The New York Review of Books: Toleration and the Future of Europe

by , under All categories, Enrique

CommentAnders Behring Brevik imagined the defeat of the Ottoman armies at Vienna in 1683 as an important date to mark the war that Europe will wage in the twenty-first century against the Muslim takeover.

Writes the New York Review of Books:   “It is unsurprising that what Breivik has to say about European history is trivial. The plagiarism of his manifesto recalls Hannah Arendt’s point that those who do great evil may themselves be incapable of cultural creation. The superficiality of his worldview recalls her notion that the greatest of evils has no roots, and therefore has no bounds.”

There is no such thing as selective hatred or xenophobia. That is only a pipe dream. If you are on the war path against one group, everyone is involved. One of the big issues and challenges in Europe as it races into the depths of the new century is accepting and learning to live with its cultural diversity.

“One twentieth-century solution, exemplified by Nazi Germany, was to attempt to build state power by eliminating the diversity,” writes The New York Review of Books “. This involved racist mass murder, and it also brought failure; failure that Breivik’s mass murder recalls both in its barbarity and in its self-destructiveness.”

If denial of who we are gets the best of us, what will it imply for Europe? Economic decline? Ever-growing social problems? The rise of the far right? Loss of civil rights? War?


Timothy Snyder

In Anders Breivik’s manifesto, the ostensibly Christian defeat of the Ottoman armies at Vienna in 1683 is the central historical event. He imagines a European rebirth in 2083, four hundred years later, and names the Polish king Jan Sobieski, whose troops were crucial to raising the Ottoman siege, as one of his heroes: “John III Sobieski and the Holy League successfully defended Europe against an army of more than 150,000 Muslims.” Breivik thinks Europe today is again under siege from Muslims, and that Europeans must resort to “atrocious, but necessary” violence to defend it. 

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    • Enrique

      Hi thevividwriter and welcome to our blog. The New York Review of Books usually puts out very comprehensive articles.