Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Je Suis Charlie

"In any war, the goal is to put your enemy in a position where he has no good options."

I don't exactly agree with the conclusions in the New York Post article linked above, but Goldberg makes a good point about the lack of good options in response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo. As does this article on how the polarization that terrorists attacks inspires helps the terrorists.

(Links from Twitter, courtesy of stryck and the_gneech respectively, if I recall correctly.)

I don't know what you're supposed to do instead. Okay, obviously if I have to pick sides between "people offended by intentionally offensive cartoons" and "people who are threatened with murder or murdered for making said cartoons", I'm on the side of the cartoonists. This part is easy. I am opposed to murder a whole lot more than I am opposed to intentionally offensive cartoons. That is not a close decision. Everyone should have the right to make offensive cartoons without fear for their safety.

But this obvious fact does not particularly make me keen on offending people. I try not to do mean things on purpose. My accidental cruelties are more than sufficient. Maybe if there were a 1:1 correlation between "people offended by offensive cartoons" and "people who will attack or threaten to attack the creators of such cartoons", I'd be more gung-ho about offending them. If I were to make a list of "people who do not deserve common courtesy", "terrorists" would place high on it. And I am one small unimportant person in a sea of billions of Internet voices: I'll be in more danger driving to a friend's house to play games today than I will ever be at personal risk of terrorist attack. I am not worried about retaliation.

But there is no such 1:1 correlation. Actual terrorists are probably less than 0.0001% of the people who feel slighted, marginalized, insulted, and unhappy by intentional sacrilege against Islam. Terrorist sympathizers or supporters are surely a much large fraction, but I bet there's still way more innocent bystanders than people who've done anything to merit rudeness.

So I don't particularly want to draw pictures of Mohammed myself, or republish them, even ones that strike me as well-done, fitting, and that I can barely imagine anyone being offended by. I don't even really want to encourage other people to do so. Certainly everyone has a right to do so, but "things that are right to do" is a small subset of everything a human should have the right to do.

I don't suppose it helps not to do it, though.

I don't suppose anything I can do would. Heads you win, tails I lose.
Tags: politics

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