Thursday 11 October 2012


Last year, in Norway on July 22nd 2011, Anders Breivik a declared ultra nationalist, launched a bomb attack on government buildings in Oslo where he killed eight people, and then travelled to a Labour party youth camp where he killed 69 young people, one of whom was only 14 years old.   He shot them using a handgun at close range, or if they were further away, he used a semi-automatic rifle.  Breivik justified his cold-blooded slaughter by saying “I see all multi-cultural political activists as monsters, as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture, and our country.”

It is natural to think that anyone who could carry out such atrocities is insane; certainly, they must be!  Anders Breivik is clearly a madman yet he too was ruled eligible to stand trial because psychiatrists had declared him sane.  Apparently this had overruled a previous psychiatric evaluation in which he had been described as “living in a delusional universe” - a paranoid schizophrenic who had lost touch with reality.  The state prosecutors lost their campaign to have Breivik declared insane while 72% of the Norwegian population wanted him declared sane so that he could stand trial.  Breivik wanted the same thing and he got it. The New Statesman magazine commented, “Breivik’s actions are not rooted in mental imbalance, but in political belief, and we must study and negate his beliefs – and those who adhere to them, to stop future slaughters.”  Actually, all we see here is the beginning of the operation of the law of unintended consequences.  In giving such evil the credibility and status of political belief, we end up allowing the power of darkness to dictate the terms of our existence. We unwittingly give it power.    For now we have unintended collaboration and the boundaries have become blurred.  One person said, “I believe he is mad, but it is political madness, not psychiatric madness”. The question is what is the difference? 

The Catholic priest, Thomas Merton said, “The generals and fighters on both sides in World War 2, the ones who carried out the destruction of entire cities, these were the same ones.  Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, missiles – who have planned the strategy for the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities of using viral and bacterial chemical agents – these are not crazy people, they are sane people.  The ones who coolly estimate how many millions can be considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach (ink blot) test.”