Lone gunmen

Religion providing the rites of burial for French satirists is provisionally called political correctness. However, this is a very vague concept. If we are to be more precise, then we should define it as a religion secularizing and strictly codifying the commandments of Christianity, efficiently – more efficiently than any other religion ever could – demolishing the original.

The situation in France is cooling down – all actors are dead. It was somewhat expectable bearing in mind that, in the last twenty or so years, there wasn’t a single terrorist attack enacted by perpetrators unmonitored in some way by secret services. Some section commander had a sudden epiphany and said:”Oh yes, the X has done it … hmmm … let’s settle it then. We should’ve done it long time ago, but … you know … never got around to do it.” It would be interesting to know what the perpetrators thought about those government officials but that’s now forfeit. When intelligence services finally do their thing, they always seem to get carried away a bit and efficiently exterminate them. Therefore, for the purpose of this article, we’ll act as if the lethal brothers that put the final boundary to the right to free expression of French satirists, really are what the media say they are: lone gunmen firing at will.

The citizens of emerging Euro-Atlantic Union invested their sympathy, their anger and their sense of justice in virtual support of victims of the attack by putting forward now omnipresent Je suis Charlie, written on billboards, T-shirts and Facebook profiles. Sanctity of victim is perhaps the only sanctity they approve of, hence the reaction was as predictable as updating of antivirus software. However, a small contradiction crept in. The victims were people who chose as a mission in life to satirically demolish, among other things, everything even resembling sanctity, including the sanctity of victimhood. Charlie Hebdo is, so we are told, satirical weekly with over forty years of tradition, and it wouldn’t be right to evaluate it’s quality, relying only on few caricatures haunting the Internet. However, if those really are exemplary of deceased Frenchmen’s satirical potential, we must conclude it was not much of a potential at all. In the arsenal of political struggle the satire is one of the mightiest weapons, at least among those deployed before cannons start to sing and Muses hold their tongues. All shrewd politicians know this and who better than the French? The vanguard of their Revolution were satirical pamphlets on Queen Maria Antonietae, disseminated ere the hooks, axes and other cold instruments of revolutionary critique started doing their work. However, successful satire has one necessary precondition. It’s object must in some way intrinsically contain an element of ridiculous in order to provide satirist with an opportunity to point it out, blow it out of proportions, and put it in the foreground. In that sense, this author is unable to join the exaltation of artistic and political excellence of Charlie’s authors, because their satire, judging by the available materials, was not up to the task. Naturally, that won’t stop the ruling nomenkulatura and masses of enlightened citizens to exalt their caricatures to the level of holly Icons. And, when that happens, if it is not already coming to pass, every man of sound mind will forfeit his sympathy, except for the elementary compassion for victims of violent death.

French satirists believed in their absolute right to push the boundaries of freedom to their inexistent end. By doing so, they affirmed their right to demolish everything that is not solidly welded to the very floor of society, therefore: everything that could deprive the man of his ability to pronounce together with Max Stirner: “Ich habe meine Sache auf Nichts gestellt.” The meaning of critique they favoured is to the deny everything that can impose an outside meaning on the individual. Hence the ruthless critique of every form of government, religion or thought form deprived of solid foundation, to be found only on the very bottom of society. And this foundation, this more often than not imaginary, deprived bottom, is represented by some chosen minority group, suffering imaginary or real injustice. However, radical, and that means: consequent, Left doesn’t exalt the miserable and downtrodden out of compassion, but exactly because they represent the man so steadfastly clinging to nothing, that he in turn can’t be deprived of anything anymore. This makes him an ideal man without properties, an ideal to be revered and craved upon by everybody pursuing freedom.

This was, in broad outlines, the faith of martyrs. In the future it will be glorified by their caricatures-Icons. They were ready to die for it and in the end they really offered this ultimate sacrifice. That’s probably the reason why, in the midst of all that noisy lamentation, a sensible ear picks up a distinct note of bliss.

The appearance of political satire whose only purpose is to demolish any form of political structure is a sign of the urge towards absolute freedom from belonging. It is an ‘absolute freedom from …”, i.e. negative freedom, and it’s adherents are usually called radical Leftists. However, it is only a name for something much deeper than surface level to which the labels of political science can stick. Radical Left is just a different name for provisory role played by someone who strives to be bereft from all roles and from any fixed form. Appealing to social justice, discovery and ridicule of the misdeeds of rich and powerful, pointing out of crimes, poverty and injustice, are merely means to an end on the infinite path of achieving one’s own liberation. The end of the road is death. Thence springs the notable affinity of these people, especially if they are men of letters, for metaphors of sex and death. Those forms of existence, pointing to non-existence, represent for them a foretaste of their Kingdom Come. In order to pick some steam while speeding down their road, they must effectively demolish everything forcing them to endure being in this world. So in this Valley of tears, they must carefully aim and then eliminate everything limiting their freedom. They, therefore, themselves must be lone gunmen firing at will.

