*Guys, sorry this is so late. If it’s not been obvious from hints, I’ve been having some medical issues, one of which has gone nuclear these last three days, preventing my sleeping and interfering with my thinking. It took me two hours to write this post. And yes, help has been called for, there’s a medical appointment on Monday which was the fastest it could be managed, and there might be a pain prescription called in. Anyway, some stuff I thought of over the mess yesterday.*
Every time I think I’m out of politics for a while, they pull me back in.
Yesterday, it was the disturbing trend both on face book, on this blog and on their blogs, of leftists soft and hard saying “You know, the right-wingers defending Charlie Hebdo are stupid, because they made fun of Christians and Jews too.” Or, of course, my favorite, starting back when I quoted a Simon and Garfunkel song here “You know, you can’t identify with/like their art/think they shouldn’t have been killed for cartoons/whatever because these people were leftist.”
The answer I have is: What in HEAVEN’S NAME IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Yes, I would have shouted that, if my son who worked till two thirty am weren’t still asleep.
Of course I know what is wrong with them, and it is a serious problem for us, and also part of the reason they instinctively defend and identify with Islam.
They’re not, in any sense, autonomous individuals who flock to other individuals that happen to agree with them. They are a tribe. As a tribe, to fit in, they have this list of things they must mouth. But it’s not even very important they adhere to these “principles.” If it were, Clinton would have been kicked out. As would have Obama, for his favoring of Wall Street for that matter.
What is important is that you SAY you belong to the tribe and that you don’t turn against the tribe or other people who say they belong to the tribe, ever, no matter what.
Which is why they tell us things like “They made fun of Christians and Jews” and “they were leftist” as though this should mean that we wouldn’t grant them right of speech or right of life regardless of speech.
They are wrong, of course. We – at least most of us on the libertarian/conservative/constitutionalist right believe that the right of free speech is non-negotiable. Libel and defamation are already illegal (though hard to prove) but other than that, there are no restrictions on free speech. And NO ONE should die for cartoons.
To the extent that you are trying to prevent the often offensive humorists at Charlie Hebdo from working, you’re preventing me from working.
Oh, sure, I’m not likely to make fun of Christians or Jews. (Well, not most of them. I can make fun of individual Christians and Jews, of course.) I’m not likely to make fun of Western civilization, unless it’s the parts that are really funny.
But no one knows what people might read into what I write. I’ve had people accuse me of being a militant leftist because I had gay characters in A Few Good Men. I’ve had people say it’s obvious I’m anti-Christian because I make fun of Earth worship in Darkship Thieves. I’ve had people tell me I obviously hate smart people. Heck, I’ve had people read my books with gay characters and tell me I’m CLEARLY homophobic.
What I’m trying to say is that my grandmother was right: opinions are like backsides, everybody has one.
It’s not just that as human beings you should be allowed to say whatever you want and think whatever you want. It’s that as artists things go into your writing that you don’t know you’re putting in and have no idea how people will interpret.
Punishing art – No matter how bad you think it is – with death is closing down all art. Punishing expression with death is closing down all expression.
I don’t care if Charlie Hebdo were Satanists who drank puppy shakes ever Tuesday and sacrificed pencils to the elder gods – they were killed for cartoons. CARTOONS people.
Compared to the evil of killing people for lines drawn on paper, everything short of human sacrifice is a minor infraction.
Je suis Charlie because like them I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
My political convictions are not tribal. They’re born of reason. Attacking them from a tribal perspective just makes me angry – at the attacker.
The other part of this is if I’m reading these attacks right, the attackers, like all tribal cultures think it’s all right to kill people who are not in their particular tribe.
And that, my friends, is something I’d rather not have found out about our fellow citizens.