Norman Thomas Quote

“Dissent... is a right essential to any concept of the dignity and freedom of the individual; it is essential to the search for truth in a world wherein no authority is infallible.”

~ Norman Thomas

New York Times Magazine, 1959

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

Even though I disagree with Norman Thomas' ideals, I agree with this statement, and it is the basis of liberal thought (no matter how flawed). Socialists use 'freedom of speech' to argue against freedom for everything else.

  • Reply
gdgca    8/28/08
jim k, austin

E Archer said it well.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

But we seldom live or move in dignified and free social environments. Where I live people are pretty much of one persuasion on many things and choose their friends accordingly. Even on this site it seems that with a few dissent is attacked very regularly rather than it being seen as essential in the search for truth. The problem is many of us often think we already have the truth and no dissent is therefor necessary.

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, said well. Dissent often clarifies a specific concept.

Dick, Fort Worth

Every advance in freedom, equality and justice is owed to dissent. And many of those dissenters were socialists. They damn sure were not capitalists.

Anonymous, Clarkston

He also said.. Democrats have taken the socialist movement for them and branded it with the name Liberalism.

Charles, East Hampton

While dissent is sometimes a necessary thing, often it becomes the end all of the argument. Many use dissent simply to dissent rather than as a method of ferreting out the truth. That is when it becomes an evil thing and a tool for anarchists. There always comes a point when dissent eventually becomes nothing more than disruptive.

HPR, Carmel

I heartily agree with the quote. Bravo!

Kit, Rochester

No dissent is infallible either, nor is dissent legitimate just because it is dissent. It must be reasoned dissent to be legitimate.


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