Anders Breivik—Social Darwinism leads to mass murder
Anders Behring Breivik was a young Norwegian enamored with Darwinism and its modern day disciples such as Princeton University biologist (or evolutionist) Lee Silver. He, as far as we know on his own, set off a powerful home made bomb in 2011 in Oslo Norway and a short time later murdered 69 young persons at a Youth League meeting. His goal was to bring attention to his belief that modern Darwinian eugenics could create a utopia and eliminate many of the major problems of the world. His 78,000-word manifesto makes clear in detail his motives and goals for his terrorist attack on his own people. This paper summarizes those motives and goals.
On Friday, 22 July 2011 Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik (he anglicized his name to Andrew Berwick in his manifesto, discussed below) set off a bomb and went on a killing rampage in Oslo Norway, killing 77 people and injuring many more. It was the worst terrorist attack in modern Norwegian history and one of the worst in modern European history.1 The bombing of government buildings in Oslo (figure 1) resulted in eight deaths, and the mass shooting at a Workers’ Youth League of the Labor Party on the island of Utøya, resulted in killing 69 people, mostly teenagers, and injuring at least 96 others.
Breivik was born on 13 February 1979, the son of Wenche Behring, a nurse, and Jens David Breivik, a civil economist. He attended Smestad Grammar School, Ris Junior High, Hartvig Nissen High School and Oslo Commerce School. He was an intelligent, sensitive, physically strong young man who opposed bullying others. From adolescence, Breivik spent much time weight training, and started using anabolic steroids to improve his physique. He cared greatly about his looks and, in his early twenties, underwent cosmetic surgery to look more like what he judged to be Aryan. Breivik worked as a customer service representative, working with people from all nations and reportedly had good relations with his customers except he seemed to be easily irritated by those of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin.2
Norway’s dark day
To explain his terrorist actions, he produced a 1,518-page 77,724-word document titled 2083 European Declaration of Independence (figure 2). One reason he gave for his killing spree was that
“Marriage is not a ‘conspiracy to oppress women’, it’s the reason why we’re here. And it’s not a religious thing, either. According to strict, atheist Darwinism, the purpose of life is to reproduce.”3
Soon after the event, the establishment media, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, claimed that the influence of fundamentalist Christianity and various right-wing groups explained Breivik’s ideology and actions.4 One typical headline read Norwegian Killer is Conservative Christian Fundamentalist.5 Although, as is true of many persons, he had both some right-wing and left views, his detailed paper made his views very clear—and they had nothing to do with Christian fundamentalism.
The media almost totally ignored his virulent Social Darwinism, including his far-ranging proposal to revive Darwinian eugenics, inspired by the writings of Princeton University evolutionary biologist Dr Lee Silver. They also ignored his agnosticism, such as the inclusion of his ‘if there is a God’ proviso when pondering his after-death destiny.6
Breivik detailed in his document that he was an unapologetic champion of modern biology and the scientific evolutionary worldview. Breivik’s vision of ‘a perfect Europe’ involved Social Darwinism, which he identified with ‘logic’ and ‘rationalist thought’, opining that the application of ‘national Darwinism’ should be at the core of our society.7 He does not believe that science should be left in private hands, suggesting it requires lavish and permanent support by the government.
