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Norway and terrorism: white male rage

By Keith Suter - posted Thursday, 28 July 2011


As a result of the Norwegian tragedy, INTERPOL has announced that it will investigate the threat of right-wing terrorism. This is a long overdue recognition that the so-called "war on terror" has had too narrow a focus. "White male rage" also needs to be examined by the police.

Anders Brevik may have acted alone. But he was not a lonely figure in political terms.

Traditionally right-wing extremists – being so paranoid – have a problem in even co-operating with others of the sake ilk. They often fall out and so can't/ won't work together. This makes the job of detection more complicated because they leave so few clues.

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There is a distinct strand of extremist right-wing political thinking that now runs through western societies that should not be overlooked. We should avoid rushing to judgement that Brevik was simply "insane".

There are much deeper issues involved. The most obvious location for identifying this trend is in the United States, where weapons and bomb material are much easier to obtain than in most other western countries. A person with extremist views can more easily implement violence in the US than elsewhere. As the saying goes: "I love my country but I am scared of my government and so I need a gun to defend myself".

Among the US practitioners have been:

. Timothy McVeigh (1993: Oklahoma City bombing, 168 people killed);

. Scott Roeder (2009: murder targeting a doctor who did abortions: two people killed);

. Joseph Stack (2010: killed himself by flying his plane into the US tax office building, Austin, Texas, two others killed);

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. Jared Loughner (2011 attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Cliffords; six people killed)

All apparently acted alone but had some similarities: they were angry white men, often with a very conservative Christian background, who saw themselves as "warriors" campaigning against some modern trends. By their own standards they were not "mad" or unbalanced – they could see things about modern society that the rest of the population were not seeing.

In a deeper sense, they can also feel in their bones that an era is coming to a close: 500 years of white male European (and North American) domination of the world. Beginning in the 1490s the Portuguese and Spanish (followed by the Dutch, French and British) sailed from their rocky outcrop at the western end of the giant Eurasian landmass and took white civilization to all other parts of the world.

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About the Author

Dr Keith Suter is a futurist, thought leader and media personality in the areas of social policy and foreign affairs. He is a prolific and well-respected writer and social commentator appearing on radio and television most weeks.

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