Clarence Page, in his column in the Chicago Tribune, takes a look at how delusional people often demonize others for what they see in themselves.
Anders Behring Breivik, the far-far-right-wing monster charged in Norway with the biggest mass murder by a single gunman in modern memory, reminds me of how often delusional minds hate others for what they really see in themselves.
"The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman," wrote historian Richard Hofstadter in his often-quoted 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." "(T)his enemy is, on many counts, the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him."
Thus the Ku Klux Klan, for example, imitated Catholicism to the point of priestly robes, elaborate rituals and elaborate hierarchy, Hofstadter wrote. The John Birch Society, the leading anti-communist zealots at the time, organized its own version of Communist Party cells and quasi-secret "front" groups.
Today we see a similarly sly envy revealed in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto against Muslims, immigrants, "multiculturalists" and "cultural Marxists," according to news reports. Breivik wrote and released the manifesto on the Internet before he went on his truck-bombing, gun-wielding rampage.
By his warped reasoning, he had to protest the dangers of al-Qaida-style Muslim terrorists by committing al-Qaida-style terror against his fellow Norwegians.
Read Clarence Page's entire column in the Chicago Tribune.