been training the public to salivate like Murdochian dogs at scandal’s dinner bell. If some slick PR machine plays on morbid curiosity, then the blood of all those murdered children will just be grease to their circulation figures.

People need to be retrained in good taste. There are times when we should bear witness to human suffering - and there are times when we should turn our backs on the torturers in disgust.

The greatest punishment for this narcissistic psychotic is to reveal him as a hollow man. Let his prison years be meaningless walls - cinema screens for his memories. Let his therapists insist that he learn the names and faces and lost futures of every victim to understand what he has done.

I'm sure there will be other people who won’t forget. When he finally does leave prison, an infamous little nobody, I wouldn’t put money on his survival prospects. If he is to be a role model, let him be that. A hollow symbol for a hollow movement. Let’s kill the Nazi mystique by keeping their idiots alive.’

I know that some skeptophobes will focus on Breivik’s crimes as a distraction from their own. Sam Harris is wise to warn us against letting down our guard. However, the West should focus on Breivik for a while lest we be accused of religious and ethnic hypocrisy. Something is rotten in the state of Europe, and the rot goes much deeper than one ‘Christian’ terrorist…

How will I remember Breivik (the ‘man’ as opposed to his crimes)? As a writer, I suspect that once he was a man who loved. Perhaps he fell too deeply in love with himself? Or perhaps he became infatuated with some imaginary cultural landscape – the blue-eyed fjord boy going on Führer walks through misty black forests? No doubt the trial and the psychiatric reports will reveal all. But I suspect that all they will really reveal is a ‘hollow man’. Like Hitler… The crimes appal. But the ‘man’ is nothing. Nothing but love turned to hate. How ridiculous and avoidable.

The same nearly happens to Marty Gull. So he sings about it and avoids it. Never fall in love with hate. It changes everything. For the worse. Always.

Hate Destroys Everything
From the political musical Marty Gull 

(Currently written to the tune of Love Changes Everything as sung by Michael Ball

Hate destroys everything
Men and starlets
Hearts and lives

Hate destroys everything
Nothing lives but
Still we try

Can make the winter burn
Or a day
Dream of a nocturne

Yes hate
Hate destroys everything
Now I despise
All I loved
This boy’s eyes are
Dark as deep ice
Joys disgust

Hate destroys everything
Songs are hollow
Stupid lies
Hate destroys everything
Wrongs that follow
Cupid’s sighs

Will burn your houses down
Your whorehouse
Was built on poor ground

Yes, Hate
Hate destroys everything
Lust that glories
In mistrust
This boy’s eyes are
Black as murder
Whores disgust

Into the night we go
Tasting bitter
Wasted years
Pain and insanity
All our passions
Lash our tears
Fills up an empty soul
All those fools
Whose hearts are broken

Yes, Hate,
Hate destroys everyone
When you listen
It’s pure sound
Hate will never
Never fade or
Let you down

Previous articles in Support Atheism have been published under the sobriquet of Gull's Guano.

Gull's Guano #1 - "I Name My Demon", "The Atheist's Epiphany" and "Solving the Problems of Religion with an Equation" at http://www.supportatheism.​com/2011/atheism/gulls-gua​no-1/

Gull's Guano #2 - "A Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mice" at http://www.supportatheism.​com/2011/atheism/gulls-gua​no-2/


  1. ‘Explaining Oslo: suspicions and scenarios’ by Dr. Mervyn F. Bendle, Senior Lecturer in History and Communications at James Cook University, Tropical Northern Queensland, Australia.​ashed/2810818.html

    Dr. Bendle holds a PhD and a Masters in Comparative Religion and Masters in Social Theory, and Psychoanalytic Studies. Over the last 7 years, he has published over 25 articles and conference papers on terrorism. For the last 4 years he has taught the History of Terrorism at second and third-year university level.

    Dr Bendle has reduced speculation about Breivik to 3 broad possibilities:

    1) Breivik was a lone-wolf terrorist. Similar in profile to the ‘Unabomber’ or the ‘Oklahoma City bomber’.

    2) Breivik was part of a conspiracy. What agenda? Anti-Muslim group? Neo-Nazi group? Neo-Knights Templars? Freemasons?

    3) Breivik was a dupe and a fall guy. This was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit right-wing extremists. Cui bono? (To whose benefit?)

  2. 'Norway and the politics of hate' by Gavin Hewitt
    BBC News Europe

    ' ... Across Europe there is a strong and growing concern about immigration. It is partly fuelled by unemployment but also has its roots in threatened identity.

    Societies have been changing fast. There is mounting frustration that officials at both European and national level seem not to listen to the views of the voters.

    With globalisation, national identity seems to have become more important. The nation state stubbornly remains the focus of most people's identity. And so nationalist parties have made gains in many parts of Europe.

    There are frequent expressions of concern about the growing influence of these parties. Others say that they provide a useful channel for the feelings of frustration and alienation.

    Some of Europe's leaders, from Angela Merkel to David Cameron, have questioned multiculturalism.

    The danger, of course, is that such statements can encourage extremism. Others say that in Europe the debate needs to be had, openly and transparently about immigration and multiculturalism.

    It cannot be hidden away because it feeds a paranoia but it is one of the most sensitive issues in Europe today and is rising up the agenda.

    It is difficult to estimate the extent of extremism. Governments across Europe will be re-directing their intelligence agencies to give an assessment.

    Norway's tragedy will be used by some to speak of the dangers of populism. Others will insist that openly and sensitively these questions must be examined and not left to the internet chat rooms.

    It is not clear, of course, whether anything could have dissuaded Breivik. It is too early to judge. He has admitted the killings but not accepted criminal responsibility.

    The prime minister of Norway has said "you will not destroy democracy".

    Overwhelmingly, there is a total revulsion at these crimes. The nation is heartbroken at the young faces staring out from the front of papers and who are still missing. The hatred that did this is incomprehensible to most people.

    But these terrible events will prompt a time of reflection in Europe.'

  3. Excellent analytical article
    'Anders Behring Breivik’s political platform'
    by Dave Rich​11/07/26/anders-behring-br​eivik%E2%80%99s-political-​platform/

    '... While Breivik uses Christian, and particularly Crusader, iconography and language, this is in a cultural or civilisational way rather than religious. Descriptions of him as a “Christian fundamentalist” do not really capture this distinction. He describes his politics as “cultural conservatism” or “Crusader nationalism”; while the former is clearly too euphemistic to describe a violent revolutionary, the latter label feels appropriate...'

  4. Anders Breivik: There is nothing to study in the mind of Norway’s mass killer
    Boris Johnson, The Telegraph, 25 July 2011

    'We can ignore his puerile ideology. Anders Breivik was interested only in himself, writes Boris Johnson.'