In the Clash of Intolerants, I’m Not Charlie

John Ransom
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Posted: Jan 10, 2015 12:01 AM
In the Clash of Intolerants, I’m Not Charlie

As the world pours out it’s sympathy for those murdered in Paris in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, liberals face a dilemma.

I’ve looked at the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, and I don’t find them particularly funny. In fact, my first thought was that if Jerry Lewis started a satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo would be about right. My second thought was that this was a magazine started by mimes—mimes, which, by the way, are mimes because they have nothing to say really.

I found the Charlie caricatures to be 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.

The cartoons seem to go out of the way to offend religiously inclined people under the pretext that since it is not against the law to do so, then doing so is a good thing.

I’m okay with being offended. I can choose to not look at things that offend me. That’s how I choose to deal with offensive people or images—like Al Sharpton, Barack Obama—who bother me.

I ignore them.

I understand how someone I disagree with, and find offensive, has the right to his or her viewpoint without feeling threatened by me.

But how exactly do liberals show their sympathy for these terror victims without saying they’re okay with the message that Charlie Hebdo propagated?

They don’t: They are liberals after all.

For them it is all one thing or all the other.

As a conservative, I don’t really have as much trouble with this as liberals do. I’m okay with the gradations between not supporting murder and not liking Charlie Hebdo. I have a sense of proportion, which I think liberals often lack.

I can be filled with sympathy for the victims who were shot while still deploring the message of Charlie Hebdo.

But I wonder: Would liberals find as much sympathy for the victims if Charlie Hebdo instead was, say, the Media Research Center? Or Bill Cosby?

I suspect that part of the power that Charlie Hebdo attack has over the media and liberals is that fact that Charlie is clearly an enemy of religion—and the religious.

Being anti-religious is not just okay amongst liberals, it is part of the lifestyle.

We live in a time that celebrates books like Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great: How Religion Spoils Everything. We live in a time when Harvard University considers the celebration of evil in the Black Mass a legitimate cultural expression, as if evil is a legitimate moral choice like a Snickers bar in a vending machine.

But not me.

I don’t have sympathy with anti-religious bias, any more than I have sympathy with those who misuse religion, like Islam does.

Evil is evil whether found in the secular pursuits of Charlie Hebdo or in the so-called religious pursuits of Al Qaeda in Yemen.

That neither side understands why my beliefs-- expressed as Western civilization-- are superior to them in staying power, morality and economics doesn’t make my beliefs less valid.

Today, in fact, I feel vindicated.

And the problem that liberals have is to acknowledge the debt they owe civilization—you know, that part of humanity that thinks shooting people or denigrating their beliefs is not okay—while pretending that their own brand of intolerance is okay.

Because while the intolerance shown by Al Qaeda is deplorable, it is separated from Charlie Hebdo by degree only.

In it we see the Clash of Intolerants.

Thankfully, it has nothing to do with me.