Thursday, November 4, 2010

Manufacturing Consensus

Reading The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America and The Underground History of American Education were watershed moment in understanding our current reality regarding society, culture and the way in which our country really operates.
They opened my eyes to the reality that in fact there does exist an elite class of people who really do make decisions that affect and effect all of our lives.

These are the same people George Carlin called The Owners of This Country.

While digging into the research to figure out the methodology they employ to socially engineer society to suit their purposes, I discovered the way in which they use the Hegelian Dialect to create our modern dystopia.

The Hegelian Dialect is the overarching framework for advancing their goals to control the masses...but I recently came across another social engineering technique that was implemented to get communities across the country to accept the changes in the educational system decades ago that have contributed to the brainwashing and deliberate dumbing down of the kids today. This technique is called the Delphi Technique.

An article entitled: Educating for the New World Order - The Role of Behavioral Psychology, details how a group of educators who were puzzled by the vast institutional and curriculum changes that had occurred in the early 80's that shifted the focus from academic achievement to behavioral programming. They assumed that the Federal Government was unawares of these changes...until they started investigating the files of the Department of Education to determine just where the mandates for those changes had originated from. What they found were research documents from the RAND corporation that showed the US DOE used tax money to fund research into behavioral programming and how to manufacture consensus out of groups who may have opposed the educational program changes they were implementing.

What Pennsylvania Group researchers did not expect to find was a how-to manual with a 1971 U.S. Office of Education contract number on it entitled Training for Change Agents; or seven volumes of "change agent studies" commissioned by the U.S. Office of Education to the Rand Corporation in 1973-74; or scores of other papers submitted by behaviorist researchers who had obtained grants from the U.S. Office of Education for the purpose of exploring ways to "freeze" and "unfreeze" values, " to implement change," and to turn potentially hostile groups and committees into acquiescent, rubber-stamp bodies by means of such strategies as "the Delphi Technique. "

No longer was it mere speculation that federal funds for education were being used to pursue behavioral objectives instead of academic ones; here were official texts and documents, solicited by the U.S. government, saying so specifically. With the training manual in hand, it was learned also for the first time precisely how sophisticated psychological manipulation techniques were being used to defuse potentially hostile elements - like parent groups (PTAs), teachers, and community watchdog organizations - so that they are maneuvered into accepting programs and strategies of which they really do not approve.

To say that the Group was shocked by this find would fail to capture the essence of the moment. The room that first examined Training for Change Agents looked like a mass dental examination - every mouth was open.

Change agent training was launched with federal funding under the Education Professions Development Act (1967). The original purpose of the Act was to provide funds to local education agencies to attract and train teachers because of the then-critical shortage. But by the early seventies, these funds were being used by the U.S. Office of Education, under the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, "to award grants to colleges and universities for the training of change agents." The Office of Education even ran one elementary school in Gary, Indiana, jointly with the Behavioral Research Labs to test change agent theories! It is not known whether parents knew anything about it.

By following up references on "behavioral strategies," Pennsylvania Group researchers stumbled onto a series of documents about "how to gain social acceptance for an innovation."

That series of documents essentially outlined the use of the Delphi Technique to overcome resistance from parents.

One of the first papers the team read was Clyde Hall's 21-page "How to Implement Change." In it, he explained "the science of planned change," which translates to legislated and managed change. In one passage the reader learns that:
[i]n a managed change process an outside agent is usually involved which is referred to as a 'change agent' and the population with which it works is called the 'client system'.
The Hall paper goes on to discuss the techniques of "freezing" and "unfreezing" attitudes - today called "programming" and "de-programming." But he was not talking about students' attitudes; he was talking about teachers' attitudes being changed - through teacher workshops, inservice education, and revised college/university teacher education programs. The change agent, he states, would only be withdrawn when "the new attitudes are stabilized."

 To brainwash the children, you must first brainwash the teachers.

To implement a curriculum, the change agent will instruct the teacher by launching the pilot program.

To gain community and/or parental support for a policy, mandate, or curriculum, the change agent will form a committee comprised of the people from whom support is sought. He or she will serve as a lightning rod to draw out the objections (and, more important, the objectors) so that the target group can be manipulated toward an affirmative consensus.

