Walter Lippmann

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When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.
On the Assets of Different Opinions
“When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.”
Imagine a company managers making up a new strategic plan. Do you see a picture of enthusiastically arguing men, stating their reasons, sometimes almost shouting or just a bunch of people, calmly sitting on chairs, apathetically nodding their heads? I would not bet on the latter one at least not in a long-term successful company. The mutual exchange of opinions is crucial in order to achieve consensus. No one can be certain whether or not his belief is right and therefore the discussion seems to be the way of assessing the solutions so as to accomplish the best one. Although seldom, some people are deeply convinced about their version of the truth. Once they are given a power they represent a great danger for anyone whose life they can influence. Hence plural opinions are highly desirable to prevent ourselves from being mastered by these people.
In addition to this, democracy has no sense per se, without diverse opinions. They are the driving force behind every voting, defending our values as one of the essential rules to enable people live in peace, with enough money for necessary needs and to apply their free will. Despite democracy emerged to be extremely expensive in centuries, it still is the least restricting state system, designed to serve people not to enslave them which appears to me to be the most relevant attribute of governing establishment.
Moreover, different opinions lay huge inhibitions for tyranny. Dominating a state, in which the attention is being paid to the resolutions of politicians, they are being carefully supervised by the citizens so that to be fully accountable, a tyranny is unlikely to take place. Provided this, own opinion may help even with protecting human right to freedom. But a lot of people was surprised in the past when the tyranny took place, after they had abandoned their opinions and stopped asserting them.
A great drawback of the right to have an opinion lies in the fact that this right relates to everyone. Even the biggest fool (Not meant in a medical sense)is allowed to tell what he thinks, when he thinks that he thinks. Human rights must not be denied anybody, with no exceptions. Finally, fool is able to enrich a debate more than anyone would expect at times. And even if he doesn’t, which represents the majority of cases, he should be allowed to participate in governing the community he lives in, because he ought to have an influence on decisions affecting his life. So the democracy for everyone should not bet just an auxiliary slogan availed to get elected and then neglected a second-rate interest, but a genuine goal of every politician as well as citizen.
Although I have discussed the merits of varying opinions in government sphere primarily so far, I would like to add a few words about ‘democratic principles’ in everyday use. In my experience, contemplating various people’s arguments has proven to be the most effective means of resolving seemingly insoluble problems. How can you know that that the man, who looks like an idiot and whom you strongly despise, will not have an idea which would your company and therefore you earn millions? A tricky question. You cannot. Thus you should not dismiss anyone’s point of view, if there is even the slightest hope that it could help you. You might be surprised how well it works.
‘When all think alike, no one is thinking very much’, doesn’t mean that we should not accept any other opinion but our own. This interpretation appears to be rather demagogic. The fact that we admit someone’s having truth doesn’t signify that we haven’t considered it very profoundly. Blind acceptance, in the other hand, rarely leads to anybody’s satisfaction.
In conclusion, we ought to evade having fear confrontation, but we should not stubbornly be attached to our beliefs, after they have been proven wrong. We should try to find the best solutions by mutual aid, by discussing, because exchanging opinions is not only the way of inducing an argument, it’s also the way creative people work. For it’s very effective.