Is it possible to destroy democracy ? Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo’s attack

After New York, London and Madrid, so this is Paris, through the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which has been hit by terrorism. “Why? “Is the question everybody is wondering. What objectives pursued cowards who attacked these designers? The destruction of democracy.

So this is an opportunity to revisit the foundations of democracy, which makes the superiority of this system over all others and ways to protect it.

Democracy and its enemies

Returning to facts: 2 people attacked the journal writing and another attacked a Jewish customers supermarket. The toll was heavy: 17 victims. But the real assessment took place three days later in response to the killing of the victims, more than 3 million lawyer who came to defend and advocate their cause to themselves but also to the face of the world. The movement had been the same in New York, Madrid and other Western cities attacked. Thus, if democracy is the most fragile political systems, it is also one that is more open – his friends of course – but also to its internal and external enemies.

The day after the attacks, some politicians have called for a new legislative framework, a Patriot Act to the French, meant to protect against potential further abuses and beyond consubstantial limit the opening of any democratic regime. Any exception to law limiting freedom reminds the terrible laws adopted by Robespierre, which had inspiration for this prompt Saint-Just:

“Let us raise the veil that hides the plots; closely watch the speeches, gestures mind on each ”

Beyond the political oxymoron (limit freedom in the name of freedom) and the mixed results of the Patriot Act in the US, it is clear that the massive mobilization seems to say the opposite of a closure wish: the more democracy is open, hospitable, the more it is defended. Each wound to democracy strengthens, paradoxically. This opening of democracy also makes it special: When a tyranny or an oligarchic regime is undermined, few defenders.

Jacques Derrida, who had attended the Sept. 11, had thus defended an autoimmune logic of democracy:

“More so than any other, […] a Christian democracy should be welcoming to the enemies of democracy, their tender the other cheek, offer hospitality, give voice and vote to anti-democratic, which complies with some hyperbolic gasoline and auto-immune than ever to democracy itself ”

No doubt some of the same always wanting to build more prisons have head the total eradication of violence. Wishful thinking. Violence can not be eradicated, democracy itself is built on violence, the rejection of the old regime through two revolutions. Therefore, no need to Patriot Act, autoimmunity of democracy will always be more powerful than any legal system. It is not decreed the defense of democracy, it auto-immune, self-advocates when she is in danger.

Democracy is an indestructible project, always something to build, which involved Charlie Hebdo and every one of us. The anti-democrats will always be defeated as long as we are and remain Charlie.


Cite this article as: Tim, "Is it possible to destroy democracy ? Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo’s attack, February 9, 2015, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, February 9, 2015,

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