Je Suis Charlie

by kpmautner

In case this phrase hasn’t had much air time in the last couple of days, just to refresh.

Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights of humanity.  To quote Voltaire (as quoted by Daniel Webster):

“I disagree with what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

There is a marked difference between the right to say something, and the good manners (or good taste) to keep one’s mouth shut.  There is a difference between being able to publish really nasty satirical drawings and the good manners to refrain from doing so. The periodical Charlie Hebdo was small-circulation and specialized in stretching the bounds of good manners and good taste to the breaking point and beyond.  That was their right and privilege.  Anyone whom their pieces offended had the right not to purchase the periodical.

Before last week, almost no-one outside the fringe element in France had ever heard of Charlie Hebdo. Charlie Hebdo has now quintupled its circulation and rivals some of the more mainstream periodicals.

My sympathy and sorrow are for the victims of this senseless act.