Exercising Rights : Bombs vs Blame

Anders - Bombing Rights
“Behind every great man, there’s a great woman” so it is said

So what is behind every monumentally failed man?  A monumentally failed women? 

One Friday night in late July, Anders Behring Breivik exploded a car bomb in the city of Oslo killing eight people.  A couple of hours later, he went to a summer camp on the island of Ut√łya.  There, he calmly and indiscriminately shot 69 people.

Why everyone asks?  How about this for an explanation?  I think that Ander’s mother has a lot to answer for.  Let me explain why I think this:

Anders Behring Breivik refuses to plead guilty, but recognises he is responsible for the attacks that killed 77 Norwegians. He shirks real responsibility. Breivik’s refusal to plead guilty beggars belief.

But Anders Breivik is not the only one to shirk responsibility. His mother, Wenche Behring has remained strangely silent throughout this affair. I wonder whether she was so silent when she abandoned both Anders and his father to marry another man? I wonder whether she considered her son’s peace of mind when she thought it best to move to Oslo and then to deny his father’s application for custody? Anders was only one year old at the time his parents separated with his mother treating him like some kind of football. Such traumatic events in a child’s life so early on can have life-long effects.

Even though most divorced children do not go on to become killers, his mother is made conspicuous by her silence.  What is she thinking?  What was he thinking?  Well maybe he did not have a father when he was growing up to teach him the difference between right and wrong. What I want to know is why his mother is not feeling any sense of remorse for having failed her son.

Wenche Behring is not a bad person. Anders Breivik is. But his mother’s lack of reaction to this event is disappointing, and demonstrates a lack of humanity that should be there.

Okay, okay.  Keep your knickers on.  Extremism merely engenders extremism.

The point is this.  If anyone tries to publish a story vilifying a mother, public (and notably women’s) interest groups would cry ‘Foul.’ The writer would be hunted, haunted and hated. 

I do not really think that Anders’ mother can be held to blame for this event.  I admit (with pride) that the above story is not mine.  Shamefully, it is essentially the story of one Katharine Birbalsingh a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

Katharine like any good Freudian-wannabe quickly identifies the parents of Anders as the causal factor.  Well, I say parents, but that is not entirely correct.  She places the entire burden of blame for the episode on one parent, the killer’s father, Jens Breivik. 
Katharine - Blaming Rights

The story above is nearly verbatim copy of Katharine’s story – except that my version implicates Ander’s mother instead of his father.

Katharine can write this stuff about the father, but no-one – and almost certainly no man – can write equivalent drivel about the mother.  To do so would be considered unremittingly sexist.

But is it not also sexist that our society allows someone like Katharine to write this sort of thing about men even while no-one, least of all men, can write this sort of thing about women?  Actually men could write something like this against the mother.  But stoning would be too good for them in the views of many – both male and female.

If we are to condemn sexism, then whether it targets a man or a woman should be irrelevant. 
Ironically, another writer for the Guardian  argues that Breivik’s manifesto is anti-feminist.  Breivik’s manifesto actually rails against a number of broad cultural segments.  Feminism is one of them, but cultural Marxism (whatever he means by that) is another, and Islam is yet another. 

So apparently rants against feminism are not allowed.  But rants against anti-feminists are.  Katharine of the Daily Telegraph can write a story about the culpability of the father of Anders Breivik based more on her apparent prejudices against men while Breivik can be roundly condemned for his writings criticising feminism.

Actually, perhaps we begin to see a similarity between both Katharine and Anders.  They are both assassins.  Admittedly she merely assassinated a man (Anders’ father) in print.  However, both took their beliefs, and extended on them by acting on people. 

Now we have crossed a line.

I am all for free speech.  I may disapprove of what Katharine says, but I will defend her right to say it – in echo of the statement often attributed to Voltaire.  Just as I will defend Breivik’s right to criticise ‘cultural marxism’ and feminism in his manifesto.

But when their beliefs flows to intolerance and more significantly, to actions affecting others – be it by bombs, bullets or blaming – then I draw a line.  Both are to be condemned for thinking that their beliefs accorded them rights over others not sharing their beliefs.  That is prejudice – the root of sexism and racism and discrimination.  Our beliefs do not give us rights. 

I would be tempted to put Anders and Katty B in a room together to sort it out.  The outcome would likely be unpleasant.  And neither victim nor victor would have right on their side, no matter how strong their beliefs, no matter who wins.