Saturday, March 28, 2009

The most evil word currently being used...

... is, in the opinion of your humble Devil, "consensus".

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.


Hysteria said...

We can probably get consensus that the English in that sentence is pretty fucking tortured as well.....

Anonymous said...

Consensus means uniformity of thought. Uniformity of thought can be a good thing (as when we're all united in our acceptance of the democratic process) but it can equally be a bad thing (as when all Germans are united in their acceptance of Aryan theories of racial purity).

Within a strictly political context, consensus is a weasel word. It very rarely means that everyone is agreed on a certain set of beliefs; instead, when people say "We have consensus," what they really mean is "The people that matter - that is, the people who get paid from the public purse to rule over - have a consensus".

By its very nature, elite consensus is stifling of opposing thought and intolerant of dissent. Since acceptance of dissent is an absolute prerequisite for a functioning democracy, where one has elite consensus one does not have a functioning democracy.

Consensus of the elite - that is, the unity of the political classes to impose their will and their vision upon the rest of us - strips us of even the illusion of choice; and without alternative choices, we do not even have the illusion of democracy. Remember this when the elites tell us that there is no alternative to our slavish relationship with the European Union or our equally slavish subordination to the Americans.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"Uniformity of thought can be a good thing (as when we're all united in our acceptance of the democratic process)..."

No, sorry: this is wrong. I do not accept the democratic process: it puts morons in charge of my life.

Consensus is never good: we live and progress by questioning the things around us, not be meekly accepting them: "consensus" is used to shut down our questioning facilities, it is used to curtail the immense capacity of humankind to question, assess and develop and, as such, is deeply immoral.

There are no times when consensus is virtuous: none.


Bag said...

It looks like we have consensus here on this very subject.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"It looks like we have consensus here on this very subject."

Shut up, Bag.

(Where have you been? we've missed you... (Unless you are a different Bag, in which case, we haven't).)


Ian B said...

It's the practical application of the marxist approach to the Hegelian dialectic- thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Consensus is the final stage in which the contradictions between thesis and antithesis have been resolved (synthesis).

For what it's worth.

TheFatBigot said...

Consensus is as consensus does. It has both a passive and an aggressive form.

In the passive form it is, for example, the means by which decisions are taken by committees. More often than not this type of consensus is a good thing because a decision has to be taken and consensus irons out extremes and allows a middle path to be followed. If that course proves not to be beneficial the matter can be revisited, but better that than launching onto an extreme path when there are serious concerns that it will be harmful. This type of consensus is about acknowledging there is no monopoly on good judgment and that decisions must always be reversible if circumstances change.

The aggressive form is the worrying aspect because it assumes there is a monopoly on good judgment and that decisions can and should be final when they accord with the view of the current (temporary) bunch of decision-makers.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Brignell's law of scientific consensus is usually pretty reliable:

"At times of high scientific controversy, the consensus is always wrong."


Anonymous said...

No, the most evil word at the moment us "unacceptable." These cocks use it as an objective term decreeing that such-and-such is unacceptable.

No. It isn't.

It's unacceptable to YOU. It's clearly acceptable to the person doing it which is presumably why they are doing it.

Old Greeny said...

Let's not forget, about 400 years ago a consensus of "eminent scientists" said that the Sun orbited the Earth....

Roberto 'Tito' Sarrionandia said...

You've touched upon a much broader point, this is one variation on the Argument from Intimidation.

It's another way of saying "Only an idiot would think x", it is without any merit.

Chalcedon said...

I see Merkel shafted McBroon big time. It appears that Berlin leaked his strategy document to the MSM too.

No consensus within the EU. Or maybe there is but it doesn't include McBroon. With him borrowing so much, putting the UK near the top of this league table, he will probably get some flak from them about this too. We are a fucking laughing stock. 9 months ago $2 to a £. Now look at our bloody currency. This incompetent twat has fucked us all down to our grandchildrens children. And there is still 25% of the electorate that will vote Labour apparently. This amazes me more than anything else.

Katabasis said...

An interesting point on this is made in the Telegraph's comments section for this article on the climate change debate.

The commentator says: "It is a cornerstone of science that scientists are trained to be skeptics not closed minded fanatics. Nor should there be any room for 'consensus' in science; that's something they do in politics.....The media and politicians do not seem to understand a fundamental difference between science and politics; science is not democratic."

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Check out this video of a U.S. student protester. This idiot has been infected by academic/leftie/ political-speak, and probably requires a group concensus before ordering a Big Mac.

BrianSJ said...

Margaret Thatcher (“The Downing Street Years”, p. 167): “Consensus is the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot (otherwise) get agreement on the way ahead”.

Roger Thornhill said...

Statists LOVE consensus. I suspect some LibDemmers get a semi at the very mention of the word.

Compromise, endless discussion, process is their stock in trade. Consensus means an unlimited merry-go-round in those areas. It becomes a win-win. It is very much in the Tyranny of the Majority camp, for consensus will result when the opposition is beaten down and forced to collectivise.