There’s a lot of gibbering out there nowadays about pens, swords, and the harmlessness of art and speech.
This is part of the modern dilemma: the denial that manifested thoughts exist in the real world, and are connected with everything else, rather than existing in a magic realm that is separate from reality.
The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo are finding that freedom of speech is not actually an absolute right guaranteed by some mystical force of the universe, but a right promised by two easily murdered policemen. After those men protecting their rights died, two jihadis invaded their office and slaughtered everyone attending their weekly editorial meeting.
Further, the common reaction to this, at least in elite circles, has been to condemn the offense that publishers have given to Islamic populations. That different groups of citizens can be easily provoked to firebombing and slaughter is embarrassing to the pretenses of the French republic.
Any rights that anyone claims to have are ultimately put into place by infantry (you know, men carrying rifles, sidearms, and knives). You enforce your rights by putting little holes into the people who would contest those rights. If you are unable to put those little holes into your contestants, they are able to over-ride whatever pretenses to your laws and way of life that you may claim to have.
The approach that most contemporary writers have to speech is that language is a game with limited or no moral content. Freedom of speech is considered worthwhile insomuch as that speech is largely meaningless gibberish, or otherwise politically inoffensive.
Part of the defense of speech is that it is ‘just speech,’ with no moral content. Speech is dangerous, like bullets are dangerous, because speech is the precedent to all actions. While speech may not itself have much moral content, speech can lead to enormous mass-convulsions of society which lead to enormous amounts of violence, more than any solitary action can have.
The way that the notion of Lockean free-speech has been worked-around is to keep the calls to illegal violence below the legal limit — and right at the legal limit. By staying below that line, it has been possible to push the most violent sorts of revolution, to make possible violent acts, through persuasion which appears to be peaceful on the surface of it.
The free-speech-mewling also ignores the natural law context around it, which has been largely discarded by every modern state.
It is possible to argue for the forcible dispossession of an entire population in boring, convoluted, legalistic language. Because in democracy, public opinion has force, persuasive speech is laden with potential violence. The spaces for peaceful discourse must then shrink, because there is no ‘safe’ discussion — all discussion has the potential to lead to physical conflict without limits.
It is less Al Qaeda’s magazine publishers that make terror attacks easy to execute so much as it is the ‘moderates’ who create safe places for Muslims to extend their territory without overt aggression. They remain below the limits of forbidden speech, but change the legal climate by putting pressure on the wall of their chamber.
Further, particularly in Europe, where there is a weaker free-speech tradition, it is really more of a pretense to free-speech, because that freedom is not observed for political opponents, who are jailed, have property seized, or are otherwise suppressed for arguing their point of view.
In this case, the Muslims slaughtered the cartoonists, curbing an annoyance for the French state, without that state having to lift a finger itself. Perhaps the influential men behind that state would have preferred a less dramatic assault, because this will certainly cause more disorder for that country than might have occurred otherwise.
The fighters today merely re-affirmed their existing victory. It is already arguably ‘hate speech’ to depict the Prophet. They were simply enforcing the existing edict by eliminating the artists who violated Islamic law. Because the republican police died in the skirmish, the foreigners were able to impose their vision of the law upon the French. To the extent that the French are unwilling and unable to resist the foreigners, they will be subordinated to the competing vision for civilization represented by Islam.
It is really that simple: the pretenses to liberalism can be disrupted by small metal objects measuring 7.62 mm in diameter hurled forth at 715 m/s. Goodbye pretenses. Goodbye debating-hall rights. Goodbye constitution. Bonjour, soumission.
Peter Blood says
Check out some info about “Charlie Hebdo”. If some Frenchmen become live patriots as a result of this, it’s a win-win.
5+ days after france votes for palestine says
how did the journalist preposition its video for the money shot to the head point blank with no evident injury?
did they get a lift from a white van with the inscription urban moving systems?
My handler just sent me a text telling me to discourage such irresponsible speculations.
The final impression I get of the Charlie Hebdo 68ers is one of ineffectuality.
The magazine has the same look as all those satirical papers in the Anglosphere that flowered in the 70s and ran out of gas soon after (Oz, Private Eye), whose only ideology was ‘freaking out the squares’. That this type of magazine lasted longer in France I would blame on the strange French skew on culture (Jerry Lewis, EdgarPo).
The idea of treading a fine line between the ideologies, satirising both and relying on the unicorn of free speech to defend them obviously seems futile today, but also did yesterday.
An old quote from Charb –
“My job is to provoke laughter or thinking with drawings — for the readers of our magazine.”
I imagine he prided himself on the ‘thinking’ rather than the ‘laughing’. These guys always say they are trying to ‘provoke though’t. But to what end ? To write for a purpose invites judgement and the 68ers hate to be judged. If you assert a principle, then at some point somebody may be able to accuse you of hypocrisy.
To us on the right the left seems very powerful and vindictive because of what it has done to the right and the old society it has swept away. Events like this remind us of actually how weak the left is. They stand for nothing, they believe in nothing, they have no inner resources whatever. They are merely oppositional. When the opposition is an old Anglican vicar, then the left has been very successful at victimising the poor old coot. However when they come up against a foe with a strong culture then it is a very different story. And this isn’t just a matter of that foe having guns. Look at the intra-feminist fights – when intersectionality comes into play the left wing whites collapse into a puddle of piss every time –
The SWPLs will light their candles in the middle of Paris and sway around singing fucking Jacques Brel songs or the like. But they have no answers at all, and you can bet your life they go home to nowhere near la zone –
Does this –
remind you of this – ?
Let’s hope the jihadis respect the promise of “je suis charlie”.
There’s a reason why our forebears didn’t give teenage girls a seat at the big table – they aren’t up to the fucking job.