‘Consensus-building’ and ‘leadership’

From our schools to our media to our bureaucracies, every aspect of our society is so infested with Cultural Marxism that ‘Newspeak’ has seriously corrupted not just our language, but our very ability to think clearly.  We no longer even recognize it when we hear it.

One such example is the currently popular claim that ‘leadership’ requires one to be skilled at ‘consensus building’.

First, let’s look at the meaning of ‘leadership’ and what constitutes ‘a leader’:

‘Leadership’ is the ‘ability to lead’, fulfilling the role or function of a ‘leader’.

‘To lead’ means to ‘show way by going in advance’, ‘to guide’, ‘to direct’, ‘to inspire’.

So, whom do we, as a society, regard as the greatest leaders of all times?  I did a little bit of googling on this – please, do the same.  While the leaders ‘closest’ to us necessarily dominate our cultural memory, there were some names that consistently keep being mentioned, by educational sites, journalistic/populist opinion sites and discussion boards alike.

In no particular order, these are just some of these names that keep cropping up over and over when people discuss ‘great leaders’:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Elisabeth I of England
  • Gengis Khan
  • Epicurus
  • Alexander the Great
  • Ghandi
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Golda Meir
  • George Washington
  • Cyrus the Great
  • Winston Churchill
  • Muhammad
  • Constantine
  • Samudragupta
  • Wu Ti
  • Ivan III
  • Napoleon
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • C. D. Howe
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Bismarck

So, how many of these were known as ‘consensus builders’?

If I may quote from ‘What is ‘Cultural Marxism’?’, a guest-post on this blog by CodeSlinger:

Another example is the concept of intersubjective rationality, developed by Habermas, which replaces the individual process of reaching a conclusion based on the objective criterion that it follows from valid reasoning and known facts, on the one hand, with the social process of establishing a consensus supported by the subjective criterion that the group feels good about it, on the other hand. In today’s schools, those who do the former are maligned for being judgmental and demanding, while those who do the latter are praised for being good team players.

‘Consensus’ literally means ‘coming together’ (con) ‘of feelings’ (senses, sentiments).  Dictionaries typically define ‘consensus’ as an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole.

In other words, ‘consensus building’ is a form of governance a group of people will resort to when it lacks ‘leadership’.

How does this translate into the political world?  We are constantly bombarded with the message that great political leaders ought to be skilled at ‘consensus building’…

Our ‘Western’ societies have built-in safeguard mechanisms to ensure that ‘governments’ remain accountable to the citizens who elect them.  Perhaps the most important single element in this mechanism is that our elected bodies are based on the adversarial principle.

It is precisely because the political adversaries of those who propose a particular policy or course of action bring public scrutiny to it by publicly pointing out the flaws or shortcomings of this proposal that the issue is brought to public attention and thoroughly examined.  It is certainly not a pleasant process (nor is it meant to be pleasant), but it is one through which at least some light is shed onto what is being proposed – in as much detail as possible – and which engages the electorate in the debate (at least a little bit).

This is the method through which, in our system, we the citizens keep our elected politician accountable to us.  It is therefore important that we do nothing which would minimize this process!

What would happen if, before proposing a new law or introducing a new project, the head of the group that is proposing it went to all the elected representatives and put just enough of an ‘incentive’ into the proposal for each an every one of the representatives to not want to loose that ‘carrot’?

Certainly, any such project would be significantly costlier, because in addition to the core cost, it would now have to also bear the cost of a ‘carrot’ for each of the elected representatives – the bit that got them to ‘go along’ with it.

Of course, any such law or rule would be significantly more convoluted because it would now have to accommodate/fulfill/have exemptions for/’bundle in’ all the ‘carrots’  for each of the elected representatives – the ‘incentives’ that would be built in to it to ‘facilitate the building of the consensus’.

Every ‘quid’ would have a ‘quo’.

