"In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on rather than off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Hypocrisy And Free Speech

For now I just wanted to talk about the elevation of Charlie Hebdo itself to a heroic level, as if it were some grand symbol of free speech and the power of western democracy over the
third-world savages. You've already seen media and governments all over the West using it as such, organizing massive marches through Paris, "I Am Charlie," and even a gag-inducing "display of solidarity" from a couple dozen blissfully rich, soulless oligarchs from around the world.

But Charlie Hebdo is not some group of hardcore, dedicated journalists hunted by authorities for exposing the crimes and corruption of those in power; though it's called satire, Charlie Hebdo is really just full of pointlessly stupid (stupidly pointless?) and crude cartoons published solely for their ability to offend certain people. And by "certain people," I mean everyone but Jews. And those marches and "displays of solidarity?" A bunch of useless, hot air from people who don't actually care about free speech when it matters.

That's right! But before you call me an anti-Semite for whatever stupid reason, feel free to check out this article telling the story of a Charlie Hebdo writer who was fired, arrested, and charged with the "crime" of making "anti-semitic jokes," and the The French Prime Minister's own words:
"There's a fundamental difference between freedom of impertinence - blasphemy isn't in our law and never will be - and anti-Semitism, racism, expressing support for terrorism, revisionism, which are offenses, which are crimes and which the courts will no doubt have to punish even more severely."
Tell me - if it's OK to show a cartoon Muhammad having a gay kiss or his ass and dangly parts photographed, what's wrong with a few Jew jokes? Holocaust jokes are off-limits while a depiction of Christianity's Holy Trinity literally butt-banging itself is kosher? What makes Jew-sensitive topics untouchable?

Look, it's true and important for everyone to realize that the right to not be offended doesn't exist, and obviously anyone who goes as far as attacking and killing people because they were offended is a scumbag. But shouldn't that expectation for thicker skin go for everyone? If we make exceptions, it just becomes bullying. How can holocaust denial be illegal while the numbers of people killed and displaced by Western powers in Muslim countries today be totally ignored? Did you know over 130,000 Iraqis have died since the US invaded in 2003? I would imagine that's an extremely conservative estimate as well. And maybe we should mention that the West has been bombing and occupying Muslim countries for the past thirty years and even before that, so there might be a little soreness there.

It's pretty easy to support free speech when that speech is against someone you dislike, and there's no doubt that governments and media outlets all over the western world have been flooding their countries and constituents with a heavy dose of Islamophobic fear-mongering as of late. It's a lot harder when you disagree with what is being said.

So I wonder if the same people writing "I am Charlie" on their foreheads would ever be willing to do the same with "I am Westboro Baptist" or maybe lock arms with the KKK if some of them were gunned down by a justifiably angry black man. Are they going to come to the rescue of the man who was arrested for writing on Facebook, "I am Charlie Coulibaly," (the name of the man who murdered four innocent Jews at the kosher market)? Probably not, because that's the hard one.

"Hate speech," racism, and anti-Semitism should absolutely be just as legal as the absolute crap that Charlie Hebdo publishes. Trying to legislate prejudice out of existence is completely impossible, fascist in nature, and will only create more of the same resentment that it seeks to eliminate. Freedom of speech must include protection specifically for the things that no one else wants to hear; otherwise it's just a bunch of lip service to "free" speech.

Meanwhile, those same leaders who are so eager to line up for the cameras and have their faces on TV as champions of free speech are going home to countries that all severely restrict that freedom precisely where it counts. In France, 54 people were arrested this past week as prosecutors around the country were instructed to crack down on "hate" speech, specifically including anti-Semitism. Germany ironically acts like a bunch of Nazis when it comes to dealing with Nazism, and in America, we are told when and were we can practice our freedom of speech through Free Speech Zones.

Just about every western country has laws that curb the right to free speech or protest in some way, so it's obvious that these attacks didn't happen because they hate our freedom or some nonsense like that. It happened because of generations of hate and resentment are piling up and boiling over from the West's constant meddling, regime-changing, bombing, and occupation of Muslim countries, and I'm not going to be surprised when there's more of it.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent, my thoughts exactly on the event. As much as Nazis suck, they still have every right to say what they think, and we have every right to shun, mock and ignore them.