nonconfirm With all the propaganda and groupthink swirling around, we sometimes need to be reminded that dissent and critical thinking are not only commendable and healthy, but essential to personal growth and social progress. Rayne has described a recent situation where it was very uncomfortable having a different point of view on the war from a friend’s, and Kriselda has described the insidious effect of groupthink in her Third Wave post. If you’re against this war, I’m sure you were tempted to go mute after reading about the spike in popularity for the Iraq war (once it became clearer that war was inevitable, and more likely that our side would ‘win’), or after learning that a third of American voters still believe despite all evidence that Saddam and Iraq were somehow responsible for 9/11.

There are many great quotations, from Thomas Jefferson and Einstein and Morley to Chomsky and Mamet and Rushdie and Voltaire that can give us courage to continue to express dissenting views dispassionately. When I lose heart, I take inspiration from CEM’s 1970s-era New Yorker magazine cover (reproduced above left), and from the following lines by poet e e cummings. 

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day,  
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight,
and never stop fighting

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