“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees”


Do not let terror censor free speech.

I don’t have much of a groundbreaking nature to report on this morning’s Jihadi attack at the Charlie Hebdo satire paper headquarters which left 12 dead and at least 4 critically wounded. For those of you who follow us on Twitter (@KnifeTruth), you will know that I was following this story closely throughout the day. I have been feeling a quiet but seething rage in the pit of my stomach over what has transpired. Civilization itself was attacked today in Paris, and while my actions in the grand scheme of things were inconsequential, I wanted to do something to try to shake the helpless feeling I was experiencing.

So I surfed, read, and tweeted. If the Islamist goons who think they have the right to the most violent form of a “heckler’s veto” cause us to change our actions or censor our speech liberal governance itself is doomed. We owe it to Salman Rushdie who has lived with a mark on his head for decades. We owe it to Dutch Filmmaker Theo van Gogh who was slain in the street with a fatwa stabbed to his chest. We owe it to French Cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, killed today, who said “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees”. We owe it to all of those who live in fear or have lost their lives because of the art they have created.



“Love is stronger than hate”. The Charlie Hebdo cover after their office was firebombed in 2011 for a prior cartoon.

I made a point today of sharing the work that is the “reason” for today’s attack. Some media outlets were doing so to make the same point. Slate put together a great piece “Charlie Hebdo’s most controversial religious covers explained“. Others such as Vox, Daily Caller, and countless others were doing so. Glen “Instapundit” Reynolds was furiously retweeting cartoons, editorials, and other relevant material, much of it quite humorous. I passed along the best of what I came across from him and others.

At the same time the NYT, AP, and many others refuse to run the cartoons. They are cowards. Point Blank. No Discussion. Shame on them.  Some speech is more equal than others though – they had no problem running pictures of Maplethorpe’s “Piss Christ”. Hypocrites.



From Chilean cartoonist Francisco J. Olea: “To arms Comrades!”.

The above image resonated with me. It is from Chilean Cartoonist Francisco J. Olea and is a call to all who refuse to be silent. If a bully punches you, you punch back twice as hard. Appeasement is the harbinger of your own destruction.

In the words of Mark Steyn:

“Attempting to mediate relations between free people and Islam will not work. Islam either has to get on board with the whole freedom of speech thing or it cannot participate in pluralistic western democracies. It’s as simple as that.”

Several years ago, Mark found himself, along with Maclean’s Magazine in front of a Canadian Human Rights Commission for his writings critical of Islam. He faced down his accusers, and eventually Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Law was repealed.

Ross Douthat is possibly the only one at the NYT that is not a eunuch. On the Times’ semi-autonomous blog he writes:

“If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization, and when that scenario obtains it isn’t really a liberal civilization any more. Again, liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.”

I could not agree more. That is why I write tonight.

One last point and a quick housekeeping note. There is a saying that the Second Amendment is there to protect the First. I cannot agree more. It is the Editorial position of TTAK that knives are “arms” as they relate to the Second Amendment. That is not a position without substantial legal merit. The single most important piece of legal work outlining this position was written by law professor David Kopel in the University of Michigan Law Review. My activity on Twitter did not escape his notice – he followed TTAK today. I am honored and a little humbled to know that my work is going to reach one of the intellectual Godfathers of our movement.


  1. PeterK says:

    You rock. Keep fighting the good fight.

  2. StuartB says:

    Stick it to ’em, Clay!

  3. David says:

    These “radical” Muslims were just following the “perfect” example of Muhammad. He had an arab poetess (Asma) assassinated for mocking him. Islam cannot stand criticism because it codified the habits of 7th century warlord who was too immature to withstand any form of criticism.

  4. gunfighter 2012 says:

    “Islam either has to get on board with the whole freedom of speech thing or it cannot participate in pluralistic western democracies. It’s as simple as that.”
    Radical Islam doesn’t care. Radical Islam is as concerned about the opinions of the west as a viper is about the opinions of its prey.

    1. Sam L. says:

      Gunfighter, seems to me you’re saying that a lot of them will have to be killed before the survivors will accede to our point of view. If that is what you meant, I agree.

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“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees”

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