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Norwegian Shooting Suspect's 'Manifesto' Inspired By American Right-Wing Thinkers

Norwegian shooter/bomber Anders Behring Breivik left behind a 1,500-page "manifesto," and its ideas bear an eerie similarity to American right-wing thought.

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AMY GOODMAN: Of course, his lawyer now is talking about pleading insanity for Breivik.

JEFF SHARLET: Yeah, and, I mean, that’s what—you know, it’s a lawyer’s job to find the best defense. There’s not a whole other—you know, a lot of angles on which to defend this guy, especially because he—you know, he surrendered and openly admits doing it, all of which he describes in the manifesto. He describes exactly what he was going to do. He says, here are statements that you can read at your trial hearing. It’s important to try and get a trial, he says.

And, you know, there’s something very reminiscent there of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who’s another American source who he quotes from. Ted Kaczynski was furious because his lawyers insisted on using an insanity defense. A very troubled man, but he knew what he was doing, and he wanted to talk about it. He wanted to share his violent rhetoric. And he correctly, I think, identified that desire by the press and others to call him insane as a refusal to recognize the political critique he was making. I think we need to recognize it, if we’re going to refute it. If we kind of plug our ears and say "inexplicable evil," then we’re not going to learn anything about it, and we’re going to be surprised the next time it happens.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Jeff Sharlet, author of the bestseller  The Family, contributing editor for  Harper’s Magazine and Rolling Stone, also author of  C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. This is  Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Jeff Sharlet was speaking to us from Dartmouth College, where he is an assistant professor of English. 

 

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now! .
Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor to Harper's and the author of a history of elite Christian Fundamentalism forthcoming from HarperCollins.

 
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