The dark irony in Anders Behring Breivik’s courtoom ranting about multiculturalism is that his own worldview is riddled with that divisive ideology. Breivik poses as a one-man army against the evils of multiculturalism and the “Cultural Marxists” who have foisted it upon us. Yet in everything from his plea to respect “my culture” to his paranoid belief that “his culture” is under threat from both uncaring officials and uncouth plebs, Breivik reveals that he is in fact an adherent to the multicultural outlook. His view of himself as a threatened “culture”, his cloying self-pity, his paranoia about his traditions being trampled underfoot by Others – all of those warped ideas spring from the ideology of multiculturalism.
Breivik is not so different from the “Cultural Marxists” he loves to hate. Like them, he uses academic lingo such as “deconstruct” and “cultural identity” to describe what he thinks is happening to Europe. In the rambling 12-minute video he posted on YouTube just before his killing spree last year, he talks about the “deconstruction of European cultures”. He has said that he wants to uphold the “white Christian identity” and in court yesterday he lamented the disrespect shown to “my culture”. This obsession with one’s own cultural identity, and the desire to erect a forcefield around it so that it is never threatened by external forces, is pure, unadulterated multiculturalism, the same thinking that motivates the modern multicultural machine and its mission to enforce respect for various “identities”.
Breivik is clearly driven by identity politics rather than by old-fashioned religious convictions. As one report points out, he poses as a “Christian warrior” and yet he has views which wouldn’t sit well with die-hard Christians – for example, he is pro-abortion, happy to campaign alongside homosexuals, and confesses to having slept with prostitutes. It seems pretty clear, as one commentator puts it, that Breivik adheres to “a cultural rather than strictly religious form of Christianity”. That is, he is driven by an “identity ideology” rather than by anything recognisable as “Christian fundamentalism”, in that his obsession is purely with his own innate “identity”, his fixed cultural traits, just as is the case with mainstream multiculturalists. They are also driven by an “identity ideology”, by a belief that everyone can be squeezed into neat and never-changing cultural boxes – White, Muslim, Black – and that each of these boxes must be protected from ridicule and disrespect.
Another thing Breivik shares with the multicultural lobby is a powerful sense of cultural paranoia. He believes “my culture” is under siege. Only where mainstream multiculturalists tend to argue that minority cultures such as the Islamic one are threatened by tidal waves of Islamophobia and general public ignorance, Breivik says the majority culture – the white Christian identity – is threatened by the “Islamic colonisation” of Europe and also by general public ignorance (he says ordinary people have been led astray by the media). These are just different versions of the same sense of cultural panic that is fostered by the multicultural outlook. Indeed, it is remarkable how much Breivik has in common with those Islamists he despises. Where Islamists, also under the influence of multiculturalism, crazily claim that their cultural identity is threatened by “New Crusades” against Islam, Breivik says his cultural identity is threatened by crusades from the East, by “Islamisation”. Both groups of people have been made entirely paranoid by being encouraged to become obsessed with their allegedly fragile identities.
Breivik is not an implacable foe of multiculturalism; he is a product of it. He is multiculturalism’s monster, where his true aim is to win recognition of his identity alongside all those other identities that are fawned over in modern Europe. In essence, his barbarous act last year was not about dismantling multiculturalism but about expanding it, to make sure it afforded respect to his own petty cultural feelings as well as everyone else’s.