The Conflict of Iconoclasts

France is holding huge rallies for free speech after the Charlie Hebdo murders, but they have arrested a comedian for his antisemitic speech.  Now the Pope, while condemning the terrorist attack, is underscoring that mocking religion is wrong in itself.  Issues of free speech are apparently more complicated than is often assumed.

Meanwhile, the sold-out new issue of the satirical magazine that was attacked makes clear its distinct ideological position, namely, a militant atheism.  The editors say how they laughed when the bells of Notre Dame would be rung in their honor, and that those who say “‘I am Charlie’ need to also know that that means, ‘I am secularism.'”  The point is, both the terrorists and their victims are iconoclasts.

After the jump, Stephen Richert, while condemning the killings and insisting that he is not blaming the victim, argues that freedom of speech is NOT the primary value of civilization and that leftist iconoclasts and Islamic iconoclasts have more in common than either of them realize. [Read more…]

When offensive speech deserves defending

Columnist Ross Douthat, a conservative Catholic, has an interesting and nuanced take on the Charlie Hebdo attacks, how purposefully offensive speech is wrong–and yet, if someone threatens to murder a person over it, that speech becomes something good, something that deserves defending. [Read more…]

The French 9/11.

Islamic terrorists, having attacked the offices of the humor magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing twelve,  struck again in Paris, attacking t a Jewish kosher grocery store, killing four hostages.  The French held a huge rally Sunday–the largest in the history of that nation of popular uprisings–in support of the victims of the terrorists, and other European nations are reportedly reconsidering their openness to Islamic immigrants, many of whom have been flocking to fight with ISIS in Syria.  The French periodical Le Monde is referring to “the French September 11.” [Read more…]

Terrorists avenge Muhammed cartoons

Remember that French magazine that, along with the one from Denmark that started the controversy, published cartoons that depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammed?  Terrorists attacked the Paris office of the humor magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which has continued to print satirical cartoons about Islam, killing the cartoonists, the editor, and 10 more. [Read more…]

North Korean hackers win

We blogged about  the hack of Sony pictures, apparently by North Koreans angry about “The Interview,” a comedy about an attempt to assassinate that country’s dear leader, Kim Jong-un.  The organization that broke into the company’s data released vast amounts of embarrassing information online, including racially charged remarks about President Obama from chief executives, insulting information about how the studio viewed certain stars, and financial details about who makes more than who.  Not to mention entire movies that can now be pirated before their release.

But then the hackers had this to say about the release of the movie on Christmas day:  “The world will be full of fear.  “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

With this dirrect threat,  many theater chains and distributors cancelled the showings.  Whereupon Sony has killed the movie completely. [Read more…]

Terrorism in Australia

An Islamic terrorist took over a coffee house in Sydney, holding 17 hostages for 16 hours until police moved in.  Two hostages and the gunman were killed.  The terrorist was an Australian of Iranian heritage, though he was reportedly a Sunni activist.  Authorities believe he acted alone and was not part of a larger plot.  (Though, arguably, foreign threats may be easier to counter than those of domestic origin.) [Read more…]


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