I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Defend Your Right to Say Till Death

I-Disapprove-of-What-You-Say-But-I-Defend-Your-Right-to-Say-Till-Death

I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Defend Your Right to Say Till Death Essay | CSS 2020 Solved Essays | CSS Solved Essays | Essays by Sir Syed Kazim Ali | CSS Essays | PMS Essays | Essays by Sir Syed Kazim Ali

Miss Iqra Ali has attempted this essay on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students, who have consistently been qualifying their CSS and PMS essays. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice how to write a comprehensive outline; how to write bullets in an outline; how to write the introductory paragraph; how to connect sentences and paragraphs; how to write a topic sentence; how to put evidence within the paragraphs.

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Outline

1- Introduction

  • The right to dissent is one of the fundamental rights of a country’s citizens. However, it cannot be exercised at the cost of others’ freedom of speech. Hence, one must be open to the objections raised by the fellow masses so that a peaceful survival of the world.

2- Breakdown of the phrase: I disapprove of what you say, but I defend your right to say till death

  • ✓ Meaning of “I disapprove of what you say.”
  • ✓ Meaning of “I defend your right to say till death.”

3- Significance of the disapproval and the tolerance of the disapproval of speech- right to dissent and obligation to tolerate the dissent

a) Helping scientific advancement

  • ✓ Galileo discovered the earth’s revolution around the sun, dissenting against the ancient idea of a stationary solar system.

b) Adding beauty to literature

  • ✓ Johnson and Keats brought new dimensions of Shakespeare’s writings to light.

c) Strengthening democracy

  • ✓ Martin Luther nailed on the door of a church in Germany ninety-five objections to the Catholic faith, which led to the Glorious Revolution.

d) Promoting reason and rationality

  • ✓ Socrates, Plato, Marx, and Hegel adopted dialectics to find the truth.

e) Securing human rights

  • ✓ Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees freedom of speech and expression and freedom of the press with certain restrictions.

f) Propagating freedom of thought and expression

  • ✓ Media has the power to be the mouthpiece of the voiceless masses.

g) Encouraging peaceful coexistence

  • ✓ The inability to tolerate freedom of expression led to the fall of Dhaka in 1971.

h) Fostering religious tolerance

  • ✓ Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared differences of Opinion a source of pleasure and knowledge.
  • ✓ “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion”, Al Quran.
  • ✓ Mahatma Gandhi said, “All great religions of the world inculcate equality and brotherhood of mankind and the virtue of tolerance”.

i) Paving the way for international cohesion

  • ✓ The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Reiterate the Rights to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

4- Critical Analysis
5- Conclusion

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Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights of every human. It not only allows a state’s citizens to get their voices heard but also brings revolutionary progress to society. It is evident from history that the success of democracy, philosophy, science, and independence movements evolved from the constructive actions of dissents in their particular context. For example, if Galileo had not discovered the earth’s revolution around the sun, dissenting the ancient idea of a stationary solar system, such an advancement in astronomy would never have been possible. Even in today’s globalized world, freedom of expression and thought is inevitable for the peaceful coexistence of people of different castes, creeds, and religions. It promotes rationality, secures human rights, propagates freedom of expression, and fosters religious tolerance. However, it becomes destructive if exercised at the cost of others’ freedom of expression, as happened in the fall of Dhaka from Pakistan in December 1971, where the right of expression of East Pakistan’s people was compromised. Thus, the right to dissent and the obligation to tolerate others’ right to dissent go hand in hand for a progressive, peaceful society. The essay comprehensively deals with the significance of freedom of expression within the limits of law and morality while respecting others’ points of view.

I Do Not Agree With What You Have To Say, But I Will Defend To Death Your Right To Say It Essay

I Disapprove of What You Say But I Defend Your Right to Say Till Death Essay

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In her book, The Friends of Voltaire, Hall- an English writer- wrote the phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs. Basically, the quotation describes the principle of freedom of speech. “I disapprove of what you say” is a philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to the prevailing idea. Likewise, the principal value of “I defend your right to say it till death” lies in tolerance of others’ right to dissent, which is crucial to peaceful coexistence. Thus, the quotation clearly exhibits freedom of speech and paying heed to others’ words and expressions.

The scientific progress of humanity is all about a history of informed dissent. The constructive right to dissent has remained necessary to impen innovation and new ideas in science and technology. For instance, constructive dissents made Galileo discover the earth’s revolution around the sun, dissenting from the ancient opinion of a stationary solar system. If Galileo had not conducted experiments against the then norms, the world would still have been living in ignorance. Moreover, the scientific method, the basis of any discovery, theory, or law, comprises several steps. Each step allows researchers to refute the previously held notion with the help of experiments. It has proven crucial in the development of new scientific theories and inventions. Astronomy and similar explorations are also seen in the history of other sciences like physics, Chemistry, Inheritance, and Evolution.

