October 17, 2020

"They will not pass. Obscurantism and the violence that goes with it will not win. They won’t divide us."

Said French President Emmanuel Macron — at the crime scene — quoted in "Teacher in Paris suburb decapitated, allegedly after showing cartoons of prophet Muhammad in class" (WaPo). 

What exactly is "Obscurantism"? Wikipedia says: 
Obscurantism and Obscurationism describe the practice of deliberately presenting information in an imprecise, abstruse manner designed to limit further inquiry and understanding. There are two historical and intellectual denotations of Obscurantism: (1) the deliberate restriction of knowledge—opposition to disseminating knowledge; and (2) deliberate obscurity—a recondite literary or artistic style, characterized by deliberate vagueness. 

The term obscurantism derives from the title of the 16th-century satire Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum (Letters of Obscure Men, 1515–19), that was based upon the intellectual dispute between the German humanist Johann Reuchlin and the monk Johannes Pfefferkorn of the Dominican Order, about whether or not all Jewish books should be burned as un-Christian heresy. Earlier, in 1509, the monk Pfefferkorn had obtained permission from Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1486–1519), to burn all copies of the Talmud (Jewish law and Jewish ethics) known to be in the Holy Roman Empire (AD 926–1806); the Letters of Obscure Men satirized the Dominican arguments for burning "un-Christian" works. 

In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers applied the term obscurantist to any enemy of intellectual enlightenment and the liberal diffusion of knowledge. In the 19th century, in distinguishing the varieties of obscurantism found in metaphysics and theology from the "more subtle" obscurantism of the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and of modern philosophical skepticism, Friedrich Nietzsche said: "The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence."
"The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence."

Think of this teacher! Who was he? What was his name?! It's not in the Washington Post article, but here, here's a later-published article in The Guardian: "Teacher decapitated in Paris named as Samuel Paty, 47."
Samuel Paty, 47, who taught history and geography at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of the French capital, was attacked on Friday evening by an 18-year-old man who was shot dead by police shortly afterwards. 
Earlier this month, Paty had reportedly shown a class of teenage pupils a caricature from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a moral and civic education class discussion about freedom of speech, sparking a furious response from a number of parents who had demanded his resignation. 
Before presenting the caricature, the teacher reportedly invited Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished. Afterwards, the father of a 13-year-old girl who did not leave the class posted a video on YouTube claiming the teacher had shown a “photo of a naked man” claiming he was the “Muslim prophet”. 
The father called on other parents to join him in a collective action against the teacher, whom he described as a “voyou” (thug). In order to calm the situation, the school organised a meeting between the headteacher, the teacher and an official from the education authority. 
The 18-year-old killer, who was born in Moscow and was reported to be from Chechnya, attacked Paty as he left the school, beheading him with a large kitchen cleaver. He then took a photo of his victim and posted it, with a message to French president Emmanuel Macron signed “Abdullah the servant of Allah”, on social media. 
Witnesses said the killer shouted “Allahu Akbar”, then ran off chased by police. He was shot dead after refusing to surrender.... 
A court in Paris is currently trying 14 people in connection with the January 2015 killings at Charlie Hebdo...  The hashtag #JeSuisProf (I’m a teacher) was spreading on social media on Saturday. It is reminiscent of #JeSuisCharlie, which emerged as a global wave of support for the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo....

63 comments:

Rusty said...

Either a muslim or a proggy. Neither likes free speech.

wendybar said...

It is dividing America, and the left won't call out Antifa and BLM.

tim in vermont said...

I thought that the obscurantism post was going to be about the Democrats, the MSM, and Big Tech’s idea of what a “free press” should be.

Ralph L said...

It's usually translated as They shall not pass! (from WWI).

Matt Sablan said...

If the French REALLY want to prove this... enter the drawings as evidence at the trials and into the public record forever.

I don't like deliberately offending people, but you also are not allowed to murder people over offensive cartoons.

AllenS said...

I think that there is also a Defund the Police group in France. Want to guess what religion they all follow? They have a lot in common with the Democrat antifa hate the police movement (which is a religion to them).

Anthony said...

Whose motive, police say, remains unclear.

traditionalguy said...

