The Psychopathology of Hate-Politician Geert Wilders and his PVV, stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks with Weapons

August 6, 2011
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In 2003,  FBI agents John R. Schafer and Joe Navarro published an identification and observation report to describe the psychopathology of hate groups. At the time, Schafer and Navarro worked for the bureau’s “National Security Division’s Behavioral Analysis Program”.  Schafer and Navarro based their report, “The Seven-Stage Hate Model: The Psychopathology of Hate Groups”, on personal experiences gained by observing and interviewing hundreds of skinheads. [1]

The Seven-Stage Hate Model: The Psychopathology of Hate Groups :

  1. The Haters Gather; (Dutch)
  2. The Hate Group Defines Itself; (Dutch)
  3. The Hate Groep Disparages the Target; (Dutch)
  4. The Hate Group  Taunts the Target; (Dutch)
  5. The Hate Group Attacks the Target without Weapons;
  6. The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons;
  7. The Hate Group Destroys the Target.

This analysis is modelled and adjusted to Geert Wilders’ Dutch fascist party: Partij voor de Vrijheid also known as PVV or The Dutch Freedom Party.

According to Robert J. Sternberg of Tufts University, and Karin Sternberg, Harvard University, there are few theories that directly concern the subject of hatred without treating it as a by-product of another theory. The founder of hate theories was Gordon Allport.  Erich Fromm and Aaron Beck discussed the construct of hatred and tried to define and explain it further. The “Duplex Theory of Hate” developed by Robert Sternberg is presented by himself and Karin Sternberg is the most elaborate theory. Nevertheless, my preference goes to the hate-model as developed by FBI-veterans Schafer and Navarro. The other theories are either too weak or too generalist and this is why they are  not  useful in the context of the message that I am trying to convey. (For further information on the context, I refer to my articles on the previous stages of Hategroups in Dutch).

During my research, I met experts (psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, historians etc.) of which the majority did not truly agree with my hypothesis. It is their prerogative to disagree, but something as complex as the psychopathology of hate groups is not easily explained. Those who took the time to listen and discuss my research were usually more prepared to believe the evolutionary progress as described in this chapter. Most experts are too far removed from the subject, and they believe that namely stage 6 and 7 will never occur in the Netherlands. However, the fanatic part of the 1.5-2 million voters/supporters of the PVV are even prepared to engage in a civil war. Wilders, their political firestarter, said in an interview with HP/De Tijd, a Dutch weekly: [2]

Do you want me to say: “Fellow countrymen, battle the criminal minorities”? I am here to prevent race riots. But I also want to add something to it. If it would come to race riots one day, then it does not necessarily mean there will be a negative effect coming from it. With those riots society will shake politics and force her to interfere decisively before it is really too late and a revolt may take place.

Researchers think that radicalization is quite likely an outcome, especially in an atmosphere where dissension is being preached in an exaggerated, even paranoid, form. Willard Gaylin, a professor of psychiatry, uses psychodynamics as a research method to analyze individual identity; he explains briefly that not all haters are psychotics:

A paranoid population is not a population of paranoids. Rather, it is a group led by psychotic individuals who encourage paranoid elements endemic in the culture and in their individual personality. For example, the Turks who participated in the slaughter of the Armenians in 1915 could not have all been psychotic, any more than the Polish citizens of Jedwabne. We know that even those who enthusiastically carried out the massacres of the innocents under Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot were not all psychotics.[3]

Below follows the analysis of stage 6.

Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons

Several studies confirm that a large number of bias attacks involve weapons. [4] Some attackers use firearms to commit hate crimes, but skinheads prefer other types of weapons, such as broken bottles, baseball bats, blunt objects, screwdrivers, and belt buckles. These types of weapons require that the attacker is close to the victim. This further demonstrates the depth of personal anger in the perpetrator. Attackers can discharge firearms at a distance, thus precluding personal contact. However, stabbing weapons and blunt objects require the assailants to look their victims in the eye and risk becoming splattered with their victim’s blood in the process. This hands-on approach allows skinheads to express their hate in a way a firearm cannot. Personal contact empowers and fulfils their deep-seated need to have dominance over others.

Brigitte Bailer-Galanda drew the same conclusion. She is the scientific director of the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance. As one of the contributors to World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, she writes: [5]

An important feature of neo-Nazism is the tendency toward using physical and verbal violence against political enemies and people seen as racial enemies or scapegoats. Attacks range from the vocabulary of hatred to the use of fists, weapons, and explosives.

