First, I was overcome by negative emotions. Then I remembered that my theology informs me that in the end, the Good will win. Therefore, even in the darkest hours there is some light. One only has to look for it. OK, some may think that’s naive. For me, it’s a survival strategy. But I also think I’m right.
Now, what could be the good thing coming out of the carnage in Paris? Two things: a) People waking up to the fact that the state is crumbling, and b) freedom of speech is on the agenda, proclaimed by the unlikeliest of contemporaries. Both of these points are valid irrespective of whether this was blowback or a false flag. I won’t speculate on the origins. We may never know. What we can influence in the meantime is how we react to the event independent of what the cause was. And there is some reason for hope.
First point: The Charlie Hebdo editors relied on the state to protect them. I think one of them had a bodyguard. I don’t know who paid for him. Other than that, there was at least one policeman guarding the building. And he got shot as well. Even though he was called Ahmed, but that’s beside the point. The point is he was taxpayer funded. I’ve heard that France’s gun laws are much more liberal than in current Britain. However and whatever, there is no gun culture in statist France. Therefore, criminals can assume that in any given situation, they are the only people with guns. Certainly when attacking an ultra-left outfit such as Charlie Hebdo. Ultra-leftists not only believe in the state, they worship it. Carrying guns privately would be as sacrilegious to the satirists as their drawings apparently were to the recent “visitors” at 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert. However, not everyone in France is an ultra-leftist. Another sign of a weakening state is that despite all the billions pouring into surveillance, this thing happened. If this doesn’t make people begin to realise that there is either something fishy going on or that the overextended state cannot (or, if they are inclined to believe conspiracy theories: will not) protect them, nothing will. If and when it does, they will begin to demand and carry guns. This will further weaken the grip the state has on everyone.
Second point: All these Charlies who are proclaiming “bravely” that they are Charlies for free speech. Yes, they are sickening hypocrites, most of them. However, they can now be held to account the next time a baker is persecuted for not wanting to design a wedding cake for a gay couple, or anyone for simply saying something that “offends” someone who is not a white male heterosexual Anglo-Saxon who likes his Christian heritage. The proper response will be: “You’re offended, are you? So were those hobos in Paris. What are you going to do about it? I thought you were Charlie!” Will this cause a change overnight? No, of course not. Because the true defenders of free speech are too few, for the moment. But the seed is planted. It cannot be uprooted. All those Charlies proudly holding up cardboards proclaiming what a good Charlie they are: as long as the internet is alive, these pictures will not go away. They can all be held to account. We are now in the age of Charlies. All these leftist totalitarians or, as IanB would say, puritans, have just handed their behinds to the world. Or their faces. Whatever.
There is the issue of the second assault, on the Jewish supermarket. It has been said that the attacker knew the other two personally. If true it is unlikely to have been a simple copycat crime. The incidents are likely to be linked more closely than that. So there are two issues here: The cultural clash concerning blasphemy and then the racial/religious hatred of Jews. Or at least the hatred of Israel for which Jews elsewhere are made to suffer. In both cases however, the only sane solution is this: liberalisation of gun control and the establishment of a gun culture. The gun culture in Israel is very effective, by the way.
Statists of course will try to profit from this by doing the exact opposite: spread irrational fears, disarm people even more, surveil even more, control even more. I don’t think they can get away with this much longer. The anti-Islamist PEGIDA movement in Germany, while not libertarian, is very distrustful of current policies, politicians and the mainstream media.
Am I being too optimistic? As I said, it’s a survival strategy. I think in the long term necessity will drive change our way. The question that only the future can answer is: How much deeper into darkness will society delve before a sufficient amount of people will see the light?