That’s this morning’s Quote of the Day. It’s by Erwin Rommel, and it’s usually seen as an exhortation to bravery. More often, it is, in fact, a description of the cause of cowardice.
Too many folks have fixed ideas about such things as freedom of expression until the threat of firebombs or Kalashnikovs becomes real. Too many writers, editors, and publishers collapse when faced violence. (Some will cave in to a bogus lawsuit.)
The important question is not whether Charlie Hebdo has conducted itself with good manners or in good taste or whether or not “they had it coming to ’em.” The question is whether the heckler’s veto should be allowed to include Molotov cocktails and full metal jacket ammunition.
Rommel also observed that in a man-to-man fight the winner is he who has one more round in his magazine. In this fight between cultures, it may get down to which has the last brave man. While they attack with a 7th-century mindset and beheadings, we should be responding with modern free expression—and laser-guided bombs.