He argues that fully 20% of all government spending must be devoted to scientific research,8 and that science funding is even more important than aid to the poor: “Welfare expenditure should not take precedence over the 20% fixed sum dedicated to science/technology, research and development.”9
Breivik also stressed that science trumps religion: “As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings.”10 Breivik listed Darwin’s Origin of Species as one of the more ‘important’ books that he has ever read.11 He lamented that
“Social-Darwinism was the norm before the 1950s. Back then, it was allowed to say what we feel. Now, however, we have to disguise our preferences to avoid the horrible consequences of being labeled as a genetical preferentialist.”12
Social Darwinism was never far below the surface in his extensive social policy discussions. Breivik’s Social Darwinism was even foundational to the solution of global ecology and perceived overpopulation problems. He argued that “radical policies will have to be implemented” to reduce the human population by, he concluded, more than half, or down to 3.8 billion people.13 Furthermore, if “second and third world countries” are unable to curb their population growth, “nature will correct their suicidal tendencies” because they will be “unable to feed their populations” as Darwin stressed, a process that he believes Western countries should not interfere with even if mass starvation results: “If starvation threatens the countries who have failed to follow our [population control] guidelines we should not support them by … send[ing] any form of aid.”13 Indeed, food “aid to 3rd world countries must stop immediately as it is the primary cause of overpopulation.”14
Reprogenetics and eugenics
The most blatant example of Breivik’s radical Social Darwinism is his endorsement of ‘reprogenetics’, a form of ‘positive’ eugenics that enables humans to control their evolution to produce ‘better’ humans through eugenics. Breivik even argued that the “never-ending collective pursuit for scientific evolution and perfection should become the benchmark and essence of our existence [emphasis added].”15
Breivik’s advocation of the “commercialization and state/media encouragement of reprogenetics favoring the Nordic genotype” was similar to the Lebensborn program that the Nazis used in an attempt to breed superior Aryans.16 Specifically, he advocated the use of “large scale surrogacy facilities as a secondary reproduction option for countries to compensate for non-sustainable fertility rates. The donors of eggs and sperm will then exclusively carry the Nordic genotypes.”17 He explained that the Nazis had the proper social Darwinist goals, but unfortunately they
“ … destroyed the reputation of ‘eugenics’ by combining it to scientific racism and mass extermination. But seeking biological perfection is still a logical concept … . We just have to make sure that we offer it as a voluntary option to everyone or at least start by legalizing it (promotional voluntary reprogenetics or private reprogenetics). We should legalize reproductive technologies that will allow parents to create offspring 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.”18
Breivik lamented that the Nazi abuses have made implementing eugenics more difficult today:
“We all remember the horrors from WW2 where the Empire of Japan committed atrocities against the Chinese by large scale massacres and by using them as human test subjects … Nazi Germany and other countries did the same thing in a smaller degree … Unfortunately, the horrors of WW2 created a stigma associated with all future research and advances in the field of reprogenetics and improving humans biologically by removing negative hereditary factors. Nevertheless, it is common today for Westerners to abort if it is proved that the fetus has Downs syndrome, severe disfigurements (lacking or additional limbs) or other severe physical handicaps like dwarfism.”19
Nonetheless, he felt compelled
“ … to bring up this topic despite the fact that it is considered politically suicidal to discuss under the current cultural Marxist regimes. Most of the propagators of these issues are often affiliated with racist or Nazi ideologies. It is therefore very important with an anti-racist and anti-fascist perspective to these debates.”18
Noting the social stigma of eugenics, Breivik wrote that, unfortunately, eugenics and reprogenetics are now “extremely politically incorrect to discuss” because of “the ‘negative eugenics programs’ of Nazi Germany,” namely
“ … sterilization and … experimentation of human test subjects are factors used at that time … . Many European countries used to forcefully sterilize Gypsies/Rom up to aprox 1972 to prevent them from breeding because they used to be considered ‘sub-human’ etc. These programs are today referred to as ‘negative eugenics’ due to these and other factors.”20
Breivik concluded that
“ … we need to get over this taboo as soon as possible because it is estimated that the Nordic genotypes will be extinct completely within 200 years. This is mainly due to intermarriage between Nordics and non-Nordics. Multiculturalist doctrines have speeded this ‘indirect extermination process’ up further in many Western European countries so the extinction might happen sooner. For example, the Norwegian cultural Marxist government has created a vast network of asylum camps all over the country (and in historically isolated small towns and villages) which will contribute to accelerate this process substantially. The Nordic genotypes might be wiped out within 200 years and yet not a single counter-measure has been employed to prevent this from happening due to the fact that it is considered politically incorrect.”16
He added that the most effective way to prevent this was
“ … by introducing negative eugenics programs combined with ethnic segregation somewhat similar to some policies of the Third Reich. Segregating Nordics and non-Nordic genotypes at this point would be almost impossible even if you had military and political carte blanche. Even in Norway and Sweden the number of individuals with the Nordic genotype is reduced annually at a drastic rate due to EU open borders program, mass-Asian/African immigration and significantly higher Asian/African (especially Muslim) birthrates.”16
His own solution, which he felt was “the only option which could work in this modern world” was
“ … to commercialize positive reprogenetics programs on a state level. This will obviously not be possible as … Anyone who suggests a program like this would immediately be labeled a Nazi and racist which subsequently would end anyone’s career (character assassination). No Western politician, which is a part of the current EUSSR/USASSR hegemony, will take this chance.”21
Nonetheless, he predicted that those who support reprogenetics would
“ … seize power within 30–70 years. And when we do we should refrain from committing the same mistakes of the past. We must reject negative eugenics and instead focus on positive eugenics or so called reprogenetics. Political correct individuals will say: ‘Who cares if blonde people with blue eyes are extinct? We are all going to be dark skinned in the future anyway.’ Wrong. … we have no intention to allow … the indigenous peoples of Europe to be indirectly exterminated. The hypocritical thing is that the same individuals stating this is likely to support … the preservation of rare species in the animal kingdom etc.”17
Breivik was obsessed with preserving the ‘Nordic race’, which he believed possessed “rare characteristics that have been acquired through an evolutionary process which has taken more than 1 million years” to evolve this race.22 Breivik’s major concern is that modern liberal attitudes toward ‘race-mixing’ are leading people of Nordic ancestry to act ‘unnaturally’ and undo what a million years of evolution has produced. In this conclusion he echoed the ideas of leading early twentieth-century Darwinian eugenists, including Madison Grant, whom Breivik cited favorably in his manifesto (figure 2).23
In his Passing of the Great Race (1918), Madison Grant (see below) denounced the American ‘melting pot’ ideal because its inevitable result was interracial marriage, which he believed, as did the Nazis, caused degeneration of the ‘superior’ race. Grant wrote, “The result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient, generalized and lower type.”24 Grant was especially concerned about the degradation of the ‘Nordic races’ because he believed that Nordics were naturally the ‘rulers, organizers and aristocrats’. He cited the importance of evolution for his theory on pages 11, 27, 33, 88, 95, 105, 121, 135, 152, 228, and 234 of his 1918 tome.
