It’s so often the case that the best thing a person can do to improve his reputation is die. John F. Kennedy is now a legendary president, but would he be estimated so highly if he’d been able to end his political career as a man and not a myth? Ah, the power of martyrdom.
And so it is with the editors and cartoonists of French magazine Charlie Hebdo (CH). In the wake of the Jan. 7 attack on its offices, millions are showing their support, heroicizing CH and saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). On the other hand, there are a few lonely voices, such as Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who have some less than flattering things to say about the magazine. After unequivocally condemning the killings, Donohue called CH’s late publisher, Stephane Charbonnier, “narcissistic” and said that the journalist “didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.”
While I usually agree with Donohue, I do part company with him here — somewhat. First, the tone of his statement is a bit too deferential toward Islamic sensitivities. Second, I’m not so sure Donohue himself truly understands the role Charbonnier played in his tragic death. As to this, make no mistake:
Charlie Hebdo was an enemy of Western civilization.
Question: Did the people at CH ever oppose the Muslim immigration into France that, ultimately, led to their deaths?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess they didn’t, that they were rather more inclined to call those who did inveigh against it “racists,” xenophobes and intolerant bigots. And this certainly was reflected in an interview CH cartoonist Bernard Holtrop gave to a Dutch newspaper Saturday. He didn’t say much, it seems, but amidst his few words he made sure to express his dissatisfaction with the fact that the CH attack will help Marine Le Pen’s National Front, the only prominent French party questioning the nation’s immigration model.
We might also note that the victims at CH were basically defenseless, save the one police officer guarding the journalists, because of the gun control that is part of their leftist agenda.
As for the material CH was disgorging, Town Hall’s John Ransom characterized it well, saying that the Charlie caricatures were “juvenile, loaded with bathroom humor, and not at all smart. There were many cartoons that I felt were just offensive — not just to Muslims, but to me as well” (hat tip: Jack Kemp). In other words, to reference that failed leftist radio effort, CH was the Air(head) America of print. In typical liberal style, its artists mistook profanity for profundity, cynicism for sagacity and insult for intellectualism. It’s reminiscent of the women who strip naked to protest; even if their causes were just — which they invariably aren’t — what does it prove? Could you imagine George Washington, or maybe wife Martha, having bared it all to protest the British? With that mentality, would there ever have been a positive and successful American Revolution?
But I’ll tell you what it proves: that we’ve had a successful Western devolution. It proves that Frankfurt School founder Willi Munzenberg wasn’t kidding when he said that to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat, they would “make the West so corrupt it stinks.” This putrefaction is now well advanced, and CH was part of this decay.
Of course, many would respect the fact that CH, unlike most leftists, didn’t spare Muslims the scorn it also heaped on Christians and anyone else didn’t like (which seems to have been everyone else). But while this isn’t as bad as a fifth column in your midst, a platoon that indiscriminately sprays bullets at everybody, its own side as well as the enemy, isn’t exactly helping. (In fact, were one of these leftists in a foxhole next to me, I’d have to frag him before dealing with the foe wearing a different uniform.)
Oh, but let me amend that. One might wonder if CH had a side except its own, and I suspect that such people don’t much like themselves, either (can you blame them on that score?); it seemed that everyone was its enemy. CH showed “nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms,” as Donohue pointed out, and had also attacked the French government, which is pretty much socialist no matter who is in charge. And I know a fellow like this, by the way; he criticized G.W. Bush for being too conservative and then changed his tune when Obama took office.
He started criticizing Obama for being too conservative.
We might ask such people, is there any good in the world at all? Or are you the only good extant?
I know what their answer will be: “F*** ***, @#$%&!”
This typical leftist hatred was reflected by CH’s Holtrop, who responded to the outpouring of support for his mag rag by dismissively saying “We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. It really makes me laugh …We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”
But Holtrop and his comrades had been vomiting on Western civilization for years, which is why he doesn’t have to worry about me counting myself among his friends. Instead, I would remind you of British statesman Edmund Burke’s sage words, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” We’re not going to preserve legitimate liberties that would be robbed by men of intemperate minds by being men of different intemperate minds. And whom should we fear most? Who most imperils us? Muslim fundamentalists? Or the left-wing fundamentalists who, like dysfunctional cells attacking a body’s immune system, make us susceptible to harmful outside agencies? To paraphrase Roman philosopher Cicero, an enemy at the gates carrying his banner openly is less formidable than those within the gates who rot the soul of a nation, work secretly in the night to undermine the pillars of the society, and infect the body politic so that it can no longer resist.
We fought with the besieged Soviets to defeat Hitler, but we never said “I am Stalin.” I’m certainly as opposed to Muslim jihadists as anyone, but I’m proud to say je ne suis pas Charlie.