The Complexity Of Consensus

Substituting the conference table for the battlefield

Derek London
6 min readJul 31, 2021


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“[N]o resolution is passed until every delegation has dissected it with jewellers’ tools,”

Herein, I wanted to talk about one of the main issues people have against federative bodies like the United Nations. What prompts me to talk about this are two things.

Firstly, I’ve long been an advocate of the work the United Nations does around the world; and I’ve grown especially weary of this so-called anti-globalist sentiment character of so many right wing populist movements that have swept the world in recent years — chief among them, Trumpism.

Secondly, and most recent, Ban Ki-moon, the former secretary-general of the United Nations just released a book I was gifted an advanced reading copy and invited to offer my review of. It’s called Resolved: Uniting Nations In A Divided World. If you’d like to watch my official response to it, follow the link:

The Bureaucratic Leviathan

“With all it’s defects, with all the failures that we can check up against it, the UN still represents man’s best-organized hope to substitute the conference table for the battlefield.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Toward the beginning of Resolved, Ban addresses that most common criticism about the United Nations being the gridlocked, expensive, bureaucratic Leviathan it is. While Ban Ki-moon, and I too, feel it is a non sequitur to abandon its mandate, we do understand where this sentiment comes from and why consensus is necessarily a tedious and near impossible task.

I’m going to relate an anecdote from his memoir which so dramatically illustrates the point. This story that Ban Ki-moon recounts obviously pre-dates his post as secretary-general — Ban headed the…



Derek London

Editor for Diogenes Lounge. Writer for ILLUMINATION and a YouTube personality. Subscribe to my channel: