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Democratic delib -reading notes

Democratic delib -reading notes - others and the other is...

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Sustein, Cass R.: Why Societies Need Dissent Reading notes The aim of the writing Why Societies Need Dissent is to argue the positive effects of dissent and the negatives of conformity. Sustein says, “Unchecked by dissent, conformity can produce disturbing, harmful, and sometimes astonishing outcomes”(1). The examples he provides to back up his argument include: the corruption of corporate boards, lower earnings in conforming investment groups, the ideological amplification of federal courts, the unanimity of juries, and more. Conformity spurs from ignorance, which inclines people to ‘follow the crowd’. Sustein believes that there are two factors that influence individual behavior: the first comes from the actions and thoughts of
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Unformatted text preview: others, and the other is the desire to have the good opinion of others. These influences can breed three phenomena: conformity, social cascades, and group polarization. The problem with social cascades is that followers tend to ignore private information. Group polarization can be detrimental with its extremities, for instance it can lead to violence. Perhaps the most convincing argument against conformity is as follows: “The problem is that widespread conformity deprives the public of information that it needs to have. Conformists follow others and silence themselves”(Sustein 6)....
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