Manipulating Your & Your Children’s Opinion to Gain Consensus: The Delphi Technique In Educational Planning
I concluded my last article by discussing how deeply embedded the behavioral sciences are in education. Challenging the local school board may be a good start in correcting course, but developing a thorough understanding of how we got here is essential. Even the school board itself is controlled by a process designed to gain consensus while presenting the illusion of citizen participation. This is why the system is fighting back by referring to parents who are vociferously opposing “wokism” in their public schools as potential extremists. They are losing their grip on their systems of control, and they don’t like it. For decades, they controlled the input of parents by limiting speaking times, and the outcome of meetings by using subject experts, who were trained in assessing public attitudes, and how to guide them towards the desired objective. This is known as the Delphi Technique, and it has been used in education to gain popular consensus of predetermined goals, through the Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems put in place by President Johnson in 1965, since the 1970s.
The PPBS was instituted to improve decision-making processes in government agencies. One of the major objectives is to identify program goals and potential problems in reaching them. According to a document cited by Charlotte Iserbyt, in The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America (p.110), PPBS was a plan being implemented to restructure education in our country. President Johnson implemented the PPBS through an executive order in 1965, the same year he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law. This essentially brought education under the controlling arm of the federal government as they now had a direct hand in funding public schools. The child was now viewed as a product and education, redefined as a means of shaping the child to align with predetermined behavioral objectives.
In America, the government cannot simply change education without approval from the public. Educating our children was never supposed to be a function of state power to begin with. Using PPBS, or the Delphi Technique, the public believes it has a voice in determining what changes will take place. When in reality, the goals have been set, and public attitudes are being studied to ascertain how to change them. According to the same document cited by Iserbyt, federal agencies operating under the ESEA control the language in their citizen surveys, and trained change agents identify potential problems which may stand in the way of accomplishing their pre-set goals.
“Unknowing citizens’ committees are used by the process to generate acceptance of goals already determined. What they don’t realize is that professional change agents are operating in the behaviorist’s framework of thought and Mr. or Mrs. Citizen Parent is operating in his traditional education framework of thought. So, the local change agents are able to facilitate a group to a consensus in support of predetermined goals by using familiar, traditional terms which carry the new behaviorist meanings…. Another name for this process is Participatory Democracy, a term by the way, which was coined by Students for a Democratic Society in their Port Huron Manifesto to identify the process for citizen participation in the destruction of their own political institutions.” (Iserbyt, 1999)
According to an article entitled Research Guidelines for the Delphi Survey Technique, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, “The Delphi survey is a group facilitation technique, which is an iterative multistage process, designed to transform opinion into group consensus.” In other words, opinions are collected through surveys, which are designed by the subject matter experts. These opinions are thoroughly studied and fed back to the participants in a second survey. This process is repeated until the opinions align with the goals which have already been determined. This is behavioral manipulation of the highest order because the group feels they are participating, but their opinions are being guided towards a pre-existing objective. An article entitled Reaching Consensus Using the Delphi Technique suggests there is a certain humiliation felt when realizing this technique works because it is a form “of social science trickery and behavioral control.”
Another article, entitled Public Sector Use of the Delphi Technique, published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, states that the use of Delphi in education is helpful in determining curriculum and campus planning, as well as the development of performance evaluation criteria. Interestingly, the authors of this article cite some modifications which were determined to be helpful in gaining consensus. These modifications aid in the behavioral manipulation aspect of Delphi, as trained change agents are playing an active role in the meetings and acting to discredit the opinions which may hamper their pre-determined goals. “The use of self-appraisal of expertness by respondents to weight item responses in order to improve reliability,” is a technique where selected individuals of good community standing are used to give credibility to the opinions of the experts to get those opposed to going along. While this seems too fantastic to be real, an article published in The Virginia Land Rights Coalition in 2002 highlights how this process takes place.
“First, the person who will be leading the meeting, the facilitator or Change Agent must be a likable person with whom those participating in the meeting can agree or sympathize. It is, therefore, the job of the facilitator to find a way to cause a split in the audience, to establish one or a few of the people as “bad guys” while the facilitator is perceived as the good guy. Facilitators are trained to recognize potential opponents and how to make such people appear aggressive, foolish, extremist, etc. Once this is done, the facilitator establishes himself or herself as the friend of the rest of the audience. The stage is now set for the rest of the agenda to take place.” (Burns, 2002)
Burns also states that one of the objectives is to make the citizen participants believe the pre-determined goals were the result of their personal input. This reinforces their support for the program which will inevitably be implemented.
While getting involved in school board meetings is a good first step towards fixing education, it must be realized that the school systems themselves have been manipulating public opinion through these techniques since at least the late 1970s. Many of the policies and curriculum agendas we are now opposing came about using these methods, as communities and individuals were surveyed to determine their attitudes and feelings towards the goals already established by the school system. Once problematic attitudes were discovered, trained change agents went to work on either changing them or giving the impression that their input affected the result. While this may seem conspiratorial on the surface, several academic journals and a
newspaper article describing the Delphi technique, and its use in education and public meetings were cited. Some truths, however, speak for themselves. American citizens are awakening to the reality that public education is being used as a tool to indoctrinate their children into ways of thinking which are antithetical to their own values and beliefs. Just as Cleon Skousen stated in The Naked Communist, a thorough study of the problem is needed if there is any chance of fixing it at all. As uncomfortable or conspiratorial as this may sound, it must be accepted as a cause of the problems we currently face. While it is refreshing to watch citizens throw a wrench into the planning committees by challenging local school boards, they respond by employing the technique of discrediting and silencing opposition by referring to them as terrorists.
If enough people would study the problem and move across the world in one vast united front it is entirely possible that the race can celebrate the close of the twentieth century with this monumental achievement: Freedom in our time for all men! (Skousen, 1953)
While we are twenty-two years past the century’s close, it isn’t too late if we can come to understand the problem of behavioral manipulation and the Delphi technique.
To learn more about this topic and others, check out my book Without a Shot Indeed: Inducing Compliance to Tyranny Through Conditioning and Persuasion.
Article posted with permission from David Risselada