This is why the change agent must be an "advocate-organizer-agitator...

The change agent's primary role was to be a facilitate change. (Change you can believe in.... I guess Obama is our current Chief Executive Change Agent). To do this, the change agent would facilitate a community meeting and take on a three part role of advocate, organizer, than agitator.

As an "advocate," the change agent gets the target group to trust him (or her), by making the group believe he/she is on their side, a "good guy," someone who really cares what each individual in the group thinks. If the group is composed of teachers, the change agent will say: "I know how much time you spend on paperwork." If the group is parents, the change agent will commiserate: "It's so hard to get kids to want to learn, isn't it."

The change agent goes through the motions, acting as an "organizer," getting each person in the target group to voice concerns about the policy, project, or program in question. He listens attentively, forms task forces, urges everyone to make lists, and so on. While he is doing this, the change agent is learning something about each member of the target group. He is learning who the "leaders" are, who the loudmouths are, which persons seem weak or noncommittal, which ones frequently change sides in an argument.

Suddenly, Mr./Ms. Nice Guy change agent becomes Devil's Advocate. He dons his professional agitator hat and pits one group against the other. He knows exactly what he is doing, who to pit against whom. If the change agent has done his homework, he has everybody's number, as the saying goes. He deftly turns the "pro" group against the "con" group by helping to make the latter seem ridiculous, or unknowledgeable, or dogmatic, or inarticulate - whatever works. He wants certain members of the group to get mad; he is forcing tensions "to escalate." The change agent is well trained in psychological techniques; he can fairly well predict who will respond to what. The individuals against the policy or program will be shut out.

This is called the Delphi Technique.

This is the basic framework for how the Delphi Technique is facilitated by a change agent.

Another way to use the Delphi Technique to manufacture consensus is to use a survey approach. From BEWARE - the Delphi Technique Trained Facilitators in public meetings:

The survey approach, when used, is supposedly anonymous. It is done with a group of people who may never come face to face. A knowledgeable person has little opportunity to get exposure of his or her views or ideas to the entire group. It is a technique used by the educational establishment (often financed by the U.S. Department of Education) for reaching a supposed consensus on curriculum goals, content or instructional methods. Widely used as a technique for developing programs "to meet the needs of an individual state or community" the results often turn out to be almost identical, even in wording, to those adopted in other communities or states.

How Delphi Works

Using a series of surveys to develop a "consensus" was the original technique. A 100 page report using a Delphi technique survey done in 1989 is typical. The study was titled, Teacher Perceptions of the Effects of Implementation of Outcome-Based education. It was financed and distributed by ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) of the U.S. Department of Education. The report described the method used. It said: A random sample of 60 teachers was selected from 600 teachers in an Iowa school district. The 60 teachers were given a "survey" which included 39 "statements" concerning educational goals and implementation of OBE. Those surveyed were given a choice of six responses from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Space was provided for writing any comments or reactions to each statement.

When the surveys were returned, those conducting them tallied the results and analyzed the comments. An effort was made to determine the degree to which at least 75% of those responding would accept each of the statements. On the first "try" 75% or more of those responding agreed to (or would go along with) twenty of the original thirty-nine statements or premises. Those twenty statements became a part of the "consensus."

Try, Try And Try Again

A month later the sixty participants were surveyed again. They were asked to rethink their positions and then were again given the nineteen statements on which there had been no "consensus." When these tabulations were done, there was a consensus on twelve of the nineteen. Thirty days later, a third survey was done on the last seven points. By the time the third round was completed and the written comments were tabulated, it was found that a consensus was achieved and at least 75% of the participants were "in agreement" on the pre-determined package of statements. When the Delphi "consensus" is achieved, a lengthy and comprehensive report can be prepared and released using the "consensus" to support the goals and techniques of OBE or a tax increase or some other new project. When experienced teachers, or citizens, or business leaders, etc. have come to a "consensus" anyone disagreeing, must obviously be uninformed or out of step and may be an odd ball. The technique avoids the possibility of informed people with conflicting views influencing others.

