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Reactions to terrorism from left and right by Jay Knott (07/23/11)       ⇌ (Terrorism)       

A lunatic has killed nearly one hundred people in Norway. Bombs exploded in Oslo killing several people near the government, and shortly afterwards a gunman killed dozens of young people at a summer camp for children of members of the ruling Labour Party.

Much of the mainstream media speculated that it was probably an Islamic group.

It turns out that the lone suspect is a white Norwegian who has posted conservative, anti-Islamic and Christian fundamentalist views on the internet.

The left reacted to this news in the same way it reacted to the news that the suspects in the Oklahoma bombing of 1995 were white right-wingers - with relief:


See - the suspect is white - and has contacts with far-right groups like the English Defence League! How wrong the media was to think it was an Islamic atrocity! Such an assumption shows their racism and Islamophobia! The conservative talk shows on Fox News naturally jumped to the wrong conclusion, and its left-liberal critics made the most of it:


Although no-one should have jumped to the conclusion that it was definitely Muslims, they were right to think that it probably was. Simultaneous bombings and shootings in a NATO country which has troops in Afghanistan and which has been specifically threatened by al-Qaeda spokesmen - it was reasonable to speculate that this was an Islamic attack.

When a lunatic shot several people in Arizona in January, professional anti-fascist hacks like Chip Berlet quickly appeared on Democracy Now to point out that the guy apparently had some right-wing views and liked guns:


It was wrong of Fox News to assume that the Norway shooting was caused by Muslims, but it is worse to accuse that TV channel of 'moral culpability' for the actions of a lone lunatic in Tucson.

Left-wing campaigners against Congressman Pete King's McCarthyite hearings about Muslims in America absurdly pointed out that the majority of terrorist attacks in US history have come from people with allegedly fascist views. This statistic, counting number of attacks rather than number of casualties, equates the shooting of one man in the Holocaust Museum in DC with the massacre of over three thousand people by Muslim extremists on September 11th 2001.

One tends to assume the police are conservative rather than liberal. In J Edgar Hoover's day, the FBI was used as a political weapon by the right to persecute communists and murder black activists. The USA obviously has a long history of this kind of thing. But times change. In the nineties, under pressure from reformists to show they aren't racist, the the FBI and other state terrorist groups made a point of murdering rural white Christians.

The Department of Homeland Security is also affected by political correctness. Though by far the greatest threat of terrorism in the Western world is from people from Islamic backgrounds, a 'terrorism awareness' video produced by these incompetent bureaucrats makes a point of making the terrorists white, and those who stop them everything but:


The Transportation Security Administration goes to enormous lengths to prove it isn't doing ethnic or religious or even gender profiling - a middle aged white businesswoman is as likely to get questioned and x-rayed and made to stand in the 'explosive-sniffing' machine at an airport as a young man of Pakistani appearance. I'm not saying this should change, just that it shows up the absurdity of some of the left's assumptions and complaints.

In fact, it is common sense to think that a terrorist plot is more likely to be Muslim than anything else, accepting the caveats that

'Islam Today Oregon', run by former speakers at Pacifica Forum, is far less reasonable than this. It single-mindedly finds examples of Muslims doing and saying bad things around the world, ignoring equally unpleasant acts by ostensibly Christian nations, and it actually defends those of the Jewish one. But having said all that, Islam Today lets anyone comment and argue against their views, and Islam Today resisted jumping to the conclusion that the Norwegian tragedy was caused by Muslims.

On balance, accepting that the terms 'left' and 'right' are vague and difficult to measure, I'd say that what is broadly known as the left has a dumber and less realistic view of terrorism than the right.


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