Are Group Hugs Enough to Stop Political Assassinations?
It’s too bad that the recent killings of cartoonists (not including satirist Stilton Jarlsberg on Kerry above) at Charlie Hebdo were the price to pay for putting “free speech” back into national discussion. Good people on both sides died because one-sidedness blinded them.
Where are the satirists who would agree that “Critical Thinking Involves Letting the Other Side Present Its Best Case”? Is “Death to the Golden Rule” the new watchword? Can new questions still be asked about the Paris tragedy? Or has the mainstream media’s preference for Hippiedom’s “Group Hug” been decided upon, as had been the case during the orchestrated “Arab Spring” when sheer masses of televised demonstrators must have been right?
Often the earliest news commentaries after a national tragedy have a spontaneous truth and freshness later missing as media analysis narrows interpretation. Safer to stay in the middle of the herd or flock. Conservative Mark Steyn said the Paris cartoonists were “brave” for repeatedly trashing the Prophet. He argued that major newspapers should have published the cartoons as a form of solidarity.
Is it being “brave” to repeatedly attack Islam, Christianity, and all religions, by extension? Notice that the political right isn’t allowed any such political slander or freedom of speech. Is it being brave when satirists hide behind the protection of left-leaning, politically correct European governments bent on imposing their multicultural agenda, via media, upon average people who just want to be left to their daily entertainments? Were the Kouachi assassinations just another form of freedom of expression?
Should the brothers have aired their grievances by writing letters to editor—or other such civil or political mechanisms—that only fools can’t understand are meaningless and futile? It’s too bad that violence and public agitation are the only weapons left in the public quiver when underdogs are up against the public wall.
The Washington Post’s Jonathan Turley’s recent article “The biggest threat to French free speech isn’t terrorism. It’s the government” says that “The greatest threat to liberty in France has come not from the terrorists who committed such horrific acts this past week but from the French themselves, who have been leading the Western world in a crackdown on free speech.” Of course, Turley is one those libertarians who believe that almost everything (excluding the political right) should be legal, with protections afforded by the legal system, with all debating strictly the privilege of the intellectual elite.
McGill University’s Professor Jacob Levy opposes the one-sidedness of Steyn and Turley in a recent Vimeo video interview, however. Levy sees more “hypocrisy” and double standards at work in the Charlie Hebdo world.
Nor would Levy label the brothers “cowards” as President Obama did, but the professor stops short of endorsing ancient concepts of revenge and defending honor through blood and martyrdom. There are few endorsements of self-sacrifice in the West when nothing else is left. Nor is there much journalistic venue at all for those on the political or religious right.
Was it just an irony that the Wall Street Journal had, just a day or so before, published a front-page article about “Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale”? The real question is: will churches in the US and Europe better keep from closing by opening up to anything-goes liberalism and appeasing Hebdo-style enemies—or by fighting back as the brothers did? Is a real two-sided discussion even possible? Or is the emotion-laced Group Hug still the best and easiest solution after all?