July 25, 2011

GOOSE, MEET GANDER:

A Right-Wing Monster (ROSS DOUTHAT, 7/25/11, NY Times)

For many years, a quiz entitled "Al Gore or the Unabomber?" circulated on conservative Web sites. The quiz juxtaposed passages from the former vice president's eco-manifesto "Earth in the Balance" with quotes from Theodore Kaczynski's critiques of industrial civilization and asked the reader to guess which writer was which.

Was it the bearded hermit who hailed "isolated pockets of resistance fighters" for struggling against modern society's "assault on the earth"? No, that would be the former vice president. Was it Kaczynski, the mathematics Ph.D. turned mad bomber, who complained about the "destructive" impact of bringing a child into "the hugely consumptionist way of life so common in the industrial world"? No, Gore again.

Enterprising left-wing bloggers have already begun to play a similar game with Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who apparently justified last week's mass murder of helpless teenage campers with a 1,500-page "compendium" calling for a right-wing revolution against Europe's ruling class. Judging by the manifesto's contents, Breivik has roughly the same relationship to the cultural right that Kaczynski had to certain strains of environmentalism. The darkest aspects of his ideology belong strictly to the neo-fascist fringe. But many of his beliefs and arguments echo the rhetoric of mainstream cultural conservatives, in Europe and America alike.


Posted by at July 25, 2011 7:24 PM
  

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