But if our democracy is to flourish it must have criticism, if our government is to function it must have dissent. Only totalitarian governments insist upon conformity and they — as we know — do so at their peril. Without criticism abuses will go unrebuked; without dissent our dynamic system will become static. The American people ‘have a stake in the maintenance of the most thorough-going inquisition into American institutions. They have a stake in nonconformity, for they know that the American genius is nonconformist.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” sec. 3, Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)

Reprinted in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954).
Added on 23-Feb-22 | Last updated 23-Feb-22
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