Sunday, January 18, 2015

On the idea that Charlie Hebdo "punched down" — Answering Saladin Ahmed

As I would expect, Saladin Ahmed has smart things to say in In an Unequal World, Mocking All Serves the Powerful. But he's wrong. I left this comment there:
Free speech does not protect the powerful—it protects the powerless from the powerful. In the case of Charlie Hebdo, the people with power had assault weapons, and they followed an ideology that's promoted by princes and financiers.
I'll add this now: Only the powerful can censor. To get the powerful to let others speak, we must convince them that ultimately, the agoura of ideas will let the best ideas prove themselves.

Related: The curious contradictions of censorial socialists, and a few comments about Charlie Hebdo

XKCD doesn't understand free speech—or the difference between legal and moral rights

ETA: Tweeted this, which might be more succinct: No one who mocks people with guns or bombs is "punching down".