Consensus – received opinion – accepted wisdom. Different expressions for a similar sort of thing, a framework for understanding the world. We can’t do without them, they are the ‘inherited background against which we judge between true and false’ (Mr Ludwig).
That does not mean, however, that they are not open to investigation and discussion, and that they can be quite shockingly disconnected from reality. (Mr MacIntyre has a good discussion on how to go about it in this book).
I’ve often in my own mind thought of the secular mind-set which is dominant in Western society as a ‘bubble’. Within the bubble it all makes sense; the assumptions are reinforced by the conversations taking place with other people within the bubble; those with assumptions outside the bubble are generally denigrated for being more or less mad or stupid. Those criticised tend to be conservatives, but there is an equally cogent left-wing critique of the bubble, so it isn’t just a left-wing/right-wing divide.
I was put in mind of this by reading these two articles, which each touch on the fact that the establishment bubble is becoming more and more disconnected from reality – and, I would argue, is about to burst. That bursting will lead to us living through some very interesting times.
Victor Davis Hanson: Pity the post-modern cultural elite
American Spectator: The American Ruling Class
Maybe I’m just a member of the elite, but the point of the Hanson piece seemed to be reverse snobbery, focussing on perceived hypocrisy, body image issue, vocal patterns (!) and whether Steven Chu understands the food transport system. Yes, many rich people are deeply disconnected from reality, but that article didn’t do much to convince me of it.