Actions and Speech have consequences!

Here is what a friend, Michèle Phoenix, posted on Facebook concerning the violent “protests” against the latest Charlie Hebdo cover in the African country of Mali:

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.59.36

Here are my comments:

I suspect that the makers of Charlie Hebdo could not care less. They have no love for churches or Christians or any other people of faith, and would say that, anyway, it is not they who are to blame but those who react violently to their legitimate free expression of whatever they wish to express.

This is why I found your earlier warning not to “canonize” Charlie Hebdo so appropriate.

The suggestion that actions and expressions have consequences, and that we share responsibility even for unintended but foreseeable consequences of our actions and expressions is increasingly rejected by liberal society when it comes to their own actions (Charlie etc) but asserted when it comes to conservative expressions:

  • All opponents of abortion inevitably share the blame for violence against clinics and abortionists;
  • All who do not enthusiastically approve of and affirm homosexuality inevitably share the blame for violence against gays, etc;
  • But of course Charlie Hebdo is blameless when their provocative “art” leads to violence.

This is not to absolve of blame those who actually kill Christians or torch their homes and churches, of course, and it is really crazy that one even has to include such a disclaimer today or be accused of justifying religiously motivated violence.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 13.09.20I also found this article by English journalist and co-founder of the satirical magazine Private Eye, Christopher Booker, very interesting in this entire context.

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