In your position I’d do the same, but I’d not have named the blog post “Je Suis Charlie”. However (as many people are presumably aware) I’m not you – and I’m not criticising you.
One can go as deep and be as controversial as one wishes in discussing this matter…
Apart from other Islamist extremists and pseudoliberals who believe that religious sentiments deserve more respect than other sentiments, there has been little controversy concerning this matter; almost across the board, people are saying that one should not be killed for something one has written. Yes, some are trying to instrumentalize this to their own ends, but the basic idea, that free speech is more important than the right of someone not to be offended (by a cartoon!), is, fortunately, not very controversial, at least in Europe.
Some pundits are saying “well, they shouldn’t have been killed, but they are at least partially to blame”, which is like saying that a woman without a burqa is at least partially to blame if she is raped.
I’m sorry Phillip but it is highly controversial. There is plenty of hate speech legislation in place in several European countries and it has been used against more than one person I know personally in situations where there was no incitement to violence whatsoever.
“I don’t agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire
A number of people have pointed this out to me on Twitter too!
Je ne suis pas Voltaire..
Basically terrorists are bullies using bully tactics. If offended by an act, take the time, care and communication to have the behaviour changed. Work within the law to change the law if necessary. Bullets are not the answer.
The problem with this is blaming the victim. Any murderer (or perpetrator of some other violence) can claim to have been incited, which is, after all, a subjective feeling. If this is allowed as a defense, then violence must be allowed.
Political cartoons, caricatures etc are not the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. I agree that freedom of speech should not be absolute. For example, calling for someone to be killed, perhaps after spreading false information, should not be allowed. But that is not comparable to a cartoon.
The only thing putting innocent people at risk recently are the folks from the “kill the unbelievers” camp. Note also that one of the policemen killed in France was himself a Muslim. Of course, as an employee of a secular state, he is just as bad as an unbeliever in the eyes of the fundamentalists.
There was violence – a lot of it.
This was highly predictable.
Innocent people died.
There is plenty of blame to spread among those who carried out the violence, those who provoked the violence, those who could have intervened before the violence occurred, etc.
I disagree with most of your opinions, but I cannot have an argument with you.
One would hope that the risk of prosecution for injury caused in the stampede due to shouting fire in a crowded theatre would suffice. Incitement to violence – Yes, that is an appropriate limit on free speech, *provided* that it is people who directly hear the speech who are incited to violence against 3rd parties and not the inciter. (Politically correct police have been known to arrest people “for their own safety” when those people were preaching to a hostile mob, whic is wrong.) “Hate speech” – nonsense, one man’s hate speech is another man’s free speech, and anybody mature can either reply or ignore it. I want the freedom ot have my beliefs insulted in order to have the freedom to insult the beliefs of others. And you should, too.
Questioning the beliefs of others (and our own) is one thing.
Ridiculing the beliefs that others hold sacred is quite another matter that involves bad judgment when the risk extends to those who clearly want to avoid the dubious game and its dire consequences.
There are better ways to explore, discuss and question beliefs.
I agree that gratuitous insults are at best unhelpful and at worst extremely damaging. In a civilised society we should respect each other and accept that there are some things that, though we have a right to say them, perhaps should be left unsaid. The right to freedom of speech, like any other right, brings with it certain responsibilities.
However, if the response to a cartoon, or a speech, or an article, is real or threatened violence then I feel we have to stand firm and protect the right of expression against those who would seek to deny it in that way.
To be honest I think many of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons are crude, misogynist and racist. It’s not a magazine I have any particular admiration for. That is, however, very far from the point. If I don’t like something I don’t watch it listen to it or buy it. I do not try to suppress it, least of all through murder.
There are reasons not to say certain things in certain contexts, but we should not allow our society to become one in which fear of retribution is what drives this decision.
Freedom of expression is a higher good. I am deeply offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the members of the Holy Trinity engaging in anal sex but I take the view that the correct response would have been for Christians to do things like jam the Hebdo switchboard indefinitely (and if not enough Christians could be bothered then we deserve to be offended). Also I believe that God is perfectly well able to take care of Himself if he chooses.
The basic mistake of some people is to suppose that everything that is wrong should be illegal. NO!
The struggle to preserve our cherished and hard won freedoms is an open-ended struggle against those who would take them away.
Those who use the freedoms with flagrant irresponsibility only serve to strengthen the position and arguments of those who want to put humanity in chains, literally and figuratively.