Is Breivik Insane? Mental Illness and Extreme Right-Wing Ideology


The French newspaper Le Monde reports that a member of the right-wing political party the National Front was suspended for making an apology on behalf of 32-year-old Andres Behring Breivik on his blog, la valise ou le cercueil. Jacques Coutela described Breivik as “résistant”“une icône”“le premier défenseur de l’Occident”,  “Charles Martel 2″ – as a “resister,” “an icon,” the first defender of the West,” “Charles Martel 2″ (a French medieval king during the Crusades). Coutela also described Breivik as “mais simplement un visionnaire face à la montée de l’islamisation de l’Europe” — “simply a visionary confronting the rise of the Islamisation of Europe.” He has since removed the inflammatory posts after the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (MRAP) — the “movement against racism and for friendship among people” — filed a complaint against him. The National Front itself has condemned the attacks.

On Tuesday, lawyer Geir Lippestad said that he believes 32-year-old Andres Behring Breivik is “insane” and does not know why he has been asked to represent him.  Lippestad is a member of the Labour party whose youth wing (AUF) Breivik targeted in a massacre that killed 68; he describes Breivik as “very cold” and said that he had taken unspecified drugs “to be strong, to be efficient, to keep him awake” during the shootings.

Breivik has admitted to the killings but does not accept criminal responsibility for his actions. Lippestad also says that Breivik “remains unaware of the revulsion his attacks have sparked and does not know the number of people he killed last Friday.” He has been linked to far-right groups, said he believed he must “save Europe from Muslim takeover” and stated his hatred of multiculturalism, Islam and feminism, among much else, in a 1500-page online manifesto.  He is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by two experts; if he refuses to do so, Lippestad said he will not represent him, says the Guardian.

Two experts interviewed in the BBC suggest that, beneath Brevik’s right-wing ideology, there is likely to be a “deep level of mental disturbance,” as Professor Jeremy Coid, professor of forensic psychiatry at Queen Mary college, University of London, says.

Ian Stephen, a forensic clinical psychologist, says that Breivik’s manifesto was “one of the scariest documents I’ve ever read”:

“It’s written by a man who’s absolutely meticulous in his development of his philosophy and he’s researched everything, obviously shut away for a long period of time reading, researching, digging into the internet, reading books and formulated this absolute policy of hatred of anything that is Nordic in a sense and looking at planning how to take over the world totally converted in a sort of very rather insane over-complicated deluded manner.”

Professor Coid also compared Breivik parallels with David Copeland, the London “Nail Bomber,” whose attacks in 1999 were aimed predominantly at London’s black and gay communities. Copeland was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and Coid suggests that Breivik’s case is also an example of “where extreme right-wing beliefs merge with paranoid psychosis, or delusional disorder”:

“In terms of delusional disorder, sometimes the belief that someone starts out with is not particularly bizarre, and these people often get missed. Over time, it becomes apparent that what is going into their head is enormously wrong.”…

According to Coid, Breivik could possibly also have a severe narcissistic personality, which might be indicated by “whether he gets off on publicity and being the centre of attention. Or, depending on his social interactions or the lack of them, he might have a “more schizoid personality.” Coid’s belief, though, is that Brevik has paranoid psychosis, or delusional disorder.

Besides terrorism charges, Breivik has also been charged with crimes against humanity, which carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in Norway.


Previous Care2 Coverage

Pat Buchanan Supports Norway Gunman’s Islamophobic Message

Glenn Beck Compares Victims in Norway Attack to Hitler Youth

Norway Mourns Its Dead; Closed Hearing for Gunman

Norway Killer: Feminism is Destroying the West

Is the Norway Shooter a Christian Terrorist?

Media Criticized for First Blaming Muslims for Norway Attacks

Almost 100 Killed in Twin Attacks in Norway on Friday

Giant Blast Hits Government Buildings in Oslo

Photo by nerdegutt


Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mabolsa Ritchie
Gerry Moran5 years ago

@ Rob K cont...

"While I doubt that you intent to,you continue to provide justification for the unjustifiable actions of Breivik who out of his hatered for Muslims murdured people not even Muslims."

This is just hysterical. Neither Beth or myself would ever try to justify what this guy did. But, his views about muslims in Europe are valid. Did he express them in the correct way? Not a chance. But they are still valid.

Mabolsa Ritchie
Gerry Moran5 years ago

@ Rob K

"If we use your "reasoning",Beth S.,we'll begin condemning members of the Catholic Church because the sexual misconduct of some of it's priests and the Vatican's initial coverup."

This is where you are going desperately wrong Rob. As disgusting as the catholic church are for covering up sex abuse, it is not actually a part of the belief system that children can be used for sex. islam is very different in this regard. mo married his favourite wife when she was just 6yo and first raped her when she was 9. Before that, he performed other sexual acts on her without actually penetrating.

This is all in the hadith and you will also see that in islamic countries, it is common for little girls to be married off to older men and raped. Little boys are also used for sex. This has been going on since mo's time for certain, maybe even, to some extent, before him too. But the fact that mo did it means that muslim males, who cannot even manage to use their own powers of reasoning and judgement, believe it is ok for them to do it too. So they do.

