When the Swedish politician Erik Hellsborn of the rather xenophobic Sweden Democrats party blogged that the massacre in Norway was really due to mass immigration and islamization that had driven the killer to extremes (link in Swedish), he of course set himself up for a harsh reprimand from the party chairman Jimmie Åkesson: “I do not share this analysis at all. One cannot blame individual human actions on social structures like this.”
While it is certainly politically rational for the party to try to distance themselves as far as they can from the mass-murderer Breivik (who mentioned them positively by name in his manifesto) this is of course a rather clear deviation from many previous comments from the party that do indeed seem to blame bad actions by people, such as terrorism, as due to Islam or other (foreign) social structures.
It is of course always enjoyable to see political movements you disagree with struggle with their internal contradictions. But this is an area where most of us do have problems: how much of the responsibility of an action do we assign to the individual doing it, and how much do we assign to the group the person belongs to?
- Five ways to become a really effective altruist
- Podcast: Steve Hyman, Loebel Lecturer 2015, on categorising mental disorders
- Mindfulness and morality
- Video Series: Dr Christopher Gyngell on Genetic Modification of Embryos
- Why edited embryos won’t lead to designer babies or eugenics (unless we want it too)
- Don’t Give Money to Beggars
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) and male circumcision: should there be a separate ethical discourse?
- 7 reasons not to feel bad about yourself when you have acted immorally
- Why It’s OK to Block Ads
- Should vegans eat meat to be ethically consistent? And other moral puzzles from the latest issue of the Journal of Practical Ethics