Consensus, The Art of Manipulation

Social Commentary: (Please note) I am an experienced ‘educator’, group ‘facilitator’, and human/community services professional, having more than 25 years of working in this area. Policy and politics are par for the course in this kind of work.

In recent months, since the Rudd Government took office in our Federal Government, I have been more overtly concerned by the apparent ‘smoothness’ of the political faces now ‘leading’ this country, and how there is no distinct differences from this Government (so-called political leadership), to that of its predecessors, be they Liberal or Labor, going back as far as the Hawke government.

The same ‘smoothness’, smiling congenial faces, power-dressed to impress, can now be readily seen operating in numerous ‘leadership’ roles throughout most organisations, be that public, private, governmental, statutory, and or non-govt.

This trend has concerned me for many years; and why so many of my peers, associates, colleagues, and fellow citizens in general, seem to be going along with whatever political/policy changes are occurring, without any real challenge or open dissent, though they often complain, most often outside of the relevant forums/opportunities that they should be ‘complaining’ or ‘speaking-out’ in.

I have participated in 100s of forums, meetings, conferences, think-groups, and the like throughout these years, and have often felt disturbed or disheartened at what I believed/felt should have been the outcome “got lost” somewhere in the process, or that I was “on my own” with whatever the issue was being addressed, or ‘discussed’.

In many instances, I truly did feel that ‘somehow’ the agenda, or group had been ‘channelled’ (coerced) into a particular consensus — agreement and endorsement of an item that had been presented in such a ‘clever’ way, that it was more the motion of a meeting, without the accompaniment of the passion or emotion of the dialogue …

My ignorance (lack of knowledge, information) bothered me, as I couldn’t ‘name’, ‘understand’ or vocalise coherently why I would feel that things weren’t “quite right”, even though I was witnessing, experiencing such shenanigans time-and-again, on matters where the outcomes would often have major impacts (often detrimental) on many peoples lives and/or livelihood. It was if the ‘group’ couldn’t see, hear or sense that ‘somehow’ the decision-making processes had been ‘guided’ to a preordained outcome.

Recently, in my constant quest of learning and researching, I came across The Delphi Technique and sensed I had now an answer (the formula and blue-print) to what had been ‘going on’ in most of those meetings and gatherings.

[I suggest if you’re really interested, you do your own reading on Delphi, and then apply that to ‘situations’ of a political/employment/community nature, that you may have experienced.]

I also found a further article — correlated to that of Delphi — about sensitivity training:

” …Sensitivity training is based on research on human behaviour that came out of efforts during World War II to ascertain whether or not an enemy’s core beliefs and behaviour could be modified by the application of certain psychological techniques. These techniques have been gradually perfected over the years by efforts of business and industry leaders to persuade people to buy products, including the radio and television industry to ascertain how an audience [population] might [can] be habituated to certain types of programming. …

” The techniques perfected by behavioural scientists to change our core beliefs aim at sowing confusion in the minds of those who would oppose such change. This confusion is created by presenting logical contradictions as equally plausible, valid, and actionable. Those without a strong belief system, be it empirical, scientific, religious, or logical are especially susceptible to the urgings of those who seek change. Those who have strong enough belief systems that enable them to challenge, refute, and oppose this change are coerced by small-group encounter techniques to conform to the ‘majority’ view as determined and sown by a ‘facilitator’ and supported by the core group of ‘believers’ plus the newly recruited ‘sheep’ who join the ‘majority’ group for fear of confrontation. If the challenger does not conform to the group pressure to adopt the ‘consensus’ view, s/he is further isolated from the group and/or discarded. S/he is never allowed to participate fully in the process thereafter. … ” etc, etc.

In my view, a classic example of such gross “manipulation” of the nation, was the recently held — by the Australian Government — “The Australia, 2020 Summit”, where processes and procedures were typical of the “Delphi” format. And of course the recent “Sorry” apology being enacted is another “consensus” stratagem.

I’ll leave it at that for now.

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