Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The Barbaric Assault on Charlie Hebdo's Staff
Charlie Pierce says it best:
It was an act of medieval, anti-Enlightenment barbarism, and the fact that a lot of people who aren't usually so tender toward France and its leftists -- or towards the Enlightenment itself, for that matter -- have attached themselves to the horror in order to proclaim their righteousness atop a pile of corpses ought not to obscure the truth of it. There are genuine values -- honored only in the breach by some, but no less genuine for that -- under armed assault here. Charlie Hebdo's staff was murdered to stifle the publication's voice, no less than Elijah Lovejoy was murdered to stifle his.
This is the mass, unbridled, brainless Id of the barbarian at war with modernity in all its expressions. This is where anti-science leads, where a contempt for education leads, where the suppression of women leads, where marrying political fanaticism to religious fervor almost always leads. This is where theocracy brings us, over and over again.
In 1572, in Paris, on St. Bartholomew's Day, 3000 French Huguenot Protestants were butchered by Catholic mobs. (The death toll throughout France is thought to have been over 70,000.) None of this is new. It rises from the same foul ground it always has. This is why Mr. Madison believed that the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine to be one of the worst things that ever happened to both religion and government.
Official religions end in blood, always. That's why we don't have one here.
Nous sommes Charlie, I guess, but, deep in us all, in that part of us that reeks of stale incense and the smell of old and guttering candles, nous sommes des barbares, aussi. And "political correctness," that empty, impotent phrase, is inadequate to account for the monsters that lurk in the shadows there.'
Please read George Packer's essay on the Charlie Hebdo assassinations.