Why the New Zealand Terrorist Hated Not Just Muslims but also Capitalists

MUSTAFA AKYOL, CATO INSTITUTE

On March 15, in New Zealand, one of the most peaceful places on earth, an unspeakable massacre took place. A gunman attacked two nearby mosques, one after another, killing as many Muslims he could with his machine gun. In several minutes, fifty innocent souls were murdered, and some thirty others were seriously injured.

One thing must be clear about this horror: it was not the work of some deranged individual with mental issues. It was an act of terrorism motivated by an ideology — an ideology we can call militant white nationalism.

We can see this clearly in the 74-page manifesto the attacker put on the internet. Titled “The Great Replacement,” the document is built around a major obsession: that the birthrates of white people, those who are “ethnically and culturally European,” are declining, whereas the birthrates of non-white immigrants, especially Muslims, are high.

From this, the man projects that by the year 2100, whites in Europe will become a minority. He calls this “racial replacement,” and even claims: “This is WHITE GENOCIDE.”

From this, he infers the duty to fight “the invaders within our lands,” who are primarily Muslims who have migrated to the West for opportunity. These invaders must be killed as much possible, he argues, both to scare them away, and also to “take revenge” for old conflicts. He is so ruthless that he sees “the children of the invaders” also as legitimate targets, because “they become adults and reproduce.”

“Any invader you kill, of any age,” he writes in cold blood, “is one less enemy.”

This sick cruelty has taken fifty innocent lives in New Zealand, but this may be just a beginning. In his manifesto, Tarrant writes that he planned the mosque attacks, “to show the effect of direct action, lighting a path forward for those that wish to follow.” So, there may be others who wish to follow.

We should be also aware that Muslims aren’t the only target here. There are also Jews, who the gunman considers non-European “invaders.” That is not unlike the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville in August 2017 and chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” One such militant white nationalist attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, killing eleven innocent souls.

“Kill the traitor CEO’s”

Yet it is not even just about Muslims and Jews. Militant white nationalism is against the very political and economic system of the Western civilization, which is based on democracy, individual freedom, and free markets.

The New Zealand terrorist makes this quite clear in his manifesto. He condemns democracy as “mob rule,” a mob which he sees as “ruled by our enemies.” Therefore, he concludes: “force is the only path to power and the only path to true victory.”

The man also condemns “the myth of the individual,” and “the cult of the individual.” He describes contemporary Western culture as a “hell,” where “the individual is all and the race is worthless.” His wrath targets pop icons such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kurt Cobain, and Freddy Mercury.

He then condemns “capitalism” and “globalized capitalist markets.” Western capitalists are presented as “traitors” to the white race, because they welcome and employ Muslim immigrants, only to buy “their second yachts and their fifth properties!” The terrorist understands, in other words, that free markets value one’s talent and hard work regardless of his religion, race and color.

He is so radical on this that he has a section against company CEOs, which he defines as, “greed filled bastards.” These people are guilty of “replacing our people with a race of low intellect,” he writes, only to call on his comrades: “KILL YOUR LOCAL ANTI-WHITE CEO.”

While condemning capitalism and capitalists for being non-racist, “The Great Replacement” shows a strong tendency for socialism, combined with, of course, a heavy dose white nationalism. If the “means of production” are owned by a state owned by the right people (i.e. white nationalists) then the terrorist says he is a socialist.

But wait! “Nationalist socialism?” Doesn’t that sound familiar?
It does. Because “nationalist socialism,” or Nationalsozialismus, was the very definition of Hitler’s Nazism.

So, these people really believe in a new version of Nazism. Unlike the original Nazis of the past century, they don’t have the control of a powerful state so that they can launch genocides. Yet it seems that


Mustafa Akyol is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, where he focuses on the intersection of public policy, Islam, and modernity. Akyol is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” He is also the author of The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims and of six books in Turkish, including Rethinking the Kurdish Question.


Used with the permission of the Cato Institute / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0