Atlantic has posted a great opinion piece about how “Je ne suis pas Charlie.”
We see a blue “Je Suis Charlie” sign on a lamppost. Very nice. But the sentiment is partially a conceit. We are not all Charlie. Much of Europe, which, as a political entity, is not fully grappling with the totalitarian madness of Islamism, is not Charlie. Certainly much of journalism is not Charlie. Any outlet that censors Charlie Hebdo cartoons out of fear of Islamist reprisal is not Charlie. To publish the cartoons now is a necessary, but only moderately brave, act. Please remember: Even after Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011, it continued to publish rude and funny satires mocking the essential ridiculousness of the Islamist worldview. That represented a genuine display of bravery. CNN, the Associated Press, and the many other media organizations that are cowering before the threat of totalitarian violence represent something other than bravery.
Jeffrey Goldberg goes on to cite examples of people who actually agree that Charlie Hebdo was out of line by holding Islam to the same standard with which it treats all religions, politics, and any other public or private institutions of man. The most egregious of these was our own president:
Barack Obama isn’t Charlie. This is from a speech the president delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.
I wish President Obama had not said this, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Holocaust is an historical fact, and church desecrations are physical crimes against property; neither vandalism nor the denial of historical reality compare to the mocking of unprovable religious beliefs.
Andrew Napolitano has hit the nail on the head in this clip. He states that the way to stop retaliation for free speech related attacks is to increase the amount of the free speech that is being criticized:
Why don’t the world’s journalists just choose a day to all simultaneously publish some kind of material that would be known to offend criminals?