Charlie Hebdo Anniversary Tribute (III): Moralists are Killing Satire

So let no-one think that by appeasing jihadists or by appeasing unaccountable figures in the countries that Orientalizing intellectuals opportunistically market as ‘the (sole and exclusively) Free World’ that they will avert their malice or their wrath.

For, none of the promises either of political Islamists and jihadists or of humanitarian interventionist intellectuals and counter-jihadists can be trusted or valued.

Indeed. Realpolitik is realpolitik, which is as much as to say that from ‘high-minded idealism,’ nothing better can be expected than high-minded idealism. And there is nothing that savors more of Realpolitik than high-minded idealism, as the terms are merely two superficially different names for the same thing.

However, although the pernicious character of the Hebdocidal, Hypercachercidal ‘all critique must be constructive’ canard is self-evident to any thoughtful person of conscience, the converse is not true. That is to say, it would be misleading to counter the fallacy I am criticizing with the opposite notion: ‘all critique must be purely destructive in character.’

To put this false dilemma in context, let us examine a famous phrase. It is sometimes said, after Finley Peter Dunne, that satire ‘should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’

Yet, the comedian David Baddiel has tweeted:

To those quoting satire should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable I say: satirists shouldn’t have to be high-minded to live.

How to respond?

I would submit that the notion of what is ‘comforting the afflicted’ or ‘afflicting the comfortable’ is not to be a norm to be regulated by some externally imposed legal standard or standard of public opinion, or any otherwise external moral force (what readers of Kant might call ‘heteronomy.’)

Rather, one could consider these functions of satire in terms of autonomy, or one’s own conscience. One could actively and dynamically reflect upon one’s own ‘limits,’ and on one’s own ethical vision of oneself and one’s place in this world.

So, on the one hand, I do agree with David Baddiel’s tweet, regarding the moralistic views directed at satire and at satirists, and the wicked uses to which Finley Peter Dunne’s quotation can be put.

But perhaps Dunne’s view is also correct, but only when viewed as a matter of individual self-reflection, and not as an externally imposed and coercive norm…

Whether ‘external’ means legal coercion, or the high-minded moralism of the pompous, puffed-up semi-non-apologists of Amedy Coulibaly.

But what, then, are my own limits for religious satire?

I will not provide an exhaustive discussion here.


Author: Wallace Runnymede

Wallace is the editor of Brian K. White's epic website, Glossy News! Email him with your content at (Should be @, not #!) Or if you'd like me to help you tease out some ideas that you can't quite put into concrete form, I'd love to have some dialogue with you! Catch me on Patreon too, or better still, help out our great writers on the official Glossy News Patreon (see the bottom of the homepage!) Don't forget to favourite Glossy News in your browser, and like us on Facebook too! And last but VERY MUCH not the least of all... Share, share, SHARE! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our awesome site!

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