Consensus Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. Alexis de Tocqueville
To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects. Margaret Thatcher
In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them. Alexis de Tocqueville
Unanimity of opinion is characteristic of savages and civilization only advances as more and more people have the right to call wrong what the majority calls right.. George Samuel Schuyler
If we we were to intentionally set out to cause the extinction of a species, we should think about that. I would want there to be some consideration and reflection of a social consensus before we take that step. Henry T. Greely
The views of several individuals are assuredly preferable to one man, even as the power of a number of men is of course greater than the power of one man. Abdul Baha; Effendi Abbas
If in the first group of people who have gathered, unanimity is not achieved, new people shall be added, after which a group equal in number to the Greatest Name or fewer or greater shall be chosen from their midst by lots; whereupon the consultation shall be renewed; whatever is the result shall be obeyed. If the second time opinions again differ, repeat the process a third time. This time obey the majority vote. Bahaullah; Husayn Ali Nuri
No religious consensus is possible in the United States, and to impose one would be both unconstitutional and unjust. Charles C. Haynes
He who departs from consensus is not an infidel. Averroes; Abu'l Walid Muhammad Ibn Rushd Al-Qurtubi
Better be wrong with the many than right with the few. Portuguese Proverb
Minority rights are just as important as majority decisions. George W. Bush
A government, a ruling class cannot go to war if the people are unwilling and resisting. Therefore a moral and intellectual preparation is no less necessary than a technical and organizational preparation. Anton Pannekoek
A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually Abba Eban
It is not hard to get men to agree when the facts are known. Owen Brewster
“Consensus” … is only another way of describing the issues that have been taken off the table. Christopher Caldwell
The only place you find unanimity is in the graveyard. And even there, I have heard it said, at election times the dead have been known to vote in various ways. Maurice L. Duplessis
Encourage a readiness to find consensus. Arpad Goncz
It is the culture at the Fed [Federal Reserve Board] to seek consensus as distinct from merely recording one's vote.... Unless the chairman has everyone behind him, he can't go very far. Alan Greenspan
In government, consensus is more important than command; persuasion not only works better than arrogance, it's vital to the democratic process. Ellen Hume; Jane Mayer
If all the economists in the world were lain end to end, they would never meet. Stephen Leacock
It is not possible to assume that a world carried on by division of labor and authority, can be governed by universal opinions in the whole population. Walter Lippmann
The political leaders with whom we are familiar generally aspire to be superstars rather than heroes .... Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by the judgment of the future ... Henry A. Kissinger
The principal concern of Mexico’s political elite today is how to build governing majorities and achieve consensus. M. Delal Baer
To enable consensus politics to develop we need to empower people where they live. This means devolving financial resources and political power down to the community level. One of the greatest blocks to movement is fear. This fear can only be removed when people feel their voices are being heard by government and when they have a say in their own lives and communities. Mairead Corrigan Maguire
A democratic state must feel before it can see; that is what makes it slow to act. But the people, at last, will be right. George Washington
If 98 doctors say my son is ill and needs medication and two say, “No, he doesn’t, he is fine,’ I will go with the 98. It’s common sense-the same with global warming. We go with the majority, the large majority...The key thing now is that since we know this industrial age has created it, let’s get our act together and do everything we can to roll it back. Arnold Schwarzenegger
How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take? Adin Ballou
You want consensus, but there are times when people are just not going to agree. So you just have to decide. John Whitehead
The great obstacle in the way of reform is neither American nor English, it is simply human. All that we know, by past experience, of the attempts of man to provide himself with a government, makes it most unlikely that an effort, repeated every four years, on the part of one hundred millions of people, to elect a single officer as the chief of state, should succeed. It seemed reasonable enough when the Constitution was framed for 3,000,000 people, leading a simple agricultural life. All democracies of which the world has had any experience, have been small … Our desire to create a ‘world Power’ out of the Federal machine is a fiasco, full of shame and disappointment. Edwin Lawrence Godkin
Well then, the ayes have it. Harold Howe
