France

French Government Shows Stunning Hypocrisy on Free Speech

Arrests for speech at a march in support of free speech? Mais oui!

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The photos of 40 of the world's government leaders marching arm-in-arm along a Paris boulevard on Sunday with the president of the United States not among them was a provocative image that has fomented much debate. The march was, of course, in direct response to the murderous attacks on workers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by a pair of brothers named Kouachi, and on shoppers at a Paris kosher supermarket by one of the brothers' comrades.

The debate has been about whether President Obama should have been at the march. The march was billed as a defense of freedom of speech in the West; yet it hardly could have been held in a less free speech-friendly Western environment, and the debate over Obama's absence misses the point.

In the post-World War II era, French governments have adopted a policy advanced upon them nearly 100 years ago by Woodrow Wilson. He pioneered the modern idea that countries' constitutions don't limit governments; they unleash them. Thus, even though the French Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, French governments treat speech as a gift from the government, not as a natural right of all persons, as our Constitution does.

The French government has prohibited speech it considers to be hateful and even made it criminal. When the predecessor magazine to Charlie Hebdo once mocked the death of Charles de Gaulle, the French government shut it down—permanently.

The theory of anti-hate speech laws is that hate speech often leads to violence, and violence demands police and thus the expenditure of public resources, and so the government can make it illegal to spout hatred in order to conserve its resources. This attitude presumes, as Wilson did when he prosecuted folks for publicly singing German songs during World War I, that the government is the origin of free speech and can lawfully limit the speech it hates and fears. It also presumes that all ideas are equal, and none is worthy of hatred.

When the massacres occurred last week in Paris, all three of the murderers knew that the police would be unarmed and so would be their victims. It was as if they were shooting fish in a barrel. Why is that? The answer lies in the same mentality that believes it can eradicate hate by regulating speech. That mentality demands that government have a monopoly on violence, even violence against evil.

So, to those who embrace this dreadful theory, the great loss in Paris last week was not human life, which is a gift from God; it was free speech, which is a gift from the state. Hence the French government, which seems not to care about innocent life, instead of addressing these massacres as crimes against innocent people, proclaimed the massacres crimes against the freedom of speech. Would the French government have reacted similarly if the murderers had killed workers at an ammunition factory, instead of at a satirical magazine?

And how hypocritical was it of the French government to claim it defends free speech! In France, you can go to jail if you publicly express hatred for a group whose members may be defined generally by characteristics of birth, such as gender, age, race, place of origin or religion.

You can also go to jail for using speech to defy the government. This past weekend, millions of folks in France wore buttons and headbands that proclaimed in French: "I am Charlie Hebdo." Those whose buttons proclaimed "I am not Charlie Hebdo" were asked by the police to remove them. Those who wore buttons that proclaimed, either satirically or hatefully, "I am Kouachi" were arrested. Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech? Yes.

What's going on here? What's going on in France, and what might be the future in America, is the government defending the speech with which it agrees and punishing the speech with which it disagrees. What's going on is the assault by some in radical Islam not on speech, but on vulnerable innocents in their everyday lives in order to intimidate their governments. What's going on is the deployment of 90,000 French troops to catch and kill three murderers because the government does not trust the local police to use guns to keep the streets safe or private persons to use guns to defend their own lives.

Why do some in radical Islam kill innocents in the West in order to affect the policies of Western governments? Might it be because the fruitless Western invasion of Iraq killed 650,000 persons, most of whom were innocent civilians? Might it be because that invasion brought al-Qaida to the region and spawned ISIS? Might it be because Obama has killed more innocent civilians in the Middle East with his drones than were killed by the planes in the U.S. on 9/11? Might it be because our spies are listening to us, rather than to those who pose real dangers?

What does all this have to do with freedom of speech? Nothing—unless you believe the French government.

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  1. Oh yeah, it is absolutely hypocritical.

    At the same time, France has a serious anti-semitism problem. It always has had, and the Islamic colonization has only made it worse. Case in point, the attack on the Kosher market.

    Trying to muzzle speech isn’t a real solution, it’s a an attempt to hide a problem. But at the same time, it’s hard to combat a belief that ingrained – not just in France’s case, but when it’s written into the very book that so many in France book – the Koran.

    1. so many in France now follow

    2. When i was in Naples we went to this bar that had a motorcycle riding skeleton waving a confederate banner with the phrase “the south shall rise again” written around the mural i took a pic cuz it was so weird. so i asked the guy what was with the mural across the entire back wall of the bar and he replied “oh my friend, southern france is very white power! we have a proud rich history of supporting the nazis in the war”….. i finished my drink and departed without engaging in further debate

  2. Would the French government have reacted similarly if the murderers had killed workers at an ammunition factory, instead of at a satirical magazine?

