Deposing Dictators

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Thu Aug 2 15:15:10 CEST 2001

"Bengt Richter" <bokr at> wrote in message
news:3b68b5ce.1031682601 at
> On Wed, 01 Aug 2001 18:04:16 -0700, Paul Prescod <paulp at>
> [...]
> OT
> >"/". Life goes on. Get used to it. I'm told Presidents of the United
> >States make mistakes and life goes on then too. I have a strong feeling
> >that if either Python or a country was run by consensus, there would be
> >more mistakes not less.
> Hopefully the country (US) is run by consensus of our representatives, but

It's not supposed to be: a simple majority is sufficient when
several equal representatives are involved (House, Senate,
Supreme Court) -- the minority does get a voice (dissenting
opinion, in the SC's case, for example) but while consensus
may be sought it's surely not required.

If you want historical examples where consensus WAS required,
you'll find plenty -- wherever any member gets unconditional
veto rights, THEN you do need consensus of some sort for a
decision (the President does get to veto Congress votes, but
not unconditionally -- he can still be overruled by a large
enough *majority* in Congress, again consensus not needed).

For example, we still DO need consensus of all Europe Union
countries for many decisions.  Used to be, for all of them,
and we've gradually moved to majority or qualified-majority
for many -- the need for consensus too often leads to
paralysis and extremely watered-down compromises.  But
when sovereign powers are involved it's hard to remove
the need for consensus (i.e., the ability to veto) for
issues close enough to a nation's vital interests -- see
the UN's Security Council, for example.  Again, paralysis
is not all that unlikely.


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