But by the natural law of war, which no man made and no man can unmake, 9/11 was far more legitimate as a military act than the Utoye massacre. ABB is worse than OBL.
Why? Because the law of war is that all war’s carnage, whether it affects “soldiers” or “civilians” (a completely arbitrary distinction) is legitimate if and only if it serves a military purpose. What is a military purpose? Since the purpose of all war is the transfer of political power, a military purpose is a political purpose.
Slaughter that serves no purpose is sadistic, insane, terrible. Slaughter for purpose is the very nature of war, and cannot be separated from it. Since right-wing terrorism does not work, it is illegitimate as a tactic of war. Since left-wing terrorism does work, it is perfectly legitimate. Thus, OBL is legitimate and ABB is not.
Islamic terrorism (which is in every case left-wing) is legitimate because it’s effective. It’s effective because its political result is to expand the political power and privilege of Muslims and their progressive sponsors. Right-wing terrorism is illegitimate because it’s ineffective. It’s ineffective because its political result is to contract the political freedom and influence of conservatives (extremist or moderate).
If it was militarily possible to free Norway from Eurocommunism by killing a hundred communists, or a thousand communists, or ten thousand communists, we might have an interesting moral debate over whether this butcher’s bill was worth paying. Since it is not possible to free Norway from communism by killing a hundred communists, ie, roughly 0.01% of all the communists in Norway, leaving the other 99.99% with a permanent raging hard-on, no debate is possible. The verdict is clear: illegitimate, ineffective and wrong. I condemn Anders Behring Breivik! So there.
Of course, there are plenty of historical contexts in which right-wing terrorism did work — for instance, Germany in the 1920s. In these contexts, it was legitimate. Conversely, left-wing terrorism was ineffective in the fascist nations, and hence illegitimate.
Why does left-wing terrorism work, and right-wing terrorism not? As Carl Schmitt explained in Theory of the Partisan, terrorist, guerrilla or partisan warfare is never effective on its own. While an effective military strategy, it is only effective as one fork of a pincer attack. The terrorist succeeds when, and only when, he is allied to what Schmitt called an interested third party — either a military or political force.
Left-wing terrorism succeeds as the violent arm of a political assault that would probably be overwhelming in any case. In every case, the terrorist plays Mutt in a Mutt-and-Jeff act. Right-wing terrorism in the modern world is cargo-cult terrorism: Mutt without Jeff. Indeed, in historical cases where right-wing terrorism has been successful, in every case we see it aligned with powerful forces within the state. Right-wing terrorism worked in Weimar Germany, for instance, or prewar Japan, because it aligned with fascist conspiracies in the security forces. Somehow I don’t see a lot of that in 2011 Norway.
Thus, we note that there are two responses to terrorism: the natural response and the unnatural response. The natural response is to take revenge on the terrorist and everyone even remotely resembling him. If he is a Muslim, the natural response is to chastise the Muslims. When Grynzspan, a Jew, kills the German vom Rath, the German people must chastise the Jews. And, of course, when a right-wing piece of filth slaughters the cream of the Norwegian Komsomol, all racists and reactionaries are automatically suspect.
The unnatural response — which will not happen by itself, but can be made to happen by a sufficiently powerful psychological-warfare machine — is to look instead at the grievances of the attacker. After all, no one commits terrorism unless he has some complaint. No complaint — no terrorism. Thus while the Nazi response to the terrorism of Grynzspan is to collectively punish the Jews, the Atlantic response to the terrorism of Grynzspan (ineffective and thus illegitimate) is to attribute it to the injustices suffered by the Jews. This of course is also our response to the terrorism of Mandela (effective and thus legitimate).
In more typical cases, however, the political movement allied with a successful terrorist campaign adopts a strategy of dualism. Here is our Mutt-and-Jeff act: the unnatural response. We can always tell a Mutt-and-Jeff strategy because Mutt and Jeff have the same demands. Mutt tells you to satisfy these demands, or die. Jeff tells you to satisfy these demands, to “take the wind out of Mutt’s sails.” Also, Jeff and Mutt are frequently found at the same parties, enjoying the hell out of one another’s company.
Thus, Islamic terrorism is productive, because it results in increasing communal deference to the Islamic community and its progressive allies. Fascist terrorism is counterproductive, because it results in increasing communal intolerance toward the fascist community — which of course has no conservative allies. Rather, the community — whose information source consists almost exclusively of progressive organs — adopts a monist approach, ascribing guilt by association to everyone even remotely resembling a fascist. Ie, everyone to the right of Mitt Romney. Since this is the natural response, it is not at all difficult to orchestrate. The story writes itself.
This gets us to the essence of what’s wrong with ABB‘s thinking. The error of ABB goes far beyond his decision to run wild with a Glock. This is just his specific error. His general error is what Patri Friedman calls folk activism — a broad pattern of ineffective or counterproductive political action which extends across the entire right-wing spectrum, from moderate libertarians to hardcore neo-Nazis. It’s not just that running wild with a Glock is stupid. Almost everything the right does is stupid. Very few rightists are running wild with a Glock, but most are in some way or other guilty of folk activism.
Why did ABB think right-wing terrorism could work? Because ABB grew up in a leftist world, he thinks like a leftist. His heroes are leftist heroes — Max Manus, not Vidkun Quisling. Terrorism works for leftists — and so do many other forms of democratic activism.
Terrorism is anarchism: a shattering of order. Is there such a thing as right-wing anarchism? Of course not: the concept is retarded. If the word “right” means anything, its goal is not to shatter order, but impose it.
Who governs Norway? The Norwegian Labor Party? If an ABB wanted to accomplish something useful, he shouldn’t have decimated the Norwegian Labor Party. Rather, he should have joined the Norwegian Labor Party. After all, Chinese communism became fascist — why can’t Norwegian communism? ABB could have been Norway’s Deng Xiaoping, not its Timothy McVeigh. That’s the difference between action and folk activism.