A Disciple of Darwin’s disciples
Breivik’s call for a eugenics revolution was not inspired by his own private ideas but, instead, they sprang largely from leading mainstream Darwinists, past and present. His Social Darwinism was a clear part of the mix that caused his murderous rampage.
Although contemporary scientists now distance themselves from Madison Grant’s racism, he was once highly respected by the American scientific community. His many honors include being made a board member of the prestigious American Museum of Natural History in New York, chairman of the New York Zoological Society, and councilor for the American Geographical Society. Some of his articles were published in the National Geographic magazine. Grant’s book, The Passing of the Great Race, went through multiple editions, each with a congratulatory preface by Columbia University evolutionist, zoologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, who was president of the American Museum of Natural History from 1908 to 1933.25
Many of Grant’s concerns about the negative effects of race-mixing were echoed by leading evolutionary biologists of the era, such as Harvard Professor Edward East and the head of the Cold Spring Harbor research lab, Charles Davenport. Doctors East and Davenport were both members of the elite National Academy of Sciences, and Davenport was a founding father of the eugenetics field. Grant, East, and Davenport are examples of how past mainstream ideas can still exert a pernicious influence today.
Reprogenetics and Professor Lee Silver
Breivik’s ‘reprogenetics’ proposal draws on the thinking of a modern respected evolutionary biologist, Lee Silver, a Princeton Professor and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It was Silver who coined the term ‘reprogenetics’, and his 1997 book Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World is prominently featured in Breivik’s manifesto.26
Reprogenetics merges existing reproductive and genetic technologies, all of which Silver predicts will become less costly, more available, and increasingly powerful. Reprogenetics involves applying genetic advances currently being perfected, including technological improvements in interpreting the effects of specific DNA on morphology, the ability to harvest large numbers of embryos from adult females, and progress to dynamically increase the current rate of successful embryo reinsertion into host mothers. Silver’s goal is for parents to be able to select the genetic characteristics of their offspring, which he predicts will trigger major social changes, including reducing genetic diseases and the breeding of superior humans.
Eugenics, the ‘science’ of improving the gene pool, became infamous for the brutal policies that its supporters practiced in the 20th century. The major difference between reprogenetics and eugenics is that eugenics programs are compulsory, imposed by totalitarian governments attempting to achieve some idealistic, utopian goal such as a society of high IQ individuals.
