The murders in France are horrifying. They also convey a subtle and disturbing truth: how easily many members of our species submit to brainwashed fanaticism, especially when their search for meaning in life becomes unhinged from reality.
People who believe that an eternal reward exists for them if they need only follow some particular dogma are capable of any evil when that dogma allows violence and intimidation against perceived blasphemies or cultural insults. Humans can be destructive enough no matter what beliefs or earthly resources are at stake, but never with more passion and horror than when eternal life is the ultimate prize in a dangerous ruse.
Journalists expose and cartoonists ridicule this ruse. In the past, their priority access to mass media kept them relatively protected and influential. Today, they are fast becoming targets since religious fanatics and political ideologues have constructed their own social media platforms.
Journalists and cartoonists are modern life’s fading heroes, vanishing breeds devoted to critical thought and satire. “Je Suis Charlie.”