Give Me Consensus or Give Me Death! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Give Me Consensus or Give Me Death!

Give Me Consensus or Give Me Death!

Published September 22, 2006

A society of absolute consensus could be desirable. Imagine the convenience of walking into a record store that only stocked your favourite releases by your favourite artists. Or walking down food mart aisles stuffed with only your favourite brands of your favourite foods. Hearing your most treasured songs every single time you turned on the radio.
Elections would be a thing of the past, as would the tedious process of deciding what movie to catch with your friends on a given night: ‘we all love Jennifer Aniston, now let’s go see her latest flick.’ Imagine the time saved. Wouldn’t that be great? It would.
When you think about it, diversity in taste and opinion only serves to fan the ugly flames of dissent. It’s also time-consuming, tedious and downright inefficient. So, if we ponder diversity using the cut and dry terms of economic loss and profit that we’ve already come to use as the mark of value on most, if not all, things, we would find absolute consensus to be a truly desirable state of affairs: one to really strive for, if only because it would be better for the economy. This is not to mention the fact that we’d all be happier knowing that we were right, or at least that no one would challenge our version of the truth. Truth is what you make it, anyway.
So, now, we’ve found that a society of total consent is indeed something to strive for. It isn’t that far-fetched either. History tells us that such societies have existed in the past, and that they are likely to surface again. It just takes a little work on society’s behalf. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.
Luckily, we may now be closer than ever to such a state of agreement coming to fruition. A fine man declared not so long ago that ‘you are either with us, or you are against us’, offering would-be dissident voices a simple choice and a final chance to fall in line before he set out to eradicate them completely. We Icelanders happily responded that we were indeed ‘with them’ and, in the process, won the recognition and respect of our peers worldwide. And it was the right decision, too. Rocking the boat only makes it unstable and prone to sinking.
There have been more hints of what’s to come. Those that dare to protest, well, almost anything in Iceland — be it aluminum smeltering plants, changes to fishing regulations or ill-thought-out plans to support some foreign war — are dismissed by the majority in charge as being grumpy party-poopers, and jealous ones to boot.
So we’re on the right track, but there’s still a lot to be done before we can joyfully skip down the street knowing that every single person around agrees completely. There’s no question that a Big Mac is the finest food known to man. Their popularity has taught us as much. Michael Jackson’s Thriller is of course the greatest piece of music ever released. Titanic is the ultimate film. That painting, the one with the cute, crying clown that everyone has, that’s the ultimate piece of art. And so on. All of these things the world has come to agree upon and they could serve as models in our next move toward absolute consensus. We need to seek out the most popular opinions and silence those who dare question them.
Now, more than ever, we need to focus on simple, general public agreement. Beating down unpopular views and opinions is no longer just a fun hobby. It is our duty.


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