Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Condemn 'Charlie Hebdo'

I am certainly in favor of free speech, in the sense you should be able to write and say anything you want, on your own property and the property of anyone else that gives you permission to do so.

That said, I consider it obscene to attack the religion of others. And that is exactly what Charlie Hebdo was doing.

Again, in my book, Charlie Hebdo should be perfectly free to say, draw or write whatever they want (on their property) But, what they did say, write and draw was disgusting filth.

Here we have Charlie Hebdo, being lionized as martys to freedom of expression for publishing this...


And this!

And they FIRED one of their staff for "Anti-Semitism!"


I am not in favor of shooting such people up, but they are pigs and I won't miss them anymore then a bunch of dead gangbangers who shot each other up.



  1. I feel exactly the same way. I am all for punishing anyone involved to the full extent of the law (as we do not live in an anarcho-capitalist world as of yet), but I feel no kinship to anyone at Charlie Hebdo. I will definitely not be holding up some idiotic sign proclaiming "I am Charlie". I am definitely NOT Charlie.

  2. "... I won't miss them anymore then a bunch of dead gangbangers who shot each other up."

    So you're equating drawing nasty cartoons with engaging in violence. Isn't this the kind of false equivalence libertarians are supposed to oppose?

  3. Comparing them to dead gangbangers? Killing someone is somehow less reprehensible if they drew a cartoon that offended you? It should be clear who the victims are and who the criminals are here. I don't know about you, but I condemn the cowards that went into a newsroom and mowed down 8 unarmed journalists. You as a fellow journalist, even if you are like me and find their work in bad taste and even blasphemous, could show some empathy for those who died for doing their job. And the Charlie Hebdo affair is about a lot more than the 8 dead journalists, there are also 3 police dead and 4 totally innocent hostages in the Jewish supermarket, and scores of physically and mentally injured and their families who have had their lives turned upside down.

    I know the temptation to be contrarian is strong, but to construe this incident as anything less than a tragedy and an assault on the basic tenets of civilization is, to say the least, inappropriate.

    1. I think you missed the point. Killing Charlie Hedbo was terrible for sure. He was just saying, "I am NOT Charlie Hedbo because Charlie Hedbo was kind of a douche." Doesn't take anything away from the deplorable nature of killing a group of people for being offensive.

      A few other points: The terrorists certainly aren't cowards. They new they'd be hunted down and killed for what they did. They were happy to be martyrs. You've got to admit that takes some balls. Another point, i'd hardly call the cartoons Charlie Hedbo put out "journalism." I'd also argue that this wasn't an assault on the basic tenets of civilization. Overdependence on government and law to provide security lead to complete miscalculation of risk involved in pissing off psychopathic murderers like islamofascist extremists. Not saying they shouldn't have distributed the content, just that they should have done more to provide for their own protection (though you could argue that French law also limits their capacity to do so). They did pretty much nothing. Just got 1 police provided security guard (a slap in the face by the French govt to the islamists seeing as how the govt courts have ruled in favor of Charlie Hedbo in previous lawsuits for attacking their religion, illegal under French law.)

      People like to say that you should be able to say whatever you want without fear of being murdered, but in the real world, there are people out there who do not care about what the law says or agree with your morals and ideals, and you need to recognize that and take steps to protect yourself. Paper and ideas make for a piss poor shield.

    2. I agree Michael. Imagine if a group of people mowed down cartoonists who were critical of Keynes. They drew pictures of him that were "lewd" and so forth. It would be disgusting to compare the people who drew the cartoons to "gangbangers." Religions are a lot like Keynesianism. They are not beyond criticism. To criticize Keynes or Keynesianism is not akin to being a gang banger. It's ludicrous to suggest it is.

  4. Yeah, I don't understand the freedom of speech connection people are trying to make either. However, Charlie Hebdo seemed completely unwilling to sacrifice what they considered art at the expense of political correctness. Despite their work considered obscene by some, this is a quality that's more admirable than those who bend over the slightest amount of backlash.

    Also something to consider - these comic strips , much like comedians, vulgar cartoons, etc should be received in the proper context. Condemning the subject matter has the potential to dilute all types of medium considered inappropriate. Either all of it should be OK or none of it, because potentially someone could end up enjoying a offensive joke that's others find inappropriate. Eventually, there isn't anything left that doesn't at least offend someone, so at that point should everything be condemned or just the topics on YOUR list?

