Anders Breivik used anger against women to cast himself as a crusader, believing feminism is destroying the West from the inside and creating space for Islamism, says Michelle Goldberg.
This neat rhetorical trick—an attack on feminism coupled with purported concern about Muslim fundamentalist misogyny—is repeated again and again in Islamophobic literature. Now it’s reached its apogee in mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” Rarely has the connection between sexual anxiety and right-wing nationalism been made quite so clear. Indeed, Breivik’s hatred of women rivals his hatred of Islam, and is intimately linked to it. Some reports have suggested that during his rampage on Utoya, he targeted the most beautiful girl first. This was about sex even more than religion.
Women and Indians as peacemakers
Conservative worldview = fear of cooties
Psychologically, what conservatives fear is to be soft and feminine. The whole point of conservatism is that the strong (white male Christians) should dominate the weak. Their "philosophy" amounts to social Darwinism...survival of the fittest...might makes right.
Blacks, Latinos, Indians, Muslims, and other minorities challenge this attitude in several ways. Chief among them are:
1) Minorities are, or seem to be, part of a poor underclass. They seem to values people, community, and church--i.e., humanistic things--over such Western abstractions as wealth, status, and power. Their continued existence is a threat to the established way of doing things. If wealth and power aren't the true measures of success, then what's the point of 2,000 years of Christian conquest and rule? Why not give up the trappings of power and go live simply and happily like an Indian "savage"?
2) White male Christians have victimized "others" throughout history: crusades, inquisitions, imperialism, slavery, genocide. The continued existence of minorities is a reminder that these Christians have utterly failed to live up to Jesus's ideals. That they're nothing but a pack of liars, cheaters, and hypocrites--worse than the minorities they've persecuted and killed. Rather than address this failure, conservatives want to eliminate the evidence of their crimes against humanity. So minorities must disappear or die.
Conservatives afraid of women
Women and gays challenge this attitude even more directly. If these people can do everything a strong, virile, self-reliant man can do, then what's the point of being a man? Rather than address this question, conservatives go into attack mode. "You're questioning our masculine superiority? Unacceptable! We'll either starve you of government services until you die (Republican Tea Party) or kill you ourselves (McVeigh, Breivik)."
In short, all the right-wing attacks--on government services, "death panels," Barack Obama's birth certificate, Michelle Obama's health programs, the New York City "mosque," immigration, gay marriage, Indian gaming, etc.--are part of the same overwhelming fear. Namely, that white male Christians will lose their positions of power and privilege in the world. That they'll be equal to everyone else, not better.
Alas, these conservative attempts to paint white male Christians as good and everyone else as bad are a constant. The whiny babies love to paint themselves as victims even as they continue to dominate the planet. For more on the subject, see:
Conservatives use "language of savagery"
Stossel: Indians are biggest moochers
Fischer: Natives had no morals
Bachmann fibs about America's founding
Right fright over UN declaration
Below: White fears in a nutshell.