I think I'm also right in saying that mo promised that there would be 'beautiful boys' awaiting in his version of heaven too. So, although the catholic church and many of it's followers did some despicable things, it is not part of the belief system, unlike with islam.


Roderick M.
Roderick M.5 years ago

Now, now Beth, now you are being dishonest.

Go back and read your posts. You make no qualifications anywhere about "Muslims who are good people", what ever or who ever they might be. Both you and Mabolsa repeatedly referred to "Muslims" with no assertion whatever that these were people with a particular religious belief you happened to disagree about. You both repeatedly condemned "Muslims" with no "qualifier" other than a religious belief, that you wanted to pin on a certain class of people that exist only in your warped and depraved mind.

Shame Beth, shame!

Rob K.
Rob Keenan5 years ago

Beth,if you think that you're the only person we communicate with then your sense of self importance is very exaggerated. I answered your question long ago by mentioning the Muslims know who like the U.S for it's freedoms,and who believe in peace.When you blame without validity an entire group for the worst among them there's a name for it. Bigotry.

Roderick M.
Roderick M.5 years ago

To Beth S.
Well let me try to explain in words you might understand. The definition of a bigot is a narrow minded person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed or opinion (Webster).
The vast number of crimes committed in western nations for over the past 2000 years have been committed by non-Muslims; in fact your simplistic view of the world is that any person with an Arabic or Muslim name (the same to you apparently) who commits a crime is a Muslim. Your kind of bigotry is still found with people who think criminals with German or Polish names are Jews and rant about the lawless Zionist scum that pervades Europe. It does not seem to ever occur to you that someone named Farid or Zayid may not be muslim at all; people do convert, drop away from their religions, cease practicing,you know. Maybe you do not know. So listing the names of persons accused of crime with Arab names as evidence that all Muslims commit all sorts of terrible crimes in the west betrays a sort of stupidity. Particularly as the vast majority of people accused of crimes in the western law courts have west European names, like Smith, Stanley, Jones etc. Nobody except a bigot would say that western European youth are all criminals and oriented to committing crimes because they were exposed to the teaching of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. Or maybe you would?
Got it?

Roderick M.
Roderick M.5 years ago

To Mabolsa,

Islam, like all other religious beliefs, is essentially an opinion. Just like Jews Christians, Buddhists, Zoroaster and any other religion you care to name. People often have bizarre and outrageous opinions (yourself included according to Mr. Christopher) but we do not judge people on the basis of their opinions we judge people on the basis of their acts and deeds. So if you want to rant and rave about your opinions of Muslims, you are probably no more nutty than any other crank, but your opinions say something about you. Meantime the rest of the sane world will judge you by what you are and what you do.And in your case Mr. Mabolsa, by your own admission that appears to be virtually nothing.

Meantime, take note please of those Turks, Pakistanis, Arabs, and other people who may or may not all subscribe to Islam (I know it may come as a shock to you to learn that not all people with Muslim names subscribe to Islam any more than people with western names all subscribe to Christianity) that many of them are decent upstanding law abiding people who hold jobs, pay taxes, educate their children and do their best to contribute to their adopted homelands.
In other words Mr. Mabolsa, get a life!

Roderick M.
Roderick M.5 years ago

SO Beth S.

How is it that Turks and Pakistanis, all predominantly Muslims, earn law degrees, become professors in western European Universities, actresses, authors of books in the language of their adopted country if they isolate themselves and don't mix as you express it? How is it you have no apparent concern by the voluminous, by far and away majority of crimes, violent and sexual that are committed by persons with western names? If it is a person with a possibly Muslim name that upsets you, westerners are acceptable?

Rob K.
Rob Keenan5 years ago

If we use your "reasoning",Beth S.,we'll begin condemning members of the Catholic Church because the sexual misconduct of some of it's priests and the Vatican's initial coverup.And that would certainly be unjust.While I doubt that you intent to,you continue to provide justification for the unjustifiable actions of Breivik who out of his hatered for Muslims murdured people not even Muslims.

Mabolsa Ritchie
Gerry Moran5 years ago

@ Roderick M. cont…

“If you really believe that Islam poses such a societal threat to Norway, consider for a moment the number of duly elected representatives who are Turkish or Pakistani”

Muslims becoming politicians should be something you should be worried about Roderick. It’s all part of the plan. And in any case, why is it that just because some muslims have become laywers and politicians, somehow the aims of the muslim brotherhood and their like are irrelevant?

“And you, Mr. Mabolsa, what exactly have you done with your life that allows you to criticize these kinds of people?”

I live in a place where, despite the great effort being put in by muslims to change this, there is still some degree of free speech which allows me to criticize, rightly or wrongly any one or any thing I like. But, there is no need for me to have achieved anything in my life to allow me to criticize islam. I don’t oppose islam because I think I’m better due to what I have achieved in life. It’s very simple Roderick. I have high moral standards, and what I see of islam is the exact opposite. That is why I oppose it.