Al-Qaeda in Yemen didn’t attack Charlie Hebdo because we are all Charlie Hebdo.What we do in the contemporary West is we protect groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who malign everything we really believe, so they can make the funerals of our soldiers more painful for the parents of our beloved dead. We protect them, but fuck them. Their heads are the ones that belong on spikes; we are just too nice to post them.
The opposite. It sent in the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi because Charlie Hebdo was almost alone.
Yes, that’s right, almost alone, despite the hundreds of thousands marching with their “Je Suis Charlie” placards.... Even the Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that originally publish the cartoons that provided Muslims with a pretext for mayhem and murder, even that paper has declined to republish anything that might be “offensive” to Muslims because, they said, “violence works.”
Well, "we" are.
Anyway, this business about being 'almost alone' is more complicated than it looks. Mostly I think outfits like Charlie deserve protection as a kind of limit case. They aren't the core of what we're about, as a decent people. They're about our tolerance for liberty, even when it descends into garbage. We believe in liberty, so we tolerate -- we defend, we protect -- the garbage.
That doesn't mean it isn't still garbage. And maybe we haven't found the right point of balance yet: Maybe there's still a better solution for groups like Westboro, wherein they can be made to accept responsibility for the garbage they bring into the public space.