North Idaho Slow Growth

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    Neutralizing Enemies: The Delphi Technique

    Note:  This Article is an abridged version of two chapters from Rosa Koire's book,  Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21.   Ms. Koire learned of Agenda 21 and its impact on her community over a decade ago when she tried to resist the Gateway Redevelopment project of Santa Rosa, California.     More information about Ms. Koire can be found in our companion article Rosa Koire and Agenda 21.  Purchase her book Behind the Green Mask to learn more. 

    One of the elements of a new rule of law is the creation of a new language to go with it. Called 'jargon,' this new vocabulary has a different meaning for those in the know from what you would understand from just seeing or hearing those words. Nearly every profession has its jargon, but the implementers of UN Agenda 21 rely on the obscurity of their definitions to keep you from becoming alarmed.

    Livable.  Walkable.  Vibrant.  Bikeable.  Consensus.  Conversation.  Progressive.  Community.  Diversity.  Carbon Footprint.  Smart.  Vision.  Green.  Stakeholders.  Regional.  Sustainable. Buzz words and slogans are used as tags to manipulate you. When you hear jargon words like this you are being conditioned to support and accept the project or plan they're attached to without questioning it. These words, by their regular usage in the media and implied acceptance by your peers, tell you that something is popular. They are designer buzz words. Jargon that has been created to help you feel that you belong to the masses, that you are doing something positive and good, and that you'll gain acceptance by participating. The best public relations people in the world are working on these terms, just for you.

    The word 'consensus,' for example, is defined in my dictionary as "An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole." In the PCSD's list of vital elements to incorporate into their recommendations they included this statement:   "We need a new collaborative decision process that leads to better decisions, more rapid change, and more sensible use of human, natural, and financial resources in achieving our goals."

    A new collaborative decision process. The new definition for consensus is the neutralization of expressed opposition. In the old way of doing things, the democratic way, an issue is put before the voters and they vote on it directly, or they have a representative who reviews the issues, debates them publicly, and then votes. If the voters are not satisfied with the outcome, they can initiate a referendum or vote out the representative.

    Sustainable America—A New Consensus does not allow for actual dissent. There can be no opportunity for failure in implementing Agenda 21. In fact the Cabinet Secretaries reported that they could implement approximately two thirds of the PCSD's recommendations administratively. However, it is not desirable that you notice that you are not being given a choice in the most important issues of your life, so you are given the illusion that you are making decisions for yourself.

    As with the earlier example of the glasses of water and milk, this principle of taking two opposing points of view and mixing them to render a third does not in fact represent your opinion. It might be said that it doesn't represent the 'other' side either, but since the 'other' side is running the meeting you can be sure that the manipulation will result in their predetermined outcome. You'll find that the water never gets into the pitcher at all. The real meaning of consensus is to take away your voice and leave you feeling as if you are the only one who has some problem with the results. The President's Council on Sustainable Development incorporated the Delphi Technique into its recommendations so that 'more rapid change' could be imposed on you through clever manipulation.

    The Delphi Technique

    Developed by the RAND Corporation as a Cold War mind control technique, Delphi is used to channel a group of people to accept a point of view that is imposed on them while convincing them that it was their idea. In the 1970s and '80s, it was used to convince land owners of the merits of accepting General Plan maps.

    Delphi can be used on any group, from just one person to the entire world. Trained facilitators present a range of choices to a group but have tailored them to direct the outcome. This is most often done in public meetings, called 'visioning meetings,' put on by your city or county to get your opinion on Your Town 2020 or 2035.

    Money for these programs often comes from federal agencies (members of the President's Council on Sustainable Development) in the form of grants to your local government. The meetings are advertised as an opportunity for you to give your input to an exciting new plan for the redesign of your city center for the future. You'll usually see it as a specific plan for a redevelopment project or a regional transportation plan that involves housing and land use restrictions. Delphi is used in school board meetings, in trainings, at neighborhood association meetings, and other places where the organizers want to give the appearance that they have listened to community opinion and incorporated it into their plan. By the way, you'll never hear the word 'Delphi'—they will never acknowledge that they're doing it.

    The key thing to know about this is that of course you have no input. Only comments and observations that support the pre-approved plan will be supported. All others will be written on a big pad of paper and discarded later. The illusion of public buy-in is all that is needed. The organizers can later point to the fact that they held a public meeting, a certain number of residents attended, public comment was taken, and the community approved the plan.

