Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo, and the absolute necessity of offending people
Some might say that the 7th of January marks a turning point in the way Europe looks at terrorist acts, very much like the 11th of September did for the Americans. Others would claim that Europeans never liked Arabs and Gypsies and whatnot anyway, and it was only a matter of time until shit hit the fan. While I don't personally have any thoughts regarding one or the other, it is clear now that the West's choice regarding its relationship to the Oriental culture and civilization -- although both "culture" and "civilization" could be outright denied from being used in conjunction with the Arab world of the 21st century -- is long overdue. More generally, a well thought out solution to the West's post-World War II ideological confusions and crises is long overdue.
It should be clear now for any sane-minded person -- are there any sane persons in the audience this fine evening? -- that the tolerance, "politeness" and political correctness preached and often practiced by all Westerners alike, from the United States to Austria1, is based upon a shaky foundation consisting mainly of double-meanings and hypocrisy. Moreover, elected incompetents choose to apply the ostrich strategy as far as this issue is concerned, while other no less incompetent politicians take advantage of the people's reactiveness and lack of rationality to promote batshit crazy agendas.
Well then, you should wonder by now, what's the solution to all this? To which I will answer that you are obviously an idiot, and that decades of lack of proper education for yesterday's pampered children, nowadays' fucked up adults, and moreover, nowadays' "offended" 30+ children, women and gays can't make up for the centuries of religiousness to come. There are times for you, me and all the other self-deprecating "victims" to suck it up, and the beginning is right there, on the 7th of January. However, there is one, ultimately palliative, solution to all of this, and if there's one tiny chance that Western civilization survives, this is its only chance.
This solution comes by no coincidence from Charlie Hebdo itself, and it plainly states the following: our only chance for survival as a civilized people lies in the right of offending others -- they used to call it "free speech" three centuries ago or whenever it was that Voltaire lived, but otherwise educated idiots nowadays seem to misunderstand its meaning. No, it doesn't mean that you have to do it, but that if you can't do it then the society in which you live has lost the spirit of free speech2.
So how would this so-called "right to offend" be formulated? Despite what thick-headed figures such as the Pope believe, the right to offend specifically constitutes the right to say anything without suffering physical consequences upon doing this3, this principle standing as a basic difference between civilized people and savages, or, if you will, between normal people and retarded pieces of shit that are worth being thrown down society's drain. I think we can all agree that beating someone and/or killing them because they've offended your mother is not as evil as it is plain stupid, and if we can't, then fuck your momma's fat ass.
This basic principle being defined and established, we can now look at the specifics: insults aimed at persons or groups4 should be allowed; trolling is just fine; offending overgrown children is an absolute necessity, especially for today's spoiled societies; informing people of the wrongdoings of politicians, and expressing it using violent language, is a must for the continued prosperity of people. The examples could go on, I think you got the gist of it.
Now sensitive, hysterical or otherwise simply guilty people will attempt to bring forth the argument that this will bring the state of things to turmoil. Of course it might, especially in places where that would have happened anyway. In all the other places, civilized people will simply go about their lives and will make use of verbal violence only as a necessary evil; moreover, as the civilized, serious and rational people that they are, they will no doubt employ humour and rational speech, which is at times various orders of magnitude sharper than simple "hate speech", "trolling" or whatever you're calling it nowadays.
Indeed the pen, nay, the word is mightier than the sword. This alone should make civilized folks think twice before suppressing the use of words, or worse, redefine language to ends that are unhealthy for civilized society. If you think shutting up when you oughta speak is "being civilized", then you are undoubtedly in the wrong, as were many others before you5.
That is not to say that there isn't such a thing as too much speech, or too violent speech. There are however other ways of suppressing that: one of them involves proper education providing a balance between conservatism and the need for improvement; another involves simply keeping idiots at bay, which I know is unpopular due to the general precept of "being tolerant". As we can see, however, being too tolerant is not an option, unless you consider changing your family's rules to accommodate pillagers and rapists6.
Now then, what's it going to be? At the end of the day the West has to make a decision and stick to it, because the time for acting like an ostrich is long gone.
No, I am not going to include Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and generally the Balkans in this list. It wouldn't be fair to us, given that we're such "uncivilized" and all.↩
Now, about the whole thing about "keeping things civil" going on on the Internet... if you have to tell someone to "keep things civil", then clearly one of you two is out of their right mind.↩
The right to free speech is ultimately the right to free thought: anyone may say that they want to rape the Pope's mother, because anyone may think this and, furthermore, may wish for this. This is entirely different from anyone having the actual right to do this; Hitler wasn't "evil" because he stated that he wished to ethnically cleanse Europe, he was "evil" because he used his political leverage to actually enforce it. That being said, Stalin was at least as dangerous as Hitler, despite the subversive methods employed by the communists to accomplish the very same deed.↩
Though we can agree that the latter are also stupid, with some rare exceptions, which is not to say that what Charlie Hebdo did isn't laughable, in the good sense. Insulting an entire religion is a pretty weird thing to do; mocking an entire religion is perfectly fine; now, mocking a religion with the side effect of insulting them, that requires some skill.↩
It took Romanians half a century to realize this and most of us still regret the mistakes of our ancestors to this day; although I am surprised to see co-nationals of my age, some of them dear friends of mine, who chuckle when they hear me say that the West has much to learn from Romanian history. Yes it does, and there are certain characteristics of the West which I am glad to see out of Romanian mentality.↩
This by itself is a difficult subject: closing down, say, the EU's borders could have disastrous economical consequences, and it would also mean the -- to be more or less expected, in my opinion -- splitting of the Internet as we know it. On the other hand we have the Roman Empire's example of multiculturalism, which didn't work out all that well at the end. In other words this is a problem we've been trying to solve in the last decades, give or take a few millenia.↩