A Parable of Sheep and Wolves

Sheep are of two kinds. There are those (dumb sheep) who wish for peace but are unwilling to do what it takes to attain and maintain it. And there are those (smart sheep) who understand what follows.

Wolves are of two kinds. There are those (dumb wolves) who don’t care about peace, and whose natural inclination is to dominate and savage others; sheep are their natural prey. There are those (smart wolves) who understand that they can lead better lives if they cooperate with sheep.

Smart sheep understand that they can keep dumb wolves at bay if they retain the services of smart wolves. This is possible because, as peaceable creatures, sheep are good at cooperating for their mutual benefit and therefore enriching themselves. Smart sheep are discerning enough to hire smart wolves who understand that what harms the sheep harms them (through loss of lucrative employment). Thus a bargain may be struck that keeps the bad wolves at bay, while the smart sheep and their smart wolf hirelings enjoy the fruits of mutually beneficial cooperation.

There are, however, a lot of dumb sheep who don’t understand that their peace and prosperity depends on (a) keeping bad wolves at bay and (b) hiring smart wolves for that purpose. Some dumb sheep, despite the hard lessons of experience, cannot believe that there are bad wolves, or that the bad wolves will harm them. Other dumb sheep, despite the lessons of history, cannot bring themselves to hire smart wolves because they are wolves. (Those dumb sheep are the kind who believe that a drawing of a gun is somehow an act of violence, that a man can bear children, etc., etc.).

When dumb sheep dominate, all sheep suffer. When smart sheep dominate, dumb sheep call them “nazis” for hiring wolves and keeping the peace.