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Freedom, tyranny, and false consciousness

Author : Serhiy Hrabovsky

Source : 112 Ukraine

Now the Italians would unlikely say "I am Charlie"
16:18, 12 September 2016

Read the original text at day.kyiv.ua.

 

Charlie Hebdo
Sputnik

Sad but true: the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo continues to mock around at whatever it can. One recent example is the caricature about the earthquake in Italy, where the victims and wreckage of houses are depicted as lasagna, and human blood is depicted as "tomato sauce." To me, this is not even rudeness or cynicism - it is something worse, destroying foundations of modern civilization. Italians terribly reacted on this caricature, and, sure, not one of these thought that maybe they really deserved terrible punishment? More precisely, the predecessors of those who now releases 60,000 newspapers, continuing the line of the colleagues killed by terrorists...

Related: ‘Russia sees democracy as a threat and freedom as poison’: Ukrainian President

Of course, activities of Charlie Hebdo cannot justify terror, yet they, in my opinion, are directly contrary to the fundamental principles of democracy and political freedom. Culture itself begins with certain taboos, it just cannot exist without taboos. Otherwise we will have, for example, mass public executions of "enemies," "disabled persons," and "members of degraded ethnic groups" (remember NKVD and the SS, or "Khmer Rouge," some of their leaders were educated at Sorbonne). The editors of Charlie Hebdo might say they have nothing common with fascism, Nazism, Stalinism or Islamism - in fact, deep roots of their journalistic style are totalitarian.

Most clearly, this is manifested in the Charlie Hebdo caricatures on religious topics. I have long thought about their style and spirit. Finally I understood that they remind me of "League of Militant Atheists" with its antireligious agitation! Moreover, in the case of Judaism, Charlie Hebdo comes after the Nazi magazine Der Sturmer and Julius Streicher, hanged at Nuremberg in 1946. In short, it is not just about the totalitarian style and relevant content, but rather about the dirtiest manifestations of totalitarian mentality...

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Generally, it is freedom of speech of the provocative behavior. We should not confuse freedom and tyranny. This idea was voiced over a hundred years ago, by the philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev. And another Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin said that art is responsibility. In my opinion, both ideas remain relevant, and even today they might be even more urgent. After all, today the world lost a lot of moral guidance. German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk in a book “Critique of Cynical Reason” (1983) wrote that cynic today appears as a mass type, as the average social character of society... The cynicism is enlightened false consciousness".

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The consequences of the dominance of cynicism and brutality in the media might be noted by the example of the 1990s in Russia. Freedom of expression, opinion, and press freedom was paralleled with outright cynicism and filth! This factor helped Putin to gain power and begin "tightening the screws." We might assume that the sharp increase in the popularity of right-wing radicals in France and some other Western countries was caused by a complete permissiveness in the field of freedom of speech.

Of course, in such cases we do not need censorship and or some political "crackdown." The deliberate destruction of ethics will always result in the triumph of social immoralism and cynicism. Of course, we live in a different world, which in general has become more civilized, yet it seems that new dangers of the very foundations of civilization have increased.

Related: Ukrainian Ministry of information policy to support freedom of speech initiatives

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