Dr.Dawg

Morons and lunatics

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breivik.jpg

The prescient Umberto Eco, in Foucault’s Pendulum:

A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has a logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic, on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars….

There are lunatics who don’t bring up the Templars, but those who do are the most insidious. At first they seem normal, then all of a sudden….

History, itself a kind of fiction, repeats itself:

Breivik claimed to be a modern day successor to the ancient Knights Templar, who are historically accredited as the protectors of Christian pilgrims en route to the Holy Land.

But the most important point in Eco’s passage may be the reference to morons, among whose swollen ranks the lunatics find their métier. We know in this case precisely who they are: the nutty Pam Geller types that Breivik so admired, English Defence League yobs, European neo-Nazis, Geert Wilders…you get the idea. All of these folks “prove their thesis” with a kind of hateful children’s logic: They’re bad. Get rid of them.

Of course, they will hasten to explain, they’re just joking, it’s just metaphor, they don’t mean it literally, they’re horrified that anyone would do such things. And they are so righteously indignant that anyone would attribute the slightest responsibility to them for the actions of the lunatics whose minds they have programmed, and whose targets they have selected.

A moron sea, in which too many deformed fish are swimming.

Mark Lepine picked up on the visceral hatred of feminism that seethed and flowed among some men at the time (and still does) whose privilege was threatened by strong, assertive, confident and successful women. We know who was on Jim David Adkisson’s reading list; and the influences on Jared Lee Loughner of right-wing eliminationist rhetoric are undeniable.

Anders Behring Breivik hated Islam, immigration, women’s rights, multiculturalism—all the favourite targets of the extreme Right. He hung around their websites, drinking their poison through the pores. He spent years writing rubbish and plotting death.

Did he act alone? Nobody acts alone. That he is a lunatic, there can be no doubt: but a lunatic who spent his time in the company of hateful fools and morons, like a loaded gun in the hands of a spiteful, bad-tempered child.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on July 25, 2011 12:32 PM.

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