Unfortunately, it is one of those words in the English language that has divergent meanings. I sense that you use it in the sense that something has lost its potency (eg. Secrecy has been compromised.) Am I correct?
I don't want to feed an ugly dog!
I actually think consensus is an unrealistic basis for governing and definitely undesirable. It hardly works in governing a church, and never works for a country. The form of compromise that I think can permit people who disagree vehemently on many issues to work effectively together consists of several crucial elements:
- Recognition of a fundamental common interest. Just as the success of a marriage depends more on a commitment to make it work than it does on the love of the moment, the success of a country is founded on acceptance of equal rights of citizenship (none of us is more American than the other), a commitment to the democratic process, and a recognition that patritotic allegiance does not demand agreement.
- A willingness to form tactical alliances on issues without expecting or requiring ideological agreement on reasons. These alliances may take the form of agreement on an action (build a dam) for different reasons (you want a recreational area, I want flood control), or horse trading in which I support your cause in return for your support of mine.
- Honest brokers: People with divergent objectives can work together as long as each trusts the other to fulfill their part of a bargain. You do not need to like your bargaining partners; you do need to trust them. In turn, you must be trustworthy yourself even when it is not in your short term interest.
- Do not demonize opponents that you can't kill: When you demonize your opponents, you forget the common ground that binds you and make it impossible for your opponent to ever trust you as an honest broker.
Compromise; 1 a : settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
Consesnsus; 1 a : general agreement : unanimity <the consensus of their opinion, based on reports…from the border — John Hersey> b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned <the consensus was to go ahead>
You be the judge.
By definition, which do you prefer?