August 11, 2011
New health warning on Templar myths
Our Dan Brown-tinged era has put a kind of “full-employment act” in place for spinners of Templar myths. Some of these entrepreneurs cater to the desire for escapism and fantasy (which, given the state of the world at the moment, is perhaps understandable). Much of it is less benign, from the dozens of murders and suicides connected with the so-called Order of the Solar Temple in the 1990s, to the ruthless Caballeros Templarios drug gang in Mexico that split off from the equally fearsome La Familia cartel. The latter has produced a 22-page “Templar code” for its criminal members, including a pledge not to use or sell narcotics on Mexican territory. How chivalrous.
What is it about the Templar myth that seems to beguile both the general public as well as those who are unhinged or engaged in nefarious activities? With the horrific bombing and shootings in Norway on July 22nd, that question has taken on greater urgency — though the world’s media are having difficulty making sense of it.
Perhaps you’ve seen the photos above and below: confessed murderer Anders Behring Breivik in his self-designed “Templar” military uniform, with the flair of a third-world generalissimo (NB the uniform appears to be based on that of the US Marine Corps); and in full evening dress as a Master Mason of the Norwegian Order of Freemasons. The curiosities in these pictures include an Idi Amin-like jumble of self-awarded medals on the former, and the odd presence of a pen in his breast pocket on the latter — sort of like an old-fashioned primary schoolmaster. Perhaps one commentator is right: the man has above-average intelligence but below-average sanity, his mind awash with a hodge-podge of influences.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to make sense of Breivik: a bogus Templar; until recently a genuine Freemason (he was expelled immediately by that fraternity following his capture); a member of the Church of Norway who advocated reunion with Rome; an agnostic (as he himself has written); a self-proclaimed defender of European civilization against Islamism; a child of privilege who proudly states (accurately or not) that he was the most notable hip-hopper and graffiti artist of his teenage generation in Oslo… Not to mention his rambling blogs about the threat of pollution from venereal disease (rather Dr. Strangelovian?), combined with his stated plan to treat himself to the ministrations of a prostitute prior to his attack. The reputable Atlantic has written “Whatever the case, he may be the only Freemason, Rome-leaning, Protestant fundamentalist in the world.” That not entirely correct statement shows how far we still have to go in coming to grips with all this.