Consensus Clarification

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Wed Jul 22 04:46:31 PDT 1998

I'm sorry, but I had to write again to clarify what I meant
when replying to Saari about Consensus. 

I must have sounded as if I'm very un-co-operative. I have
nothing against trying to satisfy each member of the group, or
at least avoid seriously mistreating any member. That consideration
is a good thing, and it would be nice if society at large were like
that, but it isn't even close.

Though I believe that it doesn't make sense to make a _rule_ out
of consensus--consensus, or at least consideration, is either there
or it isn't, and can't be legislated--that kind of co-operation 
can happen in close-knit groups of friends, associates working for
the same thing, in the same manner, or maybe a family. In a group
like that, with no inimical relationships, I'd be as co-operative
& considerate as Saari. (More so?)

This isn't to criticize environmentalism, because I'm for as
strict protection of the environment as any other environmentalist,
but the Greens have a high degree of conformity that makes Consensus
work fine. I said that Consensus works only if at least a majority
are willing to keep it in place, and the Consensus meetings I've
been in had near unanimity about the desirability of the Consensus
method. Given unanimity on that, and the somewhat scary degree of
conformity & fashion-driven-ness that the Greens seem to have,
it's no surprise that Consensus works smoothly.

I realize that there wouldn't be a group using Consensus, with
a majority opposed to its use, unless the composition or opinions
of the membership changed since adopting Consensus. Still, it
doesn't mean a whole lot that Consensus works in groups who
nearly unanimously believe in it and want it as their decision

And when I said that I urged walking out of a Consensus group
if you're part of a majority that doesn't believe in that method
and is getting regularly over-ruled, I of course didn't suggest
not being co-operative & considerate, if the minority in the
group is expressing sincerely-felt, reasonable, & intense
opposition to a majority wish. But if you sense obstinateness,
conceit, or that fashion-motive that I referred to, rather than
reasonable and sincere opposition, or if there's an inimical
atmosphere or relationship, then there seems little reason to
stay in the meeting if majority wishes are getting over-ruled.

I think that's everything I wanted to add.

Mike Ossipoff

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