Killing for the Prophet 101: it is best done by sawing off the head that contains the brain and the Mouth that uttered blasphemy.

Lyle said...

Samuel Paty... he needs to be sainted in France. Muslim parents in France can't win this intellectual battle, much like BLM should not be allowed to win against freedom of speech here.

rcocean said...

I'm sure the teacher was 100 percent for open borders and hated anyone who wanted to restrict Muslim immigration. If so, he got cosmic justice.

mockturtle said...

Nietzsche was spot on and his definition certainly describes the media today.

rhhardin said...

Think of this teacher! Who was he? What was his name?!

The news gets clicks by bringing every danger in the world into your backyard. Women want it even closer. It's the soap opera effect.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

when will leftwing antifa nazi start to slaughter people in the street like this?

MayBee said...

Imagine trying to teach students important information, and then finding out one of them went home and tattled on you to her hot head family.

God bless Mr. Paty.

Tom T. said...

It's a sad irony that he has to use "obscurantism" to obscure the fact that he is talking about jihadist Islam.

daskol said...

Trump is such a jerk, right?

daskol said...

And those Israelis, too. What horror won't these MAGA deplorable and Israeli Jews visit upon us. I blame the peace deal.

gspencer said...

Forget obscurantism.

Your bigger problems are Islam and the millions of Muslims who are seething to take over Europe.

"It's hard to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp when you're up to your neck in alligators."

Maillard Reactionary said...

Macron showing signs of finally growing a set. Wonders never cease.

A bit late, though.

Ryan said...

Sorry Mr. Macron, but "they" are literally "dividing" dividing you, as in dividing your head from the rest of your body.

Sebastian said...

"What exactly is "Obscurantism"?"

"Obscurantism" is a form of obscurantism.

An obscurantist way of confronting the real issue, openly and honestly.

Kate said...

What is being obscured? Does Macron want the French to finally admit they have a Muslim problem? Or does he want liberal diversity to pretend everyone's equal?

Bob Boyd said...

If a teacher in the USA showed his class the Hebdo cartoon, his coworkers would probably try to cancel him.

Paco Wové said...

"Obscurantism and Obscurationism describe the practice of deliberately presenting information in an imprecise, abstruse manner designed to limit further inquiry and understanding."

Also known as journalism.

Narr said...

Vive la France! Vive la Republique!

Tolerance for murderous immigrant grifters must be running low even among Europe's Effetes.

Narr
One can hope

The Godfather said...

The murder of a teacher isn’t an appropriate occasion for a vocabulary lesson.

Lurker21 said...

Macron takes violence against teachers seriously, because he's the guy who married his high school teacher.

Big Mike said...

when will leftwing antifa nazi start to slaughter people in the street like this?

@BleachBit, it’s already here. Look up Michael Reinoehl, killed by police after murdering Aaron Danielson. Danielson was murdered in cold blood pretty much for nothing more expressing support for Trump.

DaveL said...

"His motive for the killing was unclear." -- the MSM, everywhere.

CWJ said...

"when will leftwing antifa nazi start to slaughter people in the street like this?"

Aaron "Jay" Danielson (Portland) and Lee Keltner (Denver).

rehajm said...

It wasn't that long ago- maybe a couple of decades- that the French were staunch defenders of their culture. Our accent aigu from our cold dead hands, ici maintenant comme ça and all that. Maybe they'll swing back...

mockturtle said...

BB&H asks,when will leftwing antifa nazi start to slaughter people in the street like this?

This guy and his organization plans mass murder by guillotine if Trump wins. He's a Dem from Colorado--your state! Colorado Democrat Plans Guillotines if Trump Wins.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

“They will not pass,” Macron said, speaking at the scene. “Obscurantism and the violence that goes with it will not win. They won’t divide us.”

Sacré bleu! We cannot have one of our every day décapitations traditionnelles françaises used in such a manner!

Big Mike said...

Obscurantism and Obscurationism describe the practice of deliberately presenting information in an imprecise, abstruse manner designed to limit further inquiry and understanding.

...

"The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence."


Sure seems to describe the Democrats’ election platform, doesn’t it?

Big Mike said...

