A good rule of thumb for political commentary -- or life in general -- is that terrorists are never right. People who go on mass shooting sprees are never right. The man or woman who lights the fuse on a bomb that blows up a government building is never right. Their actions are wrong, and the ideas that motivated them are wrong.
Pat Buchanan, however, has discovered in the insane bigotry that allegedly animated Anders Behring Breivik's horrendous acts of violence in Norway a lesson about Europe and Islam that we maybe should take to heart.
After a perfunctory denunciation of Breivik as an "evil ... cold-blooded, calculating killer," Buchanan notes that Breivik's motivation was "to bring attention to his ideas and advance his cause: a Crusader's war between the real Europe and the 'cultural Marxists' and Muslims they invited in to alter the ethnic character and swamp the culture of the Old Continent."
Buchanan then gives the alleged terrorist an assist, writing that Breivik's vision of a grand conflict between European Muslims and Christians "may be right":
None of this is to deny the presence of violent actors or neo-Nazis on the European right who bear watching. But, awful as this atrocity was, native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent.
That threat comes from a burgeoning Muslim presence in a Europe that has never known mass immigration, its failure to assimilate, its growing alienation, and its sometime sympathy for Islamic militants and terrorists.
Europe faces today an authentic and historic crisis.
With her native-born populations aging, shrinking and dying, Europe's nations have not discovered how to maintain their prosperity without immigrants. Yet the immigrants who have come - from the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia - have been slow to learn the language and have failed to attain the educational and occupational levels of Europeans. And the welfare states of Europe are breaking under the burden.
Norway, too, needs to wake up. From the first call for help, police needed 90 minutes to get out on the island in the Oslo lake to stop the massacre by the coward, who surrendered as soon as the men with guns arrived. Apparently, Breivik wanted to be around to deliver his declaration of European war in person. Yet, if convicted of the 76 murders, Breivik can, at most, get 21 years, the maximum sentence under Norwegian law.
Norway is a peaceful and progressive country, its leaders say.
Yet Norway sent troops to Afghanistan and has participated in the bombing of Libya, where civilians have been killed and Moammar Gadhafi has himself lost a son and three grandchildren to NATO bombs.
As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.