In the desperate war for the soul of the West, we witness another atrocity. And this time the perpetrator was neither a Bolshevik nor a disciple of Mahomet. Last week Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian, gunned down 68 unarmed Labor Party youth activists on an island camp outside Oslo after bombing government offices (where eight died). The deed, he announced, had been wrought in the name of traditional Europe. Breivik’s massacre seems designed to inflict maximum damage to the European cause, but at this point it looks to be the well-planned and executed work of a dedicated madman.
Breivik claims to have acted on behalf of Christendom, and so appropriated its heroes and imagery in his propaganda. In this we uncover the tragedy of his recourse to murder, as well as an element of the diabolical. Speaking on the inversion of symbols, the great French traditionalist René Guenon would warn:
“It sometimes so happens that people who imagine that they are fighting the devil, whatever their particular notion of the devil may be, are thus turned, without any suspicion of the fact on their part, into his best servants!”
There is no better current example of this phenomenon than Breivik’s claim of kinship with an order of long-departed warrior monks, the Knights Templar. With the support of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, this “new knighthood” struck camp in Jerusalem in 1119, and for nearly two centuries would provide security for pilgrims and defend Christian outposts in the Holy Land. The men of the order held a faith in Christ, the Hero-God, both deep and sincere; it sustained them in unforgiving combat with the Saracens, even unto death.
It was not faith that sustained Anders Breivik, but death. The living God is conspicuously absent from his esoterically atheist Europe of the future. When Christianity is mentioned in his manifesto, it is but a folkway or a construct employed for utilitarian purposes. The mainstay of the Norwegian killer’s actual ideology was unremarkable right-liberalism grounded in the Enlightenment, and as such it could offer no serious alternative to the democratic-hedonist society he opposed[i]. Breivik instinctively rebelled against the Brave New World and with keen perception would catalogue its many revolting manifestations. Yet he was a man adrift in a Cosmos emptied of meaning. Seeing the ruin of the West before him, he only descended further into its abyss.
Breivik correctly identified Western elites’ doctrines of multiculturalism as an abomination. He would also warn of the catastrophe resulting from Muslim immigration to the Continent. The fate of European peoples was Breivik’s reason for action, but the action he took in their defense was evil. Death is the ultimate currency of any culture that has abandoned Transcendence, and Breivik reminded self-congratulatory, bourgeois Norway of this cruel truth. But by visiting death upon his nation, the young Norwegian did not fight against nothingness - he willed it. Nor could Breivik escape the desolation of radical autonomy—he heralded its dreadful consequences. Another massacre fades from the news cycle, and postmodernity still careens toward annihilation.
External chaos will always threaten in a fallen world, but we must first steel ourselves for battles within. The Templars knew well that our greatest adversary resides above the material plane. With the flowering of the military orders in the Middle Ages, spiritual resistance would become the crowning principle of European chivalry, and so it must be again. In noble struggle against our baser passions may we be sanctified, and with grace and wisdom may we see past the seductions that would lead us further toward hell. Even the best of men can succumb to powerful temptations, from that of prideful self-worship to utter despair. Fall not to the enemy’s provocations; and if a serpent of wrath should move to strangle you, cut it down. The Counterrevolution will be a sword of justice.
As Russia’s philosopher of cultural renewal Ivan Ilyin wrote, resistance to evil through force is morally vindicated and in some cases necessary. Yet we must never partake in wickedness to achieve an ostensible good. Ilyin describes the terrible vanity of one who traffics in evil:
He does not become the man he is potentially called to be; and he cannot become the man he is in his unrealized mystery. His personality is composed of a deadened spirit and a tensely alive anti-spirituality, of vanishing love, coldly indifferent cynicism and burning malice.
If the survival of Europa’s tribes in their own lands is non-negotiable in an incipient Reconquista, then even more so must be the integrity of our souls. Persecution in various forms may very well intensify over the coming years, but suffering and sacrifice, concepts alien to the ruling anti-culture, form the basis of any worthwhile victory. Knightly virtue lends no occasion for cheap hipster irony; loyalty, charity and honor descend upon our hearts and run in our blood.
Reject all murder and lies. We stand fast not for what we despise, but for what we actively love, and what we join to eternity. He who would lay down his life for a friend wields a weapon that conquers death itself. Love, be Thou our strength.
[i] It should also be noted that Breivik was a freemason and a supporter of the State of Israel. What role, if any, these factors may have played in his action remains unclear.