 In a nutshell, the Delphi Technique is a psychological technique to use peer pressure, and group think to ensure that resistance to change is minimized, and hostile opposition is marginalized. But it's not just limited to effecting change in education. I suspect it's now a common technique to facilitate change in community meetings, townhall meetings or any other sort of public meeting for which a "consensus" was reached and some program or fundamental change is justified by the consensus reached at such a meeting.

A group of interested citizens, community leaders, pastors, labor and business leaders, etc. are invited with the announced goal of "getting input" to develop a community "consensus on the problem of XYZ." The session starts with a general assembly addressed by an "expert" from Washington, a college, etc. He or she sets forth the "problem," the "opportunity" and general goals all can agree upon. There may be 50, 75, 100 or 250 in attendance in the general session.

When the general session ends, attendees may be instructed to check the package of materials they received when they registered to find a numbered or colored card -- red, blue, green, orange, etc. This determines the breakout session they will attend with 10 to 40 others. There will be a "facilitator' running each breakout session. There may be a panel of lesser experts to help in the discussion. When the time comes for input (comments and suggestions from the group), a call may be issued for a volunteer to serve as the "recorder" or "secretary." Normally one has already been chosen to "volunteer." This person may work at a chalkboard. As suggestions and proposals are made, the "recorder" will say, "I think we can simplify that to say" Or "I think what you are saying is ...." Or "Can we say it this way..." An unwelcome comment or question can be disregarded by the recorder who says "That's outside the scope of what we are dealing with today."

They will usually get five to eight such suggestions, at which time there is a break before going back to the general session. The "recorders" from each group get together and construct a joint "consensus" of the ideas and agreements from their sessions. A list of "agreed upon" goals, etc. is presented to the entire group. There will not usually be opportunities given for additional comments or disagreements in the general session when the "consensus" is presented.

Through the entire process, of course, care is taken to isolate the informed, opinionated individual who could sway the entire group if given an opportunity to speak. If there are half a dozen such people in attendance, the odds are they will be in different breakout sessions so they cannot support one another. In the final report on "consensus," a conservative or traditional answer may be thrown in. However, it will be presented in a way which indicates it was probably a joke. Everyone will laugh at how impossible that approach would be. This will serve to further intimidate other right thinking people. Many in attendance may be uneasy with the "consensus" but they don't want to appear stupid or out of step so they go along with the group's "consensus."

In hindsight, I recall very vividly the experience of being subjected to this technique while I was in college. I had to attend a workshop to maintain eligibility for the academic scholarship I had been awarded. When I had gone through it at the time, I do remember a vague feeling of unease, and after wards, I never could understand why we had to go through such a lengthy meeting in which nothing substantial came of it.

Now I know exactly what was intended. While it wasn't a political goal this scholarship program wanted to achieve, what they were after was instilling a communitarian ideology in we, the scholarship recipients. (I'll be writing more on this topic in the future...currently awaiting the Anti-Communitarian League to finish their renovation of their website before I go any further. Nikki Raapana's extensive work is indispensable in researching and writing on this topic).

Does any of this sound like an experience you may have gone through in attending any public forums or meetings?

Please share your any experiences you may have had with the Delphi Technique in the comments.

I will be writing further on this topic in the near future, and I'd like to gather my readers thoughts on this matter so that I can incorporate it into a future survey so that I can gain a consensus on what this blog's readers would like to see written about here in the future...


Unknown said...

It's just a tool, and content neutral. Just like a gun can be used to defend liberty or commit injustice, it can be used to push good ideas as well as bad.

The problem isn't the weapon. The problem is that the government has too much power, and is not accountable. Who would care what some neo-Marxist change agent believed if he didn't have the power to influence your child's education? I wouldn't (much).

This is one reason among many that parents should have the absolute right to choose which schools their children go to, and what sort of education they receive. This is one reason among many the government cannot be entrusted with a monopoly in this manner.

Samson said...

I've certainly been victim of things that sound like what you're describing, although without learning more about it it's hard to be sure.

One time in medical school, for instance, we had to break into small groups for "discussion". Each of us was given a small card with a statement on it, and we had to read the statement aloud, say whether or not we agreed with it, and then talk it over. They were typically ethically-loaded statements such as: "Drug abusers should receive mandatory therapy," or the atom-bomb: "Homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt children."