In our "age of the expert" the expert has his constituency — those who have a vested interest in commonly held opinions; elaborating and defining the consensus at a high level has, after all, made him an expert. Henry A. Kissinger
I don't think morality can be decided on the private level. I think you need public guidance and public support for a moral consensus. The average person has to know instinctively, without thinking too much about it, how he should raise his children. Irving Kristol
It is impossible to please all the world Jean de La Fontaine
Decisions will be made to the contentment of all parties. Henry IV
Anybody who get easily frustrated should not be in the United States Senate. We operate by unanimous consent …. Any Senator can stop the train. Lamar Alexander
It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy. Thomas Paine
The more conservative element of Negroes differ from those who hold the most radical views in opposition to segregation only in terms of time and technique of its elimination …. all Negroes must condemn any form of segregation based on race, creed or color anywhere in our nation Frederick D. Patterson
Justice has nothing to do with victor nations and vanquished nations, but must be a moral standard that all the world's peoples can agree to. Hideki Tojo
I’m not running this district by consensus or committee. I’m not running this school district through the democratic process. Michelle Rhee
I mean, you know, this idea that somebody we disagree with on economic or social policy or something we have to turn into some kind of ogre or demon, I think, is a mistake. I mean, it's like telling the American people or half the American people that don't agree with you they're all fools. That's just not true. Bill Clinton
Two men who differ as to the ends of life cannot hope to agree about education. Bertrand; 3rd Earl of Kingston
If everyone in the party has to agree on everything, that’s going to be a very small party. Rand Paul
Beyond independence, Americans had no consensus on what being an American meant. Joseph J. Ellis
Consensus is the essence of the legislative process. David Broder
We are now going through a period of demolition. In morals, in social life, in politics, in medicine, and in religion there is a universal upturning of foundations. But the day of reconstruction seems to be looming, and now the grand question is: Are there any sure and universal principles that will evolve a harmonious system in which we shall all agree? Catharine Beecher
Europe has a lot of problems when there are sudden decisions to take. Enrico Letta
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades. Vladimir Putin
In Afghanistan, legitimate authority has been traditionally highly localized, a product of consensus rather than brute force, and firmly anchored in tribal, clannish, and kinship structures. Jonah Blank
Establishing a stable democracy is a two stage process. First you get rid of the old regime, then you build a durable democratic replacement. Because the first stage is dramatic, many people think the game is over when the dictator is gone. But the second stage is more difficult. There are many examples of broad coalitions coming together to oust dictators but relatively few of them stayed together and agreed on what a new regime should look like. Sheri Berman
Another reason commissions are able to produce consensus—perhaps the rarest of Washington commodities—is the simple opportunity they provide for intense private deliberations. Jordan Tama
Don’t depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness. Ibn Taymiyya
Despite the frequent drama at the political level, America and Americans have found a comfortable center line in what it is they want their government to do and what it is that they accept their government doing. It is that practical consensus that has fostered such powerful continuity between to vastly different Presidents—George W, Bush and Barack Obama—when it comes to this conflict. Michael Hayden
Insofar as it represents a genuine conciliation of differences, a consensus is a fine thing; insofar as it represents the concealment of differences, it is a miscarriage of democratic procedure. J. William Fulbright
We are in a period when old questions are settled and the new are not yet brought forward. Rutherford B. Hayes
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken. Bertrand Russell
A real leader does not rely on consensus. He builds consensus. Martin Luther King Jr.
… the difficulty in bringing our people to agree upon it has ever discouraged me. John Adams
You are the only person that you agree with 100 percent of the time. Chris Christie
If we can’t agree on the facts, how can we agree on the solutions? Frank Luntz
More countries have agreed to the Paris Climate accords than have ever agreed to anything else in the world. Tom Steyer
We [Congress] are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important. […] That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. John McCain
Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. [...] The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it. [...] By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker’s voice. The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each. Anthony Kennedy

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