Just before Breivik’s attacks he released a 1,500 page manifesto entitled ’2083 – A European Declaration of Independence’ outlining his mission to rid Europe of Muslims and the ‘Cultural Marxists’ in power. Obviously I had to download and read it, and it sure is an interesting read. Not because I like his ideas, but because it’s always good to know what the crazies are up to.
Bascially, Breivik argues that all of Europe’s current problems have been caused by Muslim immigration and corrupt leaders, the so called ‘Cultural Marxists’. The only solution is to conduct a kind of cultural cleansing by executing these Marxists and expelling all Muslims from Europe, after which a new order will be established based on ‘Culturally Conservative’ values…
Most Europeans look back on the 1950s as a good time. Our homes were safe, to the point where many people did not bother to lock their doors. Public schools were generally excellent, and their problems were things like talking in class and running in the halls. Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer work. Children grew up in two–parent households, and the mother was there to meet the child when he came home from school. Entertainment was something the whole family could enjoy. (p. 12, 2083)
Conservatives are a peculiar breed. Breivik is clearly fond of the 50′s and envisions his new Europe to be very much like this romanticised version of the early post-war years. Culturally, at least. He uses the example of a 1950′s family that travels into the 2000′s only to return to the 50′s in shock and horror over what’s become of their idyllic Europe. Nothing wrong with that of course. I’m sure there were a lot of good things back in the 50′s that might’ve gotten lost along the way.
What I find disturbing about his view, and indeed the entire Conservative ideology, is the counterproductiveness of it all. Head back to the 50′s and I’m sure you’ll find people longing for the 1900′s. In the 1900′s people were probably dreaming of the 1850′s. And so on back to the time when people romanticised tree-dwelling.
Every era has its share of good and bad. Compared to the 50′s, or any other time for that matter, our time probably has a pretty similar amount of good and bad, whatever that may be. People unfortunately have a tendency to focus too much on present negatives and only remember past positives, conveniently forgetting what things were really like, thus creating this sense of ‘things used to be better’.
For some, this kind of thinking can lead to a desire to bomb the world back in time, as witnessed in Norway and many other places around the world. Fortunately, most conservatives will simply try to prevent progress from happening, or at the least slow it down. Personally I don’t understand this kind of thinking. Living in the past is a waste of time. Trying to conserve the present even more so. Everything changes all the time and no matter how hard you try you’ll never succeed in keeping things the way they are.
Instead of bringing back the past, why not use all of our collective knowledge and experience to create a better world, based in the present with a long-term vision for the future. Present-day problems require present-day solutions. That’s not to say that everything past needs to be rejected. Certain things are timeless and can be applied at any time and any given situation. But cultural cleansing is certainly not one of them…