Je suis Charlie? What about Je suis Michael Moore?

Please read this in its entirety before you send hate mail.

The past few days have been a whirlwind around the globe, particularly in regards to free speech rights. Not even two weeks ago, gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo. They claimed to be members of a Yemen based Al-Qaeda group, and stated the attack was a defensive act against the publication’s depictions of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. A few days later, several world leaders along with millions of protesters joined in Paris to demonstrate their unity for free speech. Gathered under the moniker “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie), the rally was supposed to stand in defiance of violent retaliation to unpopular speech. A demonstration that, for lack of a better phrase, was complete and utter bullshit.

Why?

Because not long after this gathering, French police arrested a comedian over a Facebook post about the attack. On top of that, this eagle eye identified numerous people among the demonstrators who are also guilty of the same speech persecution the rally claimed to be against – including the lone U.S. representative, Eric Holder. Furthermore, Americans were upset that the U.S. didn’t have a bigger presence because our narrative of “liberty and justice for all.” Considering we’re the same country that targeted particular political interest groups, I’d say we had no fucking business at all participating. Our involvement in that rally, or lack thereof, was probably the most honest thing Washington has ever done.

On a completely unrelated note, ultra left wing filmmaker Michael Moore came under fire for his Twitter remarks about military snipers – assumed to be a response to the movie, American Sniper. He later explained his comments; stating that they had nothing to do with the new Bradley Cooper movie, which he even praised. His comments were more personal commentary on the concept of a sniper in a military conflict due to personal reasons involving his uncle in World War II.

What the hell do these situations have in common? Freedom of speech, obviously. More specifically, what freedom of speech is and what it isn’t, and the public’s response. Speech is a natural right. It is an innate concept from our birth, and continues to be present as we grow and develop – building our language, vocabulary, dialect, etc. Despite popular opinion, is it not bestowed upon us by a government, state, or agent or representative of those bodies. In terms of the United States, carefully read the First Amendment and you will see that it does not grant the freedom of speech, but rather states that Congress shall not infringe upon it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The artists at Charlie Hebdo who drew the illustrations of Muhammad were well within their right to do so. Was it “culturally insensitive,” and kind of a dick move? Sure. Are people free to express their displeasure? Absolutely. I’m not a Muslim but I can understand why someone would be upset. Personally, I have no boundaries. I’m drawn to profane and insensitive humor (like that of Daniel Tosh, Anthony Jeselnik, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, and liberty loving Doug Stanhope). However, no matter how crass, rude, and inappropriate their animations were…

THEY DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE!

What does this have to do with Michael Moore’s comments? Of the public outrage in response to his comments, there is a common theme of, “he should be sent overseas and made to endure what our military snipers endure – THEN he would change his mind.” In other words, he should be taken against his will (he obviously has no desire to go to the Middle East or he would have gone already) and put in a dangerous situation in order to change his mind to a more favorable opinion. Let that sink in for a moment. People are not only upset, but they want to use the threat of violence in order to get a desired result. This is called coercion. And since opinions on the military fall into the political realm, using coercive force to achieve a particular political goal is the textbook definition of terrorism. Now…

I am not referring to people upset with Michael Moore as terrorists.

Bolded for emphasis. I am not name calling or making accusations. While I haven’t seen any direct calls for violence, what I have seen are suggestions of him being placed in a dangerous situation to encourage him to change his mind. While desires for violence are not the same as committing violence, it is a very dangerous line to walk along. A line, that if crossed, comes with consequences because now you are infringing upon another person’s life and safety. Perhaps what is even more disturbing is that some of these people were hashtagging Je suis Charlie just a few weeks ago. The situation of free speech doesn’t change just because the sacred cow changes. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were well within their right to make their illustrations. Michael Moore is also within his right to make his comments. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you’re free from criticism. You must endure any social consequences. But violence is not a legitimate response.

I fucking hate Michael Moore. He is a scumbag. He can take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut for all I care. He is so insignificant to me, that I don’t even have an opinion on his statements. You’re free to feel however you want about him. You can hate him all you want. You are free to call him a fat fuck, shit stain, clit blister for all I care. What you are not free to do, however, is commit a violent infraction against him.

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