Je Suis Charlie

Ross Douthat has the best discussion of blaspheme and society I’ve read recently. He offers three premises:

  1. The right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order.
  2. There is no duty to blaspheme, a society’s liberty is not proportional to the quantity of blasphemy it produces, and under many circumstances the choice to give offense (religious and otherwise) can be reasonably criticized as pointlessly antagonizing, needlessly cruel, or simply stupid.
  3. The legitimacy and wisdom of such criticism is generally inversely proportional to the level of mortal danger that the blasphemer brings upon himself.

Point 3 is the key one in this case. He writes:

…if publishing something might get you slaughtered and you publish it anyway, by definition you are striking a blow for freedom,

Read the whole thing


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