Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in a bombing and a shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway, on July 22, 2011. His trial began April 16 of this year. Breivik is insisting that he was sane then and he is sane now and that he would do it again if he got the opportunity. On the second day of the trial, Breivik described the killings as “‘the most spectacular sophisticated political act in Europe since the Second World War’ and said he would do it over again.” The people of Norway are shocked.
Breivik argues that he killed for the good of Norway and the broader European nations. While the media have portrayed Breivik as a “right-wing extremist,” in reality he’s just another left-wing radical who, as we will see, is no more evil than the French revolutionaries of the eighteenth century. The French revolutionaries made reason their god while Breivik made genes his god.
James H. Billington writes in his Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, that revolution is a religious faith, “perhaps the faith of our time”1. The revolutionary faith, David Chilton writes in his view of Billington’s book, that early revolutions were “idolatrous attempts to replace the Christian faith, preaching and practicing the gospel of salvation through the shed blood of man.”
Breivik is a product of the modern worldview that claims there is no personal God and that modern Darwinian eugenics can create a utopian society and eliminate many of the major problems of the world. Genes are destiny. And what do evolutionists thing of genes? E.O. Wilson says “that genes themselves ‘feel nothing, care for nothing, intend nothing.’”2 Unlike most Norwegians, Breivik is just being consistent with his worldview. Only 32% of Norwegians believe there is a God. Phil Zuckerman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, estimates atheism rates in Norway range from 31 to 72%. Norway is the least religious country in Western Europe.
How are Breivik’s actions any different from what took place in 18th-century France? “Bastille Day” is celebrated on July 14th as a national holiday in France. Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France. It is also celebrated in Belgium, Hungary, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and in more than 50 cities across the United States.
The murdering mobs that attacked the nearly empty Bastille believed their actions would bring about a better France, similar to what Breivik envisioned for Norway when he gunned down innocent children. The storming of the Bastille was a catalyst for what became known as the “reign of terror.” “French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from left-wing political groups and the masses on the streets.” How bad was it? In a two-year period, estimates put the number of deaths between sixteen thousand and forty thousand.
Did you get that? Between sixteen thousand and forty thousand French citizens were killed in the name of a better France, and nations around the world celebrate this slaughter. Here’s an example of French Revolutionary violence that makes Breivik seem like a piker. Ann Coulter writes the following in her book Godless:
When King Louis XVI was confronted by a mob, he ordered his more than 600 Swiss guards to surround him, hoping that this act would dissuade them from attacking. It didn’t work. They were all savagely murdered. The mobs ripped them to shreds and mutilated their corpses. “Women, lost to all sense of shame,” said one surviving witness, “were committing the most indecent mutilations on the dead bodies from which they tore pieces of flesh and carried them off in triumph.” Children played kickball with the guards’ heads. Every living thing in the royal palace in Paris was butchered or thrown from the windows by the hooligans. Women were raped before being hacked to death.
The Jacobin club . . . demanded that the piles of rotting, defiled corpses surrounding the royal palace be left to putrefy in the street for days afterward as a warning to the people of the power of the extreme left.
This bestial attack, it was later decreed, would be celebrated every year as “the festival of the unity and indivisibility of the republic.” It would be as if families across America delighted in the annual TV special “A Manson Family Christmas.”
Today’s liberals understand the connection with past revolutions so well that they now call themselves “Progressives.” When you hear “Progressive politics,” think left wing, think socialism, think revolutionaries. The radicals of the 1960s were left-wing ideologs who had a truck load of “just causes” that led them to mob violence, blowing up buildings, and the call for the violent overthrow of the “system.”
Defenders of the French Revolution tell us that it was these “just causes” that legitimized the actions of the mobs. Breivik believes his actions were justified given what he saw happening to his nation. He is no more insane than Robespierre and the members of the Committee of Public Safety were when they implemented reprisals against anyone who was a counter revolutionary. The future of Norway, like the future of France, was on the line, and Breivik believed he had to do something to save his fair nation. Like the French Revolution, a lot of innocent people had to die to get the attention of the people and the government. As Lenin is reported to have said, “If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.”
Leftists want to smear conservatives with Breivik’s atrocities. They can make this association and get away with it because they know that few people know the history of revolutions, and almost no one knows the details of the bloodletting that is celebrated as the French Revolution. If you want to know where Breivik got his inspiration, you don’t have to look far. There are numerous murderous left-wing examples from which to choose.
We are reaching a tipping point. While we most likely won’t have blood running in the streets, there will be a revolution, and it begins with ideas. Will the State be our god or will God be our God?
- Basic Books (1980) 3. [↩]
- Quoted in Steve Wilkins, Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics: An Introduction to Theories of Right and Wrong, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,  2011), 83. [↩]