I was inspired to this post by a quote that appeared at Shane Greer's place; it's from the one-eyed Scottish idiot and runs as follows:
"What we are suggesting is that we have together to look at what we have done so far … and then say what should happen next? I see consensus, not a disagreement, on that." [Greer, fucking irritatingly, does not link to his source. Bloggers should always, always link to their sources.]
The fact is that there is no consensus about how we should deal with crises such as these; there is actually no consensus about how we should deal with "climate change" either.
However, this word is always deployed to shut down dissenting opinion, and thus to stifle free speech. But it is more insidious than that...
The "consensus" rules everything. It is used to imply that anyone who does not agree with it is not only a dangerous maverick who is wrong, but that someone is actively insane. It is used to justify oppression and bad science, it is used to shut down debate (as with BSE, for instance).
Scandalously—and despite the consistent non-fulfillment of the dire death toll predictions, and the lack of success in replicating the infection path—this has not stopped the prion theory becoming the "concensus" amongst politicians and scientists either too ignorant to know or too greedy to care.
Shutting down debate is always wrong: it is akin to burning books (and any regime that burns books is, in the opinion of your humble Devil, always suspect). Shutting down debate assumes that one court of opinion is correct and, if we have learned one thing throughout the course of human history, it is that there is no one, absolutely correct course.
Anyone who uses the word "consensus" to justify any argument should be viewed with deep suspicion, if not outright hostility; what they are justifying is mob rule and that is always a bad thing.
Plus, they are probably a total cunt.