Friday, 29 July 2011

Pat Condell on Norway.

So the face of New Atheism has commented on the recent massacre in Norway perpetrated by a right-winger who was wound up about multiculturalism, radical Islam and cultural Marxism. Pat Condell is probably sincere in his condemnation of the use of violence whilst he speaks of a war between violent barbarians and civilised people. The same can be said of his tirade against the suggestion that the right-wing critique of multiculturalism has contributed to the pool of hate from which Breivik emerged armed to the teeth. The problem being that the ideas expressed in Breivik's manifesto come from the mainstream and can be traced from the standard conservatism to the outer reaches of ultra-nationalism. We find he read columnists Jeremy Clarkson and Melanie Phillips as well as Bernard Lewis, Bat Ye'or, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, Daniel Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Unabomber. Breivik took the words of the Unabomber and replaced words such as "blacks" with "Muslims" and "leftists" with "cultural Marxists".

So the way that Pat Condell just objects to the implied "complicity" of all critics of Islam in this crime is absurd. It is not the case that the common responsibility falls to neoconservatives, Zionists, right-wing liberals and fascists because of the commonality of ideas, it is the shared ideas which are the problem here. The tendency towards a form of anti-Semitism which hides behind a philo-Semitic love of Israel but draws a distinction between "loyal" and "disloyal" Jews is symptomatic of right-wingers in the mainstream as well as on the lunatic fringe. Then there is the fervent opposition to political correctness and multiculturalism as an outgrowth of a left-wing conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation. You can find plenty of talk about the PC Brigade on the mainstream along with the line that there is a left-wing elite in the shadows of public policy. These lines only become more extreme in tone at the outer-reaches of ultra-nationalism. The same goes for the bile that the Right spews over anything remotely Islamic.

You must notice that the line Condell takes is that the use of violence is counter-productive and will never win over the people. The restoration of democracy in Europe can only come with the mass-support of the people according to him, by which he means the end of the European Union. Only the fanatics believe otherwise, a distinction which Condell uses to separate Breivik off from the discourse which he himself is embedded in on YouTube. It is about method more than anything then and yet he calls for a "defence" of freedom of speech no matter what. He may not have meant those words in any violent way, but it is the case that the radical Right have taken an interest in him and for good reason. The issue for Condell is still Islam in Europe, there is no mention of the media's immediate reaction to the massacre. Instead he rages over the suggestion that the right-wing opposition to multiculturalism might have something to do with this event. He goes onto reiterate the old lines that Islam is a "totalitarian ideology" and a threat to freedom, while political correctness is "cultural Marxism" and multiculturalism is a "lie".

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