Unlike Breivik, Silver does not advocate using genetic means to preserve the ‘Nordic race’, but does argue that reprogenetics will achieve superior human beings by allowing humans to control their evolution. Although Silver is concerned that wholesale genetic engineering could lead to a chasm between those who can afford genetic enhancements and those who cannot, Silver spends much of his book attempting to dismiss what he perceives to be the major objections to his new eugenics. In his prologue, Silver explores
“ … the ethical arguments that have been raised against the use of this technology. In most instances, I will attribute opposition to conscious or subconscious fears of treading in ‘God’s domain’. Indeed, I will argue that nearly all of the objections raised by bioethicists and others ring hollow.”27
In his ‘The Designer Child’ chapter Silver sounds very much like the eugenists of a century past, arguing that technology has now given us the power to direct our own evolution and we must seize that power, opining, “While selfish genes do, indeed, control all other forms of life, master and slave have switched positions in human beings, who now have the power not only to control but to create new genes for themselves.”28
He adds, “Why not control what has been left to chance in the past?” We control all other aspects of our children’s lives and identities through powerful social and environmental influences as well as by powerful drugs such as Ritalin or Prozac: “On what basis can we reject positive genetic influences on a person’s essence when we accept the rights of parents to benefit their children in every other way?”27
In his epilogue, Silver offers a utopian vision of the future directed by intelligence that would make some earlier eugenists envious. Writing a hypothetical history of reprogenetics from some future date, Silver details how humans have utilized genetic engineering to evolve themselves into God-like creatures, writing the “critical turning point in the evolution of life in the universe” was
“ … when the first generation of cognition-enhanced GenRich matured, they produced among themselves scientists who greatly outshone geniuses from all previous epochs. And these scientists made huge advances in further understanding the human mind, and they created more sophisticated reprogenetic technologies, which they then used to enhance cognition even further in the GenRich of the next generation.”29
By this means, Silver concludes, each generation will achieve quantum leaps of evolution. Silver’s conclusion is, although some argue, that
“ … there were limits to mental capacity and technological advances. But those prophesied limits were swept aside, one after another, as intelligence, knowledge, and technological power continued to rise. A special point has now been reached in the distant future. And in this era, there exists a special group of mental beings. Although these beings can trace their ancestry back directly to homo sapiens, they are as different from humans as humans are from the primitive worms with tiny brains that first crawled along the earth’s surface.”26
He justifies achieving his eugenic evolutionary goals by reasoning that it required some
“ … 600 million years for those worms to evolve into human beings. It has taken far less time for humans to self-evolve into the mental beings that now exist. It is difficult to find the words to describe the enhanced attributes of these special people. ‘Intelligence’ does not do justice to their cognitive abilities. ‘Knowledge’ does not explain the depth of their understanding of both the universe and their own consciousness. ‘Power’ is not strong enough to describe the control they have over technologies that can be used to shape the universe in which they live.”26
Professor Silver not only served as a major intellectual mentor to Breivik’s chilling demands for a new eugenics, but Breivik embraced wholesale both Silver’s reprogenetics program and his scientific utopianism, again documenting the fact that ideas clearly have consequences.
The law vs Darwin
Breivik openly condemned Norway’s policy that encouraged race mixing which contributed to interracial marriage, writing that
“ … the Ombud for Gender Equality recently became The Equality and Antidiscrimination Ombud. Its duties include combating ‘dis-criminatory speech’ and negative statements about other cultures and religions. If accused of such discrimination, one has to mount proof of innocence. In effect, this institution is a secular or Multicultural Inquisition: the renunciation of truth in favor of an ideological lie. Galileo Galilei faced the same choice during the Inquisition four hundred years earlier. The Multicultural Inquisition may not threaten to kill you, but it does threaten to kill your career, and that goes a long way in achieving the same result.”30
When advocating positive eugenics to help justify his ideas, Breivik noted that the Swedish government also “applied German race laws from 1937 onwards” and “any Swede who wanted to marry an Aryan German was forced to sign an affirmation stating that none of the German’s grandparents were Jewish.”31 Furthermore, in 1937, despite the evidence that Sweden
“ … applied Nazi race laws, party members still get away with denouncing critics of their immigration policies as neo-Nazis, racists or Fascists … Socialist professor Gunnar Myrdal and his wife Alva, both highly influential ideologists in developing the Swedish welfare state, had intimate connections with the German academic world during the Nazi age. … According to Huntford: ‘The professor was then a Nazi sympathizer, publicly describing Nazism as the movement of … the future. In Myrdal’s defense … whatever his other propensities, Hitler did have advanced ideas on social welfare, and that the social ideology of the German Nazis and the Swedish Social Democrats had much in common. Until the mid 1930s, Nazism had considerable attraction for those who favored a benevolent and authoritarian state.’”28
He concluded that the Myrdals
“ … promoted the idea of positive eugenics and forced sterilization programs against those with ‘weak genes’. This started in Sweden even before Nazi Germany, and it continued longer. The Nazis called themselves national Socialists, and they took the Socialist component of their ideology quite seriously … . The Nazis were thus to the left, economically, compared to many of the labor parties in Western Europe today. As Adolf Hitler stated in 1927: ‘We are Socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement.’”28
The racist core
Breivik’s major concern, as was Hitler’s, was the putative ‘rapid extinction of the Nordic genotypes’.32 He cited the data that showed the prevalence of blue eyes among European-Americans living in the United States as an example:
