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Is Anders Breivik insane?

Anders Breivik is responsible for the 2011 Norway Attacks, killing 76 people. The knee-jerk assessment of his personality is that he's insane, but is this actually the case? Is evil possible without insanity?

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Experts and Influencers

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Agree
Experts In Politics


Boris Johnson    Mayor of London
Agree
There is nothing to study in the mind of Norway’s mass killer. ... It is not enough to say he is mad. Anders Breivik is patently mad: no one in their right mind would behave as he has done. ... My friends, there is no easy way of saying this: a lot of what this evil nutcase says could be drawn from the blog-post threads that you will find in the media, especially the “conservative” media, in Britain. ... It was all about him, and his feeling of inadequacy in relation to the female sex.
25 Jul 2011    Source


Anne Applebaum    Journalist
Agree
Breivik was not, in fact, a killer of immigrants or Muslims. He was a killer of Norwegians. The particular set of obsessions that led him to madness and then to mass murder were not merely racist. They also sprang from an insane conviction that his own government was illegitimate.
26 Jul 2011    Source


Experts In Law


Geir Lippestad    Lawyer
Agree
I can't describe him, he is not like any one of us. If he does not accept the advice to plead insanity then he will have to look for another lawyer... the whole case indicates that he is not sane.
26 Jul 2011    Source


Disagree
Experts In Entertainment


LeftCoastBreakdown    Writer
Disagree
He is a man doing what we all do; taking his cues for moral behavior from the community around him. We are social animals, and more then anything, social sanction is what allows us to commit horrors against each other. Breivik found, in conservative nationalism, a community that sanctioned what he did with eliminationist rhetoric about "traitors" "enemies" and "evildoers"... He was not insane. He was a willing executioner. And there will be more.
23 Jul 2011    Source


Experts In War


Anders Breivik    Terrorist
Disagree
If you are perceived as a political threat they will even go as far as trying to label you as a paedophile or an insane person. When they have decided to kill your character (or rather the credibility of your name) they will most likely succeed. They have done this with tens of thousands of European political dissidents already (cultural conservatives) and they will continue with this efficient method. That is their purpose. Do not forget it and do not allow them to succeed.
23 Jul 2011    Source


Experts In Science


Steve Sailor    Scientific Journalist
Disagree
In terms of personality, he seems somewhat less like the usual comparison, Timothy McVeigh..., and more like the highly intelligent, cold-blooded leftwing assassin of Pym Fortuyn, Volkert van der Graaf, whose story has disappeared down the memory hole after the European press put out a cover story that he was an animal rights nut. Neither this guy nor Fortuyn's killer seemed terribly crazy, just evil.
24 Jul 2011    Source


Experts In Christianity


Andrew Sullivan    Journalist, Author
Disagree
Notice how unlike other crazed madmen, he does not end his killing spree by killing himself. Notice how he has not pled insanity; but has pled not guilty even though he concedes the horror of his actions. This man is extremely sane. ... He did what he did, knowing it was evil, because of a passionate commitment to a political cause, which has become fused with a politicized parody of one religion, and with a passionate paranoid hatred of another one.
25 Jul 2011    Source


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0 Points      Benja      26 Jul 2011      General Comment
Extreme social norm violators society will deemed insane. The underlying cause of an insane person's behavior however, can be extremely different. Is the "insane" person intellectually handicapped? Paranoid schizophrenic? Psychopathic? On drugs? Traumatized? An idealogue? A combination of the above? If we're appalled at violence and want to stop it, we have to understand its cause. Sometimes slapping the label "insane" on someone is a dangerous way to dismiss what was really going on in the person's head.


1 Point      Miricle      28 Jul 2011      General Comment
I agree, Benja. Indiscriminate, hysterical labels of 'mad' or 'demonic possession' used to have people chained up for life in lunatic asylums. If we are interested in preventing or curing such cases (or at least understanding them better) it is vital to avoid the whitewash and be accurate in one's diagnosis.