    The facilitator is often a private consultant who has been professionally trained in running and managing a meeting. This consultant has been hired by your city to fulfill the requirement that the project has been seen and supported by its citizens—it's YOUR plan. If the project is a controversial one the city may have put out the call for nonprofit groups, neighborhood associations, city boards and commissions, and city employees to send members to seed the audience and outnumber potential opponents. This is war. On those few occasions when the majority of the attendees object to the planned outcome, the facilitator will close the meeting and reschedule it for another time and place. You are experiencing the new consensus.

    So let's see what goes on in a Delphi meeting. As you come in the door you'll be asked to sign in. You'll be given a name tag and, depending on the meeting type, you'll either sit at tables or you'll be in an auditorium. A brief overview of the project will be given and no questions will be allowed. The facilitator may try to establish the demographics of the attendees by asking you to raise your hand if you're between 18-25, 26-35 etc., your race, and gender. Now the meeting begins in earnest.

    Speakers will include government officials, sometimes your mayor or council people, representatives from non-profit organizations, and local business persons with an interest in the outcome, such as engineers, architects, and planners. The meeting is on a tight time schedule and there are few opportunities for questions. What questions are permitted are usually answered briefly or deflected to 'later'. The facilitator has produced attractive power point slides, and colored hand-outs with lots of photos of middle class people recreating among sun-lit multi-story buildings with wide sidewalks lined with bistro tables. You notice that there is no manufacturing. In this pleasant utopia there are few cars, lots of high speed trains, blue skies, and bikes. Lots of bikes. Open space parks but no private yards. Shallow porches that face the street. Buildings constructed right behind the sidewalk and touching their neighbors.

    You may be shown a set of maps of your town and told to color in areas where you'd like to see the pastel utopia instead of what's there now. By the way, often the property owners in the specific project area have deliberately not been notified about this meeting, and they absolutely will not have been sought out to attend. This meeting is for the 'public,' meaning anyone can attend from anywhere and give their opinion about the vision.

    As people are happily scribbling away with their crayons and gold stars like kindergarteners, they are unaware that a large percentage of the group has already been briefed on the project and instructed to manage their table. Yes, there are 'shills' at every table. In the larger meetings they may identify themselves as being part of the organizing team, and they will run the table openly. While the unsuspecting real people are chatting, the table monitors are observing their behavior. Who is argumentative, who is docile, who can be triggered to cause a scene, who can be counted on to support the project. Neighborhood 'leaders' who cooperate are identified for cultivation later. They will be used to start neighborhood associations or encouraged to dominate existing ones.

    When the meeting is going smoothly you'll never notice the obvious. That you haven't been given any real choices, and that all of the printed material shows the project just as it will be when finalized regardless of anything you might say. At your table you might say something like "Hey, I don't like the idea of narrowing Main Street to two lanes." But you'll either be ignored or several of the people at the table will team up to show you that it's best for the community and don't you want your town to be friendly for bikes and pedestrians? You might say "How can the Fire Department get through there if you put a median down Center Street?" You'll be told that it has already been approved by the Fire Department and your comment will be written down to be thrown out later.

    What happens if you dare to speak out? Communitarianism is at the heart of consensus meetings. A vital element of Communitarianism is the use of social pressure to make you conform. Shame.

    The point is to create a climate of isolation in the meeting for those who do not agree. The idea of dissent is too scary, too exposed, and too anti-social for you to brave ridicule and the disapproval of your peers. So if you do dare to speak out you will be ignored, laughed at, maligned, shamed, boo'd or shouted down. Individual table monitors may goad a person they've identified as 'liable to make a scene' to loudly agree with you in order to make you appear to have a fringe point of view. The facilitator may allow this bit of chaos to continue for a minute so that the tension can be relieved and your question forgotten.

    When the meeting is over you'll be thanked for your input and leave feeling that maybe you're the only one who doesn't like the plan or who felt manipulated. You might even decide that you're not going back to one of those meetings since you didn't really feel heard, and besides it took hours of your evening. Maybe you have a nagging bit of shame that you were visioning on someone else's property, someone who wasn't there and couldn't protest that they like their property just the way it is. Maybe you don't want to think about what it would take to make that vision real. But you shrug your shoulders and walk to your car feeling that you've been a good citizen and participated in a community event.   You've been Delphi'd.

    This article is excerpted from Rosa Koire's book, "Behind the Green Mask".


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