Was it a meaningful coming-together in resistance to radical Islamicist violence and in support of free expression and Western civilization?
Or was it a meaningless feel-good event, along the lines of the old “sending our love down the well” vignette on South Park?
Claire Berlinski, who was there, tends toward the first view.
The blogger known as The Diplomad–a long-time US Foreign Service officer–tends toward the second.
These are both very astute observers and analysts. Read them both, and comment.
27 thoughts on “The Rally in Paris”
The amusing thing is how quickly the supposed “defenders of free speech” will move to criminalize speech offensive to Moslems. For Francois Hollande the Front National is much more of an enemy than the jihadists.
And once you criminalize speech offensive to Muslims, there will be extreme pressure from many quarters to criminalize speech offensive to Group X.
My sense…and this is just a feeling, not based on any deep analysis…is that patriotism is more acceptable among French elites and intellectuals than among their counterparts in the US and UK. A French professor or bureaucrat is more likely to believe that France has something unique to offer the world…”French exceptionalism,” if you will…than an American professor or bureaucrat.
I doubt if even Hollande would dare to mock French exceptionalism in the way that Obama implicitly mocked American exceptionalism.
Who Exploited the Victims of Paris, Frau Merkel?
David Foster – All kinds of speech offensive to various groups is already criminalized in Europe.
Jim…I’m well aware of these restrictions; I think it’s very likely that terrorist attacks will be used as justification for expanding them.
In general, the more violently a group behaves, the more likely it is to be protected, which obviously creates a dangerous incentive structure.
Western norms of individualism, tolerance and abstract rights are maladaptive in the modern world where Westerners must coexist and compete with people like typical Middle Easterners or numerous other clan and tribally organized groups. Westerners cling to the delusion that Enlightenment values are the future but they are not.
And we now have someone like Tanya Cohen … who is all for banning so-called ‘hate speech’, and wonders why Americans are so gosh-darned against ‘human rights’ – which naturally includes a right not to be offended.
Westerners cling to the delusion that Enlightenment values are the future but they are not.
They will be for those willing to fight for them and defend them, as they always were. And for those not willing to fight, they will lose them. As they always have.
Tanya is part of the problem. She is an enabler of tyranny. She doesn’t mean to be, that doesn’t keep her from being one.
Michael Hiteshew – Enlightenment values do not exist in some Platonic heaven. They are specific to the biological evolution of Western Europeans.
Bad Ideas Never Die
( http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Bad-ideas-never-die-8047 )
Freedom of speech comes under attack from several directions. English libel laws play fast and loose with reality by severely restricting the full and truthful description of things as they are. A Saudi millionaire, for instance, was able to use the courts to stop publication of information about him that the public had every right to know. So-called hate speech is defined widely enough to impose outright prohibition on comment, and a telephone call from someone who deems himself offended by a chance remark about his religion or ethnicity is enough to involve the police. As a result of the furor about hacking, Lord Leveson, a prominent judge, was appointed to inquire into “the culture, practices and ethics of the British press.” A report of 1,987 pages came up with recommendations that would in effect give politicians ultimate control over freedom of speech. Prime Minister Cameron jibbed, but the shadow of censorship is passing over the country. Like illnesses, bad habits are infectious; in the United States, the First Amendment, hitherto a reliable defender of freedom, also needs defending. Democrats have proposals for investing Congress in certain circumstances with blanket authority to censor newspapers and television reports, to ban books and films, and imprison people for their opinions.
I actually have quite a bit (undeserved) sympathy for celebrities and other show-biz types who get followed and photographed day and night by paparazzi. That seems wrong. Everyone has public affairs and private affairs and no one has a right to impose on anyone’s private life and publish whatever they find just because they want to. This also goes for “doxing”, where peoples addresses, the names and locations of their children, and other personal information is made public as a form of political attack. It’s uncivilized. Our culture used to draw a boundary there and I think it needs to be put back. Those are the kinds of legal speech limits I favor.
Jim, I believe they are specific to the socio-political evolution of The West.
Michael Hiteshew – Trying to get Yemenis say to live according to Western and Enlightenment values is like trying to teach a pig to play the piano. It is not their nature. They are different people.
Jim, I believe they are specific to the socio-political evolution of The West.
Yet, as demonstrated recently in Ferguson and elsewhere America’s centuries old African descendants have not accepted the norms of the West including autopsy results and grand jury decisions when they run against their collective racial identity. How many centuries does this socio-political evolution take? If anything non-Europeans – from elites to the lowest of them – are becoming less integrated the longer their communities are established in the West. This isn’t going to end well. The only question is who will it end worse for – the indigenous peoples of Europe or the immigrants?
