August 5, 2009
Sgt. Crowley should have said "NO" to President Obama's invitation to come to the White House and have a beer with him and Professor Gates. Why do I say this? I say it because I do not think Sgt. Crowley is an experienced game player. That which was an incident has turned into a game--a full-fledged Harvard Management System, Nobel-Prize-winning type of game--and the policeman will very likely be the loser. What seems to have started as an incident between a black Harvard professor and the Cambridge police sergeant has is now becoming a practical demonstration of game theory and conflict resolution.
Obviously the police sergeant does not know he is playing a game. If he did he would have politely refused the invitation of President Obama, saying something such as, "Thank you for the invitation, Mr. President. However, I do not care to have a social relationship with Professor Gates. I am very sorry, I must decline."
If he had done this he would not have put himself into the position of being pressured into making a 'mutual apology.' There is nothing to gain for Sgt. Crowley if he is maneuvered into having a hand-shaking relationship with Professor Gates. Why would he want it?
The incident is now a conflict resolution game. To turn an incident into a game certain steps are necessary. First, the incident has to be enlarged. In this case it is now being said to involve all police departments and all blacks who are arrested or stopped by police for any reason.
it must be formalized. Game theory does not apply to totally random activity.
The City Manager and Mayor of Cambridge have already taken steps to involve
Conflict resolution 'experts.'
People are no longer expected to settle their own disagreements. There is a whole new profession called 'conflict resolution.' One can even get a degree in conflict resolution.
The world managers know that if they want a world management system it cannot be based on the hope of ever achieving peace. World management must be based on the idea of conflict. It must be achieved by taking control of conflict situations. Life itself must be considered to be a series of problems and conflicts.
Every time a controversy gains public attention it offers an opportunity for the management game players to spring into action. In the 1974 there was a textbook controversy in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Parents objected to textbook pornography, altered history, sex education courses, etc. It became a gigantic game of strategy that the parents and textbook objectors everywhere eventually lost. The National Education Association won. They were experienced game players, but most of the parents and protesters did not even know they were playing a game.
Then there was the busing game, also in the 1970s. It was played in almost every major city with the same script and the same result. The objectors did not know they were playing games. They lost.
Game theory is based on mathematics. Therefore it does not involve values. It must be morally neutral. Right and wrong are not part of the game. Honesty cannot be considered a virtue. It is a game of strategy. If honesty helps one win the game it is useful. If it does not further one's purpose to be honest, honesty has to be abandoned.
Moral principles have to be abandoned when the managers play the game to win. This is why all references to the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the Bible have to be removed from areas where public policy is formed.
If this is the first time you have heard of Game Theory, or if you do not really understand how it is used, please read News With Views articles, "Nobel Prize For Playing Games" 7/26/09 and "Mind Games" 7/16/04.
In the Cambridge incident we have an exceptional opportunity to watch the game being played, to observe and learn to understand 'the system.' Game players control conflict to bring about pre-determined results. In my lifetime I have never seen such an opportunity to observe how the game is played and to realize it is a game.
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Watch and learn. The most important lesson is, "Do not play games with the system." You will lose every time. Force the game players to come to you, to be honest, moral and independent. The losers in the Cambridge game are pre-determined. They are meant to be the police sergeant who arrested the professor, the entire Cambridge Police Department, and police departments everywhere.
If he continues to play the game, he loses. It is pre-determined.
© 2009 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
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Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication.