• Have You Been ‘Delphi-ed’? Are You Tired of the ‘Experts’ Shining You On?

    Surge Summary: “Experts” and politicians love to play the Delphi game with the American people. They supposedly give you an opportunity to express your viewpoints, to “be heard” – and then they arrive at their predetermined result anyway. That leaves frustrated citizens with only one choice, and it’s a painful one.

    by Karen Testerman

    You probably haven’t heard of the term and it may sound a bit like searching for the Oracle at Delphi in an ancient time.  However, there is an actual technique devised to build consensus.  That is a total agreement in looking at possible outcomes.

    Originally used as a military forecasting tool to imagine warfare in unchartered developments, today it is often used in business forecasting.  AND it is used in public policy settings which is where I ask you, “Have you been Delphi-ed?”

    First a little background on how the process operates.  The decisions are extracted through a series of rounds of questioning of a structured group of individuals.  These people are chosen for their expertise and they remain anonymous as they offer their solutions.  A facilitator summarizes the solutions offered and through a series of returns, the information is cycled back to the participants who are encouraged to revise their input in light of the new summary of suggested solutions.  This process continues until a predetermined criterion or number of rounds or stability of the results is achieved.

    The assumption is that the decisions derived by a structured experts group are more accurate than ones from an unstructured group.  Using the technique in concrete areas appears to hold to the original assumption and is effective.

    However, what I experienced and I am almost certain you have too, happens when the technique is altered to employ in public policy situations.  Instead of a panel of anonymous experts, the group is comprised of a number of participants with a pre-determined agenda.  The facilitator also known as a “change agent” guides the discussion, directing the flow of information and fielding questions.  Or at least that is how we are told that this is the process.

    In reality, during the controlled presentation questions are delayed until “we get through this.”  Or at the end of that segment questions again delayed with this statement, “time is upon us and we must move along.”  The end result…your questions are not to be answered nor entertained.  Only the final pre-determined survives.  BUT, you have had an apparent opportunity to be heard.  Thus, you have no gripe.

    I experienced the Delphi Technique in full force years ago as I served on a committee to discuss health education in our public school.  The committee had members of the school board, teachers of health, parents and community leaders.  As I recall the membership numbered about 15 or so.  The school board had 3 or 4 members on the committee, the teachers were  3-4,  3-4 parents, and 3 or 4 community leaders.  However, as time progressed it was apparent that those who believed in the primary oversight role of parents were outnumbered 3:1 by those who promoted the overriding role of school personnel.  We were just Delphi-ed!

    We walked away believing that we were in the minority.  We had our say.  We were given a seat at the table.  But were we?

    Fast forward to COVID-19, aka Communist China Party (CCP) Virus, and the Governor’s Task Force for Reopening NH.  A select group of “experts” are chosen by the Governor and his team to consider the best methods to employ to reopen the businesses, schools, churches, etc.  You the public are encouraged to share your concerns.  But as my radio guest, Sarah McClellen has  shared, despite all the phone calls, letters, emails, op-eds she has submitted…Crickets repeated are the sound of silence.  You were just Delphi-ed.

    In addition to being informed and aware, we are left with little choice but informed, peaceful civil disobedience.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.

    Image: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/; https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=238047&picture=problem-solved

    Karen Testerman is the host of the Karen Testerman Show on radio and co-host of the Chic Chattin Hour television show.  She is the founder of Cornerstone Policy Research, a former candidate for public office including Governor and a staunch constitutional, liberty loving American.  She lives with her husband, Dave, and Bouvier Dutch in NH.

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