Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wolves and Sheep

Bill Whittle writes a response to Katrina that talks about society and it's tribes.

I like the analogy of sheep and sheepdogs protecting them from the wolves that Whittle steals from a book. He says he supports the war in Iraq. That makes no sense. To use the same analogy, the war in Iraq is like sending your best sheepdogs after the weak and injured wolf, leaving the sheep vulnerable to attack from the strong wolves. I don't think anyone can doubt that Iraq was a well contained wolf that was incapable of harming any of the sheep. If you actually believed Bush's bogus intelligence data, then supporting the war at the beginning was logical. But by the time the election came around, we all knew that Iraq was a case of the sheepdog chasing its own tail after taking care of the weak and harmless wolf. The war in Afghanistan was an example of the sheepdog doing its job and doing it well. War in North Korea or Iran would probably be a good use of the sheepdogs. But Iraq is a complete waste of perfectly good sheepdogs. And Katrina just might be an indicator that shows the pain of wasting our sheepdogs.

I do agree that disaster recover is mostly a local affair. New York City stood up to a tragedy in the best possible way. New Orleans rolled over and played dead. Blaming the federal government in the case of Katrina or crediting it in the case of NYC are both equally inappropriate. The Federal Government is indeed best used in supplementing the local and state resources in disaster recovery.

In this essay, he also talks about tribes. He says people choose what tribes they are in. Whether they react by fingerpointing and whining or by standing up to the plate and doing the best they can with what they have is determined by the tribe to which they belong. It doesn't matter what color their skin is, where they were born,what gender they belong to or where they stand politically. There are just certain types of people. And you choose what type of person you want to be. Experience, however, tells me that people often let the color of their skin or other such inconsequential factors dictate their choice of who they want to be. For instance, being black doesn't mean you have to be a certain type of person. But unfortunately so many black people believe the lies society tells them and choose to be become the type of person that society expects them to be. This of course applies to most other demographic groups as well.

I think this essay and the conservative ideals it is based upon suffer from a very important flaw. They see the world in black and white (or Pink and Grey in this case). But that is not the way the world works. Every single one of us belong to many different tribes, have many different colors. No one is pure wolf, pure sheep, or pure sheepdog. We all have a little bit of all three in us. And there can be no sheep without the wolf nor wolf without sheep. The sheep only exists because it is more passive then the wolf. The wolf only exists because it is more aggressive then the sheep. Good cannot exist without evil, nor can evil exist without Good. The world is a relative place and denying that is like denying gravity.

So what am I? I certainly don't live in denial- the mark of the sheep. I am very aware of all the dangers and traps that the wolves set to ensnare us. The worst of them are the traps we are unaware of. Everyone can figure out that a plane crashing into a building is a wolf's attack we need to prevent. What about more subtle attacks? Like choosing to undermine our ability to find safety by allowing incompetent leaders to control our resources? Or allowing the government to dictate what we do and say?

I don't think I'm a wolf, I certainly never contemplate violence on others. Although I don't think any wolf really thinks he's a wolf. I think most wolves probably think of themselves as shepherds or sheepdogs. They are just doing what they need to do to protect their tribe.

So I guess I'm a sheepdog. One that hopes to never have to commit acts of violence in defense of my tribe. One that's too chicken to risk himself or his pocketbook. Also one that knows when to stay out of the way of those more qualified to handle the situation. I like to think that if the situation or the opportunity came along, I would stand up and do something. Do I wish I had been on the plane that was being hijacked with the foreknowledge of what was going to happen? I don't know. Ultimately, I probably would have been unable to do anything about it. Even going against a box cutter, I would probably manage to mess it up and fail to make a difference. But maybe, just maybe, I would have been able to inspire someone else to do what needed to be done. That's my goal in life- to be the guy who inspires others to do the right thing.

The comments debated on what Bush is. The essayist called him this: simpering, sub-human village idiot from Texas. Sounds about right, if slightly exaggerated. Some of the comments said he is intelligent. That may or may not be the case, I don't know. But intelligence isn't what matters in leadership. What matters is decision making, something which is based on intuition and logic more then intelligence. And Bush has proven throughout his life to be an Extremely Poor Decision maker. I think he is ultimately a wolf. A reluctant wolf perhaps, but a wolf nonetheless. A wolf who threatens the sheep not with fangs and claws, but with misguided intentions.

One of the comments:
As a mom, I found it my role to civilize the children in my sphere of influence without turning them into sheep. Clean their room, wash their clothes, write thank you notes, tip well, give up a seat for a senior or a pregnant woman... but also to defend themselves and others when necessary.

Pink tribe moms are about "feelings" and letting kids "find themselves" and Grey tribe moms are about raising children to be decent adults.

I guess I'm a Pink tribe Dad and proud of it. All that stuff she lists is completely unimportant BullShit. None of that stuff makes you a decent adult. It just means you obey society's silly little rules. And in my book, that makes you the ultimate sheep. One that deserves to be devoured by wolves. Soon.

The only mark of a decent adult that matters is being one that respects other's people right to be different and do thing differently. Not necessarily respecting the person, just respecting his or her rights. Doing your best to avoid hurting other people is pretty important too.

Another comment:
Sheepdogs don't protect sheep, they CONTROL them

That's exactly what we need to avoid. We need the wolves in sheeps clothing (sheepdogs) to protect us from wolves so that we can have the freedom to do whatever we want (assuming it doesn't involve driving other sheep off a cliff or something). The sheep drive the wolves, not the other way around. The wolves follow their prey and pounce whenever an opportunity presents itself. The conservatives try to control the sheep, make them go where they want them to go. They think they are doing it for their own good. Bullshit. They are just trying to assert control. It's a powertrip. All people try to avoid change. One of my most basic philosophies is this: Change is Good but Transistions are Terrible. The conservative is always trying to avoid the Transition by avoiding the Change. The Liberal realizes the foolishness of that and encourages the change. The Moderate majority just tries to find the most comfortable path. Sometimes they let the sheepdogs "protect" them and sometimes they just overwhelm the sheepdogs and choose a new path. That's the way it should be.

1 Comments:

Blogger Flash!topian said...

This is a fair analysis, I think. I added it to http://bushisincompetent.blogspot.com. It's kind of my point with the site: whether you think he's intentionally a bad person or not doesn't matter. He's just not capable of doing good. Even the Bible says you shall know a man by his works. I don't see any works here. Alas.

9:24 PM  

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