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I learned a lot today about real elephants in the New York Times op-ed Washington’s Rogue Elephants.

. . . 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.

It’s a tactic that works surprisingly well, because male elephants can in fact become temporarily “crazy.” One of the most terrifying sights in the animal world is an elephant in a state of must: Huge bulls, oozing a weird, foul-smelling, greenish glop from glands near their eyes, behave with violent abandon, taking risks and defying the basic rules of pachyderm propriety (and also giving rise to the term “rogue elephant”). Facing an elephant in must, other elephants — not to mention people — are well advised to get out of the way.

Just think this must be mating season for republicans, since the males are acting like rogue elephants. The greenish glop oozing from their eyes is greed.

The op-ed author, psychologist David P. Barash, also talks about the game of chicken. Shortly after I received my BS I actually played chicken with a house mate on a dirt road by the Institute for Advanced Study. The dirt road was narrow, perhaps a lane and half and in order to pass another car one of the cars usually stopped while the other slowly maneuvered around the stopped car. Well my house mate, the driver of the other car, and I decided neither of us would stop. Luckily we only clipped outside mirrors, but that was only by luck. At least we weren't headed directly at each other. There was no place to swerve to. But I have never played chicken since.

The US and Russia once played chicken. Mutually Assured Destruction was not enough to keep the US from blockading Cuba from Soviet Union war ships carrying missiles. Luckily it was enough to keep the Soviet Union from running the blockade. So the Cuban Missile Crisis was averted at the last second. I always thought that Cuba had a good reason for having missiles since the US sponsored an invasion of Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs.

The US is headed to destroy the world economy which may mutually destroy both the republicans and the democrats. Worse, many of the  animals in the china shop the economy has become are rogue elephants. The best thing to do is to get out of their way.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, anna shane

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 09:32:25 AM PDT

  •  Just goes to show you that a degree doesn't make (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    one smart.

    Good diary!

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 10:14:28 AM PDT

  •  economists think rationally (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    even though 'other factors' are always in play. Revenge or envy will make someone risk their own welfare for the pleasure of harming someone else.

    I worked in a mental health clinic when the first children's insurance bill allowed poor kids to get health services (Hillary's bill), and some receptionists expressed outrage that these kids got help "free."  Of course without that the costs are higher and the outcome poorer and the public still picks up the tab, but that did not matter, they hated the idea that a child of someone poor got help free when they had to pay.

    This has trickled up to harm everyone to 'get back' at those you envy.  It's amazing how many people think the unemployed have such a great life - they don't have to work.

    The whole point of this is to take back benefits from the 'undeserving.'  

    This is sink the ship to kill the captain.  

    Fortunately it's not the majority that wants to die to kill the captain.  But 'the small minded will always be with us?' The 'poor in spirit?'  

    Just say it: Medicare for All

    by anna shane on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 11:05:46 AM PDT

  •  real rogue elephants are anti-soclal males (0+ / 0-)

    but the question of their behavior remains open as young males, the most common ones to display this behavior, act out of the norms for mating elephants.  It seems upheavals and wars among humans have left young males without older bulls as mentors.  Without the older bulls' schooling them, since the older bulls are killed by humans for their flesh and tusks, the younger bulls grow up aggressive and are extraordinarily violent, when compared historically to known bulls' behavior during musqth.  

    As this article intimates rogue behavior is related to musqth or breeding, after the breeding season, the rogue will return to normal.  This is not happening among the unsocialized younger bulls who are permanently dangerous and violent and notorious for the damage they cause, in particular in the many cases of their attacking and killing rhinos,

    So the metaphor worked though not as the article intended as the TP freshmen Congressmen are like the young unsocialized elephants' suffering from a lack of mentoring by their elders

  •  What a great analogy. (0+ / 0-)

    And great analysis - the freshmen are the young, unsocialized, unschooled males...they need a tusk or two knocked off them before they "get with the program"

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

    by SmartRat on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:05:21 PM PDT

  •  Greed - really? (0+ / 0-)

    Both sides are ideologically inclined to be polar opposites on this issue.  Both sides have to represent their constituents and their constituents are demanding opposing things.

    Self preservation might fit much better than greed for both sides.

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