Well, I’ll leave it up to our readers to answer that question. The interesting thing is that someone would choose to ask it of me, as if it were a serious question and he were expecting a serious response.
In a couple of previous posts, I outlined an ongoing email exchange I’ve been having with a British journalist. The gentleman from the Fourth Estate originally wanted to talk to Fjordman, but failing that, has been engaging me in conversation instead.
Evidently dissatisfied by my earlier answers, in his latest communication he became somewhat bolder in the phrasing of his questions. Below is his email to me today (his words are in italicized block quotes), with my responses.
I know from what Fjordman has written on your site that he feels no responsibility for July 22. Though a proclaimed believer in personal responsibility, he cravenly suggests that if anyone is responsible beyond Breivik himself, it is the Norwegian polity.
Your choice of the adverb “cravenly” reveals volumes about your own agenda.
To refer in that manner to someone whom you have never met, who is known to you solely through his writings and those of others, is to cast aspersions on his character in the most offensive manner possible. You possess no evidence whatsoever for Fjordman’s cowardice, or lack thereof. So how is it appropriate to describe him that way?
Your political opinions place you comfortably within the mainstream of 21st century British journalism. If you never veer significantly from the positions you now hold, you need not fear being sacked, or failing to win assignments, or finding a publisher for any book you might choose to write.
You will need no armed police detail stationed outside your residence, nor will death threats be issued against you by anarchists on web forums and street placards.
Unlike Fjordman, you will not lose your job because of your political opinions — which, for both of you, are peacefully held and do not advocate violence in any form. You will not be driven from your flat or hounded from your country because leftists wish to kill you. You need not worry about being recognized in public by someone who wants to stab you to death or shoot you.
Your political beliefs will never force you to invest in a bullet-proof vest nor result in your being guarded by state security, as is the case for Lars Hedegaard, Geert Wilders, Kurt Westergaard, and Lars Vilks. Nor is it likely that you will be found dead on the streets of London with your head sawn half off and a jihad polemic pinned to your chest with a kitchen knife, as happened to Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam.
Your political views will keep you safe and secure. The same cannot be said of Fjordman.
As for precisely who is courageous and who is craven: I’ll leave that for God to sort out. He alone can untangle the mysteries of the human heart.
Without wishing to make a leap of judgement about personal motivations from him to you, I was quite particular about my questions. I did not ask whether you felt responsibility. I asked about involvement. I also asked about whether you might lose sleep.
“Involvement”? By all rights I should refuse to even respond to a question of such impertinence and insult!
I should have thought the answer was obvious. My involvement in what happened on 22-7 is exactly none. Zero. Nothing.
I hold particular positions on Islamization and mass immigration which are considered heresy by the political, media, and academic mainstream. Those positions not only advocate no violence to attain their ends, they specifically advocate against violence. Our only hope to avoid the War of All Against All is to resolve our problems through peaceful democratic means.
I’ll repeat what I said in my earlier email: I lose no sleep whatsoever over what happened, any more than I lose sleep over what happened in the Tube on July 7, 2005, or in the Katyn Forest in the spring of 1940.
Horrible as these events were, I lose sleep only over actions for which I bear some responsibility. I bear no responsibility for the actions of the Butcher of Utøya.
I repeat: Sir, you are impertinent!
In an earlier age I would have struck you with my glove and referred you to my seconds.
I rather hope that if a Marxist theorist was cited a dozen times by Pol Pot as the Cambodian leader sought to justify his slaughter, the professor might, yes, lose some sleep over it.
Strangely enough, Pol Pot did justify his slaughter by citing a Marxist theorist — specifically, Karl Marx himself.
So did Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin, who was responsible for hundreds of thousands of political murders before his death in 1924.
So did Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a.k.a. Stalin, who was responsible for possibly fifty million political murders.
So did Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for yet another fifty million political murders, possibly more.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Yet the writings of Karl Marx are held in high esteem even today in universities throughout the West. Students are assigned to read them and write about them. Learned scholars publish approving treatises based on them.
I’m still amazed that you fail to see the blatant double standard at work here.
Is it possible, I wonder, whether your politics might have robbed you somewhat of your humanity?
Now, that’s an interesting question. Of all the are-you-still-beating-your-wife questions, that one takes the cake.
Let’s examine the possible answers using the discipline of logic:
|1.||Yes, I have lost my humanity.
What sort of person would answer in the affirmative?
How would anyone who had lost his humanity know that to be the case?
If somehow he did know, why would he ever admit it?
Why would anyone asking the question expect a meaningful answer from such a monster?
|2.||No, I haven’t lost my humanity.
How would you know the person who answered in this way was telling the truth?
Isn’t it likely that a person with no humanity would also possess no scruples, and would therefore lie?
How could you determine the veracity of his response without approaching your interlocutor in person to see if he attempted to tear out your jugular with his teeth?
This sort of question — the Greek philosophers had a name for it, but I can’t remember it — isn’t intended to elicit an answer, but to entrap the person who is being questioned.
It is very much like the “you’re a racist” accusation — there is no substantive response that does not acknowledge the validity of the premise behind the question.
Therefore, just as I do with “racism” accusations, I decline to engage the topic. The question is not offered in good faith, but is intended to force one’s opponent into a corner where he is always in the wrong.
I refuse to play that game. I refuse to accept its rules. I decline even to enter the playing field.
It is your game, with your rules. You play it.
But I thank you once again for asking such thought-provoking questions. Our exchange affords me the opportunity to express myself on several important issues that I might not otherwise address.