There is a very popular essay by Dave Grossman that posits a model of the world where everyone is either a wolf, a sheep or a sheepdog. You can read it for yourself and decide which group you are in. But I can tell you from general observation how the world really is.
1. You cannot be a sheepdog unless you go to sheepdog school. You then must earn a certificate from the school. And you wear a sheepdog uniform and a sheepdog badge so everyone will recognize you as a certified sheepdog. And at the end of each of your sheepdog union shifts, you pull your teeth and hand them over to be locked in the sheepdog arms room until your next shift.
2. While one set of wolves attacks the sheep without mercy, there is a smarter set of wolves who run the sheepdog academy. They select particularly weak sheepdogs and insert into the curriculum special lessons about how to recognize a wolf. Special attention is given to recognizing the “lone wolf”. And they are told it is immoral to use their own eyes and good sense to recognize common wolves. That’s discrimination. Discrimination is worse than being a wolf.
3. The wolf and the sheepdog are related. They are closer related to each other than either is to the sheep. They have another cousin too… all the other dogs. The other dogs are not sheep. But they also don’t have a certificate or a badge or a uniform, so they aren’t Sheepdogs (TM) either. But genetically, they are meat eaters. They have teeth. They know from birth how to use them and they know when predator is stalking their pack.
4. The sheepdogs ™, under the control of the smart wolves, spend their time hunting and suppressing the other dogs. The other dogs never had any intention of harming the sheep. But sheepdog school teaches that the other dogs are a threat.
5. There are more threats to the pack than just wolves. There are also rats and other vermin. Sneaky little diseased creatures that get into the stored grain vaults and spoil the food that has been saved for winter. They carry diseases and try to chew off the fingers and toes of the pack young. They crap where they eat. The sheepdogs couldn’t care less about the rats. But even the smaller dogs instinctively hunt the rats. The dogs are a part of the family and won’t permit anyone to harm the rest of the family. Very often, the sheepdogs will get confused and see a wolf-like thing chasing a sheep-like thing and they will bring their full force to bear on the dog, chasing the rat.
6. In some places, there are smart rats. They see how this game is played and they jump in bed with the smart wolves. They train the sheepdogs to spot the other dogs and force them to act like sheep. In the big city, you are not allowed to be a dog.
7. Being a sheepdog is hot hard work. It’s hungry work. A healthy sheepdog can work up quite an appetite guarding all those sheep and chasing away other dogs. And sheepdogs don’t eat sheep food. So, they take a sheep for themselves once in a while. For the greater good. The sheep accept this as the price of being well guarded from the wolves. The smart wolves help out by gutting the sheep, packaging the meat and delivering it to the sheepdogs. The sheepdogs grow to like the taste of sheep and arrange for the deliveries to continue even after they retire from guarding the herd.
8. At some point, the sheep and the dogs have to wonder just whose side the sheepdogs are really on. At some point, the sheep begin to wonder if maybe, despite their genetic pacifism, there might be a better way to guard themselves than employing sheepdogs. maybe some traps, high fences, or automated laser turrets would be sufficient, and cost a lot less.
Who is responsible for the safety of the sheep? Do the sheep have the right to steal the safety of the other dogs to enable their own safety? Who died and appointed the sheepdogs masters of the universe and the authority on all things defense related?
Grossman’s original essay is a flawed model of reality. The reality is that very few of us are sheep who need guarding. Most of us are dogs. We have teeth. Ignore them at your own peril.