Mahler fits that pattern quite nicely, albeit in reverse. But the “direction” of his conversion is much less important than the fact itself. Mahler has been a “true believer” throughout, whether his passions were attached to a utopian vision of a classless society, or to a world in which his own country’s guilt for the Holocaust is rendered moot by denying the crime. Instead, he blames his country for different crimes altogether, either the oppression of the (non-existent) working-class or accepting the myth of Nazi mass murder. In such a tortured soul, it all comes to the same thing. He sees himself fighting in the name of higher ideals, even though they change according to the political and moral requirements of the moment.
Mahler says as much. When asked about the dramatic change in his worldview by a German writer, Mahler insisted that, properly understood, he had remained faithful to himself:
“When I asked him whether he accepted that he had changed his views since the 1960s, he said, ‘You have to see it dialectically. One changes, and at the same time one remains the same.’ “
I wonder if we will not hear similar words from the Norwegian killer, Anders Breivik. They’re demons from the same level of hell.