Group Think at 2009 General Convention: But will they serve Kool Aid at Snack Time?

One wonders just what the TEC laity thinks of this helpfulness masquerading as a “public narrative.” So much for conscience, it’s now about collectivism. Democracy, Schmocracy, that’s so last century. Now we are enlightened! Whatever happened to those old democratic principles of debating, deliberation, and voting? Gone with the wind? Imagine if the U.S. Congress begins to engage in these kind of tactics? What – are they going to replace the Speaker of the House now with the GroupThink Moderator?

Here’s TEC’s story of initiating their Anaheim-style GroupThink:

On June 16, the day after Council’s Albuquerque meeting ends, 65 people, including all of Council’s provincial representatives and the members of its CIM committee, will remain for a full day of coaching in public narrative. They will be joined by the co-chairs of the General Convention Worship Committee and other invited Convention deputies, bishops and others. Some of the people who participate on June 16 will then train others during the provincial synod meetings leading up to General Convention.

Use of the public-narrative tool will ripple out from the Council’s introduction and the June 16 session in ways that are aimed at building “a cadre of facilitators who will be able to lead General Convention through a public-narrative discussion about mission,” Straub said. “It’s not just for convention,” he added, saying that “the purpose is to have an impact on the Church at large.”

Anderson envisions convention participants taking the skills they learn back to their dioceses and helping other people tell their stories, listen to others and then find their own answers what she calls “the so-what question.”

“The Episcopal Church isn’t good at stating its identity,” she suggested. “The people in the Episcopal Church don’t have a common language to talk about who we are in the Episcopal Church and what we are called to do because of who we are.”

A public narrative is is a process of airbrushing out the unhelpful bits to reimagine reality more to a uniform GroupThink’s liking. Group Think by any other name still smells.

Here’s eight warning signs:

Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative stereotypes of rivals outside the group.

Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s decision; silence is seen as consent.

Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

Read the whole thing here and ponder. Incidentally, could someone get Franz Mesmer on the phone? Right. And do pass the Kool Aid please.