- Introduction: Advancement in all fields of life is the outcome of dissent. Without dissen social, intellectual, economic and political development will come to a halt.
2. Dissent and the role of printing press in promulgating it.
3. Value of dissent and its contribution in progress:
i. Dissent promotes tolerance which is desirable for a peaceful society.
ii. It breeds co-existence and as a result, a pluralistic society emerges.
iii. Intellectual progress cannot be made without dissent.
iv. Copernicus’ and Galileo’s dissent proved the basis of modern science and astronomy.
V. Renaissance in Europe was the outcome of dissent which was the starting point of the Industrial Revolution.
vi. Dissent was the major driving force behind the French Revolution which begot a
vii. Democracy and its fruit cannot be reaped without valuing the dissenting voice of the opposition.
vili. Appropriate laws cannot be made without taking into account the views of the opposition.
ix Independence of various countries from their imperial masters was the outcome of dissent.
X. Dissent is the last refuge for the powerless – it is a means and justice is the end.
4. Absence of dissent and its depressing outcomes:
L A totalitarian society is a complete failure because it discourages the dissent.
ii In the absence of dissent, a regressive society emerges where reason, rationality and pragmatism are given the least weightage.
iii. The crucial difference between the developed and the developing countries is that the developed countries promote discussion forums and think-tanks whereas the underdeveloped countries repress the open debate and dissenting voices.
Dissent is a philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea. It has bee quite valuable throughout human history. Advancement in all the spheres of life is the outcome of dissent. Without dissent, social, intellectual, economic and political development comes to a halt Dissent promotes tolerance which is desirable for peaceful co-existence and as a result, a pluralistic society emerges which is essential today especially keeping in view the globalization of the contemporary world.
Moreover, intellectual progress and advancement in science and technology is impossible without the inputs of critics. The independence of various countrie from their imperial masters was the outcome of dissent. Above and beyond, democratically elected governments accept the dissenting voices to improve their governance and legislation. Is fact, they establish such forums where scholars can debate openly on various issues related to the public interest. However, in the absence of dissent, a repressive society emerges where there is t space for reason, rationality and pragmatism. Without rational and pragmatic approach, a country cannot prosper and progress. Thereby, dissent needs to be encouraged which is only possible if society accepts the inalienable right of every individual to freedom of expression.
Dissent is not a new phenomenon. Its history is as old as that of human beings. However the invention of printing press had made the dissemination of dissenting voices and ideas easy. With the invention of printing press in the 15th century, the publication of ideas, may it be in the form of a book or a magazine, had become economical. The easy broadcasting of ideas had enlightened the masses. As a result, innovation and creativity prevailed which were the impetus behind all the developments in centuries to come.
To begin with, the foremost value of dissent lies in the fact that it promotes tolerance which is necessary for peaceful co-existence. Acceptance and tolerance for the dissenting voices result in a pluralistic society. In this globalized world where multicultural cities are widespread, tolerance is desirable. This is because of the fact that tolerance provides breathing space for all the religions, sects and factions living in a single country. In fact, in a pluralistic society, people tolerate each other and share religious and cultural activities.
Moreover, intellectual progress cannot be made without dissent. In reality, the emergence and acceptance of ideas which changed the course of human history is unimaginable without dissent. For instance, a book or an intellectual work cannot be improved without taking into account the views of the critics. Similarly, whenever a researcher writes a research paper, he asks his fellow professors for a critical scrutiny before the publication of his work. The purpose is 10 refine the work before its publication which is not possible without accepting the critical views of other scholars.
Furthermore, dissenting views based on research and experiment assist the advancement in science and technology. Before Copernicus and Galileo, it was believed that the universe is geocentric. However, they informed the world that the universe is heliocentric. This view was based on their experiments and they had rational arguments to support their view. Still, their view was condemned by the Catholic Church at that time. They were punished for their dissent. Nevertheless, later studies proved that their stance was based on facts and proved to be the milestone of the modern science and astronomy. This example shows that dissent has a great role in the advancement of science so its value is undeniable.
In addition to this, renaissance in Europe was the outcome of dissent which led to the Industrial Revolution. Renaissance was the beginning of new thinking and creativity by shunning the old ideas and orthodox beliefs. This new thinking accelerated the progress in the fields of art, philosophy, architecture, politics, science and literature. As a result, society as a whole became innovative and efficient which led to the Industrial Revolution. After that, a new era of economic growth and prosperity began. Again, this is a manifestation of the role of dissent in revolutionizing the society.
Moreover, dissent was the major driving force behind all the revolutions of the world. These revolutions begot modern nations. French Revolution began when the masses dissented the prevailing governance structure and tax laws. People of France strongly opposed the unjust rule. Subsequently, political regime changed and the journey to a modern France began. Thus, dissent ensures the end of darkness and the beginning of enlightenment and prosperity.
Besides revolutionizing the societies, dissent helps in establishing a democratic society. Democracy and its fruit cannot be reaped without valuing the dissenting voice of the opposition. The role of the opposition in a democratic country is to check the excesses of the government and safeguard the interest of the masses. Dissent of the opposition parties in a parliamentary democracy pushes the government for bringing reforms in governance structures. In addition to opposition parties, the role of non-government organizations (NGOs) and the civil society is also crucial in this regard. They oppose the government’s policies and acts which are detrimental for national progress. Contrary to an authoritarian regime, in democracy citizens have a right to dissent without the fear of victimization. They present their needs and demands without fear which helps the government to devise well-meaning policies.
Likewise, appropriate laws cannot be made without taking into account the views of the
opposition. The opposition puts forward the alternative ideas that could be more appropriate in
the prevailing situation. However, it should be kept in mind that dissent should not be for the sake
of opposition. In fact, the purpose of dissent should be to avoid error and to find a better solution
to a problem. Alone these lines, even a repressive regime can be forced to amend its ways. An
illustration of the fact is China. It has an authoritarian government. Still, demonstration.