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

 

 

 

 

 

A philosophy and a political ideology which will take us into the 21st century

Tony Veitch posted “I want to pose a problem for a Sunday to commentators on the Standard.”

We need a philosophy and a political ideology which will take us into the 21st century and hopefully cope with the enormous problems facing mankind.

George Monboit hinted in a lecture that some sort of idea was being formulated and will be broadcast next year. Until that happens – some thoughts:

Neoliberalism is discredited and dead.

Socialism may be able to take its place, but we cannot have infinite growth in a finite world.

So any ideology will have to aim at equality without growth, economic justice without any skewering of the rewards. Such a philosophy must allow for human initiative and endeavour without the financial payment.

Such a philosophy must motivate people to make the potentially enormous sacrifices which will be required if we are to combat climate change; must eliminate greed at a motivating force, yet encourage entrepreneurship!

I can’t get my head round all the parameters of such a philosophy, except to be convinced that we are in desperate need of something political to believe in!

Your thoughts?

My thoughts are that we don’t need a philosophy or a political ideology to govern in the 21st century. There has been a big change away from being driven by ideology, and instead to address each issue pragmatically in the context of the current situation and needs.

Some political discussion, for example at The Standard or Kiwiblog, is driven by “how does this fit with my ideology and therefore what should my position be on it”.

But it’s far more sensible to simply use the approach “what’s the best way to deal with this”.

And that’s what has been happening to a large extent this century in New Zealand, first under Helen Clark’s leadership and now under John Key.

We have moved from governing by ideology to governing pragmatically.

There are a few remnant political dinosaurs who yearn for a set of rules by which they must think and act but that’s an extinct way of governing, in New Zealand at least.

Pragmatism versus ideology

In Political Week Stuff looks at the trend towards political pragmatism and away from ideology.

This was prompted by a week of political liaisons that bridge supposed ideologies.

Winston Peters and Don Brash had a get together:

When it comes to political odd couples they don’t get much more unlikely than Don Brash and Winston Peters. So any passers-by witnessing them sharing lunch at Wellington’s Old Bailey on Thursday would have done a double take.

Peters used to harbour a special sort of loathing for Brash, whose dry stewardship of the Reserve Bank epitomised everything that was wrong about monetary policy in Peters’ eyes.

As someone who was regularly lampooned by Peters’, meanwhile, Brash was understandably distrustful of his NZ First opponent and appalled by his Muldoonist-style economic policies.

Also during the week Michael Cullen offered a fix for NZ Post with a proposed part sale of Kiwibank to the Super and ACC investment funds.

And John Key offered his and the Government’s support for Helen Clark’s bid for UN Secretary General.

Labour supported both the Kiwibank rearrangement (as did Jim Anderton) and Clark’s bid.

And what’s been National’s biggest noise in welfare lately? Raising benefits, something it might have nicked from Labour’s manifesto.

So what happened?

Pragmatism has trumped ideology. It doesn’t polarise the electorate the way ideology does, and it blunts the mood for change. Pragmatism shows politicians are listening. Pursuing ideology at all costs shows they’ve stopped listening.

There are still ideological lines drawn between National and Labour, of course, but they are well scuffed compared to the bright lines drawn by the likes of the Greens and ACT.

ACT’s David Seymour opposed the Kiwibank move, he wants full privatisation, and Greens opposed it because they feared it was a move in the direction of privatisation, but from either side of the political spectrum they can afford to promote ideological positions.

It helps, of course, that Key and Clark seem to have struck up a cordial relationship over the years, maintained by text and a personal visit whenever either of them is in each other’s town. But even if there had been any personal enmity, they would have put that aside for the greater cause in this case.

As for the Brash-Peters love-in, that one may yet have more to play out. As a staunch proponent of RMA reform, Brash will see in Peters a potential friend and ally if he is a means to achieving that end.

But Key may be harder to convincedthat the olive branch extended by Peters over RMA reforms doesn’t come with too high a price tag, namely doing over the Maori Party in Peters’ favour.

Nor will Key be convinced that once Peters’ achieves that aim he won’t use it to hold Key over a barrel.

That’s not about ideology; it’s self preservation.

Self preservation in politics often requires pragmatism. This has become easier with a significant shift in power seeking political focus.

Last century politics was more of a left versus right battle with ideology far more prominent.

Now the big battle is over the centre, where ideologies and pragmatism intermingle more and more.

It’s very hard to see what ideologies either National or Labour see as important, less so what they see as non-negotiable.

Clark’s Labour government won and held the centre vote.

Key’s National government now rules the centre, with Labour wavering between centre and left, wavering between leaders and wavering in the polls.

The ideological fights are confined more to the fringe fanatics in comments at blogs like Whale Oil and Kiwiblog on the right and at The Standard and The Daily Blog on the left.

Of the blog authors David Farrar is still closely involved with National’s ongoing success but due to major failures at the extremes Cameron Slater and Martyn Bradbury are increasingly impotent, and the Standard authors struggle to unite the left and they damage more than enhance Labour’s chances.

Their ideologies have been overtaken by political pragmatism and they seem unable to catch up.