    1. Irrelevant. Offensive or not is a statement of preference. You can't really argue with someone who says, " I like oatmeal." You might say, "No, pancakes are better," but those are just subjective statements of value. Nobody has a right to dictate that their preferences be met by society. As you said, that'd be impossible. The only way to do it would be central planning and a gross application of force as a central power decides what the preferences should be and then forces the population to conform.

    2. But I wouldn't go so far as to condemn oatmeal just because it something I don't enjoy. I think Robert those the word 'condemn' very carefully but I don't think it's fair to condemn a topic without considering the context within which it's presented - this is my point.

      I feel comfortable condemning someone who has an intent to emotionally hurt. For instance, walking up to mentally challenged people and calling them 'retarded.' We can all agree we should condemn this person. However, if the word 'retarded' was used n a comedy sketch, cartoon, etc is it fair the treat the two situations identically? I say no, which is why I don't condemn obscene religious cartoons. If I'm condemning them, given the context, then I should condemn all comedians, 'offensive' cartoons, off-color remarks in movies - the list is endless.

  5. "an assault on the basic tenets of civilization"

    Here's the thing, from the perspective of a very religious follower of Mohammad...does not pictures like the ones above seem like a "assault on the basic tenets of civilization"?

    I can see the sympathy for the journalists family & the innocent hostages(the police are a different issue), but do you really think the "journalists", cartoonists, or whatever they are bear absolutely no responsibility for their own death?

    This isn't a defense in the slightest for the killers either. I'm speaking very pragmatically.

    For example, if you fly into the Middle East and head into a town controlled by Al Qaeda and stand in the center of town blaspheming Mohammad would anyone outside that situation be surprised if they shot you let alone claim that you had no responsibility in your own death?

    Would the expectation of free speech as a "right" be decried again or would you simply be called an idiot with no common sense, not even deserving of sympathy?

    The writers/satirists/cartoonist knew they were risking their lives, you can see their past quotes, yet they pressed on. The killers are just that, killers. They clearly violated the NAP, no question...but to claim that the cartoonists are deserving of "sympathy" when they are significantly responsible for bringing this upon themselves by their reprehensible rhetoric/cartoons/satire is a bit much. It strikes me as PC and not rational.

    1. Thanks for the follow-up. I want to point out both you and me are supporters of NAP and we condemn murderers, that is the imperative point. We are disagreeing about something beyond libertarian theory, about a broader theory of morality or what is the ideal behavior for people to co-exist peacefully in society.

      While I would be the last person to defend any American police officer, I can say in my experiences French police show more restraint, are less oppressive and intrusive, you almost never hear about innocents being shot, tased, and harassed in contrast to the American police state. One of the dead policemen was just passing on the street; a Muslim of Arab descent, the family of Ahmed Merabet denounced the "false Muslims" that killed him on the street in point blank range and are relieved to see them dead. ( Another death is the 25-year-old policewoman from Martinique who was an intern; she was shot one morning walking down a street in Montrouge along with a garbage collector (

      As to the question about who does and does not deserve sympathy, the person in your hypothetical could win a Darwin Award. So could a man that got naked, covered himself in honey, ran into the forest, and got eaten by a bear. No one would blame the bear. The difference is that men are not beasts; they are capable of higher reasoning powers and must be held to higher expectations. Killing someone for their words or drawings is barbaric, and this is a moral judgment applied universally, from Paris to the Middle East. Certainly, on a practical level we would be "less surprised" for inhabitants in some Middle Eastern villages to respond to blasphemous messages with lethal violence than we would be for inhabitants in Paris, but for me this is more of a comment on the Middle Eastern inhabitants than the blasphemer or the Parisians.

      The difference between your hypothetical in the Middle East and the reality of what happened in Paris is also a question of property rights. The cowardly murders in Paris happened in THEIR newsroom, on their property, and additionally this will have a chilling effect on journalists and satirists worldwide. Even if I find a lot of Charlie Hebdo's work in bad taste, I don't want to live in a world where journalists in their own offices live in fear, afraid to publish shocking, provocative material or dangerous truths.

