On July 22, 2011, a 32-year-old Norwegian male, set off a bomb in a compound of government office buildings in Oslo, and later in the day gunned down dozens of young people at a Labor Party youth camp leaving a total of 76 people killed.
According to news reports, he was motivated by an antipathy to multicultural policies that, in his view, are leading his country down the path to Islamization. In his 1500-page manifesto “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” he speaks of his pride in his “Viking heritage” and insists that he will not “accept an Islamic presence in Europe”. He describes himself as “Justiclar Knight Commander for the Knight Templar of Europe,” a group he claims has some 80 members. His grandiose, mystical worldview seems somehow to be defined by medieval history.
He seems to have designed a military dress uniform and wants to wear it to his trial and also said that it was necessary to have the media present to generate more public interest. Apparently, the purpose of the massacre was not simply to kill off the Labor Party leaders but more so to create a spectacle thereby energizing his crusade. He calls this the propaganda phase of his campaign in which he imagines he will be given “a stage to the world”. Through mobilizing rebellious youths, he can win over “tens of millions of European sympathizers…who support us fully and are willing to fight beside us.” Two weeks prior the rampage, a neighbor almost called the police when he noticed that the windows of the assailant’s house had been blackened. On the morning before the massacre he wrote that “today you will become immortal.” At his arrest, he called his actions “atrocious but necessary”.
In terms of arriving at a diagnosis of this individual, it is important to make the distinction between a person’s individual and his socio-political character structure. From the standpoint of the individual, this person is a paranoid schizophrenic character. He has delusions of persecution and grandiosity. From the socio-political perspective, he is a fascist character.
Socio-political characterology is the study of how individuals insist on inflicting the effects of their emotional illness on others in their environment. Primarily expressed in social and political life by restricting and regimenting it, the symptoms of the individual’s socio-political behavior are not felt as ego-alien and so they are defended strongly and emotionally. Since it is expressed in the socio-political arena, the behavior can be categorized according to that which falls to the Left or the Right of the political spectrum. Those who belong on the extreme right of the socio-political spectrum are called fascist characters. Fascists are active in fighting the Left since they see them as a rival for the hegemony they both seek. In this case, Muslims were the scapegoat necessary to justify the murderous cause.
As an example of a fascist character, the killer represents the ultimate of rebelliousness with reactionary ideas. He is the quintessential little man who stands for absolute authoritarianism. He must have been so completely beaten down by his father that he needed the fantasied authority of the father figure (the Knight Templar or the fatherland) to dictate his life and give him permission to carry out the brutality and hate that was no longer able to be controlled. Hatred of Muslims, racial purity, mysticism, and automatism are all symptoms stemming from the fascist’s orgastic impotence. From a social perspective, using Muslims as scapegoats aggravated an already tense social situation between Muslims and non-Muslims which generated even more public interest in his case.
Despite being heavily armored, the fascist still has a sense of life within himself but experiences it only in a mystical, distorted fashion. Excited by intolerable feelings of longing that can never be satisfied, he strikes out brutally and murderously against those who he senses are lively and free. He then rationalizes his actions as a mystical cause that is just and necessary to safeguard the purity of his race and to maintain dominance over other less pure races. To achieve his objective, he will let nothing stop him from destroying those who threaten him or stand in his way.
This case illustrates that two forces were required, one originating from his individual (paranoid schizophrenic) character and the other from his socio-political (fascist) character. These forces conspired to bring about this tragic occurrence.