All policy would be shaped by back-room deals, where ‘consensus builders’ would be busy building ‘accommodations’ and ‘incentives’ into everything that would placate or mollify any potential dissent….among the elected representatives.

Once this process was done, the product would be presented to the public as a ‘done deal’.  I imagine the ‘dialog’ with the electorate would go something like this:

We have worked it all out, the proposal is so awesome that we all agree on it!

What?  You want to see the details?


We, your elected representatives all agree on this so this must the best course of action.  We have examined it in detailed and built a consensus – you needn’t worry your pretty little heads about it!

What?  You don’t like it?  You want to vote us out?

And replace us with whom?  EVERYONE agrees with this!

In other words, if there is a consensus among our elected representatives on a proposed course of action, if each and every one of them considers it in his or her best interest to proceed with it as is, it is very unlikely that the voters, the citizens, will have any opportunity to learn much about it before it is implemented.  There is another word for this type of ‘consensus’:  collusion!

In an environment like this, an environment of back-room-deals and political collusion, where there is little controversy which leads to public debate or scrutiny of proposed policies, corruption can be very easily hidden.

In my never-humble-opinion, ‘consensus-building’ among elected representatives is not just anathema to responsible government and an abdication of leadership, it is an active attempt to corrupt our governance structures and eliminate accountability of elected officials to the citizenry.

I would even go further than that:  politicians who tout governing through ‘consensus-building’ are openly admitting they intend to rule through corruption!


2 Responses to “‘Consensus-building’ and ‘leadership’”

  1. Calculus Says:

    I wonder ….

    Is this form of collusion a natural result of a highly risk averse group. That is, if no one person made the decision (the entire group agreed), no single person is responsible–spread the blame.

    Of course such a plan relies upon faulty logic. They are a group of individuals and each individual can be held accountable for his/her decisions and actions. That type of thinking I expect more from children than I should from our elected representatives. What parent would let their child get away with the excuse “But everyone else did it too!”

    Xanthippa says:

    It is a little more subtle than that.

    Rather, if, say, your city council comes up with a plan – any project.

    If there are some representatives that oppose the plan, they’ll speak up. They’ll point out the flaws in the plan. The media will report on the issue. The public will be informed and likely demand more details – which will be discussed both around the coffee machines/coolers at work and on the editorial pages of newspapers. The worth of the project will be examined, public opinion will be for or against – perhaps changes will be made.

    If, however, all the elected representatives want the project to pass, because each one benefits in some way, shape or form from it (say, an extra water park for the area where most of their voters have been asking for one, or something else that will help them get re-elected….or, much worse, perhaps advance knowledge where a subway route will go, along with the ‘very quiet’ means to purchase the surrounding land that will greatly go up in price as a result, or some such thing…) Where was I?

    Ah, yes. What if EACH of the elected representatives has ‘a carrot’ like this in the proposed project? What if there has been a lot of secret little backroom deals, making sure these ‘carrots’ were there? What if it is in each of their best interests to just pass the whole project – to vote to proceed with it – without actually telling anyone outside the council very much about it?

    They’ll keep as much information out of the public knowledge as possible.

    They’ll vote and agree to go ahead with the project – keeping all the details under wraps.

    Each one of the representatives benefits personally – either because they’ll get something that makes it more likely they’ll be re-elected, or derives personal profit, or some similar ‘consideration’.

    But, the project receives very little public scrutiny. Not only do we not find out about the ‘carrots’, we also do not find out much about the project itself.

    It is precisely because we don’t know much about anything that the elected representatives are not really accountable for it… Often, the results of such bad deals don’t come to light for many years, perhaps a decade or two – by which time these guys are already rich and their career is done. You can only be held accountable for things the public finds out about!

    It is this – keeping the ‘lively’ debate ‘under wraps’ that prevents the accountability, not the fact that the decision was reached ‘collectively’.

  2. Steynian 415st « Free Canuckistan! Says:

    […] XANTHIPPA– From our schools to our media to our bureaucracies, every aspect of our society is so […]

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