Let the wookie win

This is a random thought connected to the Danish cartoons. It occured to me that the entire thing can be seen in the following classic dialogue:

Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
Chewbacca: Grrf.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

How does this apply? Let me translate and paraphrase:

Muslim Radical*: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh
Free speech advocate: The Danes published legal cartoons. Rioting can't help you.
Apologist: Let them riot. It's not wise to upset the radicals.
FSA: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a Christians or Jews with similar cartoons.
Apologist: That's 'cause Christians don't pull throw grenades or threaten to kill the cartoonists. Muslim Radicals are known to do that.
Muslim Radical: Grrf.
Free speech advocate: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, Danes: apologize for the cartoons and fire some editors.

*Now, not all those protesting are radicals. Boycotts, letters, and non-violent protests are all perfectly acceptable means of expressing displeasure. I may not agree, but I certainly respect it, and defend the choice of people to do so. Free speech does not mean freedom from reasonable consequences. Anyone who is toting around weapons, burning flags or issuing death threats, however, is going a bit beyond reasonable protest.

Europe needs to decide if they are going to let the Wookie win. If you allow free speech only so long as it offends none, it is no different than disallowing free speech. When the most sensistive party in a discussion is allowed to dictact what is acceptable, it does restrict free speech.

Does this mean that I think people should be allowed to shout the infamous "N-word" or use racial epithets? Sure - and I should have the right to shun them and refuse to have anything to do with such an idiot. That doesn't mean that I can tell them not to use those words, or to respond with violence; if I do that, I create martyrs.

We need free speech to identify all the a$$holes out there.


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