Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Dissent

"Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions." - Alan Barth

"Let us not be afraid of debate or dissent - let us encourage it. For if we should ever abandon these basic American traditions in the name of fighting Communism, what would it profit us to win the whole world when we have lost our soul?" - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects." - J. W. Fulbright, fully James William Fulbright

"We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about the 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless." - J. W. Fulbright, fully James William Fulbright

"Persecution of a dissenter is always popular I the group which he has abandoned. Toleration of dissent is no sentiment of the masses." - William Graham Sumner

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." -

"In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith." -

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty." -

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels – men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." - Dwight Eisenhower, fully Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

"If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function it must have dissent." - Henry Steele Commager

"Protection against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them." - John Stuart Mill

"Inspirations prevent us, and even before they are through of make themselves felt; but after we have felt them it is ours either to consent to them, so as to second and follow their attractions, or else to dissent and repulse them. They make themselves felt without us, but they do not make us consent without us." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgment for not agreeing in that from which within a few days I might dissent myself." -

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it. " - Edward R. Murrow, born Egbert Roscoe Murrow

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular." - Edward R. Murrow, born Egbert Roscoe Murrow

"A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority. " - Eric Hoffer

"In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith. " - J. W. Fulbright, fully James William Fulbright

"Science exists, moreover, only as a journey toward truth. Stifle dissent and you end that journey. " - John Charles Polanyi

"He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press and radio, is master of the mind. Repeat mechanically your assumptions and suggestions, diminish the opportunity for communicating dissent and opposition. This is the formula for political conditioning of the masses." - Joost Meerloo. fully Joost Abraham Maurits Meerlo

"In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy. " - Learned Hand, fully Billings Learned Hand

"I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only, and solely, at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say. The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple: I should say, love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way — and if we are to live together and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Successful leadership is not about being tough or soft, sensitive or assertive, but about a set of attributes. First and foremost is character." - Warren Bennis, fully Warren Gamaliel Bennis

"We have forgotten that Vietnam, and Iraq resent being invaded and know the ground better than we do." - Wendell Berry

"If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch." - Thurgood Marshall