“ … 57.4 percent for those born from 1899 through 1905 compared with 33.8 percent for those born from 1936 through 1951. Blue eyes have become increasingly rare among American children, with only one out of every six—16.6 percent, which is 49.8 million out of 300 million (22.4% of European-Americans) of the total United States population having blue eyes.”29
Breivik’s concern about intermarriage was due to its eugenic implications:
“A century ago, 80 percent of people married within their ethnic group. Blue eyes were routinely passed down, especially among people of Western and Northern European ancestry. About half of Americans born at the turn of the 20th century had blue eyes, according to a 2002 Loyola University study in Chicago. By mid-century that number had dropped to a third. Today only about one 1 of every 6 Americans has blue eyes.”29
The Loyola research was motivated by the observation that blue eyes were much more prevalent among nursing home elderly patients than in the general population. The researchers at first assumed that blue eyes may be related to increased life expectancy, but it turned out
“ … it has more to do with marriage patterns. A century ago, 80 percent of people married within their ethnic group … . Blue eyes, a genetically recessive trait, were routinely passed down, especially among people of English, Irish, and Northern European ancestry. By mid-century, a person’s level of education—and not ethnicity—became the primary factor in selecting a spouse. As intermarriage between ethnic groups became the norm, blue eyes began to disappear, replaced by brown.”29
The problem, Breivik argued, was caused by the immigration of various
“ … nonwhites into the United States, especially from Latin America and Asia, hastened the disappearance [of blue eyes]. Between 1900 and 1950, only about 1 in 10 Americans was nonwhite. Today that ratio is 1 in 3. With the exception of an increased risk of macular degeneration (blue eyes are at greater risk), eye color is biologically indicative of almost nothing. Boys are 3 percent to 5 percent likelier to have blue eyes than girls, but beyond that it’s a non-issue, physiologically speaking. The cultural implications are another story. Preferences for fair skin and blue eyes stretch back in Europe to at least the Middle Ages … For women in particular, especially those of European descent, fair skin and light eyes have long been seen as indicators of fertility and beauty. America adopted those biases early on, and Hollywood reinforced them by anointing a long line of blue-eyed blondes such as Marilyn Monroe as the nation’s sex symbols.”33
He added that in the past
“ … eugenicists used the disappearance of blue eyes as a rallying cry to support immigration restrictions. They went so far as to map the parts of the country with the highest and lowest percentage of blue-eyed people. So consumed were Americans with this ideal that in the ’70s and ’80s the fashion models who exemplified the All-American look were typically Scandinavian, said Katie Ford, CEO of Ford Models in New York, which has been in business for 60 years. Blue, by 53 percent, is by far the most popular color contact lens sold at 1-800-CONTACTS, the largest contact lens distributor in the US.”30
Breivik concluded that saving humanity required the application of eugenics and his murderous rampage would publicize his concerns as spelled out in his manifesto. In this latter goal he was successful. He also was successful in showing that Darwinian eugenics is still alive and well in the world.
This event illustrates the fact that eugenic ideas are still flourishing and influential in some areas of society and are, likewise, still very destructive. It also illustrates that rejection of the biblical record, especially the doctrine that all humans descended from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, leads to Darwinism, and evolution leads to racism and eugenics.
- Rayner, G., Gardham, D. and Bingham, J., Hunt for Britons linked to Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik, The Telegraph, London, 23 September 2011. Return to text.
- Slack, C., Anders Breivik was on Norwegian secret service watchlist after buying chemical haul from Polish retailer, London, MailOnline, 26 July 2011. Return to text.
- Breivik, A., 2083—A European Declaration of Independence, p. 350. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Norway terrorist: more media mendacity, creation.com/norway-terrorist-breivik-not-christian, August 2011. Return to text.
- Anonymous, Norwegian Killer is Conservative Christian Fundamentalist, Atheism Forum, 2011. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1345. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1386. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, pp. 1188, 1386. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1195. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1403. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1407. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1227. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1202. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1203. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1199. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1190. See also Grigg, R., Hitler’s ‘master race’ children haunted by their past, Creation 29(4):32–34, 2007. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1192. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1200. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, pp. 1189–1190. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p 1190. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1191. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1158. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, pp. 1152–1153. Return to text.
- Grant, M., The Passing of the Great Race, Or, the Racial Basis of European History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, p. 16, 1918. Return to text.
- Osborn, H.F., Introduction to Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, Or, the Racial Basis of European History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York pp. vii–ix, 1918. Return to text.
- Silver, L.M., Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, Avon Books, New York, 1997. Return to text.
- Silver, L. ref. 26, p. 13. Return to text.
- Silver, L. ref. 26, p. 277. Return to text.
- Silver, L. ref. 26, p. 293. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, pp. 526–527. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 638. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1118. Return to text.
- Breivik, ref. 3, p. 1189. Return to text.