And, sheepdogs as well. After all, I am a total dog lover: especially working dogs.
But there's an irony for me in the right wing trope of the sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves, which shouldn't surprise me it was dreamed up by a Yank. A Yank who probably never spent any time on a farm with sheep and sheepdogs.
Britain is relatively free of wolves, which is also the case with New Zealand. Both places along with the US are where I grew up raising sheep. And having sheepdogs herd the sheep.
Sheepdogs rarely every encounter a wolf, which is good since they are usually border collies, bearded collies, or Old English Sheepdogs. So, they aren't busy keeping the sheep blissfully happy in their ignorance through protecting them from wolves. Sheepdogs are keeping sheep in line through force. Not sure what would be the outcome of an actual sheepdog wolf encounter. I would bet on the wolf.
No, what sheep do is they herd sheep and take them to be sheared. or to the barn. Or slaughtered. A sheep dog makes the sheep go left, go right, stop in place, go too fast, slow down, etc.. The sheepdog says, ‘you do where my master wants you to do.”
Sheepdogs aren't a symbol of liberty: they are the symbol of oppression. Sheepdogs herd the people, telling them what they can or can’t do. They represent fascism, not liberty. They are not the protectors, they are the forces of repression. They are as authoritarian as you can get, which is probably why aggressive people latch onto this.
I have yet to see someone who uses this analogy demonstrate they have spent any time around sheep. Or Sheepdogs. I grew up going to sheepdog trials (and got my start as a lawyer defending them [that was a joke]). Actually, sheepdog trials are where you see sheepdogs in action.
I hope that gives you an idea of how fucked this analogy is.
Anyway, when we herded sheep we had shepherd's crooks and sheepdogs: not to protect them, but to herd the sheep. we had sheep shears when we sheared them. And shovels when we cleaned the pen.
We were keeping them in line. Not protecting them from wolves.
The blog "On Violence" went into this in depth. but I have yet to see another farmer say this is a shit analogy. So, I'll do it: It's a shit analogy.
A Moment of Science: Sheepdogs and Wolves
On Violence's essays:
- On V in Other Places: Slate's "The Surprising History of American Sniper’s “Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs” Speech”Some Closing Thoughts on Wolves, Sheep and Sheepdogs Analogy
- Wolves, Sheepdogs and the Cops I Know)