This week, an army private was arrested near the Fort Hood base in Texas for having bomb making materials. He is a Muslim-American and there are reports that he may be connected to an anti-war group. It’s hard to tell whether this is true or just speculation used by the State Department to continue to go after pacifists. Nonetheless, it should be instructive. While it’s nearly impossible to know the motives of anyone (especially anyone that may be emotionally unstable), but he (just like Osama Bin Laden and many, many terrorists) is using US foreign policy to justify his attempted attack. In court, the Army private cited the rape of a teenage Iraqi girl by American soldiers in 07. It’s not because they are Muslim and automatically violent, it’s because they are Muslim and US foreign policy is killing Muslims.
On the other hand, The Norway terrorist Anders Breivik bought his high-capacity clips from the United States because they are illegal elsewhere. These clips were also used by the Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner when he wounded a US Congresswoman, killed a Federal Judge, and a little girl. It is widely understood that the shooters would not be able to fire as many shots because he would have to reload, giving someone a chance to stop him. Since the Arizona shooting, even Dick Cheney has stated that it is time to ban the high capacity clips, but none of this matters to the mega-lobbying-group the NRA.
Norway’s response to the terrorist attack was not to pass legislation like the Patriot Act or rip apart civil liberties. Instead the politicians are insisting on more openness and more tolerance (citing that the problem the shooter has is intolerance), something that politicians in America had no time for after 9/11. Things like the TSA and groping at the airport make little to no sense to Norwegians, as it should to civilized societies.
However, this Norway massacre shows a growing “right-wing” movement in both America and Europe. This very extremist movement is characterized by being anti-immigration and pro-nationalism. They are also staunchly anti-Islamic as shown by Breivik’s rantings. Perhaps on a less extreme level, we have seen parties crop up in Finland, Denmark, and France that are calling for the end of the EU, the end of bailouts, staunch immigration laws, and an anti-Muslim outlook. Now certainly the absurd banker bailouts going on in the EU is something that is appropriate to be agitated about and active against, but there is no excuse for blaming immigrants and Muslims for the economic problems of the country. Depending on what narrative you believe, the same could be said about the “Tea Party”. This was a movement that started in 2007 over anger at bank bailouts and government spending. Certainly these are valid things to be angry over, but the movement was soon bought by big-money corporate interests and soon became an anti-Obama movement, concerned about race, religion, and immigration, a change in direction from the sort-of Libertarian, Ron Paul, movement it had been. These extreme views have trickled into American politics as well, as evidenced by Herman Cain (who has repeatedly used anti-Muslim slurs and said he would not appoint anyone who is Muslim, just because they are Muslim). This is all evidence that the “culture wars” are back, or perhaps never left in the first place. This week in Texas, a Planned Parenthood clinic had a Molotov cocktail thrown at it. This one doesn’t even perform abortions. In recent decades, as the difference between the haves and the have-nots has widened and our political and economic structures continue to prove to be broken and corrupt, distractions have been provided. When the 112th Congress took office, amid a continuing recession, countless wars, and a skyrocketing debt, their first acts were to vote on repealing healthcare laws, and attempting to enact more abortion restrictions. Perhaps that’s all we need to know about how backwards the political culture of the West has devolved.