Jan 092015

Lucille_clerc_jesuischarlie_tribute_instagramI received some disagreement with my previous post. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I’m busy all the time nowadays. One commenter posted:

> I recall agreeing with most of this article by Scott … You shouldn’t draw pictures of Muhammad just to anger Muslims … I think if you have some reason a picture would help, it’s probably OK to draw such a picture (standard disclaimers apply), but not just for the sake of angering people.

(Note that it’s a great post, and I also basically agree with it. It’s hard to disagree with Scott on things)

I think when satirists are killed for drawing cartoons, that’s a good enough reason to post such pictures.

I don’t normally draw or post pics of Muhammad. I don’t have any reason to, and I prefer not to offend people. OTOH, when a bunch of people are slaughtered for what the society I live in has deemed a protected right, in order to undermine that right, I get grumpy. There isn’t much I can do about something like that. But if the perpetrators of that attack had as their goal the ceasing of pictures of Muhammad being posted, I want do something to make sure that goal is thwarted. To demonstrate that killing of satirists will NOT ever result in less Muhammad cartoons, and may in fact result in more Muhammad cartoons.

I am sorry that innocent Muslims are hurt. It isn’t my wish to cause them discomfort or anxiety. But I don’t know if there’s a way to thwart the attacker’s goals without posting the Muhammad pictures. So I do it, because it is more important to me to thwart those goals than to not cause that collateral harm.

A different commenter said:

> The response to “we need to ban Nazis from exercising their free speech” is not to start spewing antisemetism in support of them.

I would consider the harm inherent in the message. If the message itself was denigrating a group of people, calling for their destruction or exile, or in some way terrorizing or hurting people, I would very strongly consider not repeating the message. In such a case I would restrict my reaction to the standard “very strong condemnation” + saying even distasteful speech should be protected + capturing the attackers and bringing them to justice.

If, instead, the message was mocking a person or thing that is held in high esteem, I would probably spread it. I don’t care if it was 12 neonazis that were killed for publishing an inflammatory picture of some famous rabbi – I’d post a picture of that rabbi as well. If the harm of the original message was no more than standard bad-joke offensiveness, that makes the benefit of spreading it to thwart the terrorist’s goals outweigh the hurt that it brings. It is the terrorists’ actions that swung that trade-off into the “spread this” zone.

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