I've already linked to this from google+ and twitter, but can't stop thinking about it, so I'm going to write about it here. There's an op-ed piece in today's @nytimes by David Barash entitled Washington's Rogue Elephants. In it he writes of the current debt ceiling stand-off between the President and the Republicans. Please click the link and read it for yourself, but here's what interests me, and following that, my question about it:
Barash writes about the metaphor we all seem to be using these days, that it is a classic game of chicken which will end with one side swerving out of the way. The swerver loses, but the crash is averted. But, he wonders, what if the current stand-off is not being played under traditional assumptions? His answer?
"Here’s where elephants come into play. To achieve their mating goals, male elephants will sometimes play games of chicken, with one individual essentially giving the impression that he is crazy and has become an irrational player in a game premised on shared rationality and predictability."
He adds that this tactic tends to work because male elephants "can become temporarily "crazy." When in musk bull elephants "ooze a weird, foul-smelling, greenish glop from glands near their eyes," and behave "with violent abandon, taking risks and defying the basic rules of pachyderm propriety (and also giving rise to the term 'rogue elephant')."
So, what does one do when confronted by a rogue elephant? Brasher suggests avoiding it or shooting it. Avoiding it means no more negotiating, and instead refusing to play the game.
Okay...in theory I get this, but how would President Obama do this in reality?