SO EASILY DELPHIED
BECAUSE WE IGNORE ITS TECHINIQUES
By: Joan E. Battey
Many of the earlier discerners of what was taking place in education (among other
issues), were made aware of the technique which was so very successfully implemented to
achieve the goals of the change agents in education. No matter how often it was explained,
it was slow going getting any widespread understanding of just how the technique worked.
Even less understanding is shown regarding the fact that this discovered Delphi Technique
is far from limited to the educational minefields where it was first discovered.
The idea behind this results-achieving scheme is that people like to
believe they are part of the decisionmaking process (a favorite change
agent/educrat/policy-pushing term). People are so flattered by being brought into the
"process" that they leave much of their thinking abilities at the door and
dutifully line up to be herded into the path disguised as Our Best Thinking, later found
to be Gotcha!
By that time, the damage is always done, though still rarely recognized until much
later -- mainly because Delphi is adept at "multi-tasking," as educrats term the
ability to perform and achieve results in several diverse things simultaneously.
Delphi-ing is successfully employed by those who know that what people would object to
right up front (even those who aren't up-to-speed on such things) must be skillfully
spoon-fed in such clever increments that people end up believing that they have outsmarted
any charlatans and taken the reins of decisionmaking into their own hands.
Like carnivals where shills are planted in the groups of potential customers, so also
in public view, shills are planted to shift public opinion while appearing to be wanting
to get public opinion on an issue before actually undertaking any action. In order to do
this, clever manipulation techniques are put into play. "Is this an important issue?
Then let's define it so we know what it is and how best to deal with it. Okay, now let's
brainstorm pros and cons."
Sounds good, doesn't it? Especially if you haven't noticed any clever insertions of the
preliminary steps in media reports leading up to "getting the public involved."
People are so excited about being asked for their opinion, and being totally unaware of
their lack of input, they aren't careful about how they state their opinions when asked.
They don't consider the big opportunity they give the other side to zero in on what the
weak points are in the overall plans. What's more, they don't watch the reaction of the
questioners, or the fact that suddenly, close to them, are people who are intensely eager
tp present rebuttals. The rebuttals are surprisingly homed in on by the facilitators, who
move on away from those who wish to clarify their views where others might be influenced
by them. The decisions are now ripe for fine-tuning, while no real input was ever wanted
or listened to by the facilitators -- except that which was preconceived as leading to the
The Delphi Technique has moved on far beyond the education Decisionmaking Committees,
and is in full-bore implementation in the national media on most issues of the day. Scant
coverage is given prior to requests for public input, which usually take place in
well-organized and carefully-scheduled focus groups or hearings. Immediately afterward,
however, not only is skewed news available, but also almost instantaneous lengthy
statements by those with the agendas to push, the programs ready to implement, the
decisions that are already being readied for release.
Because most people have been already encouraged to forget everything that happened day
before yesterday, or even yesterday, the Delphi Technique has become more and more the
rule in mainstream media. It is often preferred by many "clients" of mainstream
media, because to go to alternative news sources and apply logic and fact-sifting is to
make one appear to be outside the realm of the movers, shakers and decisionmakers. Quick:
up/down/decision. Only the "experts" are worth hearing from, and the
"experts" have been accredited by the mainstream media -- unlike those who
present credible information in alternative sources, but who are not themselves
"credible" by not being accredited by the accreditors.
Thus, the Delphi Technique has moved beyond the folding chairs and the magic markers on
the giant paper pads or blackboards in places where concerned parents, taxpayers, voters,
or members of groups were given token opportunities to state their opinions before being
left behind when the scribbled marks were made and soon overridden by those inspired by
the shills scattered through the meetings.
The Delphi Technique, thanks to media implementation, is now applied to issues far
beyond its original use in education conflicts. It has long since moved on to
entertainment, civic issues and all of politics. Not to mention religion, which has also
been "discovered" by the Delphi proponents, as added fertile ground for further
fine-tuning desired public reactions, which they wish to publicize and UTILIZE.
Regardless of what issue is currently being covered, focus on emotion; focus on group
input much of which is delphi-ed before it registers on many "decisionmakers. Be one
of the crowd, or be soon marginalized and removed from the virtual playing field of
decisionmaking. Isn't that the major message of media today? Shifting it and reaching
those not affected by it is an uphill and multi-faceted task.
Until Americans learn to re-activate their memory-retrieval systems, apply that in
assessing news, politics and things that are affecting them, and to decipher the
Delphi-ing that is coming at them from all sides, they will have no major overall
cultural, political and religious impact with input they make. They'll be skillfully kept
from publicly keying in on the deliberate diversions and deliberate timing of public
information, reaction to it, and from effectively countering the publicity awarded to
those who have been given the job of crafting the illusion of public involvement in
Most of all, they will need to attract more Americans to join them in their efforts, to
combat the entrenched and growing successes of the growing numbers of Delphi-converts to
spread out across society and all that affects it.
One of the most important lessons that may need to be learned is that we can be as
easily "Delphied" by friends as by foes! Vigilance seems to be more eternally
needed than ever before.
Joan E. Battey is a freelance political writer
from Apalachin, NY. Her love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over
many years of typesetting and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and
manufacturing office secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare,
political campaigns, and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady
"reforms" in education. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Joan E. Battey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the March 1, 2004 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright © 1997 - 2004 Ether
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