Breivik’s Fear and Prejudice


Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown

 “Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices-just recognize them.” Edward R. Murrow.

The world is filled with good people born into this world of various sizes, shapes, colors and personalities. Like salt is to a freshly peeled garden cucumber, so is human diversity to an otherwise bland society.

One of my favorite inspirational hymns is the song “Just as I am,” which speaks to the grace extended to each of us by a holy and perfect God, willing to take us into his fold, just as we are – “poor, wretched, and blind.” God is incapable of prejudice. How dare we not do the same?

Some of my dearest friends and family members stand on the opposite spectrum politically; we find our deep bond of kinship, not in the superficiality of politics, but in the profundity of our bond of human compassion. When we gather around the holiday table, our prejudices are left at home.

Be it race, religion or socioeconomic status, by nature, we humans find comfort in the companionship of our own kind. Some would label this companionship as prejudice, which in and of itself, is not wrong. However, succumbing to our prejudices can lead to fear, and fear left unchecked, to hatred – until we become the lowest form of ourselves, as did Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik’s fear of Islamic and Marxist infiltration into Western culture led him to commit atrocities far worse than anything he feared they might do to him and his fellow blonde-haired, light-eyed Scandinavians. Driven by the same kind of prejudice and fear, Hitler annihilated Jews, white southerners enslaved “negroes,” and Muslim extremists kill “infidels.” Predictably, the left sees Breivik’s actions as an opportunity to cast the right under the same light.

Searching through Breivik’s manifesto, it could be tempting to draw the conclusion that Breivik is a “fundamental right wing Christian wacko.” Christianity does not make one a fundamental wacko, any more than being a Boy Scout makes you Ted Kaczynski.

Christian and right-wing bashing is the current modus operandi of the left, and if conservatives are not careful, we will fall into the same vicious cycle of blaming the other side as a matter of muscle memory, regardless of the facts.

The Hitlers, McVeighs and Breiviks of this world have detached themselves from the human race and belong in a league all their own. Veiling themselves behind layers of religion, philosophy, and prejudice, they each share a common trait that has little to do with reality. In the end, their actions defy reality, and leave the rest of us to question why. It kind of reminds me of a provoking scene in the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” where Bruce Wayne asked Alfred the same question, and Alfred responded, “…some men aren’t looking for anything logical…They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”