Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. – Walter Lippmann

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

Walter Lippmann

A difference of opinions isn’t necessarily something negative. In fact, it can actually be a positive thing where this difference is borne out of constructive criticism rather than a compulsive propensity to contradict someone.

Picture a group of managers working on a critical project. As the ambitious owner of the company, who would you rather have on your payroll – enthusiastic, goal-driven individuals with fresh ideas and a fearless attitude, or a bunch of sycophant yes-men? It would take a brave man to bet on the future of a company with the latter.

A healthy difference in opinions is what distinguishes a discussion from a discourse; it is a two-way exchange of ideas. How can an organization claim to be the best when it runs on the ideas of only one or a handful of individuals? No one should have a monopoly over the decision-making process. When a group reaches a consensus on an issue, everyone feels involved in the decisions made, motivating them to work twice as hard. On the other hand, there is hardly any incentive to try in a unit where decisions are made at the top and those at the bottom are only supposed to implement them.

The same holds true for politics, though in a slightly restricted sense. Political dissent often becomes a tool to stall progress and destabilize elected governments. Furthermore, as mentioned above, such criticism tends to be driven more by malice and ill-will than a genuine desire to suggest corrective action. Even so, such dissent should be both accepted and encouraged so long as it does not begin to encroach on the rights of the majority of citizens.

Walter Lippmann was an American writer and reporter. A vocal advocate of dissidence in politics, Lippmann is known to have remarked: “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”