We all know this is true. It is why we have armies made up of killers, and not writers.
All the satirical cartoons in the world cannot stop a bullet or its consequences. Just last year we commemorated the start of World War I, which began or anyway was given an opportunity to begin by one man firing one pistol. While that man, Gavrilo Princip, did not personally start World War I, his two pistol shots gave the opportunity to an entire continent of maniacs, who were just itching to go off to glorious war.
No pen saved them from their folly.
On the other hand, many pens extolled the heroism and justness of their various insane causes—all backed by God and his Will of course. What killed the 20 million victims of World War I were the bullets, the explosive shells, the bombs, the poison gas, and the terrible diseases and deprivation that accompany war—especially that horrible war.
It is time for Westerners to come to grips—serious, realistic grips, with the fact that their silly little ideology about freedom has run its course. It is madness to think in today’s world you can say anything you want about anybody and that nothing is going to happen to you.
This is particularly true the more visible and popular is your writing. But it is even true for regular civilians. The more eyes on your ideas, whether they are terrorists, or just employers who may not like what you write, the more likely you will mortally offend somebody, who will then act upon that provocation to cause you the same (or actually even worse) harm they feel you have caused them.
Is it right and just that this should happen?
Well, that’s the interesting question. In the West, if certain classes or groups of people (e.g., ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, women) say something offends them, many people these days rush in to say the offense and the offender should be banned from everything—the internet, their jobs, any future whatsoever.
And yet, many of these very same torchbearing ninnies are today tweeting “Je suis Charlie”, like the tweet is some kind of public stand for the freedom of speech or something, instead of what it is actually is—another stupid sloganeering masturbation by the herd of heinous group-thinkers.
All that will stop the maniacs of the world from perpetrating their mania is their deaths (which the world considers too barbaric a remedy) or your submission to their wills. And for most people, and especially for most corporations (like Sony), submission and compliance are far less expensive and disruptive than standing up for freedoms that pretty much everyone now considers “quaint”, as the Bushies said. And that raises another point—which maniacs are we talking about? Because they are all around us, and often are us.
This is the twilight of freedom. Most people don’t want to die for it. And they especially don’t want to die for somebody else's freedom. There are simply too many fun things to do while under the protective custody of Big Brother.
So, with respect to taking any truly risky political stand, what the mass well understands is that wisdom is to shut the fuck up, mind your own business, and just let the psychopaths do theirs. And yeah, I mean their psychopaths, and your own.
It’s not just the American way. It’s the only way in the world at all to be a little safer than the free fools.
And whether or not that’s a true assessment of the facts and any obligations regarding them, it’s surely the default working premise for living life (as opposed to stupidly sacrificing oneself for anachronistic rights) in the 21st century.