Monday, July 25, 2011

Cultural Genocide

As expected the European establishment is using the attack by Breivik to further suppress debate and criticism of the growing Islamic problem within Europe. They already deploy legal punishments for criticizing Islam (witness the trial of Geert Wilders) as well as other forms of intimidation. It is times like these that we should remember Kipling’s words:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools ...
Many of my online friends and colleagues have seen their words used as excuses for a vile act they would never have imagined let alone condoned. There was no ambiguity in their words that lent them to such usage. The problems in Norway are real. The solution devised by Breivik was diabolical. It has no grounds in the works of the authors he cites. Indeed, many of the authors, in their comments section, have continually told the “let’s nuke ‘em” crowd to get lost. They were never welcomed in the halls of reasonable debate.

There are some ideas in Breivik’s 1500 page compendium that are unique to his thought. They shed some light on his desperation and delusions. This can be seen in his charges against the Norwegian establishment (section 3.2 and 3.5):
Aiding and abetting to cultural genocide against the indigenous peoples of Europe. Cultural genocide is a term used to describe the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political, military, religious, ideological, ethnical, or racial reasons[1]. According to the ”United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”[2] the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites of Europe (all category A, B and C traitors) are committing cultural genocide against the Indigenous Peoples of Europe.

The most basic human right is to defend oneself against deliberate cultural attacks or even an institutionalized cultural genocide of unprecedented historical proportions. It’s not just a right but a duty for all Europeans to defend oneself against such atrocities through armed struggle.
The term cultural genocide is key. This insidious concept is fully operative in Breivik’s mind in the way it was intended by the left--as morally equivalent to physical genocide. Let’s examine their usage before we see why Breivik makes it a driving factor.

David Nersessian writes in the journal of the Carnegie Council:
Collective identity is not self-evident but derives from the numerous, inter-dependent aspects of a group’s existence. Lemkin’s original conception of genocide expressly recognized that a group could be destroyed by attacking any of these unique aspects. By limiting genocide to its physical and biological manifestations, a group can be kept physically and biologically intact even as its collective identity suffers in a fundamental and irremediable manner. Put another way, the present understanding of genocide preserves the body of the group but allows its very soul to be destroyed.
It is very popular in Arab literature with regard to Palestinian Arab culture. Hanan writes:
In many ways, cultural genocide (which is also referred to as "ethnocide", "sociocide" and "deculturation") sets out to achieve the same goals as a physical genocide. As Professor Stuart Stein from the University of the West of England has pointed out, "the same objective, the eradication of a group of people differentiated by some distinct traits, such as ethnicity, race, religion, language, nationality, or culture, can be achieved just as effectively in the mid-to-long-term, by gradual processes, as it might be by their immediate physical liquidation."
Also see this article for another example.

Cultural genocide is a double anti-concept. It is meant to pre-empt valid terminology and distort the debate. The concept of genocide is an insidious replacement for mass slaughter. The notion implies that the slaughter of large number of individuals is worse if the group is demographically homogeneous. By implication the slaughter of a heterogenous group is less severe. Americans, for example, can’t be victims of genocide. When have we seen the jihadi attacks of 9/11 refered to as genocide? The notion of genocide makes the collective ontologically primary. Individuals matter less.

Cultural genocide compounds the error. The mere passing away of a culture, by choice or by time, is raised to the significance of mass slaughter! Thus, when Breivik sees his country changing, it is genocide pure and simple. This kind of talk is poisonous. It’s no longer a nostalgic loss of old folksy customs that many feel when their children adopt new ways. It’s not the threat to fundamental philosophical values, which in a liberal order requires debate and refutation. It’s genocide: extinguishing a collective being. Breivik is striking out against a collective enemy regardless of individual complicity in this imagined crime. Reading between his lines you can hear: we must kill them before they kill all of us!

Closely aliened with cultural genocide is his notion of indigenous cultures. In section 2.78 he writes:
Rhetoric related to “indigenous rights” is an untapped goldmine which has currently been deluded and sidetracked due to “rhetorical contamination” from the US. If you use “white nationalist” rhetoric you are instantly placed in the same category as Hitler. This is not the case with rhetoric related to indigenous rights as this rhetoric is usually related to the Aboriginal or Native American struggles. Some of the reason why many nationalists reject the “indigenous” argument is because it is generally used by a group who has been defeated.
He sees his struggle as an indigenous rights movement for the collective survival of his group. He admits this tribal model is distinctly European and won’t apply to America. In the “Euro-US divide” he says:
However tempting to discuss US nationalism/conservatism, I’m not going to. The reason is that the fundamental factors vary too much. The European Americans aren’t the indigenous peoples of the US, the Native Americans are. In addition; there are more than 60 million Muslims in Western (25-30) + Eastern Europe (35) while only 9 million in the US.
His politics is what the left commonly calls “Identity Politics”. It has little grounding in the [classical] liberal thought which is common in the anti-jihadi writers that he cites. They are first and foremost alarmed by the illiberal nature of Islam. Breivik agrees with the problem but has adapted a collectivist solution that is obviously his own. He has stepped off into an imagined war of all against all. He is alone in this war as he deserves to be.

Let us not for a moment accept the guilt by association that is directed against the thoughtful critics of one of today’s greatest problem: the threat of Islam. This problem has to be discussed. If this becomes an excuse to suppress the debate even further, illiberalism will have won once again.

Update: Caroline Glick defines and defends the essentials of a liberal order. She ends with:
If the Left is ever successful in its bid to criminalize ideological opponents and justify acts of terrorism against their opponents, their victory will destroy the liberal democratic foundations of Western civilization.
I'd add that this would play right into Breivik's hands. So would Daniel Pipes, as he explains here in his last six paragraphs.

Update: Wikipedia notes Breivik's use of the concept of cultural genocide: "In the pre-trial hearing, February 2012, Breivik read a prepared statement demanding to be released and treated as a hero for his 'pre-emptive attack against traitors' accused of planning cultural genocide. He said, 'They are committing, or planning to commit, cultural destruction, of which deconstruction of the Norwegian ethnic group and deconstruction of Norwegian culture. This is the same as ethnic cleansing.'"