    “Je suis Eliphalet Remington!”

    1. Bien.

  3. “…characteristics of birth, such as gender, age, race, place of origin or religion.”

    Which of these is not like the others?

    1. Depends on who you ask. Unfortunately not everyone sees a distinction.

  4. Thus, even though the French Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, French governments treat speech as a gift from the government, not as a natural right of all persons, as our Constitution does.

    U.S. courts have been known to read rights as gifts from the government, given for the government’s purposes, and subject to (gag) “the necessary residuum of state power.”

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  6. French governments treat speech as a gift from the government

    ALL rights are a gift from the government.

    //Tony

  7. The theory of anti-hate speech laws is that hate speech often leads to violence, and violence demands police and thus the expenditure of public resources, and so the government can make it illegal to spout hatred in order to conserve its resources.

    This is the justification used to push speech regulation. But I don’t think it is the true purpose. Controlling speech is the end, not the means.

    1. Any idea when the next newspeak dictionary is coming out?

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  9. “I am all for freedom of speech, but….”

    No, you are not.

    Fuck anyone who ever said this.

    1. “I am all for freedom of speech, but….”
      “… but the Government Almighty LOVES us MORE than we can EVAH know!!!!”

    2. I’m all for freedom of will, but

    3. I am all for freedom of speech, BUTT!
      that is all

  10. “French Government Shows Stunning Hypocrisy”

    In other news, water found to be surprisingly wet.

    The French Government has been composed of hypocrisy and inutility for decades.

  11. Thankfully our executive Wee-wee O’highness decided not to attend, nor did he decide to send his vice-wee-wee’nus, where either of them would’ve only served to further disgrace us. No they go! Oui-oui!

  12. “Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech? Yes.”

    The French, they are a funny race/

    1. How could a people who worship Jerry Lewis not be funny?

    2. seems like a perfect place for an Xzibit meme

  13. “all three of the murderers knew that the police would be unarmed and so would be their victims.”

    No! Wrong. French police are routinely armed. All three police killed by the murderers were armed – and indeed police officer Ahmed Merabet drew his pistol and fired before he was gunned down by the murderers (who had body armour and AK47s).

    I keep seeing this erroneous idea about French police floating around on Merikan sites – a word of advice, check with reliable European sources before writing.

  14. What is your source reporting these arrests?

  15. “What’s going on is the deployment of 90,000 French troops to catch and kill three murderers because the government does not trust the local police to use guns to keep the streets safe”

    Paris is policed by two forces: the Police National who are armed all the time, and by the Gendarmes (who look like police but are technically a branch of the military that fulfil a permanent national security function and have done since forever). The Gendarmes are also armed, many of them heavily armed (like US SWAT teams). It was almost certainly special units of those police forces that cornered and killed the murderers. The army were just used for extra patrols while the search was on.

    Honestly, there is no excuse for not doing your research before writing.

    1. Exactly this. I lived in France and would not fuck around with or cross their law enforcement for anything.

      US might be quicker to shoot unarmed black teenagers. But French generally far less “by the book” in dealing with people they perceive to be troublemakers.

      There is a much longer and more extensive history of domestic terrorism there also – back to the OAS/FLN days.

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  18. my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $61 hourly on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her payment was $13483 just working on the laptop for a few hours. you can check here…………
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  19. my co-worker’s half-sister makes $69 /hr on the internet . She has been fired from work for ten months but last month her payment was $17800 just working on the internet for a few hours. try here……
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  20. “Why do some in radical Islam kill innocents in the West in order to affect the policies of Western governments? Might it be because the fruitless Western invasion of Iraq killed 650,000 persons, most of whom were innocent civilians? Might it be because that invasion brought al-Qaida to the region and spawned ISIS? Might it be because Obama has killed more innocent civilians in the Middle East with his drones than were killed by the planes in the U.S. on 9/11? Might it be because our spies are listening to us, rather than to those who pose real dangers?”

    In some instances yes but not this one. Trying to reduce all Islamic terrorism as simply a reaction to geopolitical actions of the west is willfully choosing ignorance. There are large populations of Muslims who aren’t assimilating and within that group are a very radical and violent subset that hate the west. The Paris shooting would have happened regardless.

    1. Totally agree, the Islamic scurge is a real and present danger, quite seperate from the stupidly orchestrated shenanigans in the middle east by incompetant Western leadership.

      It doesn’t help neither that the petulant child in the white house also happens to be an IOC/UN puppet.

      What makes me laugh/cringe, is that these stupid marxists at the UN think that they can actually utilize Jihaddists for their own means and then dispense with this malevelant force when they no longer require it.

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  22. Freedom of speech it’s just a joke used by government and silly magazine to write Charfli hebdo is not a magazine, is the terrorism

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