“a consensus can only be trusted to the extent that individuals are free to disagree with it:
Consensus is viewed as a proxy for truth in many discussions of science. When a consensus is formed by the independent and free deliberations of many, it is indeed a strong indicator of truth. Yet not all consensuses are independent and freely formed. We investigate the role of dependence and pressure in the formation of consensus, showing that strong polarization, external pressure, and dependence among individuals can force consensus around an issue, regardless of the underlying truth of the affirmed position. Dependence breaks consensus, often rendering it meaningless; a consensus can only be trusted to the extent that individuals are free to disagree with it …
[From the Conclusion] A Castro Consensus is a near-unanimous show of agreement brought about by means other than the honest and uncoerced judgements of individuals. Using mathematical modeling, we demonstrate how dependence, polarization, and external pressure compromise the relation between truth and consensus. When individuals are fully independent, even under highly unfavorable circumstances a consensus provides strong evidence for the correctness of the affirmed position. This no longer remains the case once dependence, polarization, and external pressure are introduced. With such interventions, the probability of a false consensus increases dramatically.Jarred Allen, Cindy Lay, and George C. Montanez, “A Castro Consensus: Understanding the Role of Dependence in Consensus Formation” at Truth and Trust Online
“Shut up, he explained” is not consensus, it’s false consensus. The trouble is, a system often ends up being plenty rotten before the false consensus collapses on the mediocrities in charge of enforcing it.