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Re: What is Politics, anyway?

Poster: Michael and MJ Houghton <herveus@access.digex.net>

Leifr wrote:
> I disagree.  Everyone in a group can answer the question the same way.
> That is what is meant by consensus.  The group may not need to appeal to 
> higher authority; that is often a method chosen to settle political 
> questions.  As for the third point, it makes one definition of bad, 
> versus good politics.
Consensus does NOT require unanimity of opinion. Consensus requires that
no one object strongly enough to stand in the way. There is a subtle 
distinction between agreeing with a decision and being willing to go
along with it. 

I have seen debates/discussions where the "moderator" (being less than
impartial) asserted (peremptorily) that "the sides are too far apart
and too entrenched" and that no consensus was ever going to be found.
That was a classic example of bad politics. In the particular example
I am alluding to, I am sure that there would never have been anything
like unanimity, but consensus was probably achievable.

Consensus is much easier to achieve if everyone has an opportunitu to
express their viewpoint and concerns without being stifled or put down.
It also requires that people be taken seriously, treated with respect.
If you want to wreck consensus, flame them; diss them openly; ignore
them and treat them and their opinions with comtempt. Harden their
hearts toward you. 

I suspect that the collapse of the Northern Principality discussion
can be traced to various individuals (no, I am not going to try to
name names) acting to prevent a consensus. I think the only consensual
outcome from the last round was that there was no point in proceeding
further. There certainly was no consensus on the central question.
I seem to recall that those opposed to the NP (at least initially)
were not categorically opposed; they had concerns about how the NP
would affect the game and their enjoyment of it. Clearly, those 
concerns were not adequately addressed by proponents before peripheral
issues overwhelmed matters. Equally clearly, these concerns could be


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