When I was in undergrad I published my first and only paper in a journal. It wasn’t actually much of a paper, and I never followed up on the subject very seriously, but it resonates a bit now.
The paper was about the rise of trade unionism in the First World War in Germany and the UK. The story is often forgotten, but it’s important. The British Union movement staunchly resisted the war effort, and in particular resisted giving in blindly to the government’s demands due to “wartime considerations”. They fought tooth and nail for concessions in working hours, in pay rates, and most importantly for recognition by the state.
Britain still won the war (with lots of help from others of course), and not in spite of the Unions, because the criticisms they brought to the table improved the conditions of people in general, which led to greater success and support in general for the war effort.
There’s a lesson in this for us, today. Important parts of societies can be critical of their government and strive for improvement while not dooming the whole effort. Societies can be improved during crisis periods, and such improvement doesn’t always mean blindly following along, necessarily.
The price of freedom, it is said, is eternal vigilance. That applies equally, always, inwards as well as outwards. The external foe is not the only threat.