Tags: Charlie Hebdo | France | Paris | Muslims | Voltaire

Honor Those Killed at Charlie Hebdo

By Thursday, 08 January 2015 08:14 AM Current | Bio | Archive

"To hold a pen is to be at war," wrote French philosopher and satirist Francois-Marie Arouet, known by his pen name Voltaire, in 1748.

His story is worth remembering as we mourn and celebrate the 12 employees of the modern French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo — gunned down this week by Islamist terrorists in Paris.

In 1748 Voltaire was living in Poland, beyond the reach of a French government that had beaten and imprisoned him — for what he said and wrote. He would spend much of his life abroad, in England, Switzerland, and elsewhere, wielding his pen to fight for Enlightenment ideas like separation of church and state.

During the century before Voltaire's 1694 birth, the French king had slaughtered as many as 70,000 French Protestants, Huguenots.

So many of these free-thinkers fled to England's American colonies that the Dictionary of American Biography estimated that 10 percent of key figures in the American Revolution, from Paul Revere (whose Huguenot father was Apollo Rivoire) to John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers and born in New Rochelle, N.Y., named after La Rochelle where 14,000 Huguenots were killed, were French Protestant descendants.

Voltaire defended the rights of persecuted Huguenots, while, like Charlie Hebdo, questioning all religions. In a letter to the Pope, Voltaire called Islam's prophet the "founder of a false and barbarous sect."

In his play "Le Fanatisme ou Mahomet," Voltaire described the founder of Islam as a "false prophet." He defended it by saying he "tried to show in it into what horrible excesses fanaticism, led by an impostor, can plunge weak minds."

Radical Islamists believe they have the right and duty to impose Islamic law on everyone. Even those of us who are people of the book, following Islam's older brother Abrahamic faiths Judaism and Christianity, are to be treated as "dimmis," second-class citizens with no right to challenge Islam.

Islamists see the world divided into two parts — Dar al-Islam, where Islam already rules, and Dar al-Harb, the house of war that Islam is destined to conquer.

If Voltaire were alive today, he would be on the hit list of the Islamists who murdered Charlie Hebdo's writers and editors.

But today Voltaire would have a second set of people trying to silence him. The no-longer-enlightened laws of many European countries, including France, now make it a crime to defame or insult the religion of others. The magazine Charlie Hebdo had been charged under these statutes but was acquitted by a French court.

Voltaire today would doubtless face a similar trial. His freedom of speech would depend on the whim of a judge. Such is the political power of a rising tide of Muslim immigrants to Europe who have 3.4 babies per couple while traditional French couples average only a sub-replacement fertility rate of 1.4 babies.

Islam is rapidly conquering Europe by making love, not war, and this conquest is sweeping away Enlightenment liberties. Europe's rights of free speech and religion come not from God but from government, and can therefore be voted out of existence.

In recent weeks Europeans have been discussing whether to sell off Christian churches that are now nearly empty each Sunday. Christianity thrives in the U.S., where our Constitution prohibits a state church. Europe's ancient link between the church and hated governments has weakened its faith.

President Barack Obama refused to call the Charlie Hebdo killers Islamists, despite their witnessed cries of "Allah akbar!" On Sept. 25, 2012, he told the United Nations (regarding a filmmaker still imprisoned for political reasons in America) that "the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam."

To Voltaire we owe the saying that "I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it,” as well as his mottom "Écrasez l'Infâme," (crush the infamous thing). In 1791, the French National Assembly brought back Voltaire's body to be enshrined in the Pantheon. More than a million Parisians lined the streets to honor the writer they loved.

We all should likewise honor the 12 martyred people of Charlie Hebdo. They were pen-wielding warriors in the struggle to preserve free speech and thought.

Je suis désolé. Je suis Charlie.

Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of "The Great Withdrawal"; "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse"; "The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back"; "The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us . . . And Seven Ways to Stop It"; and "Re-Making Money: Ways to Restore America's Optimistic Golden Age." Read more reports from Lowell Ponte — Click Here Now.

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If Voltaire were alive today, he would be on the hit list of the Islamists who murdered Charlie Hebdo's writers and editors.
Charlie Hebdo, France, Paris, Muslims, Voltaire
Thursday, 08 January 2015 08:14 AM
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