The Norway Tragedy: Influences on Madness

 Derwin Mak

copyright (c) 2011 by Derwin Mak

This article is also available as pdf file here.

Published in SITREP, journal of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (, September-October 2011.

Derwin Mak, a longtime member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI), is a chartered accountant and a vice-chair of the Library Committee of the RCMI. He has Master's degrees in Accounting (University of Waterloo) and Military Studies (American Military University). He is also a science fiction author who has written two novels and several short stories, one of which won the Aurora Award for Canadian science fiction. His website is

The original title of this article was "Anders Breivik: Angry Science Fiction Nerd?"

Anders BreivikAnders Breivik

Photos: left: Anders Breivik in the battle dress uniform of his secret society, PCCTS.

Right: the cover of 2083 - a European Declaration of Independence.


After the killings in Norway on July 22, 2011, Roger Andresen, the Deputy Chief of Police, described the confessed perpetrator, Anders Breivik, as a "Christian fundamentalist."1 Breivik classifies himself as conservative and Christian on his Facebook profile2. The media and internet immediately equated him with neo-Nazis and right-wing groups, which many journalists conflate with conservatives. Beyond Breivik's Facebook profile, however, how much evidence is there really that Christian fundamentalist3 or neo-Nazi ideas drove him to mass murder?

            Breivik sent a 1,518-page manifesto, entitled 2083 – a European Declaration of Independence, to 7,000 Facebook friends4 before his killing spree. The manifesto is a rambling account of his views, especially on Islam, but also on extremely varied subjects ranging from the European Union to sexually-transmitted diseases. 2083 reveals the establishment of the secretive Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon), also known as the PCCTS or Knights Templar, yet another organization named after the long-defunct Crusader order of chivalry5. 2083 gives instructions on how to make weapons and explosives. This is practical knowledge for PCCTS's upcoming European civil war to expel the Moslems and create a conservative European state by 2083.

            What motivated Breivik to draw up this radical plan for Europe? 2083 shows that he did not have Christian fundamentalist or neo-Nazi sentiments. However, other, more bizarre ideas possessed him.

Breivik the Secularist

            In 2083, Breivik states that he belongs to no particular denomination but considers himself "100% Christian" though displeased with both the Catholic and Protestant churches (p. 1403)6.

            The media has greatly emphasized the Christian symbols, i.e., crosses and Crusader knights, in his manifesto as proof of Breivik's Christian devoutness. However, 2083 is full of ideas that most journalists, especially those of the left-wing, would not consider Christian fundamentalist.

            Breivik does not profess a strong religious faith. He writes, "I went from moderately [sic] to agnostic to moderately religious." (p. 1398) He also admits, "Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe." (p. 1404)

            His feelings on science and religion also do not conform to stereotypes of religious fundamentalists. He writes, "It is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings. Europe has always been the cradle of science and it must always continue to be that way." (p. 1403)
Probably because his devotion to the Christian faith was mild at best, his desired future Europe would be secular, without religious influence on government policy (p. 1135):

            "The goal must obviously not be to create a new theocracy. Europe will still remain predominantly secular. However, the Churches [sic] primary role will be to contribute to unity by offering cultural and spiritual opportunities. The Church will once again be allowed to do what it was intended to do; to propagate and maintain cultural unity through predefined rituals and celebrations."

            His alleged allies are similarly lacking in religious devotion. Some of the anonymous founders7 of the PCCTS were hardly Christian in a Nicene Creed sense. They included: an "English Christian atheist," a "German Christian atheist," a "Dutch Christian agnostic," and a "Russian Christian atheist" (p. 817). Therefore, one third of PCCTS's twelve founders were either agnostic or atheist. Yet Breivik identifies them as "Christian," probably meaning Christian in a secularized, cultural sense.

            There is an undeniably Christian military tone to PCCTS, with its crusader symbols, cross-shaped rank insignia (p. 1093), and medals such as the "Defender of Christendom Medal" (p. 1086). But these are just superficial trappings; 2083 lacks in-depth discussion of Christian theology.

            Rather than theology, ceremonies and customs interest Breivik. He devotes five pages (pp. 1113-1118) to the PCCTS ordination and initiation right. This interest on rituals and symbols serves a political, rather than religious, purpose.

            What his manifesto lacks in discussion Christian theology, it compensates by discussing Christian politics. Starting on page 1130, he outlines political objectives for a future European Church that will abandon the liberalism of the current Protestant Church. However, he does acknowledge the benefits of Martin Luther and the partial separation of church and state. Most surprisingly for any Protestant, especially a fundamentalist one, he also proposes the Pope as leader of Christianity because he leads the single largest group of professing Christians and can act as the one leader who unites the masses (p. 1135).

            Breivik was seeking to create a secular state guided by science rather than Biblical teachings. Christianity would serve only a political purpose of creating a common culture to unify the people. He seems more like a secular humanist than a Christian fundamentalist.

Breivik, Friend of Minorities Except Moslems

            The media portrays Breivik as a white Christian racist who hates non-white peoples and non-Christians. However, his opinions on race and religion, as written in 2083, are much more complicated that the media implies.

