Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus
Sun, 23 Jan 2000 08:18:27 EST

I'd like to second (no pun intended) Joe Roach's words about consensus being
coercive. I am extremely uncomfortable at the thought of trying to get a
whole group to think the same way. Why should we all have to agree all the
time? What about valuing diversity? It's a great thing when people can
disagree and yet work together - that's a truly strong community.

In my experience as a staff member at an SVS type school, discussion rarely
if ever shut down once it became clear which way the majority was going, and
in any case the minority was never ignored. Everyone wanted to put their two
cents in, and were encouraged to. In fact, some of our lengthiest and most
heated discussions came about when the minority wanted to turn the tide of
the majority (like when students decided that staff should do all the
cleaning . . .).

For those who will tell you that one can always stand outside consensus, thus
being free not to agree with the whole group, remind them of the meaning of
the word "consensus" and the true principle behind it - the idea that
everyone should agree. If it is all right to have people stand outside (and
think about _that_ terminology, too - if you don't agree you can get out?)
then why isn't it all right to have people register their disagreeing
opinions in a forum that recognizes them?

Cary Brown

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