How the Suppression of Dissenting Voices Undermines Freedom and Human Flourishing
The mission of Dissenting Voices is to help create and foster the conditions that enable human flourishing and abundance everywhere—beginning right here in the USA, where, sadly, the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is under unprecedented assault.
We’re building the Dissenting Voices platform because whenever, wherever freedom is diminished, so too is the hope of human flourishing—and the abundance that attends it. Today that freedom is being impacted by the aggressive suppression of independent voices—the voices of people who dare to think for themselves, to ask penetrating, uncomfortable questions, to actually apply critical thinking in their decision-making; in short, to “do the math.”
Ironically, though, while the dissenting voice can be powerful, it is also fragile. And when one voice is suppressed, all are suppressed—whether or not we agree with what is said. It’s why the words penned by Beatrice Hall matter now more than ever: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!”
Dissenting Voices seeks to amplify this essential, life-sustaining core value through deep investigative journalism, and in print, interactive, film, and other media channels, as well as events. It’s a message we will bring to anyone and everyone who values freedom of expression, and, perhaps most importantly, to our children, in whom we must inculcate such values so that they may be preserved for future generations.
Armed with such freedoms—and the knowledge of the power inherent in them—we can indeed create a future world of human flourishing and abundance.
We know this because the critical thinking skills that support and embolden voices of dissent are the very same skills that enable innovation; the same skills that bring imagination and creativity to the solving of global grand challenges. We believe every person possesses this innate agency—the capacity to think and act and make their own free choices and exercise their own free will. And to the extent that this awareness is latent, we are determined to bring it to full consciousness and fruition.
Today we are witnessing a world in the grip of fear and ignorance—“the twins whose mother is slavery and whose father is oppression.” As Edmund Burke put it, “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” If we have anything to fear, it is the viruses of fear and ignorance—the deadliest pathogens known to humankind—the viruses against which the most effective vaccine is truth.
But we must be sober-minded about this. Fear is a tremendously powerful emotion and it is easily exploited to reinforce ignorance. And it does so to great effect. In short, fear not only reduces resistance to authority, it quells dissent. Natan Sharansky—a man who spent nine years in soviet prisons—asks, “Will dissent be permitted? The answer to that question will determine whether the society is a free society or a fear society.”