There are Wolves, there are Sheep, and then there are Sheepdogs.
Wolves prey on the outnumbered, the weak, the unsuspecting, the vulnerable—i.e., whether the Sheep or, in a not infrequent number of cases, other Wolves who have fallen out of favor with the pack.
Wolves lack courage. They lack honor. And Wolves care only about satisfying their own greed.
Though they are typically presented as being polar opposites, Wolves and Sheep actually share some character traits in common. Sheep, too, tend not to be particularly courageous. While they are not necessarily mean-spirited or even selfish, and while Sheep can be gentle and compassionate, since they value their own safety more than anything else, Sheep are prone to conform their speech and conduct to that of the herd. They are prone to “obey orders.”
Thus, like Adolph Eichmann, to whom the Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt ascribed a “curious, but quite authentic, inability to think,” Sheep too are devoid of original thought, preferring instead to trade in the banalities of whatever clichés and conventionalities happen to be in vogue at the moment.
Like Eichmann, Sheep “obey orders.” Only in the case of Sheep, the orders constitute the Zeitgeist of the majority, or what is felt to be the majority.
In the case of our contemporary political situation, the Spirit of the Times is what is usually called “Political Correctness.”
The Sheep, even when they suspect that PC notions are wrongheaded, will not dare to say so aloud. Sheep, after all, are not daring. And, so, PC is permitted to prevail.
The Wolves, however, are the self-appointed guardians of the PC orthodoxy, its watchdogs. The Wolves, forever salivating over the prospects of fresh blood, spare no occasion to search out deviations from their creed so as to administer as humiliating and agonizing a punishment for the heterodox as possible.
To repeat the foregoing point, Wolves and Sheep are quite similar in many respects. Wolves run in packs because, though they will never admit it, not too far beneath the surface they are terribly afraid of being devoured by their own. Wolves lack the self-discipline to act rightly, for righteousness often demands that one stand against the will of the Mob, the Pack or Herd.
Wolves and Sheep are two sides of the same coin. Perhaps we need to add another character-type to this three-old taxonomy: There are Wolves, Sheep, Sheepdogs, and…Sheep-Wolves or Wolf-Sheep.
The Sheepdog, though, is of a different breed altogether. The Sheepdog, like the Sheep, dreads trouble. He hates violence, and aims to avoid it at virtually all costs. But unlike the Sheep, he doesn’t hate it because he fears for his own safety alone. Like the Wolf, the Sheepdog is willing to engage in violence, but unlike the Wolf, the Sheepdog will use violence if and only if it is necessary for the sake of preventing harm to innocents, whether himself or, crucially, others.
In the Sheepdog there is no arrogance. The Sheepdog is not given to trash-talking. His training involves the cultivation of, not just physical prowess but, what is arguably even more important, “situational awareness,” i.e. the ability to diffuse potentially violent situations before they occur.
In the world of contemporary American politics, one can distinguish the Wolves and Sheep from the Sheepdogs. It’s also all too easy to see how the Wolves and Sheep are more like one another than either is similar to the Sheepdog: Wolves select their prey and then intimidate the Sheep into joining the attack. The Sheep, of course, though conspicuously unenthusiastic—Sheep tend to lack enthusiasm about virtually everything—are nevertheless all too ready to pile on those who the Wolves have already maimed. The target, after all, poses no threat at this point.
The Sheepdog, however, despises injustice. He despises alike bullies and those who never tire of ingratiating themselves to bullies. His instinct is to protect those upon whom the Wolves and their Sheep pummel, whether he likes or agrees with their prey or not, for these predatory attacks, lacking as they do all proportionality and honor, are unseemly.
When Roseanne Barr, a long-celebrated left-leaning white Jewish Hollywood actress dispatched an admittedly crude tweet identifying former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as the offspring between the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes, Roseanne was besieged by Legion, the mob of Wolves and their Sheep lackeys. Jarrett, as it happens, is partially black. Any ape reference vis-à-vis a black person is…“racist.” Or so the social media mafia of Sheep, following marching orders from their Wolf bosses, wailed indignantly.
Roseanne, who herself on more than one occasion—like when she posted a picture of George Zimmerman’s parents’ home address while their son was incessantly receiving death threats from enraged blacks for his (justified) killing of Trayvon Martin—has been known to assume the role of Wolf herself. Yet for this one tweet, and despite issuing multiple apologies, this one-time Wolf now found herself at the mercy of the pack. As she became reduced with rapid speed to a non-person, exiled from the Respectable Society that she once inhabited, Roseanne quickly discovered that the Wolves and their ever-obedient Sheep were devoid of all mercy.
The Sheepdog, though no fan personally of Roseanne, is repulsed by the relentlessness of the attack upon her, as well as the cowardice of the Mob, all of whose members—Wolves and Sheep alike—would never think to be confrontational if they knew that they could be harmed while doing so.
In other words, the Sheepdog knows that the Herd would rather ground and pound an outnumbered, defenseless white woman for her alleged “racism”—a juvenile tweet—than express outrage over the precipitous rates and truly barbaric nature of black-on-non-black criminality and violence. The former approach is not only safe, but it provides the added benefit of allowing Wolves and Sheep to virtue-signal to one another while encouraging them to see themselves as brave Social Justice Warriors.
The latter approach, in glaring contrast, is dangerous, particularly if the critic is white (though blacks and other racial minorities who are courageous enough to call out black criminality risk much too).
Despite its hazards, and maybe in part even because of them, the Sheepdog resolves to do his part in protecting innocents by acting on the side of truth and righteousness.
Be a Sheepdog.
Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. He has been teaching philosophy for nearly 20 years and his work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications. Jack is the author of four books, including Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism and the recently published, Higher Miseducation: A Dissident’s Essays on the Assault Against Liberal Learning.