Recently, a young Dutch man called, Tristan van der Vlis, used firearms to kill and maim random people in a mall.  The Media reported that this shooter shared certain views with the  Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). Tristan van der Vlis, had told a friend that he voted PVV.  He had admitted feeling been fed up with the presence of ethnic minorities and immigrants in Dutch society. On 9 April 2011, Van der Vlis fired at least one-hundred rounds that killed six people and wounded seventeen others before shooting himself through the head. Less than four months later another Wilders-admirer outdid Van der Vlis.

Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist perpetrator of two terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011, is likewise filled with hatred against ethnic minorities and politically progressive Native Europeans. He considered his politically Leftwing victims pro-Islam and anti-Semitic. His hatred for his victims was so intense that like Van der Vlis he chose to shoot a number of his victims at close range. However, Breivik first placed a bomb in a Volkswagen van parked close to important government buildings. The bomb went off at 15:25 that afternoon. The explosion killed eight people and wounded many more. Nevertheless, his most heinous crime was yet to come. After parking the van in Oslo, Breivik drove to the island of Utøya, where the annual  youth summer camp of the Norwegian Labour Party was held. Breivik wished to look his victims in the eye when he murdered them. Wikipedia reports: [6]

When Breivik arrived on Utøya, he claimed to be a police officer who needed to do a routine safety check following the bombing in Oslo. He asked a number of persons to gather around him before  he drew his weapons from his bag and started firing indiscriminately. He instantly killed and wounded numerous people. He first shot people on the island itself and then proceeded shooting at people who attempted to flee the Island by swimming across the lake. Survivors told heart wrenching tales of terror. For example, 21-year-old Dana Berzingi described how several wounded played dead hoping to save themselves. However, Breivik later walked back to them and finished them off by shooting them through the head.

Breivik is the product of hate-indoctrination and racist rhetoric; the kind uttered by Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party. In Logical Analysis of Hatred and Haters, I drew certain conclusions on the influence that Wilders may have had on Breivik. The latter has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the former. Wilders is the most politically powerful of all anti-Islamists (including Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller). This is why Wilders’ influence on Breivik should not be ignored. Breivik obviously considers Wilders an inspiration and a kindred spirit.

In Why we Hate, Ruth Dozzier analyses the psycho-emotional link between doctrines and a person’s sense of purpose. [7] This helps the reader to understand the emotional and logical state of mind of Breivik and haters in general:

Meaning rather than instinct is so overwhelmingly important to our species – and to our distinctive toolmaking cultures – that our limbic system has evolved a powerful tendency to blindly interpret any meaning system that we deeply believe in as substantially enhancing our survival and reproduction. Someone who wholeheartedly converts to a particular religion or political ideology, for example, is likely to experience strong primal feelings of joy and well being coupled with an exciting new sense of purpose. This is true even if the belief system has elements that are bizarre or self-destructive.  Because of this unusual feature of the human brain, strongly held meaning systems are capable of decoupling our behavior from the objective criteria of survival and reproduction. If a particular group’s strongly held meaning system calls on its members to be celibate and suicidal, their primitive brain areas will tend to presume that this is the best way to ensure their survival and reproduction, even though rationally, of course, it is not. At the end of WWII, there was no lack of kamikaze pilots willing to die by crashing their explosive-laden aircraft into American warships. These young Japanese airmen were guided by a meaning system centered on emperor-worship, which placed a high value on dying for the emperor.

The immense significance of meaning to human beings and its distinctive link in our species to the primitive emotional centers of the brain lay the groundwork for a primary source of hatred: fanaticism and intolerance. Lacking specific instincts, humans have no innate identity. It is meaning systems that provide us with our personal sense of meaning and purpose. The tremendous emotional commitment we tend to make to these systems leaves us vulnerable to interpreting differences in meaning as threats to our survival and reproduction. Many of the most savage conflicts in history have involved quarrels over religious, political and cultural systems of meaning. 

Wilders is the Emperor to Breivik’s Darth Vader who slaughters the Younglings to bring about a new order.  Breivik has admitted to hating Islam and left-wing political ideologies. He claims he first started planning these attacks in 2002. Wilders started vehemently criticising Islam and Muslim communities as a Dutch MP in 2002. He founded his Freedom Part (PVV) in 2004. For nearly 10 years, Wilders has been preaching that Islam is a threat to Europe. He has expressed that he thinks that the Native European population runs the risk of being violently surpressed by radical Muslims. However, neither Wilders nor his mentor Frits Bolkestein, former leader of the Dutch Liberal Conservative Party (VVD), were the first to describe Islam as a threat to western civilisation.  It was Professor Bernard Lewis, one of the most influential scholars on Islam, who popularised the notion that present day Islam is both dangerous to and incompatibility with Western cultures.[8] Christopher Caldwell, senior editor of The Weekly Standard, wrote in 2004: [9]

SELDOM HAS THE COURSE of European history been changed by a non-politician’s throwaway remark in a German-language newspaper on a Wednesday in the dead of the summer doldrums. But on July 28, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told the conservative Hamburg-based daily Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century “at the very latest,” and continental politics has not been the same since.

