While still a juvenile, he was arrested, and was consequently rejected from the Norwegian Armed Forces. He left the Progress Party in and went on to join a gun club while also founding a company which he used to finance his planned terrorist attacks. On the day of the attacks, Breivik electronically distributed a compendium of texts entitled A European Declaration of Independence , describing his militant ideology. Two teams of court-appointed forensic psychiatrists examined Breivik before his trial. The first team diagnosed Breivik with paranoid schizophrenia  but after this initial finding was criticized,  a second evaluation concluded that he was not psychotic during the attacks but did have narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
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It is a ghastly story of family dysfunction, professional and sexual failure, grotesque narcissism and the temptation of apocalyptic delusions. Breivik grew up in an expensive area in Oslo. But his home life must have been miserable from the start. His father, a diplomat, disappeared more or less completely from his life. And his mother was a depressive, self-destructive woman who thought of sending her boy and his sister to an orphanage.
Attempts to join groups or make friends almost always ended in humiliation. He made up for his social failures by dreaming of personal grandeur. He did have one childhood friend, called Ahmed, the son of Pakistani immigrants.
Norwegian kids laughed at these pretensions; Ahmed moved away. After finishing high school, Breivik tried various schemes to make quick money, such as selling advertising space by telephone, and failed. He later succeeded for a while by peddling fake university diplomas on the internet, but this too ran into the sand when he was in danger of being exposed.
At one point, joining the Freemasons seemed an attractive way to cut a figure in a secret society, but after being introduced to a lodge by a relative, Breivik got bored and never attended.
His dreams of power became increasingly aggressive. He turned to guns, acquiring unusual expertise in weapons and military hardware. But Breivik was considered too weird even for the Progress party and he was never asked to run for office. His love life, too, failed to take off. But nothing came of this, either. Some who knew Breivik, who was always a fastidious dresser and liked to wear makeup, were convinced that he was secretly gay.
He denied this fiercely and bragged that he was quite a brothel man. Now that power, money and glory, had eluded him in real life, Breivik found temporary solace in virtual reality. He called himself Andersnordic. Around , he decided to go it alone. From then on, he lived almost entirely in his imagination, but his fantasies were still linked to the real world of politics and ideology.
Breivik became obsessed with the idea that the west was at war with Islam. To Breivik these were not just words: he had found a cause, a way to show his real power and get recognition at last from a cold and indifferent world. It was now time for some real action. He also managed to acquire an arsenal of lethal weapons. All this is described in chilling detail by Seierstad.
Indeed, Breivik told his police interrogators that he was actually inspired by the fighting spirit of al-Qaida.
What such killers crave more than anything else is maximum publicity, fame, attention. This is true if they are loners. And it is true when they act as the suicidal hitmen for revolutionary groups. Worldwide publicity transforms these misfits into heroic or villainous representatives of global religions, political ideologies and even entire civilisations.
How far can we separate a Breivik from the ideas that inspired him? Muslims like to claim that jihadi terrorists have nothing to do with Islam. It is true that the Islamism promoted by Islamist revolutionaries is not what most Muslims believe in. But it is also true that elements of their faith are used to promote extreme violence. Islam cannot be blamed for this. But those who prod young people into committing murder by preaching hatred can be.
If this is so, then what about the ideas that inspired Breivik? Breivik may or may not be a madman. The court psychiatrists in Oslo differed on this. In the end it was decided that he was not. But that ideas have consequences cannot be denied. This book throws a great deal of light on the life and times of a miserable killer.
That he had a sick imagination is clear. More is to be said about the ideas that fed it. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Biography books. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Most popular.
'Breivik manifesto' details chilling attack preparation
It is a ghastly story of family dysfunction, professional and sexual failure, grotesque narcissism and the temptation of apocalyptic delusions. Breivik grew up in an expensive area in Oslo. But his home life must have been miserable from the start. His father, a diplomat, disappeared more or less completely from his life. And his mother was a depressive, self-destructive woman who thought of sending her boy and his sister to an orphanage. Attempts to join groups or make friends almost always ended in humiliation. He made up for his social failures by dreaming of personal grandeur.
Extreme far-right on the defensive after Norway massacre
In the attempts to understand the ideology underpinning the terror attack in Norway 22nd July , and the growth of far-right extremism in Europe more generally, Christianity and the uses of the Bible are a largely neglected feature. I show that the Bible functions as a legitimating device, glossing violence as defense of a Christian Europe; as a motivational instrument, positing God as a fellow fighter; and, as an origin for Europe. The Bible is situated in a pre-modern state where its signifying powers are policed. At the same time, it is wrenched out of this solidified framework, cut up and pasted into the manifesto hypertext in order to serve as a contemporary ally to an anti-Muslim and anti-multicultural cause. On 22nd July , Anders Behring Breivik dressed in a fake police uniform, drove to the Government Headquarters the government office buildings , in Oslo Regjeringskvartalet and planted a bomb, which detonated shortly thereafter.
Anders Behring Breivik’s Complete Manifesto “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence”