Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno and Phaedo

Dissent: A Stand Against Submission

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren once said, "Mere unorthodoxy or dissent from the prevailing norms is not to be condemned. The absence of such voices would be a symptom of grave illness in our society." This message combined with the government position of its speaker reveal the belief that challenging the political system benefits humanity as a whole. While both Plato and John Stuart Mill recognize the nature and importance of dissent in a philosophical discussion, they disagree on its implementation within a political system. Through Plato's Crito, dissent is perceived as a detriment to society because a citizen has an obligation to maintain political order, rather than destroy it by disobeying the laws. To purposefully act contrary to that system is to weaken its power and organization, thus deteriorating the cohesion of society. Mill, however, believes that the ideal forum for dissent is the political system because politics is the collaboration of individual ideas. To ignore one opinion entirely is to weaken the system, in his eyes. With these fundamentally similar definitions of dissent applied in entirely different fashions, the dilemma between political and personal obligation is uncovered in...

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