Victims of terrorist attack will be publicly beatified, while their executioners will, naturally, be demonized. However, Selafic metaphysics – whose adherents were, presumably, the killers – is not so alien to contemporary Westerner as it may seem at the first sight. Negation of oneself through martyr’s death of consequent Sehid is a fulfilment of an urge towards annihilation of every limit to his freedom to exist in the “House of Islam”. It is utopian surge, which deep down renounces the limit imposed upon it by “Judgment day” and proceeds to enact it by itself. The only essential difference between killer’s urge and the one that motivated their victims is not the opposition of theism and atheism, because both are fundamentally atheistic, but the fact that Charlie authors’ faith is somewhat older. In it’s early days, during and immediately after the French Revolution, it held sermons in favour of building the sacral space of revolutionary nation-state and thus spawned the modern nationalism, the phenomenon radical Leftists hate with passion, probably because the pupil of one’s eye is the only mirror you can’t painlessly break. In both cases, however, we are talking about Christian heresies, using different methods, but attacking the same enemy. It is to be expected that nothingness, out of which both came to pass, will hatch some convenient way to reconcile them in the future. After all, postmodern is completely free in deconstruction and reconstructions of it’s own concepts. There is no reason to believe that some kind of total war can’t be sold as a form of reconciliation, if for nothing else, then for it’s efficiency.

Religion providing the rites of burial for French satirists is provisionally called political correctness. However, this is a very vague concept. If we are to be more precise, then we should define it as a religion secularizing and strictly codifying the commandments of Christianity, efficiently – more efficiently than any other religion ever could – demolishing the original. As Christianity is not merely a personal choice, but the very form of the West and good part of the East for nearly two thousand years, demolishing Christianity means eradication of all forms of society founded upon it. New religion has it’s own Congregation for Doctrine of Faith – UN for intellectuals, New York Times for commoners – and, accordingly, it’s own Inquisition, all those watchful people making sure that nobody uses the wrong word while speaking about women, homosexuals or – Holocaust, forbid! – some group that suffered attempted genocide. In this way the new church builds up it’s power, incidentally trivializing the real objects of it’s reverence and exaltation. Of course, as all religions, it has it’s mystics too. Those people who like to speed things up, by assault rifle or the pen, it really doesn’t matter. If you think that Charlie’s authors were politically incorrect because they ridiculed even the relics of political correctness, like, for instance, some people killed in another terrorist attack then you still don’t understand what the political correctness really is. It’s purpose is not to protect the feelings of postmodern philistine. No. It’s true purpose is death. Radicalism of these lone gunmen stemmed from their absolute hostility to anything that even remotely could be deemed sacred, even the sacredness of death itself. They didn’t go easy even on poor and downtrodden for whom, as majority of the Left, they couldn’t care less. Their true end was ultimate limit of freedom and they reached it. If you consider yourself politically correct, think of their martyrdom as a promise of your own salvation.

It is truly right and just, their duty and their salvation that they were sent on their way into nothingness by lone gunmen of fundamentally same faith, only with different excuses. Salafists, with their shopping-centre like mosques, are equally thirsty for freedom and death, the flight from this world to which they are so alien. Methods are different, but result is the same. Hence, the faith is the same too. Correctness of “islamist radicals” is only an obverse of one and same political correctness, of one and the same equalisation through dissolution in vacuum. As far the worms are concerned, every Sehid is the same, although, probably even they are obliged to respect his right to consider himself different.

All things considered, this author does not in any way, shape or form, share public sympathy with slain champions of freedom. The reason is simple. Exaltation and sympathy we’ll be witnessing in the course of this week is in fact a natural reaction of the faithful to ascension of their saints; of faithful belonging to faith this author doesn’t belong and never will belong. It is the faith that has nothing to do with the sentiment that prompted John Donne to write these words, while lying in his sickbed:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
(…) any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

No, nothing remotely similar to these words. Rather, everything to the contrary. In that sense, with certainty that violence will escalate further, it remains for us to, in accordance with principles of interconfessional dialogue, congratulate the faithful on the ascension of their apostles and express our wish that they all find fulfilment of their faith as lone gunmen firing at will. Godspeed.

Branko Malić

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