These days it seems like so many in power can’t tolerate anyone expressing a different opinion. They’ve even successfully convinced loyal followers to attack individuals or groups who express “intolerable” viewpoints. It’s a sad, strange time to be alive. I personally can’t think of a single person with whom I agree on everything. Dissent is not only natural, it is healthy and necessary.
This silencing of dissent comes with many negative consequences, not the least of which is groupthink. When nobody can object to a bad idea or bring up possible unintended effects of an action being contemplated by a group, the result is often horrible plans are put into place enthusiastically even though the people supposedly in charge would normally think such a design were foolhardy. Not allowing anyone to bring up possible objections when planning means the group plays to the lowest common denominator. This has played out over and over again, yet leaders keep making the same mistake, thinking this time it will play out differently because they’re at the helm. It is pure hubris.
Only authoritarian, tyrannical leaders stop anyone from dissenting. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Bonaparte, Lenin, and many others throughout history moved to crush any individuals or groups who would dare to say they were wrong about anything as they consolidated power ruthlessly. They knew the power of dissent; the fact is all it takes is one person to say “no” and explain why they disagree with a directive to encourage others to find their voice and express their dissent as well.
Governments might try to rule men’s hearts, but that is impossible unless people willing give that over. They often do out of fear, hoping things will “return to normal” as a result. They never do. Even God won’t twist our free will because He respects our ability to dissent, even when it leads to egregious actions. If He won’t violate our ability to express disagreement, why is it the prerogative of any earthly leader to do so? The answer is simple.
To stand up and dissent in the face of seemingly united opposition is scary, which is why most won’t do it. Even if they disagree with something they perceive as popular yet immoral, the majority of people fear the consequences of speaking out. In an authoritarian organization those consequences must be severe since tyrannical leaders can only maintain the semblance of all being united behind their dogma through the use of force.
Jesus Christ was born into the world not to force men, but to invite them to follow Him of their own free will. Anyone can depart that path at any time. And they are welcome to rejoin the pathway of discipleship as well. There is a better way to lead.