            He undeniably hates Islam; the manifesto is full of criticisms of the religion and its believers. However, he seeks alliances with other minorities in the upcoming European civil war and invites them to join the PCCTS (p. 1167):

"Know that we, the PCCTS, Knights Templar, are not a racist organisation. Individuals of all races, providing that they are Christian, can join and fight for the Knights Templar as Justiciar Knights. Your contribution for the conservative cause will guarantee you and the loyal members of your family permanent residency in Europe. You will be embraced as a fellow citizen if you shed blood with us, have no doubt about that."

            Though membership in the PCCTS is restricted to Christians, his future Europe includes non-Christians, so long as they are not Moslem (p. 1385):

"The European Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu community has a right but also a duty to join in the fight against the Islamisation of Europe. I welcome and encourage all non-Muslim minorities to join us in this fight...You cannot be neutral in this struggle."

            Of course, people of any colour or religion who don't support the PCCTS will have no future in Europe.

Breivik's future Europe will award honours to deserving members of minority groups, so long as they are not Moslem (p. 1073): "A candidate of certain civilian commendations may belong to any denomination of Christendom and can also be a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, agnostic and atheist."

            He even proposes medals for people who go overseas to help Indian, Thai, Filipino, Chinese, Southern Sudanese Christians and animists, Ethiopian Christians, Kenyans, and Southern Nigerian forces to drive Islam out of their countries (p. 1087). Hardly a conservative isolationist, he welcomed international alliances, so long as they fought Moslems.

However, his other opinions on minorities in Europe are mixed and less liberal. He proposes creating a future servant class by issuing 6-12 month contracts to people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, so long as they are Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists. They would live in segregated communities and be sent home before they became too culturally attached, but they would also receive free health care and housing, subsidized housing and transportation, and wages guaranteed to be three times what they would earn in their homelands (p. 1197). This plan combines both anti-immigrant and pro-immigrant ideas along with the free public services beloved by Scandinavian socialists.

            He also shows a traditional racist attitude on "race-mixing," i.e., interbreeding between races. Page 1156 starts a section about the dangers of race-mixing and concludes that Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pamela Anderson, Taylor Swift, Marilyn Monroe, and Megan Fox became entertainment superstars because of their undiluted Nordic beauty (p. 1158).

            We do not know if Breivik knows that Scarlett Johansson has an Ashkenazi Jewish mother from the Bronx. As for Megan Fox, who stands out as the sole brunette on his fantasy list, she may be desirable to Breivik for reasons that we shall see later.

            2083 has several ironies. Since his PCCTS has not been able to create its own decorations and medals, Breivik temporarily adopts existing medals and ribbons and renames them (p. 1087). One of these decorations is called:

            "The 'Distinguished Wielder of the Furious Scimitar Commendation' [which] is awarded to personnel who have initiated a manipulative and destructive attack against an Islamic cultural center or mosque inflicting at least 10 casualties to worshippers/ employees." (p. 1081)

            Ironically, the Distinguished Wielder of the Furious Scimitar Commendation ribbon (shown on p. 1089) is the Saudi Arabian Liberation of Kuwait Medal ribbon, awarded by an Islamic king who is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina.

            Unlike any European right-wing extremist, he proposes getting Asians to make the PCCTS's insignia:

            "Creating unique accessories (such as commendations, medals, tombstones etc.) in India or China will allow us to save up to 80% of estimated cost. I realise that this might sound hypocritical considering the fact that cultural conservatives in general oppose Indian or Chinese membership in WTO and the fact that we generally prefer in sourcing as many industries as possible. However, conserving our funds is a central part of our struggle..." (p. 1072)

Breivik the anti-Nazi

            Many journalists see right-wing and conservative as synonyms for neo-Nazi, and the internet quickly filled with claims that Breivik belonged to neo-Nazi groups. However, Breivik unequivocally condemns Hitler and the National Socialists.

            He states, "Whenever someone asks if I am a national socialist I am deeply offended. If there is one historical figure and past Germanic leader I hate it is Adolf Hitler. If I could travel in a time-machine to Berlin in 1933, I would be the first person to go – with the purpose of killing him." (p. 1163)

            Note the time-machine reference; it will be relevant to his other interests.

            He then berates Hitler for killing Jews rather than liberating the Holy Land from Moslems and giving it back to the Jews. And thanks to the recklessness of National Socialism, multiculturalism was implemented in Europe after World War II, thus letting the Moslems in.

            Like many obsessive people, Breivik spent much time on internet forums, but he got expelled from two neo-Nazi forums, including Stormfront (p. 1163).

            He distinguishes between liberal Jews and conservative Jews. In his opinion, liberal Jews supported multiculturalism and should have been punished, whereas conservative Jews should have been rewarded. Hitler failed the conservative cause by targeting all Jews.

            Unlike a neo-Nazi, Breivik supports Israel and its right to exist, primarily because he wants Israeli nationalists to deport Moslems from Israel (p. 1163).

