Friday, April 20, 2012

Breivik and Oldman

Right Wing Sociopath

Behring Breivik is a 33 year-old Norwegian who has admitted to killing 77 people in Norway last year (  Trenton Oldfield (See earlier post, Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 4/15/12) is a 35 year-old Australian who disrupted the 2012 Oxford Cambridge boat race (  Breivik is a "right wing" nut who opposes immigrants, muslims and "multi-culturalism".  Oldfield was a "left-wing" nut who opposes elitism, public fences and the British class system.

Left Wing Sociopath
I do not, by any means, intend to equate these two individuals.  Clearly Breivik bears a far greater guilt for his heinous crimes than Oldfield who did not set out to physically harm anyone other than himself; just as Timothy McVeigh's crimes were far worse than those of Cornelius Horan who disrupted the Vanderlei DeLima's (Brazilian marathoner) bid for Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Breivik and Oldfield do, however, have some interesting points in common...

1) Both were making a bid for their "15 minutes of fame" in a fame-obsessed society.
2) Both seem to have had a longing for martyrdom.
3) Both were bloggers.
4) Both are mentally unbalanced.
5) Both are well-educated, privileged caucasians.
6) Most importantly, both men put a greater value on their ideology than on the lives of others or even their own.

It is this final point that illuminates how profoundly "Un-Conservative" both men are.  The first principle of Conservatism holds that all human life is sacred (see earlier posts, It's a Wonderful Conservative Life 12/30/11 and Why Conservative. Life is Sacred 12/12/11).  While Conservatives certainly do lean to the "right", it would be a mistake, therefore, to conflate "Conservatism" with being simply "right wing."

I personally love ideas and ideological sparring more than most.  I am happy to engage with those whom I disagree.  I highly value the opinion of those who vehemently disagree with me and welcome ALL comments to this blog regardless of tone, point of view, etc.  Quite frankly, I find that I usually learn more from those who disagree with me than from those who are in accord with my views.  I enjoy reading the works of radical Libertarians like Thomas DiLorenzo and socialists like Christopher Hitchens with whom I clearly do not always agree.  I believe that it is essential and healthy to challenge one's own convictions with the fire of opposing viewpoints.

Both Breivik and Oldman are men of passionate convictions and their example forces us to recall what Nietszche wrote, "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."

Breivik and Oldman call to mind the opening lines of W.B. Yeats immortal poem, The Second Coming...

The Second Coming

                                            "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
                                             The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
                                             Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                                             Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                                             The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
                                             The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                                             The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                                             Are full of passionate intensity."

                                                                                                Composed 1919

Voltaire (see earlier post Voltaire -- Conservative of the Enlightenment, 3/3/12) exemplifies for me the essentially tolerant nature of Conservatism; he wrote that, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."

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