Sustein argues that everyone has freedom of speech and can dissent a belief when the need arises. He says the government should not restrict citizens to certain autocracies. He urges that one’s freedom of speech should be protected instead of condemning it. According to Sustein, freedom of speech is an avenue for unraveling senseless policies that the government sometimes imposes (Sustein 2003).
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This can be achieved by bravely opposing unrealistic implementations by the government. However, Sustein disagrees with people who use instruments to produce loud noise in any public street.
Tocqueville on the other hand criticizes the American government which entirely depends on the majority. The writer compares how America and Europe approach a person’s freedom of speech. In his, argument Tocqueville says that, unlike America, the sovereign in Europe does not control everything within its powers. In a nutshell, the argument is centered on freedom of speech where someone can dissect the government’s conformity. The objective of this paper, therefore, is to address the provided readings and discuss the given questions.
Sustein mainly argues that people need freedom of speech to dissent from any conformity by the government. He says this right encompasses the freedom of public forums where minorities can also benefit. Governments do not have to subject their citizens to certain beliefs without considering their feelings. It is at this juncture that a citizen can dissent from impracticable ideologies of the government. Tocqueville bases his argument on systems of government that allow freedom of speech from the public. Primarily, the author criticizes the American government which restricts an individual’s right of speech. Tocqueville compares America to Europe where he says that the absolute government has no authority over what people speak.
Basically the society needs dissent as it creates room for their grievances to be aired out. Thus, there thoughts can always be represented by those who courageously stand up against government’s conformity. Freedom of speech in the society is an opportunity for members to oppose beliefs that would favor the government at their own expense (Sustein 2003).
Dissent acts like a tool or rather a weapon that citizens can always use to protect themselves from any injustice. Dissent also serves as tool of correcting the government whenever it goes wrong by opening its eyes. Through dissention, people can help the government realize their mistakes by giving reasons why they disagree (Sustein 2003).
Tocqueville thinks democracy reduces the likelihood for dissent especially in the case of America where one is not fully given the rights of speech. Ideally dissent is restricted in such democracy because the law does not protect anyone who boldly opposes the government. The author argues that such democracy controls people’s freedom of speech and therefore limits dissent. For instance is if a writer is to write an article, he/she can only do that within the requirements of the democracy. Opposing this democracy may result to consequences that may not be pleasing. This is because the democracy will be there to ensure that citizens adhere to its laws (Tocqueville, 1969).
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Tocqueville assessment of American democracy sounds unrealistic therefore it is hard to believe. His assessments on American democracy are contrary to what is perceived of the country.
Sustein, Cass. Why Societies Need Dissent. Harvard University Press: Cambridge. 2003. Web.
Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy America. Garden City, NY: Anchor. 1969. Web.