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I Disagree, but Respectfully and Non-Violently: Right to Free Speech Is a Corollary of Right to Disagree
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I Disagree, but Respectfully and Non-Violently: Right to Free Speech Is a Corollary of Right to Disagree

Gautam Adhikari holds that the right to free speech and the right to disagree are central tenets of liberal democracy—but they are increasingly threatened by vitriolic disagreement and partisanship.

Authors

  • Gautam Adhikari

I disagree. Often, but respectfully and non-violently. I also agree, often. My ratio of disagreement to agreement in conversation swings a lot because it depends on circumstances and personal factors at points in time. But the right to disagree forms a founding stone of my overall attitude.

Agreeable disagreement, however, is not natural to us humans. It’s an acquired habit. Through much of history disagreement has led to violent outcomes. Although non-violent resolution of differences had notable advocates in premodern times—Gautama Buddha, Ashoka, Greek philosophers, Islamic promoters of ijtihad, among others, come to mind—it is in our modern era that the concept has been incorporated in a frame of rules, laws, norms and social habits that define liberal democracy. The right to free speech is a corollary of a right to disagree.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Times of India. Click here to view the full article.

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Authors

Gautam Adhikari

Senior Fellow