These days there are all sorts of public meetings in which citizen “input” is being sought. A prime example of one such series of meetings was Governor O’Malley’s Plan Maryland hearings that occurred around the state over the last few years or so. (Go here, scroll down to manipulating a meeting) You might have attended a local school board forum to discuss problems in your school system. I’ve seen such gatherings when the National Park Service has plans for your neighborhood (ie. they want your land).
So, it’s important for Tea Partiers to become familiar with a strategy to direct the outcome of meetings toward a pre-determined consensus. Leftists love this form of manipulation! Of course conservatives could use these same techniques, but (I am generalizing), most on the right tend to be too straightforward and honest for a sneaky strategy like this one. Also, professional Leftists have been educated in the Alinsky method and they know that ridicule is a powerful tool and ridicule plays a very important part in this technique. Conservatives tend to find using ridicule too uncomfortable.
Here are two write-ups I found useful in describing the Delphi Technique. Read them over, watch for them and learn the steps to foil the manipulators! By the way, you will laugh (sort of) because you will see it’s been done to you!
The first is from the Virginia Land Rights Coalition:
More and more, we are seeing citizens being invited to “participate” in various forms of meetings, councils, or boards to “help determine” public policy in one field or another. They are supposedly being included to get ”input” from the public to help officials make final decisions on taxes, education, community growth or whatever the particular subject matter might be.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, surface appearances are often deceiving.
You, Mr. or Mrs. Citizen, decide to take part in one of these meetings.
Generally, you will find that there is already someone designated to lead or “facilitate” the meeting. Supposedly, the job of the facilitator is to be a neutral, non-directing helper to see that the meeting flows smoothly.
Actually, he or she is there for exactly the opposite reason: to see that the conclusions reached during the meeting are in accord with a plan already decided upon by those who called the meeting.
The process used to “facilitate” the meeting is called the Delphi Technique. This Delphi Technique was developed by the RAND Corporation for the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1950s. It was originally intended for use as a psychological weapon during the cold war.
However, it was soon recognized that the steps of Delphi could be very valuable in manipulating ANY meeting toward a predetermined end.
And, this description is similar, but a bit more detailed. It comes from the Eagle Forum:
The Delphi Technique and consensus building are both founded in the same principle – the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, with synthesis becoming the new thesis. The goal is a continual evolution to “oneness of mind” (consensus means solidarity of belief) -the collective mind, the wholistic society, the wholistic earth, etc. In thesis and antithesis, opinions or views are presented on a subject to establish views and opposing views. In synthesis, opposites are brought together to form the new thesis. All participants in the process are then to accept ownership of the new thesis and support it, changing their views to align with the new thesis. Through a continual process of evolution, “oneness of mind” will supposedly occur.
In group settings, the Delphi Technique is an unethical method of achieving consensus on controversial topics. It requires well-trained professionals, known as “facilitators” or “change agents,” who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against another to make a preordained viewpoint appear “sensible,” while making opposing views appear ridiculous.
In her book Educating for the New World Order, author and educator Beverly Eakman makes numerous references to the need of those in power to preserve the illusion that there is “community participation in decision-making processes, while in fact lay citizens are being squeezed out.”
The setting or type of group is immaterial for the success of the technique. The point is that, when people are in groups that tend to share a particular knowledge base, they display certain identifiable characteristics, known as group dynamics, which allows the facilitator to apply the basic strategy.
The facilitators or change agents encourage each person in a group to express concerns about the programs, projects, or policies in question. They listen attentively, elicit input from group members, form “task forces,” urge participants to make lists, and in going through these motions, learn about each member of a group. They are trained to identify the “leaders,” the “loud mouths,” the “weak or non-committal members,” and those who are apt to change sides frequently during an argument.
Suddenly, the amiable facilitators become professional agitators and “devil’s advocates.” Using the “divide and conquer” principle, they manipulate one opinion against another, making those who are out of step appear “ridiculous, unknowledgeable, inarticulate, or dogmatic.” They attempt to anger certain participants, thereby accelerating tensions. The facilitators are well trained in psychological manipulation. They are able to predict the reactions of each member in a group. Individuals in opposition to the desired policy or program will be shut out.
The Delphi Technique works.
Read it all to find out how to have fun and ultimately defeat them!
Going forward, let us know if you spot the Technique, where it happened, and how you reacted!