The consensus process...But I didn't give my consent

By Joyce Morrison


Facilitated consensus meetings must have been copied from watching moms with their kids.

The old saying, "Divide and conquer!" is not new with moms. They are constantly dividing their kids to keep them from plotting and fighting so they can "control" them better. Mom already knows the outcome, but she "lets" the kids have an input.

At the same time, she is manipulating them into thinking the decision was their idea. Mothers were the first skilled facilitators and they should be the first to identify their techniques used on them at "public forums."

"But I don't want to be split up from my friend. We came together and we want to sit together." That is my first thought when going to a public meeting where we are made to number off and be herded into small discussion groups.

They explain we are "helping them" by utilizing a new concept in decision-making. We are then given our own facilitator who smiles and treats us like we are really important. We even get coffee and cookies.

The group at each table will compile their thoughts and feelings about this community plan. We get to put down likes and dislikes. We are in reality being "assessed" . . . they couldn't care less, about our likes and dislikes. The feedback from all the groups is in writing and analyzed to determine "where they are now" as a whole.

A following discussion will narrow the likes and dislikes to two or three items the group thinks are most important.

The facilitator is establishing a framework to move people from "where they are" to "where they want them to be."

The outcome or goal has already been predetermined, so it does not matter what you think. You will feel very foolish questioning what is happening. They have already twisted around everything you have said.

This is called a "paradigm shift."

You are then moved away from decisions made by elected and/or public officials who should be accountable for their decisions. You are made to think this is a "public forum" meeting and community participation that will decentralize the decision-making - and you are an important participant.

But remember - the outcome has been are only occupying a chair.

Now they must make the groups "adaptable to change." The facilitation process utilizes up to nine basic steps to remove you from absolutes. Right and wrong become situational, or a matter of perception.

Since a consensus of the groups is the goal, it moves along with facilitators trained in group dynamics to ensure the outcome.

Dissenters are skillfully handled. Opinions are smoothly moved into "their interpretation" and come out nothing like what you have said.

There is a name for consensus-attaining. It is called the "Delphi Technique" and most people have no idea they have been manipulated and the fact that they have participated in a "conditioning."

The consensus process is "covert authority" - the same authority that undergirds socialist/communist regimes that justify their existence and governance structure in the collective authority of the people.

In the Soviet Union, a consensus circle is known as "a soviet." The religion of socialist/communist regimes is "humanism."

The above is a quote from Lynn Stuter's "What American Citizens Need to Know about Consensus and Facilitation."

Most meetings have votes and minutes. Notice this is not being done at the "public forum" you have participated in.

There will be no voting, and no minutes available for follow-up. All that is available is the "consensus" of the group.

Lynn Stuter's article says people should educate themselves.

When participating in public meetings, insist that they be run by Roberts Rules of Order - no consensus circles. It is the elected officials and those accountable to the elected officials who should be held accountable for decisions made. Pressure legislators to return to the limited form of government established by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Such a government limits intself to addressing those structures over which it is given specific authority. Push for judicial reform that removes from the judiciary the right to legislate via interpretations of law that hold no basis in the Constitution.

Somehow I stumbled into a "facilitator's" training session. I thought it was a meeting on an important land issue, but I came away a trained facilitator with a huge facilitator's manual. We went through "consensus-seeking" exercises. A couple of the exercises we went through were "Wilderness Survival" and "Lost at Sea."

There were three worksheets involved:

1. Individual
2. Group briefing sheet
3. Answers and rationales
We learned resources of listening skills and techniques, giving clear directions, retaining "volunteers" and lots of neat stuff. One of particular interest was "personality indicators." Now I can "pick you out."

I really perked up at the one session geared specifically to farmers and it was easy to see the outcome they were after and red flags and antennaes went up. This is how they are changing farmers. Farmers are very trusting, and have no idea what is being done to them.

There were only a couple of others at the meeting that were like me and did not bear a government acronym EPA, USFW, etc. They divided us up real quick. Apparently we were at a government agency employee's workshop.

One consensus meeting I attended after I was "trained" was the foundational beginning of St. Louis 2004. Most of those attending thought it was a planning session for the celebration of the 1904 World fair held in St. Louis. After the meeting, they were totally confused as their questions had been twisted, and they had received no answers - but we had arrived at a consenus just the same. The meeting determined the public wanted St. Louis 2004, and we had given our "consent" to a program we didn't know anything about.

We elect legislators and can give them a term limit if they do not listen to the voice of the public. We vote them out. But we are now going to meetings that set policy and bypass legislation. Decisions are made that make you think you have had a voice. There will be no "spirited debates" at consensus meetings. Your mouth has been bridled.


Joyce Morrison lives in Jersey County, Illinois. She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America and she and her husband, Gary, represent the local Citizens for Private Property Rights. Joyce is Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, MO. The group's SOWER Magazine features Joyce's writing. Joyce is an activist and serves as a member of the agricultural advisory board of U.S. Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL).


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