Compare and contrast…
Simon Schama writes an essay in which he argues that debate, dissent and argument are the building blocks of great democracies like America:
"Apparently, the dead are owed another war. But they are not. What they are owed is a good, stand-up, bruising row over the fate of America; just who determines it and for what end?"
James Lileks writes a bleat which begins as a personal narrative praising democracy but ends with a seething fury directed against those who would disagree with him:
"Don’t fret the strife you see in the daily papers. The dissenters, unbound as usual, will ruin their cause."
For Schama, a dissenter is the living embodiment of democracy at work. For Lileks, it’s a dirty word.
I guess Lileks would label Shama a dissenter and class his article as part of " the strife you see in the daily papers".
Perhaps Lileks would agree with this statement from Schama (though for different reasons):
"The notion that the parliament of tongues is, in fact, our best vindication wins few hearts and minds right now."