I think if you do have freedom of speech, you should use it, and sometimes you should use it on behalf of those who don't have the same privilege. Kowtowing to autocrats when your safety is not at stake is pretty cowardly
The thing with authoritarians is this: they don't respect any norms or rights. They only respect power. Everything they do is a trial balloon: if it works, they take it as a sign that they can keep pushing further. They won't take a step back until they encounter real resistance.
You can't just hope that authoritarians will spontaneously become more reasonable if you start appeasing them. It's the exact opposite. They will see you as weak and they will keep repeating the same playbook, on a larger scale.
You can follow @fchollet.
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