Whenever a young one in my life calls people weirdo, I repeat this lesson:
You know who the weirdest people are? The people who call other people weirdos.
Despite the eye-rolling I get, I keep at it. This is useful information. It’s the wisdom of “It takes one to know one” put into practice. It also works in other formats:
- You know who acts most like Nazis? The people who call other people Nazis.
- You know who the least moral people are? The people who talk about morals all day.
- You know who the gayest people are? The people who deny they’re gay the loudest.
For those on the internet, this works for anyone who uses the insult, “sheeple.”
- You know who the sheepiest people are? The people who call other people sheeple.
In case you don’t know, a sheeple is a cross-breed between a human being and a “sheep.” That is, an unthinking beast devoid of critical thought who simply follows the herd.
I’m not sure how accurate this description of sheep is. I’ve never met a sheep. I’ve never hung out with them long enough to know if they are mindless herd followers. Yapping dogs corral them, so that tells me sheep can get rowdy and unruly. Otherwise, why the need for a distant relative of their predator to check them?
The biological accuracy of the insult isn’t relevant here. Let’s focus on my format for turning it on the accuser. When you call a person a sheep, you reveal that you are the sheep.
How? Because you’ve restricted your thoughts. People either agree with you, or they are foolish automatons. There’s no possibility they thought about something and came to a different conclusion.
The sheeple insult implies that individuality is the best and only strategy. That’s incorrect. Herds aren’t always bad. Herds help prey confuse predators. Unions, teams, squads, nations, armies, etc. are all forms of herds. Vaccinations work due to “herd immunity.”
The best defense against manipulation, against being a sheeple, is to admit that it is possible for you to be manipulated. Everyone is prideful and likes to think that they cannot taken by propaganda. Everyone wants to be the mental bad-ass who can never be out-smarted or conned.
The truth is that we can all be tricked. The best way to resist propaganda is to acknowledge that it may influence you. Only then will you accept that you may need to rethink things. If other people are sheeple but you’re right all the time, then there’s no need for you to review your ideas, and you might as well be yet another religious extremist.
If you think you’re the infallible lord of free-thought, then you lack the humility to sustain free thought. Not only will you fail to avoid being a sheep, you’ll also end up being a jackass.