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Old 19 Apr 2012, 04:41 AM   #356202 / #1
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Default Simon Baron-Cohen on Anders Breivik

Baron-Cohen is a worldwide authority on autism.

If we could ask the court psychiatrists why Breivik murdered children, they would, according to this week's reports, say it is because he had paranoid schizophrenia. This diagnosis, if confirmed by independent clinicians, has surprised some people following the case because the 1,518 pages of Breivik's manifesto do not appear to be the incoherent output of "thought disorder", but instead read like a rather linear, carefully crafted tome. It is the work of a man with a single vision, a single belief that he wishes to prove to the world in exhaustive detail, and in a logical fashion...

...Empathy divides into at least two components: "cognitive" and "affective". Cognitive empathy is the drive to identify someone else's thoughts and feelings, being able to put yourself into their shoes to imagine what is in their mind. Affective empathy, in contrast, is the drive to respond to someone else's thoughts and feelings with an appropriate emotion. People with autism typically have difficulties with the cognitive component (they have trouble inferring what other people might think or feel), but have intact affective empathy (it upsets them to hear of others suffering). So Breivik is unlikely to have autism.

In contrast, those with antisocial personality disorder (including psychopaths) typically have the opposite profile: they have no trouble reading other people's thoughts and feelings (intact cognitive empathy) but other people's suffering is of no concern to them...

...In the 29 July issue of Morgenbladet, I wrote that the 32-year-old Breivik appeared to have many parallels with the young Hitler. At 8.30pm on 8 November 1923, Hitler (then aged 34) burst into the largest beer hall in Munich, fired a shot into the ceiling and jumped on a chair, yelling: "The national revolution has broken out!" Breivik also thought he was starting a revolution. When arrested, Hitler wanted to use the trial to make political speeches, just as Breivik hoped to do.

Sent to prison for five years, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, a long ideological justification for his racist actions that also has many parallels with Breivik's manifesto. Hitler's diatribe against the "Jewification" of Europe parallels Breivik's diatribe against the "Islamification" of Europe. Both were men convinced by the rightness of their beliefs; both were willing to sacrifice people to achieve their ends.
If you're interested, do read the whole article.
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Old 19 Apr 2012, 06:42 AM   #356235 / #2
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The parallel suggested between Breivik and Hitler is interesting, and intuitively, to me, has a lot of verisimilitude.

I wonder if Breivik himself, seeing some parallels between himself and Hitler, then worked on it - can't find better words - to make the parallels more and more complete.

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Old 19 Apr 2012, 07:56 AM   #356259 / #3
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And he has at least one American fan:,00.html

In a major story the newspaper reveals that Forts shares the views of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. "I represent a nationalist alternative, just like Breivik," he says. Forts writes letters to the assassin and exchanges ideas with him. As proof he shows off one letter the mass murderer wrote him from his prison cell.

Breivik praises the somewhat haggard looking American. VG quotes from the letter Breivik reportedly sent to Forts, in which he writes: "I have received letters from supporters in 20 countries, but you appear to be someone who can write well. Yes, I am absolutely interested in discussing ideological issues with you and am thinking about how we can work together."

It could be a craving for attention that is now pushing the young American into the public eye. Since the attacks of July 22, 2011, the right-wing, anti-Islam scene has largely retreated from the digital public sphere. Its protagonists, who until then had used the Internet for regular exchanges, have rushed to distance themselves from Breivik's acts. Chief among them is Fjordman, a Norwegian blogger, who until the killings had regularly exchanged ideas with Breivik and is considered to be a kind of ideological mentor to him. "It should be painfully obvious by now that Breivik does not care for anything greater than himself," the anti-Islam author wrote in his blog of the ongoing trial this week.

Most are distancing themselves from Breivik, but not Kevin Forts. In a video of the interview posted on the VG website on Wednesday in which he explained why he is defending the murders, Forts said: "I believe it demonstrates a sense of nationalism and a moral conscience. He's fighting against cultural Marxism and the Islamization of Norway and he found that the most rational way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utřya and in Oslo."

When asked how one could defend the murder of inncoent children, Forts added: "Because I believe that he used it as an unprecedented attack. I don't believe that it should occur again, but I do believe that it was atrocious but necessary in that it has raised awareness for it and Breivik did that with the executions."
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Old 19 Apr 2012, 08:12 AM   #356264 / #4
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This picture of Breivik seems to me to show someone who is totally confident and enjoying himself.

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Old 19 Apr 2012, 06:02 PM   #356379 / #5
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Another Breivik-Hitler similarity: they both opposed Marxism.

But if Norwegian court officials have any sense, they won't be as lenient as the German ones were to Hitler, and they won't let him do what Hitler did, make lots of speeches about how justified he was in doing what he did. Yes, Hitler would make speech after speech in court about how he was a great German patriot who wanted to overthrow traitors who had sold out Germany.
The History Place - Rise of Hitler: Hitler on Trial for Treason
The man who is born to be a dictator is not compelled. He wills it. He is not driven forward, but drives himself. There is nothing immodest about this. Is it immodest for a worker to drive himself toward heavy labor? Is it presumptuous of a man with the high forehead of a thinker to ponder through the nights till he gives the world an invention? The man who feels called upon to govern a people has no right to say, 'If you want me or summon me, I will cooperate.' No! It is his duty to step forward. The army which we have now formed is growing day to day. I nourish the proud hope that one day the hour will come when these rough companies will grow to battalions, the battalions to regiments, the regiments to divisions, that the old cockade will be taken from the mud, that the old flags will wave again, that that there will be a reconciliation at the last great divine judgment which we are prepared to face. For it is not you, gentlemen, who pass judgment on us. That judgment is spoken by the eternal court of history...Pronounce us guilty a thousand times over: the goddess of the eternal court of history will smile and tear to pieces the State Prosecutor's submissions and the court's verdict; for she acquits us.
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