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Thread: The Principle of Consensus

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Default The Principle of Consensus

    I would like to suggest that our discussions here would be more productive if we agreed on and kept in mind the following principle:-

    "It is best, if possible, to avoid actions that any significant group of people strongly disagree with."

    Or, in approximately logically equivalent form,

    "I prefer it if other people avoid actions that I strongly disagree with."

    Do you disagree with the first statement?

    If so, do you disagree with the idea that the second statement (assuming it applies to everyone) sort-of implies the first?
    An East Irish

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    but then the internet would be no fun....

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvmycountry View Post
    but then the internet would be no fun....
    Don't worry; we will still be able to argue about "usuns" being too consensual and "themuns" being not consensual enough.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member between the bridges's Avatar
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    all well and good DC however there is a difference between holding an opinion many others disagree with and expressing an opinion intended to offend/annoy/wined others.
    The interweb is a playground and therefore playground rules apply... ridiculous as it may seem the most meaningful debate i have seen on here was on a thread started by one of the trolls...
    Nec Aspera Terrent..Is Tuaisceart-Éireannach mé. Má tá meas agat ar mo chultúr, beidh meas agam ar do chultúr.

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by between the bridges View Post
    all well and good DC however there is a difference between holding an opinion many others disagree with and expressing an opinion intended to offend/annoy/wined others.
    The interweb is a playground and therefore playground rules apply... ridiculous as it may seem the most meaningful debate i have seen on here was on a thread started by one of the trolls...
    The principle I am putting forward applies to actions, not to opinions. In a discussion forum, we want to hear opinions we disagree with - otherwise it would be boring and we would have nothing to argue about. But I presume most people prefer not to see actual events happen that they strongly disagree with.

    The implications of valuing consensus are quite far-ranging. I think you will find that it supports many of your positions with regards to the history of the last 45 years.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member physicist's Avatar
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    Consensual, Organized and Respectful debate? ... Is this going to end up with us calling you Mr Speaker or Ceann Comhairle any time soon?

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    @physicist,

    What do you think about the idea that the second statement in the OP is almost a tautology and it almost implies the first statement (at least if you restrict it to moderately-desired actions and make some assumptions that the individual dis-utility of "strongly disagree" is much greater than the utility of "moderately-desired")?
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member between the bridges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCaldwell View Post
    The principle I am putting forward applies to actions, not to opinions. In a discussion forum, we want to hear opinions we disagree with - otherwise it would be boring and we would have nothing to argue about. But I presume most people prefer not to see actual events happen that they strongly disagree with.

    The implications of valuing consensus are quite far-ranging. I think you will find that it supports many of your positions with regards to the history of the last 45 years.
    sorry DC i don't follow your logic, the vast majority of us are faceless entities to each other, therefore we only know each others opinions rather than actions?
    Nec Aspera Terrent..Is Tuaisceart-Éireannach mé. Má tá meas agat ar mo chultúr, beidh meas agam ar do chultúr.

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by physicist View Post
    Consensual, Organized and Respectful debate? ... Is this going to end up with us calling you Mr Speaker or Ceann Comhairle any time soon?
    Please note I am not suggesting that consensus in opinions is good. Rather that, with all the differing opinions, it is worth-while, if possible, seeking out the actions/options on which there is consensus, do them first and then re-evaluate.
    An East Irish

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    Politics.ie Member DavidCaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by between the bridges View Post
    sorry DC i don't follow your logic, the vast majority of us are faceless entities to each other, therefore we only know each others opinions rather than actions?
    Consensus of opinions is like agreement of measurements. Imagine we want to carpet a room. We need to know its dimensions. If you and I make separate measurements and they disagree, the best thing to do is to make further measurements until they agree - or, if worst comes to worst, take an average. So, consensus of opinions isn't valuable in itself, but only if the opinions are close to reality. But it can be indicative, just as when separate measurements agree, this suggests they are right.

    In contrast, I would suggest that it is a good strategy (usually) to give preference to actions that everyone agrees with (or at least nobody strongly disagrees with). Politics and government etc are iterative - we evaluate the situation, come to decisions, act, re-evaluate, make further decisions etc. If we do something on which there is a consensus, even if it is just a small step, then we may be in a better position to take our next step etc. The analogy here would be the two of us trying to navigate our way across a misty mountain landscape. I think we should turn left, you think we should go right; we can agree to go ahead a little up a ridge where there will be a better view. In this context, giving preferences to actions on which there is consensus can often be a good idea.
    An East Irish

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