@BleachBit, also think about James Hodgkinson and Steve Scalise. Except this time the law enforcement officers managed to kill Hodgkinson before he finished the job.

CWJ said...

What happened to my account? My avatar is gone, and now it says I've only been on blogger since 12/19. Wow!

Leland said...

Nice of WaPo to lead with the teacher's decapitation in the headline, but they add the qualifier to explain why its ok. The NYT's take was that French police killed a Muslim man after fatal knife attack. You had to read the article to find out the police shooting was in response to the headline's victim having decapitated someone. The first stories I read elsewhere than WaPo and NYT were reporting the fate of the teacher immediately.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

The news gets clicks by bringing every danger in the world into your backyard. Women want it even closer. It's the soap opera effect.

Yeah, that's the point Althouse is making, genius.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

...decapitated in Portland, allegedly after asserting that "all lives matter."

tim in vermont said...

Obscurantism and Obscurationism describe the practice of deliberately presenting information in an imprecise, abstruse manner designed to limit further inquiry and understanding.

“French police shoot and kill man in street after fatal knife attack.” - New York Times headline

I rest my case.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Is France serious? If so, next week the French government should order every school to give Paty's lesson in every grade. Every newspaper should publish these cartoons on their front page.

hombre said...

“... decapitated, allegedly after showing cartoons of Mohammed ....” WaPo.

Journalistic excellence again from WaPo. Was he “allegedly” decapitated, or did he “allegedly” show cartoons? And why “allegedly?” He either was or he did or both.

The stupidity of the mediaswine abides.

Nevertheless, they may well have decided who will be our next President.

Darrell said...

Damn Covid!

zipity said...


This horrendous act merited a 3-inch blurb on page A7 of the Minneapolis Red Star/Tribune.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Mockturtle - Yeah -I saw that.

His idea of Moral high ground it to cheat, lie, steal, murder.

This is the modern democrat party.

Hunter and Joe merely laugh.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Big Mike.

Indeed. Antifa are murderers.
When will the media look the other way when Brownshirt leftwing Antifa nazis actually apply the same tactics as radical Islamist supremacists?

be-heading.

Yancey Ward said...

Just you watch- no one else in France will make Paty's mistake, which is the only thing that matters.

Why didn't the French police shoot him in the leg?

DEEBEE said...

The most fascinating thing in the USA-today article was the last para regarding the terror effort of white supremacists. Only if Trump had denounced them, the Ripples from them butterfly wings of that would have saved the teachers life.

Roughcoat said...

The murder of a teacher isn’t an appropriate occasion for a vocabulary lesson.

This.

Richard Dolan said...

"They will not pass. Obscurantism and the violence that goes with it will not win. They won’t divide us."

Rubbish. Just another man-caused disaster of obviously indeterminate motivation, and rather small scale at that. Move on, nothing to see here.

tim in vermont said...

"Damn Covid!”

I know. It’s just an unlucky coincidence that 200K+ excess deaths have occurred this year and yet people are trying to blame it on COVID.

Joe Smith said...

The 'NYT' called it a 'fatal knife attack.'

Do we know if 'obscurantism' was the actual French word/meaning?

Joe Smith said...

"Killing for the Prophet 101"

Killing for fun and Prophet?

Ann Althouse said...

It's the same word in French: "obscurantisme."

Ann Althouse said...

Macron used the word "obscurantism" in relation to President Trump in July 2017 — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/world/europe/france-trump-visit-macron.html?searchResultPosition=1 — "His early hopes that Mr. Trump might adopt Europe’s position on climate change were dashed when Mr. Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord, which the French consider a pre-eminent diplomatic achievement. Mr. Macron responded with a semi-mocking speech in English promising to “Make Our Planet Great Again,” and reiterated an ironic invitation to American scientists “fighting obscurantism,” as he put it during his campaign, to come to France."

And there's this from February 2017 — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/world/europe/emmanuel-macron-france.html?searchResultPosition=2 — : "[Macron] spoke of lowering taxes on companies, restraining capitalism, swiped at the “obscurantism” of Trump’s America and denounced the National Front for “betraying fraternity because it detests those faces that don’t resemble it.”"

