Chad Perrin: SOB

2 June 2008

When the sheep protect the wolves. . . .

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 03:27

One might say the American people need the wool pulled from their eyes. The “ruling” parties — the Republicans and Democrats — and those who support their continued domination of US politics (such as the mainstream news media) are generally known to be less than strictly honest with the population at large. Those who are at least peripherally aware of just how deeply rooted the deception has become are surely conscious of the need to pull the wool from the eyes of the citizens of the United States of America.

My impression of the state of affairs in most other “Western democracies” is that their citizens are more complacent in their victimhood than those of the United States, but probably not significantly less aware of it. It would be difficult to be less aware, considering the blind, somnambulent state of the US voting (and often non-voting) public.

The world over, the truth is not so much that people need someone to pull the wool from their eyes, nor even that they need to do so themselves. How can we pull the wool from their eyes when it is not a mere scarf that obscures their vision? They are in fact sheep, and the wool they wear is as much a part of them as the eyes whose vision is obscured by it.

So long as the predators taking advantage of governmental power never cut away the wool around the public’s eyes, they never need worry that We, The People will ever realize the cold draft we feel is a result of having been sheared, nor that our growing discomfort is the doing of the wolves gnawing at our flanks.

Perhaps, some day, those of us amongst the flock who aspire to be wolfhounds will summon the strength to take a stand, and drive these predators away. For the moment, however, we’re having a tough time getting the damned sheep out of our way so we can do our jobs.

4 Comments

  1. […] remarkable only in that they lasted as long as they did as choices that the majority of interested sheep individuals could conceive of as “real” choices. In the end, the compulsion toward binary decisions […]

    Pingback by Chad Perrin: SOB » Political Sainthood and False Dilemmas — 2 June 2008 @ 03:31

  2. […] When the sheep protect the wolves. . . . : […]

    Pingback by Chad Perrin: SOB » follow-up links: music and politics — 2 June 2008 @ 04:54

  3. I strongly suggest reading “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” This book makes a very strong case that it’s not that the political elites undermine the will of the people to our detriment but that to the contrary the most harm is done when the political elites cater to the demands of the electorate and government only works as well as it does because governmental officials often have the discretion to make choices that the public doesn’t have much awareness or input in.

    It’s a nice fairy tale that if only the people were in charge/weren’t being mislead by powerful interests everything would be better but it’s just not so.

    This isn’t because politicians are so much smarter than most of the public. If we choose members of the public at random and placed them in governmental positions they might not do so badly. When you know you have real power over a deciscion you are more to control your passions and look at evidence.


    To put the point differently it’s very easy for any old voter to express their outrage at illegal immigrants and demand that the police round them up and jail/deport them. However, if you are the president and such a bill lies on your desk the weight of the choice you are about to make and the people it will affect will weigh much more heavily on you. A single voter doesn’t feel the moral imperative to seriously consider the effects this might have on criminal enforcement (distrust of police) and the like but an individual with serious power over the outcome does. Whatever you think the ultimate deciscion should be the point is that being in a position of power encourages (in general..not all presidents/congressmen so respond) greater knowledge and self-examination.

    Comment by TruePath — 3 June 2008 @ 01:40

  4. This book makes a very strong case that it’s not that the political elites undermine the will of the people to our detriment but that to the contrary the most harm is done when the political elites cater to the demands of the electorate and government only works as well as it does because governmental officials often have the discretion to make choices that the public doesn’t have much awareness or input in.

    1. The “will of the people” is a big part of the problem. Thus, the sheep metaphor. Perhaps you didn’t notice my use of that metaphor.

    2. You contradicted yourself nicely at the end of that: “governmental officials often have the discretion to make choices that the public doesn’t have much awareness or input in.” That’s the other side of the coin, and also addressed by the wolf metaphor.

    It’s a nice fairy tale that if only the people were in charge/weren’t being mislead by powerful interests everything would be better but it’s just not so.

    I don’t think you understood the metaphorical presentation at all.

    This isn’t because politicians are so much smarter than most of the public.

    Did someone say that was the case? I know I didn’t.

    If we choose members of the public at random and placed them in governmental positions they might not do so badly.

    Well . . . they certainly wouldn’t do any worse than Bush, Clinton, and Bush, on average. Worst-case scenario: whoever ends up in office ends up a naive patsy for some politically savvy predator who pulls his or her strings, and we get something pretty much exactly as bad as GWB.

    To put the point differently it’s very easy for any old voter to express their outrage at illegal immigrants and demand that the police round them up and jail/deport them. However, if you are the president and such a bill lies on your desk the weight of the choice you are about to make and the people it will affect will weigh much more heavily on you.

    It would be great if that were the case. Unfortunately, what the realities of politics over the last twenty years has actually shown us is that the people who get into positions of power only consider the ultimate effects of their actions as they affect people they like, and on whose political support they depend.

    A single voter doesn’t feel the moral imperative to seriously consider the effects this might have on criminal enforcement (distrust of police) and the like but an individual with serious power over the outcome does.

    That’s one of the differences between a sheep and a wolfhound.

    in general..not all presidents/congressmen so respond

    Hah. That’s a huge understatement. 98% of politicians don’t respond in such a principled manner. In fact, the percentage of politicians who respond in such a manner probably exactly matches the percentage of voters who make decisions in such a manner.

    The Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, the subsequent Articles of Confederation and ultimately the Bill of Rights — these were all the doing of a powerful minority. These were the wolfhounds. I recommend you have another look at what I wrote, titled *When the sheep protect the wolves. . . .” If you do so, maybe you’ll actually understand the metaphors now.

    Comment by apotheon — 3 June 2008 @ 10:03

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