By ann summers
Not the best diversion for the end of the republic, since it’s not about game theory, but perhaps that’s all these have been, since the inevitable is coming in 20 days.
This Eric Garland tweet rant is shilling for his toastmaster business and we have been given a narrative arc not quite good enough for the toasters of Battlestar Gallactica.
Decades of neoliberal policy disenfranchised people to the extent that Donald Trump could look like a savior; far better to just hide your bad conscience somewhere far away in Eastern Europe.
So it’s strange, but not surprising, that so many people would sing the praises of Garland’s masterpiece, because it is absolutely the worst piece of political writing ever inflicted on any public in human history…
Garland starts his magnum opus with a promise: He’s going to combat the idea that Obama and Clinton are “doing nothing, just gave up” in the face of Trump’s victory. “Guys,” he writes. “It’s time for some game theory.”
Game theory, for the uninitiated, is a branch of mathematics that uses computational models to predict the behavior of human beings in potentially conflictual situations. It’s complex, involves a lot of formal logic and algebra, and is mostly useless. Game theory models human actions on the presumption that everyone is constantly trying to maximize their potential gain against everyone around them; this is why its most famous example concerns prisoners—isolated people, cut off from all the noncompetitive ties that constitute society. One of its most important theoreticians, John Nash, was also a paranoid schizophrenic, who believed himself to be the target of a vast Russian conspiracy…
It’s always time for game theory
But we digress. Eric Garland keeps up this attempt at game theory for precisely two tweets. “ACTOR ANALYSIS: The Russians enter the Game with a broad objective, flexible tactics, and several acceptable outcomes,” he writes. There are no further ACTOR ANALYSES. That’s it. For Eric Garland, game theory means describing something as a Game, with a capital G; you don’t get $25,000 speaking fees for nothing.
It’s always time for game theory
Whatever Russia did or didn’t do, the idea that its interference is what cost Hillary Clinton the election is utterly ludicrous and absolutely false. What cost Hillary Clinton the election can be summed up by a single line from Sen. Chuck Schumer, soon to be the country’s highest-ranking Democrat: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” As it turned out, he was fatally wrong.
It wasn’t the Russians who told the Democratic Party to abandon the working-class people of all races who used to form its electoral base.
It wasn’t the Russians who decided to run a presidential campaign that offered people nothing but blackmail—“vote for us or Dangerous Donald wins.”
The Russians didn’t come up with awful tin-eared catchphrases like “I’m with her” or “America is already great.”
The Russians never ordered the DNC to run one of the most widely despised people in the country, simply because she thought it was her turn.
The Democrats did that all by themselves.