I think we’re all subject to tribalism. There was far less racial violence in the US and elsewhere in 1940’s, 1950’s and into the 1960’s. That’s when the Marxist Left and Black Muslims began stirring up racial animosity and stoking the tribal fires in order to co-opt ‘groups’ into their political tent and amass power. It’s also been done to Hispanics and even defining women as a group. It is the polar opposite of e pluribus unum and I agree, if it doesn’t stop, it isn’t going to end well.
“Trying to get Yemenis say to live according to Western and Enlightenment values is like trying to teach a pig to play the piano. It is not their nature. They are different people.”
No argument. Bush tried with Iraqis who were the most likely Arabs to be willing to adopt western values. It didn’t work. We need to wall them off from us for another millennium. Actually, the Iranians might be ready if they can ever throw off the mullahs. They, of course, are not Arabs.
Comments were asked for, so here’s mine: They’re both right.
Claire Berlinski was in the rally, talking to normal people who attended, and reporting their motivations for their attendance.
The Diplomad was reporting on the behavior of the politicians of Europe, who are a craven and despicable bunch of fools.
It seems to me not unlikely that the ordinary citizens of Europe, more specifically France in this example, are tired of the feckless ineptitude of their political class. This discontent manifested in the huge turn out for this rally, and the answers Claire Berlinski received while in attendance.
The politicians of Europe, realizing they needed to do something in response to the latest muslim terror attack, arranged the rally itself so they could mouth platitudes, then resume their usual activities of living the good life on the public dime, while stuffing their pockets thanks to their insider connections.
This situation won’t last, one way or another.
Michael H re tribalism: If the “progressives” can succeed in dividing American into mutually-hostile groups…and they have already succeeded considerably in this…then civil society is destroyed, and radical growth in government power becomes inevitable, in that government is the only thing (other than shared geography) that connects the various tribes. This means more power for politicians and more influence for pseudo-intellectual journalists like Tom Friedman, professors of social sciences, “activists” and community organizers of various types, etc etc
Bush tried with Iraqis who were the most likely Arabs to be willing to adopt western values. It didn’t work.
Iraq never had a chance of succeeding.
Inbreeding made the Jews smart but the Arabs stupid ? Is that your point. ?
They still looked like the most likely candidates if any Arabs were ever to reach the 20th century. Too bad. Bush should have stuck with Jay Garner who did pretty well with the Kurds who are still Muslims.
We normally don’t apply Enlightenment values to people who by virtue of being at war with us, means we’re at war with them.
We’re at war with them, whether we [or you] like it or not.
We simply cannot penetrate the consciousness of Enlightened Americans that we are at war, and academics and lawyers don’t set the terms.
At war you kill people deliberately to settle political arguments.
It’s not Enlightened, legal and it shouldn’t be.
Wash your hands of this and demand the soldiers be allowed to win. Not policemen [you don’t want to empower the police to win wars]. Soldiers.
Let Law and the Englightened Fall Silent.
“We’re at war with them, whether we [or you] like it or not.”
I’m stumped. Who are you talking to and what about ?
We were at war with the Iraqis when Saddam was gone and they were celebrating ?
I was speaking to Michael Hiteshaw, and those who are bringing free speech as a wartime issue.
Only if you want to lose free speech and the war.
Oh and yes we were at war with the Iraqis shortly after Saddam was gone, I quite recall it.
“Oh and yes we were at war with the Iraqis shortly after Saddam was gone, I quite recall it.”
I don’t. We had a rebellion by the Sunnis in Anbar due to the stupidity of Bremer. We soon figured out what to do about that.
We forget our heroes quickly.
I understand we’re at war with Islam. I have no confusion about that. In fact, I believe we should put Islam and its adherents in the same category as nazis and their adherents. There may have been some good nazis, but the ideology is evil, tyrannical and barbaric. It should be destroyed. Some day we’re going to have to do that or be destroyed by it.
That said, I think Enlightenment values are universal. Is every society ready for them? No. That might take centuries or even millennia. Until then they need to be defended.
Michael Hiteshew –
In the space of millenia there will be significant genetic changes throughout the world. Human populations will change as the evolutionary process moves on. Nobody knows what will happen and what future human populations will be like.
The world has no moral meaning. Enlightenment values are not the goal of the evolutionary process. Evolution has no goal.
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