Moreover, literature, throughout history, has been polished to such an advanced level by nothing but literary critique. Specifically, renowned writers, poets, novelists, and playwrights have openly criticized the works of earlier writers or even their contemporaries. This literary criticism adds beauty to literature and opens new horizons to thinking. For instance, Samuel Johnson and John Keats, two celebrated writers, criticized Shakespeare’s works and brought to light new dimensions of his plays. According to them, although lacking moral lessons, Shakespeare’s writings revolve around unique characters that are neither heroes nor saints; instead, the playwright has depicted life as it is. Thus, rather than finding a moral in his plays, they should be read to understand nature and reality. Hence, being opinionated in literature helps improve works of literature.

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Not only in natural sciences, but the ambit of political science has also found its roots in the freedom of expression, especially regarding democracy. The dissent is treated as the salt of democracy. It makes a democracy different from the colonial regime, Hitler’s Germany, or Stalin’s USSR. While dissent could lead to the severest of punishments or even loss of life in colonial India or under Hitler’s and Stalin’s rule, dissent in democracy is an exercise of one’s right without the fear of victimization as long as it doesn’t lead to inhuman or unconstitutional action. Likewise, a single person, King Martin Luther’s constructive dissent- who nailed on the door of a church in Germany ninety-five objections to the Catholic faith- led to the Glorious Revolution.

Turning over the papers of the initial Enlightenment era, it becomes evident that respecting one’s freedom of speech promotes reason and rationality. All the rational political scientists and philosophers, like Socrates, Plato, Marx, and Hegel, adopted dialectics to find the truth. Their dialectic method is about reaching proper knowledge with a series of discussions and questions being asked on that discussion, which aided them in clarifying their confusion. Thus, in a civilized society, people do not jump to a conclusion immediately. Yet, they try to reach the truth with considerable differences of opinion on an issue.

Furthermore, freedom of speech and tolerance of certain human rights. By the constitution, a person is fully empowered to discuss what he believes without hurting anyone’s feelings. According to Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law.” Nonetheless, one has to be limited in his freedom of expression and not be held hostage to the sensitivities and insecurities of the state, its apparatus, or its enforcement agencies. Thus, one can exercise this right of expression for human-right security but under the limits set by the highest law of the land- the Constitution.

Another area where the right to dissent plays a major role is the propagation of thoughts and expressions. In Pakistan, the media have played a historical role in becoming the mouthpiece of the voiceless masses. It provides information to the people about social and economic evils, including the tremendous poverty in the country, the genocide in various tribal areas, etc. Moreover, it acts as a watchdog over the public’s elected representatives, thus acting as a bridge between both the governors and the governed.

Furthermore, freedom of expression can encourage the peaceful coexistence of people of different castes, creeds, and religions. However, such peace can only be maintained if the others’ right to speech is also respected along with speaking out one’s own. Otherwise, the result can be chaos and wars. Ironically, the same was faced by Pakistan in 1971 in the form of the fall of Dhaka- the present day Bangladesh- where the freedom to expression of East Pakistan’s inhabitants is not accepted. So, it is not wrong to say that the globe’s peace can only be maintained when both the right to dissent and tolerating others’ right to dissent go hand in hand.

Last, the right to dissent fosters religious tolerance in society. All the religions in the world teach love and peace. Holy Prophet (PBUH), through his two Hadiths, “Difference of opinion in the Muslim community is a sign of divine favour,” and “It is a mercy of God that the theologians differ in opinion,” declared difference of opinion a source of pleasure and knowledge. Likewise, Holy Quran also favoured tolerance as in, “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” However, such diversity is permissible as long as the basic principles of religion are not affected. Thus, both Ikhtilaf and tolerating Ikhtilaf are prerequisites for religious prosperity in the world.

“All great religions of the world inculcate equality and brotherhood of mankind and the virtue of tolerance”.

Mahatma Gandhi

Although societies grew politically, socially, economically, and rationally only due to the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, in developing nations like Pakistan, it is the greatest misfortune that this most fundamental right is facing curbs not just by the state or military but by the populace itself. Even people who speak for a ‘right of dissent’ harm that very right by slamming down any dissenting voice that goes contrary to what they say. All this has made society prone to corruption in public life, heightened the rift between the political executive and common people, and amplified the evils of society. Thus, the unbridled right of expression and intolerance is responsible for socio-political chaos in the world.

Extrapolating the support freedom of expression gets nationally; international organizations also protect the right through international law. For example, it is evident from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that it reiterates the right to freedom of opinion and expression. According to it, everybody can receive and disseminate information through any means. It shows how much regard the international community gives to the birthright of human beings to speak out loud for what they stand for.


The statement, “I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it”, holds immense importance. According to it, freedom of expression is one of the oldest fundamental rights of human beings. It has catalyzed the development of new ideas, unique solutions, innovative theories, new methodologies for scientific advancements, democratic surety, and conflict resolution. However, the very right to dissent against dissent expressed by others must be encouraged at the cost that one must not violate the right to disagree.

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