Vive la France!

French President François Hollande in his overzealousness to defeat terrorism and stamp out anti-semitism has announced that he will present a draft law next month allowing the French government to charge Internet operators, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, as “accomplices” to hate speech offences, according to Bloomberg.com. Marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at Paris’ Holocaust memorial, Hollande said:

The big operators, and we know who they are, can no longer close their eyes if they are considered accomplices of what they host…We must act at the European and international level to define a legal framework so that Internet platforms which manage social media be considered responsible, and that sanctions can be taken.”

Because people being individuals with minds and opinions separate from the machinery of large corporations post mean things on the Internet French authorities don’t like, therefore Google, Facebook and Twitter are responsible for aiding and abetting terrorists. Maybe save time and just round up everybody who says something Mr. Hollande doesn’t like on trains and send them for tolerance training in Europe’s unoccupied Nazi death camps. Freedom of speech! (unless you say something we don’t like).

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Down the Barrel of a Gun

On the morning of January 7, Islamic terrorists forced their way into the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, known for its fearless swipes at Islamic fundamentalism.

Armed with assault rifles, the gunmen murdered 12 people, including eight staffers who were the intended targets of a prior attack on the magazine in 2011 over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

In the wake of the shooting, the social media-born “Je Suis Charlie” movement has defied the shooters, marching in support of the victims and further combating the threat to western freedoms in the Capitalist-Democratic tradition, voting with their wallets and buying what has been dubbed the“survivors’ issue” of the magazine in droves.

Their efforts were apparently lost on French police, who this week demonstrated their love for free speech by arresting 54 people in a nationwide crackdown on“hate speech, anti-Semitism” and statements “glorifying terrorism.”

Among those detained by police was notorious French comedian Dieudonné, who allegedly made statements sympathetic to Amedy Coulibaly, said to be responsible for three related shootings. Exhibit A: this January 11 Facebook post, in which he wrote that he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly” – a combination of “Charlie Hebdo” and “Amedy Coulibaly.”

In a separate Facebook post, he wrote an open letter to French prime minister Manuel Valls pleading his case.

Whenever I speak, you do not try to understand what I’m trying to say, you do not want to listen to me. You are looking for a pretext to forbid me. You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am not any different from Charlie.

Question. Is there a principled difference between a terrorist who shoots a satirical cartoonist in the name of his religion and a policeman who arrests an offensive comedian in the name of national security?

In France, both are faced down the barrel of a gun.