Understanding the ideology of the Christchurch killer

Understanding the ideology of the Christchurch mosque mass murderer may help prevent a repeat of something so bad happening again, or at least reduce the risks.

Mark Durie gives some good explanations in The Christchurch Killer’s Anti-Humanist Ideology

In the wake of the horrific Christchurch shootings, we need to thoughtfully engage with the ideology which influenced it. Just before the massacre, the self-confessed killer, Brenton Tarrant, distributed what is being called a manifesto, in which he unashamedly describes what he was about to do as a “terrorist attack”, and gives and account of his ideology.

We need to understand this ideology, not to give it a platform, but to learn and to equip ourselves to stand against such hatred.

Is Tarrant an Islamophobe?

Tarrant chose Muslims as a target, but his hatred is directed at all non-white immigrants. It is their “race” he objects to. He has nothing to say about Islam as a religion, making no mention of Muhammad, the Qur’an, or the Sharia.

Although Tarrant nurtures a number of grudges against Muslims, for example for the history of jihad against Europe, he makes clear that his primary reason for targeting mosques is to incite white people to rise up against immigrants in general, not just Muslims. He would drive them all out if he could.

Worshipping Strength

In Tarrant’s fascist vision, the primary good, overriding all else, is the success and dominance of the race-nation. This is a law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest view of morality, which considers it entirely legitimate for one tribe to dominate and destroy another to its own advantage.

Tarrant’s solution to his crisis of white demographic decline is to incite conflict so that whites will be compelled to awaken, radicalise and grow strong. This is what his attack in Christchurch was all about.

Anti-Humanitarian

The deeply anti-humanitarian features of Tarrant’s ideology are particularly troubling, not least because Western societies’ movement away from humanitarianism is a discernible long-term trend, and not just among violent extremists.  Reverence for human life is no longer as dominant a characteristic of Western people’s thinking as it used to be.

…one of the reasons he says he hates migrants is that they come, he says, from groups that are “overpopulating” the world, so, he rants, “kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment”.

A Chaotic View of Past and Present

Tarrant’s ideology is as chaotically self-contradictory as it is revolting. His theory of history and of nations is all over the place: a complete mess.

Mad or Bad?

Is Tarrant a psychopath?  He may be. The vast majority of ordinary people could not kill in cold blood as he has done.

Tarrant’s manifesto and actions are bad, not mad. Driven, cold and calculating, and fully responsible for his actions, he had been captured by an evil ideology, which made him a hero in his own eyes.

How Tarrant was Radicalised

It is necessary to explore Tarrant’s passion over the “great replacement”.  He describes visiting France, and feeling grief-struck by the ebbing away of the French: “The french people were often in a minority themselves, and the french that were in the streets were often alone, childless or of advanced age. While the immigrants were young, energised and with large families and many children.”

In disgust and despair Tarrant pulled over by a military cemetery, overwhelmed, and wept at the sight of crosses from soldiers who were killed fighting in the two World Wars, stretching out to the horizon. He was weeping over their seemingly vain sacrifice.

By his own account, this was how Tarrant was radicalised. That was it. In front of those crosses he demanded of himself “Why don’t I do something?” Then and there he committed himself to violence in the belief that the radicalisation of other Western young men will be inevitable.

If radicalisation is to be prevented, the crucial thing is to short-circuit the progression from lament and trauma to violence. A sense of loss is and will be unavoidable, but a descent into violence need not be. To prevent this outcome moral leadership is required.

The Threat of Tarrant’s Ideology

The greatest threat is that the option of violence might become increasingly attractive to people who have turned their backs on love-thy-neighbour morality, despising it as weakness, and who also feel deeply challenged and uprooted, both emotionally and morally, by our rapidly changing world, not only by rapid demographic shifts, but also by cultural loss, environmental degradation and all of the other ills Tarrant rails against.

The greater the sense of loss, the more attractive the worship of strength could appear.  What ethical alternatives will be made available to those who are tempted by this path?

The Real Battle We Must Face

Calls to suppress Tarrant’s views from being known and discussed are mistaken. The real struggle we face in the West is over moral worldviews which despise the value of human life.

It was Tarrant’s rejection of the inherent value of each and every human life that opened the door to his raging collectivist hatred.  The challenge for us all is to discern and uproot the seedlings of his deadly ideological trend, and to plant something better in its place.

To do this we must understand and acknowledge such thinking, understand how such a worldview might germinate and grow, and be able to trace the paths of its influence, so that we can intervene and oppose it, lest it spread.

But to achieve all this we must take our heads out of the sand, not put them in it.

To understand more it’s worth reading Durie’s whole post – The Christchurch Killer’s Anti-Humanist Ideology