What is the advantage of a dissenting voice in a democracy?
I think it's great for shifitng your vantage point or, at least, it gives the opposition something to attack.
I'm not even sure of the advantage of having a democracy, we in the U.S. don't know what the word means anymore.
One advantage of a dissenting voice in a democracy is to assure accountability of our politicians; it also keeps the politicians more in touch with the people's desires and dislikes. Dissenting voices from the people is a force that assures freedoms, liberties, and the pursuit of happiness.
It gives the sheeple (sheep people) a scapegoat when their majority screws everything up (as usual). "If only everyone were on board... (with our insanity), THEN it would have worked."
I'd have to agree with dabeaner that that's pretty much how it works in government. However, if people were willing to reap the benefits of a dissenting voice, that voice can help add another way of thinking and another point of view that others may or may not have even thought of. Even if they don't agree with the point being made, it offers something else for thorough examination that could help everyone involved better understand the ramifications of their decision.
The fact is, America is not a Democracy. It's a Republic. We have virtual representation by an elected leader, instead of a monarch. That's a Republic. In a true democracy, there would be LOTS of dissenting voices, since every law would come from a mandate from the masses, not from the mind of a single leader or government body like Congress.
However, in a Republic, like the United States (Which is not a democracy) the dissenting voice is always there as a warning for those in power, to remind them that all administrations are limited, and there is someone waiting to kick them out when their term is done, and turn power over to their rival party. The sole party in charge would have no check on their behavior because there would be nothing for them to lose, if there was no one to argue with them. Its only the dread of losing office to the rival party that makes the majority voice do anything good at all. If a dissenting voice can turn enough people away from the lords on top, then the government is replaced by a new administration. That's why our leaders have to be wary of dissent. Caesar used to have a Fool walk behind him to remind of of this. the fool used to whisper in his ear "All power is fleeting."
According to standpoint theory, the dissenting voice is usually someone who is more likely to see the flaws in society. Take good ol' America for example. A white, middle class, married heterosexual christian male will be treated relatively good by the system, and therefore less likely to see any flaws. But a hispanic gay female atheist living in poverty is going to see a lot of problems. The role of dissenter is not the "anarchistic" role the word 'dissent' often conjures. it is someone who recognizes these flaws, and tries to bring this knowledge to people who are less in a position to recognize them.
BTW - Robwrite. A Republic can be a Democracy. It can also be a Dictatorship, or any other form of power sharing. The proper way to describe America is Oligarchy. Canada is an oligarchy too. It's also a Monarchy (as opposed to a Republic).
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