Charlie Hebdo could be published in the United States. But what if it were distributed in schools or assigned for students to read? Is uncivil speech protected by the First Amendment? This is a question not so easily answered. The short answer is this: In general, yes; but in education, no.
The carnage at "Charlie Hebdo" was particularly shocking not only because of its brutality and abruptness, but also because it personified the increasing number of attacks on journalists. While Western nations claim to be champions of free speech and press, their actions speak much louder than such declarations.
Most of us are not Charlie. Most of us are, like my colleague Frédéric Boisseau, simply going about our regular business until fate puts us in the path of angry people who have rationalized their anti-social hostility as being justified in the name of a higher calling.
A day after at least 1.5 million came out to protest the murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists and support freedom of speech, the French Minister of the Interior announced criminal proceedings against Dieudonné, a comedian, for his "apology for terrorism."
The right of free speech the NYPD are angry about when it comes to the demonstrators is precisely the same right of free speech they're using to harass de Blasio. And it's that same ideal of free speech, no matter how noxious it might seem, for which those police in Paris died last week.
We are all ignorant; none of us have all the answers. That fact is not only a strong argument in favor of free speech and against those who would suppress it -- it is a spur toward greater wisdom.
Bosnia's Muslim leadership answers without ambiguity. We have to worry more about those who would appoint themselves to defend God against presumed insult than those purportedly committing the offense.
Some feel that Charlie Hebdo -- by poking fun at and ridiculing cultures, religions and religious figures -- crossed the line, created prejudices, perhaps even incited hatred and violence. This time, I find myself squarely defending Charlie Hebdo's freedom of expression.
The cry heard around the world after the cowardly massacre of at least 12 innocent people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is "Nous sommes tous Charlie." And, yes, people all over the world are Charlie Hebdo.
It is time for Muslim imams to lead their flocks in recognizing free speech and free exercise of religion as integral part of Islam. It is time for Western societies to stop asking Muslims what they feel every time radicals perpetrate yet another spectacular act of violence. Only then will "Je suis Charlie" find real meaning.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are like all other rights: to keep them you have to exercise them -- and sometimes that takes courage and involves risk. We should be profoundly grateful to those who help keep that right for us by exercising it.
Now that the Republican Party -- the conservative voice in mainstream U.S. electoral politics -- has attained the most thoroughgoing control of Congress that it has enjoyed since 1928, it's an appropriate time to take a good look at modern conservatism.
RedState, and Moe Lane, would do well to stop using a childish "mock & block" policy to censor debate on their site. Come join the adult conversation, fellas. You can do it.
As long as one grants that the United States' security requires that the state be able to keep some secrets, the question stands: should there be some limitations on the freedom of the press and who and how will determine what these ought to be?
Civility is all too often selectively invoked as an excuse to repress political activism; what ultimately matters is not civility but the causes of justice and freedom and the right to fight for them. Civility is a code word to mask suppression of speech deemed disagreeable.