This statement by Lewis sent shockwaves throughout the world, alarming anti-Islamists and anti-multiculturalists to such a degree that initial disbelief turned into fear, fear turned anger, and anger turned into hatred. It was Wilders’ mentor, Frits Bolkestein, who spread this unholy, fearmongering, alarmist message among European politicians and citizens. Caldwell continues:

Days before the third anniversary of 9/11, Frits Bolkestein, the outgoing  European Union competition commissioner, caused an uproar when he mentioned Lewis’s remark in the course of an address at the opening of courses at the University of Leiden.

It is this kind of rhetoric and fear mongering that put people like Breivik on a razor sharp edge, in particular in the past decade.  It is remarkable, however, how Wilders, Breivik and their ilk have branded Islam as a fascist ideology that preaches hatred and advocates violence. In their blind rage they have developed the following flawed logic that breeds intense hatred.

  1. Islam is fascist
  2. Practising Muslims are fascists
  3. Muslims cannot believe in Islam without harbouring fascist feelings towards Non-Muslims
  4. Muslims therefore are decreed to hate Non-Muslims
  5. Since the Qur’an decrees the subjugation of all non-Islamic lands in the world, war between Muslims and non-Muslims will erupt from time to time (Chapter 9, verse 20 – see my rebuttal).
  6. Since the Qur’an decrees violence towards Non-Muslims, the latter group is always in danger

The premise of this logic is based on a fallacy: “they hate us”. In the past years Bernard Lewis has moderated his Islam-criticism in several ways. In the past, Lewis spoke out against Islam as a historian, not as a statistician or a demographer. Nevertheless, many people still believe that Islam poses is an imminent and existential threat to their lives, livelihoods and cultural identity. This fear is hardly modern. The Nazi’s felt the same way about Judaism and Jews. They accused the Jews of wanting to destroy or dominate Western countries. Their Verjudungs propaganda convinced the German masses of this imminent threat. If you replace the terms “Islamisation”,  “Islam” and “Muslims” in Modern anti-Islam texts and speeches  with “Verjudung”, “Judaism” and “Jews” you will see how similar this modern Anti-Islam stance is to the stance of National Socialism in 1920s and 1930s  on Jews and Judaism.

As shown in stage 5, since 11 September 2001, there have been hundreds of attacks on mosques and Islamic institutions in the Netherlands alone. In Stage 6, the likes of Van der Vlis and Breivik consider violence the only effective solution. These acts of aggression are bound to get more common and bloody in the very near future. More and more indoctrinated people will take up arms to perpetrate their crimes against the out-group. They may feel like they are fighting against an enemy that supposedly hates them and their traditions or cultures to the core, but even if this were true, the old adage still holds that hatred breeds hatred and violence breeds more violence.

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[1] John R. Schafer & Joe Navarro. “The Seven-Stage Hate Model: The Psychopathology of Hate Groups”, accessed August 5, 2011.  http://www2.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2003/mar2003/mar03leb.htm#page_2

[2] Cited in “Citeren doe je zo”, Frank Verhoef, HP/De Tijd, August 24, 2010, http://www.hpdetijd.nl/2010-08-24/citeren-doe-je-zo

[3] Willard Gaylin, Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence, New York (VS), PublicAffairs/Perseus Book Group, 2003, p 113

[4] Dolf Zillerman’s research is described in Daniel Coleman, Emotional Intelligence (New York, NY: Bantam Press, 1997), 60-62.

[5] Cyprian Blamires, Paul Jackson, World fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2006. p. 460

[6] 2011 Norway Attacks, Wikipedia, accessed on August 6, 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Norway_attacks#Attack

[7] Rush W. Dozier, Jr., “Why We Hate: Understanding, Curbing, and Eliminating Hate in Ourselves and Our World”. New York (NY), McGraw-Hill Books, 2002, p. 1

[8] Bernard Lewis, “Communism and Islam” [International Affairs,Vol. 30, No. 1(Jan., 1954), pp. 1-12] http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_display.cfm/blog_id/29920

[9] “Islamic Europe?”, Christopher Caldwell, The Weekly Standard, Oct. 4, 2004, accessed on August 6, 2011, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/685ozxcq.asp?page=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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