And in March 2018 — https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/world/europe/mireille-knoll-murder-holocaust.html?searchResultPosition=4 — "France “is confronted today with a barbaric obscurantism, with the only goal of eliminating our liberties and our solidarities,” Mr. Macron said, drawing a parallel between the “terrorist in Trèbes” and Ms. Knoll’s killer, “who assassinated an innocent and vulnerable woman because she was Jewish.”"

I think he's using it where an American would say "ignorance."

The Vault Dweller said...

I share everyone's dismay at the murder, and their ideals in supporting free speech, but honestly this is just another example of failed immigration. Immigration isn't merely movement of people to a new country. We don't talk about the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg into Poland in WWII as an act of German immigration into Poland. Immigration is movement plus assimilation. Immigrants are only immigrants if they become part of the society and culture they are moving to. Otherwise they are just resident aliens. I haven't looked into it but something tells me the killer is the son of an immigrant. And even though the killer was likely born in France and spoke French, he never really thought of himself as French. And when he was cutting of that man's head, he didn't think he was killing one of his countrymen, but rather a Frenchman, an enemy, an other.

hstad said...

"....Obscurantism and Obscurationism describe the practice of deliberately presenting information in an imprecise, abstruse manner designed to limit further inquiry and understanding..."

Yep, the tools of trade of 'Academics', 'Journalists', and 'Propogandists' trying to confuse the general public. Factual and plain talk communication skills not high on their lists. Gave rise to the modern "Fact Checkers" used by the discredited MSM.

Joe Smith said...

'It's the same word in French: "obscurantisme."'

Thanks AA...

My French is limited to 'restaurant, pommes frites, and menage a troi.'

: )

Narayanan said...

all Macron has to do is have Louvre exhibit these "cartoons"
>>>> to prove French do not surrender their balles etc.
>>>> questionable though if any would visit!

cojones' also found in translations in French-Spanish dictionary. casse-bonbon. adj. rompe bolas ; rompe cojones ; rompe pelotas.

Marcus said...

The Godfather said...
The murder of a teacher isn’t an appropriate occasion for a vocabulary lesson

THIS again. Shame.

Who's worse: the NYTimes labeling this a knife attack or the Hostess taking the occasion to write on word origins.

Nothing to see here, move along

Bunkypotatohead said...

"They won’t divide us"
They are not trying to divide you. They want you to submit.
And if you don't, they are willing to kill you.

wildswan said...

I think in France obscurantism means trying to eliminate the ideals of the French Revolution (as they see them), in this case by a return to an established religion and censorship. Whereas here in the USA it means deliberately confusing the issue, by, for example, letting Joe Biden talk and pretending he is making sense. Biden, for example, says that he will unite the nation and a present day meme consists in pretending that he can or will do it. No Trump supporter has ever heard anything in the least conciliatory from Biden and none of us expect it, yet the media like to talk as if Biden, as President, could unite "the country" aside from the Trump supporters, of course. Then, the Dems hope to win by cheating and simultaneously they run a candidate who talks about uniting people. Worst of all, the Dems silence people openly on social media to cover up for Hunter the Grifter and then talk about uniting the nation!!! It's created confusion and to me, that's the meaning of obscurantism as an American word. So, to be clear, if we're going to be divided and it looks as if we are, why not be divided in a Trump economy where we're all becoming better off and we're all free to speak our minds and we're all free to disagree? As in America BJ (Before January).

Lurker21 said...

I think in France obscurantism means trying to eliminate the ideals of the French Revolution (as they see them), in this case by a return to an established religion and censorship.

Yes. It's hard for us to assess what Macron is saying given the cultural differences, but 'obscurantisme' in France has so often been used to attack the Catholic right that one could wonder how much he's talking about Jihadis and terrorists and how much he's baiting the native French rightists.

Whereas here in the USA it means deliberately confusing the issue

Also true. The French usage goes back to the Enlightenment battle against religion. We didn't have that here, so that meaning isn't as prominent over here, and the word is likely to be used for obfuscators and abstruse, impenetrable philosophers. French intellectuals and philosophers who regard themselves as the great enemies of obscurantisme are likely to be regarded as the worst of obscurantists by Anglo-Saxons.