      The murder in your example takes places on the property of the villagers; from an NAP perspective, it would be valid if the village made all visitors sign a contract saying that blasphemy will be punished by jail time/fines/expulsion (murder or lashings as is currently the case seems cruel and unusual, disproportionate to the crime. This does imply Sharia law is incompatible with libertarianism). One could argue this contract is implicit (hence your comment that no one would be surprised), much like Wal-mart does not make every guest sign a contract promising to keep their pants on or to not shout obscenities while on their property.

    2. People like to call this "blaming the victim." I like to call it "root cause analysis." Professionals do this all the time to make sure that they don't repeat the mistake of the past.

  6. Ok, that was just nasty. Why is that "free speech" for some people means "be as disgusting and foul as possible"? Sheesh!

  7. If you want me to respect your religion, you need to justify it with reason and evidence. Otherwise, I'll consider it as if an adult believed that Santa Claus was a real person. Beliefs that have not been justified by reason and evidence should be ridiculed. They are not above scrutiny. Faith is not pathway to truth. Faith is an admission that one does not have reason and evidence to back up one's claims. It is the excuse people give when they don't have a good reason. Ridiculous beliefs are deserving of ridicule.

    Is Keynesianism deserving of ridicule? Why or why not? Religion is no different. No beliefs are beyond scrutiny.

    1. If people started drawing Keynes in cartoon bent over with stuff in his ass, you'd better believe that someone might violate the NAP over it.

      It's not that any given topic should be beyond reproach, it's what method is used that determines not only how effective said ridicule is. Taken further, if it's done in a manner that makes no real/substantive point and offends even those that might agree with ridicule of said topic, then no one should be surprised if there's no outpouring of sympathy over what could be seen and both crass and stupid behavior when it incites a NAP violation.

    2. @Edward Skrod
      We are obviously going way outside the NAP here, so libertarians have many different opinions on this.
      In your comment, however, you seem to be making two different points. On the one hand, you say 'no beliefs are beyond scrutiny.' This is true, but that is different from ridicule. Analyzing a religion and pointing out the inconsistencies and our rejection of certain values they hold is one thing. It is another thing to take something another person holds dear and ceaselessly mock and humiliate it in the most disgusting manner possible. And unless you want to argue that all Muslims are terrorists and thus should all be vociferously attacked in such a manner, which I hope you do not believe, then these cartoons seem to be in incredibly poor taste. I have no problem ceaselessly mocking Al Qaeda or ISIS or whatever, since they are responsible for violence on a daily basis, but I feel no urge to go around humiliating the average religious person.

    3. @zee788 Thanks for engaging me in a friendly manner. I'm absolutely open to having my beliefs questioned and getting closer to the "truth."

      I believe that ridiculous ideas are deserving of ridicule. People are not. I have no problem ridiculing Islam (an ideology). I have a major problem with ridiculing Muslims (human beings). There is a difference. The fact that many (but not all) Muslims are incapable of discerning the difference is worrisome.

      Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc., for the most part, have recognized the difference. This is why, for example, when Charlie Hebdo publishes pictures of priests and nuns having sex, the Vatican doesn't encourage it's members to kill the cartoonists. (At one time, it did! It is only because of the Enlightenment that it no longer does!)

      On another point, ridicule is a good way to encourage people to get rid of their ridiculous beliefs. How many children realize that Santa is imaginary when their friends start to make fun of their beliefs? Ridicule has its place. To conflate people who do so with thugs is a mistake, I think.

  8. "If people started drawing Keynes in cartoon bent over with stuff in his ass, you'd better believe that someone might violate the NAP over it."

    The violator of the NAP would be wrong. Furthermore, it would be ridiculous to say that the person who drew Keynes with something in his ass was akin to a gang banger.

    1. "The violator of the NAP would be wrong. "

      Of course, no one is debating that here.

      "Furthermore, it would be ridiculous to say that the person who drew Keynes with something in his ass was akin to a gang banger."

      No, it's not. How many gang bangers have not killed anyone and only committed the "crime" of dealing drugs? They rate higher in stature in my book than Hebdo. They've actually done less to incite violence and feelings of ill will.

  9. On the subject of free speech, under current French laws the magazine would have been guilty of hate crimes had their obscene cartoons been aimed at any Israeli politician or any "hero" of the Resistance. Imagine the furor had they drawn such cartoons featuring Nelson Mandela or Che Guevera.

    The very idea is delicious to contemplate.