Blasphemy for Me, But Not For Thee

Twelve killed in Paris. Islamic terrorists executed them in a military-style attack. Why? Because they worked for Charlie Hebdo—sort of the French Mad—which had published cartoons “insulting” to Islam. The murders demonstrated the threat, the reach, and the malignity of Islamism. So it was heartening, at the end of this demoralizing day, to see a consensus on the importance of free speech.

Web sites in Europe and America, liberal and conservative, published the offending cartoons. My Twitter feed was clogged with pundits, of every persuasion, declaring their support for inviolable rights of free speech. Thousands marched in Paris in solidarity with the dead. Their motto: “Je Suis Charlie.” I am Charlie.

I am buoyed by the spirit of defiance in the face of terror, and by the avowals of Enlightenment principles such as freedom of religion and speech and press. Yet I confess there are parts of the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders that I find discomfiting.