Clash of the Iconoclasts

Was the murder of 11 members of the staff of a French “satirical” magazine a civilized act?  To ask that question even rhetorically seems absurd.

Was the weekly output of the staff of that magazine a contribution to civilization?  To ask that question seems brutish at best, and invites cries of “blaming the victim” and “moral equivalency” between “medieval barbarians” and “heroic defenders of freedom of speech.”

Yet the second question may be even more important than the first, if only because everyone outside of the confines of the putative “religion of peace” knows the proper answer to the first, but few understand why the proper answer to the second may very well be the same.

I do not wish to make too much of the rapid embrace of the phrase “Je suis Charlie” by good people horrified by the meticulously planned and surgically performed strike by militant Muslims on the Paris offices of the “irreverent” weekly.  Few who posted those words on Twitter and Facebook and every other form of social media know much at all about the actual content of Charlie Hebdo, as the all-too-frequent use of the line “It’s the French version of The Onion” makes clear.  (The world leaders who marched in Paris behind “Je suis Charlie”...

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