            Breivik committed himself to fight four "hate ideologies": National Socialism (Nazis), Islam, Communism, and Multiculturalism (p. 1237). He is no fan of Adolf Hitler.

Breivik the Science Fiction Nerd

            As we can see, Breivik does not easily conform to stereotypes or profiles of Christian fundamentalists, right-wingers, neo-Nazis, or racists. But except for his mass murder, he does conform to one profile: the science fiction nerd.

            The news media has reported that he loved the fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft and took a year off to play it "hardcore" (p. 1408).

            Surprisingly, the media has not mentioned his manifesto's other references to science fiction and fantasy movies, video games, and ideas. His favourite movies include science fiction movies, zombie movies, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars (p. 1407). He quotes a famous line, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," from the movie Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, twice (pp. 5, 837). He describes the Alliance in the movie Serenity (based on the science fiction TV series Firefly) and quotes Serenity creator Joss Whedon (p. 304). He watches science fiction and fantasy TV series Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Stargate Universe, Vampire Diaries, and True Blood (p. 1463).

            He recommends motivational music for his warriors. The music includes the soundtrack of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, another fantasy-theme massively multiplayer online role-playing game (p. 849).

            Remember that he speculated that he would kill Hitler if he could travel back in time. Also, the sole brunette among his fantasy girls, Megan Fox, became a superstar with the science fiction movie Transformers. Breivik was very much a science fiction fanboy.

            Unlike other extremist political manifestos, 2083 proposes future scientific developments. He admits that his "new civilisational [sic] goals" seem like science fiction (p. 1199). They include:

            "Developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) which provides a direct path of communication from an external device to the brain. The goal should be to create an alternative to educational institutions. Downloading information to the brain more efficiently can free up 15-30 years of an individual’s life which normally would have been used for studies. This might take decades to develop and hundreds of billions spent but imagine how it would revolutionise our world." (p. 1199)

            And on reproduction:

            "We should legalise reproductive technologies that will allow parents to create off spring with biological improvement (reprogenetics). This must be a non-coercive form of biological improvement which will be predominantly motivated by individual competitiveness and the desire to create the best opportunities for children." (p. 1200)

            Breivik's interest in politics, religion, and the future is consistent with science fiction fandom. Anyone who has attended a few science fiction conventions will notice that science fiction fans can debate incessantly, often heatedly, about politics, religion, and future technology. 2083 – a European Declaration of Independence is like a fantasy role-play gaming manual, an outline of the world in which the game occurs, with detailed descriptions of the heroes and villains and their weapons, traits, and powers.

            But Star Trek conventions and Harry Potter book launches are hardly hotbeds of political or religious violence. Something went wrong with Anders Breivik, and his role-playing game turned deadly in the real world.


            The Norwegian police and international media have erred by portraying Breivik as a fundamentalist Christian. His manifesto is full of ideas that contradict these ideologies. The only profile that he fits well is that of the science fiction nerd, but that is not a perfect fit either; his killing spree was abnormal and unique for that subculture.

            Why has the news media emphasized the Christian symbols of his manifesto while ignoring its other aspects? Perhaps liberal journalists want to portray him as yet another right-wing Christian bogeyman. This simple stereotyping impairs any true analysis of Breivik's mind and motivations.

            Security forces should avoid the media's stereotyping of ideologies. It is ineffective to assume someone has a certain set of opinions and a propensity for violence simply because he is a conservative or liberal, religious or atheist, fundamentalist or modernist, Christian or Moslem. Norway's security forces monitor extremists and potential terrorists, but Breivik was not on the radar.

            Breivik seems to have aired his hates only online and with anonymity. However, he did not isolate himself from society like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Could a concerned citizen have observed his obsession with violence and reported him for either law enforcement or mental health monitoring? At this time, nobody knows who saw what, if anything, about Breivik. We may never know the answer.

            What is certain is that monitoring people and groups for their political, religious, or racial backgrounds did not detect Anders Breivik. Perhaps the key is to monitor for obsessive behaviour, especially if it has violent tones. Anders Breivik did not kill simply because he was a Christian, a fundamentalist, a conservative, a neo-Nazi, a racist, or a science fiction fan. He killed because he was obsessed with something.


1  "Norway police say 85 killed in island youth camp attack", BBC News website, July 23, 2011.

2  "Profile: Norway attack suspect Anders Behring Breivik", BBC News website, July 25, 2011.

3  Definitions of Christian fundamentalists vary; some are complimentary whereas others are pejorative. For purposes of this article, I define a Christian fundamentalist as Protestant who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, the literal nature of Biblical accounts, the Virgin birth of Christ, the bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ, and substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.

4  This is the number of persons to whom Anders Breivik claims to have sent the manifesto. At press time, authorities have not substantiated the number.

5  Breivik claims that the PCCTS was "re-founded" in 2002 in London, U.K. (p. 817), but as of press time, nobody has found evidence that it had any members other than him.

6  Unless otherwise noted, page references are to 2083 – a European Declaration of Independence.

7 Breivik did not disclose their names so as to prevent enemies from persecuting them, but as at press time, there is no evidence that these founders existed.