So I Read the Manifesto

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I read through the Christchurch gunman’s manifesto. It is, in so many words, 75 pages of “Great Replacement” ideology.

Most of the first half or so is rambling and looks written quickly. It includes a faux Q&A with himself, explaining his background, motivations, aims. Along the way there are a few jokes, a number of allusions to racist internet memes and even quotes.

The first half has a casual, rushed quality. The second half almost reads like it’s written by a different person. The writing is tighter and more portentous. It reads kind of like a “Great Replacement” version of Mao’s Little Red Book. It’s made up of single page sections, with text usually a paragraph or two long, aphoristic, each with an explanatory headline repeated at the end for effect. Perhaps relatedly he says that the People’s Republic of China is his ideal among modern nation states and the closest to his political and social values.

There are weird moments of candor and humor. He says he had written a 240 page manifesto but deleted it in a moment of self-doubt and had to write a new one with only two weeks before the attack.

One unsurprising theme that comes through again and again is that that he actually admires what he perceives as the traditionalism (cultural, sexual, religious) of the immigrant communities he wants to expel or exterminate. He refers to targeting people “from a culture with higher fertility rates, higher social trust and strong, robust traditions.”

There’s also a lot of “propaganda of the deed”, the belief that only cataclysmic acts of violence can spur revolutionary change. Relatedly, he is big on sparking conflict between the left and right, even if the left or non-whites sometimes get the better of it, because more conflict the better in achieving his aims.

He actually claims that he chose firearms as his weapon of choice because he believes conflict or a civil war over the 2nd amendment will eventually engulf the United States and he wants to spur that along. (I suspect the lethality of firearms had more to do with the decision.) That’s a twofer for him because this 2nd amendment war will turn into a race war and lead to regional/ethnic balkanization in the US. The US is also the global progenitor of deracinated individualism which, he believes, has brought the white European race to its knees.

He refers to various influencers. The reference to Candace Owens has gotten a lot of attention. But I think people are right to see this as basically (pardon my language) a mind-f*ck. He’s probably a fan but it’s largely an effort to stir more controversy. He loves Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” But “as a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.” His real influences, the people he returns to again and again, are Anders Breivik (the notorious Norwegian rightist mass murderer and Dylann Roof.

I still have some question whether the second part is possibly written by someone else. I don’t say this as though it’s a significant literary question but it makes me wonder whether there might be accomplices at large.

At the end of the day it’s a lengthy and clear statement of the global “Great Replacement” movement, which as I said earlier today has devotees, usually of a less violent bent, across Europe and North America and in the United States centers on President Trump.

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