What some of these had to do with medicine, I couldn't say. The exercise was touted as one that was supposed to "help us think through our sense of ethics and whence we derive those ethics." In actuality, of course, the activity was clearly intended to marginalize politically incorrect perspectives and make anyone holding an unpopular view feel unable to express himself.

Whether this is the sort of experience you're looking for, HL, I can't say for certain.

Ryan said...

This post is a reflection my thoughts over the last month. I recently read Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. Currently working on his Underground History book.

I recommend "Weapons of Mass Instruction" by the same author. Truly one of the most life altering books I have ever read.

With this being said, I must confess that I have been part of a Teacher Certification program for the last 5 years. All the ideas that this post raises and the ideas of John Taylor Gatto are eerily true. After reading Gatto's books and doing a lot of self reflecting I decided to drop the teaching idea and just graduate with a degree.

If any of you are at all interested in why we are who we are, you must read Gatto's work as well as meditate on the ideas presented in this article.

dienw said...

Quick thought:

Many companies now give personality surveys when one applies for a job online; frequently, these include or are entirely the "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" questions.

Could these be considered the manipulation is reverse: a means of determining to what extent one is in compliance with the "consensus?" Thus then these are filters not to find the best employees but the who fit the desired "consensus."

Anonymous said...

I recall that shortly after Obama was elected, he wanted "community meetings" to take place about health care issues and report the results back to the White House (as if he was going to use this input in shaping Health Care policy). I know that such a meeting was held in my community, although I did not attend. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to use this technique and brainwash the masses.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exactly like the climate change "consensus". Everyone agrees even if they are not scientists or have any knowledge what so ever on the matter, because they don't want to appear ignorant.

I have already achieved pariah status at my campus for not being convinced by the CO2 argument.

Anonymous said...

This post made my mind wander back to all those "ABC-Townhall-Meetings" during the Clinton era regarding the "health care crisis" that was supposedly going on at the time.

All the "workshops" you hear liberals wanting everyone to attend seem to be run in a similar fashion: a moderator/leader type asking the class some questions and acting even-handed at the start, gaining people's confidence in their fairness and then stilting the dialogue toward one position, and mocking, with the audiences' help, dissenting views. They will have all their arguments pre-prepared beforehand, and objectors will just be speaking from the hip, as they had not schemed the whole interaction out in their mind as the moderators had previously.

The act of asking "loaded questions" with several paranthetic elements (commas) in them with either a "yes" or "no" answer expected as a response is another dirty little tactic. Phil Donahue used to use this on his talk show all the time. One is expected to awnser a question with premesises forced upon them that they dont agree with, and can't go back and argue much of the framing language within the question in this manner or "we'll be here all day if we can't agree on that", etc. (A very primitive example of this would be the question: "Do you still beat your wife, yes or no?") Talk shows in the 90's were often loosely fascimilies of the situation HL described in his post, with the show's host acting as the moderator and the issue "today" on "today's Geraldo" or whatever, was issue X, and the conclusion that would be reached at the end of the show was exactly the one the producers had in mind. I thought talk shows in the 90's (especially Springer, Lake, Jones) did more to break down long-standing folkaways than even MTV did. There are some things (like cheating with your sister-in-law) that one should really feel ashamed about, but these shows just rolled out dysfunction-junction in front of the unsuspecting American populace week-after-week. I think there was a method to the madness there.

Gunslingergregi said...

Interesting stuff.

Cul-De-Sac Hero said...

This actually makes me think of the "Obama is a Muslim" statistic. Why was this survey question even asked? All they wanted was people to start talking about how 20, 25 or 30% of Americans think that he's a Muslim to discredit "Those Ignorant Republicans". The actual number doesn't matter.
Then when you think about how the actual survey could have been altered using this method. How much could the number affected by the preceding questions? The average person will start thinking differently when faced with questions that intentionally play to their fears and preconceptions. Then when the question is asked, they might think, "Hey, maybe he is a Muslim."

I think this technique is used by both sides. It's psychological warfare.