What's a sheeple?

Matt Cramer cramer at unix01.voicenet.com
Tue Oct 24 06:55:58 PDT 2000

On Tue, 24 Oct 2000, [iso-8859-1] Daniel Davies wrote:

> >I never said anything about
> >libertarians being the deconditioned
> OK, then, who are? I've read a couple of those Robert
> Anton Wilson books, but somehow speed-read past the
> bit where he gives a theory that amounts to much more
> than "how jolly it is to be me". So far, all I can
> extract from your "sheeple" riffs is that people who
> don't understand their computers, or who find
> Microsoft products convenient, are them. I'm assuming
> they're the same as the "robots" below:

It isn't a club. It isn't even an "it". I think you're joking, but it has nothing to do with computers.

Let me try and draw a picture.....

Why shouldn't the US publicly criticise Isreal for killing Palestinians? "Well, the Isrealis are our allies and the Palestinians are a bunch of crazy terrorists" [sheeple].

"I'm not worried about those laws being passed because you only have to worry about it if you are a criminal, and I'm not" [sheeple]

"Unemployed people are just lazy and deserve to starve" [sheeple]

"Outlawing guns will prevent crime" [sheeple]

"Marijuana is bad for you but alcohol is not" [sheeple]

"The public sschools have my child's best interests in mind" [sheeple]

Every single one of those statements is an example of knee-jerk responses to complex situations and illustrates a possibly unconscious ignorance to that complexity.

> >What would you choose to represent the people who
> >seem to be walking
> >around in a sleep, who:
> >Work as slaves for a meager wage that they...
> >...spend wastefully in mass consumption of useless
> >goods...
> >...but the wage isn't enough so they...
> >...drown themselves in debt
> >Watch 6 hours of tv a day
> >Feed their children filth from McDonalds
> >Walk by a homeless person and not see the:
> > misery of his existence
> > threat he poses to their lifestyle
> >Suck on booze and tobacco, but...
> >...think hashish and LSD and psilocybin are evil
> The first three of those seem a bit off -- "meagre" is
> the only wage on offer if you're not a computer genius
> like you or a well-spoken spiv like me.

Working for the wage is often an only option, that much is understood. It was more about what happens to that wage...

> Plus there's
> really not that much to consume other than "useless
> goods",

Then perhaps that consumption should be questioned to begin with! I'm not specifically concerned with the things themselves, or their price, but the obsession of the middle and lower classes with useless goods that they can't afford. E.g., satellite TV and the complete sports package instead of tuition for a child in college.

> TV is all you can put up with when you're
> tired and,

The phrase, used in an ad campaign, called "Must See TV" makes my stomach ache. Look, I do find some of the humour on "Whose Line Is It Anyway" as clever and witty, and I think HBO's Oz is excellent drama. Damn, I used to have a link to a study that showed that high levels of TV viewing produced brain waves similar to those under hypnosis and sleep. But TV has replaced more traditional forms of entertainment, such as reading, music, or listening to grandpa talk about the Great Depression, and the effects of this shift is not superficial.

> despite all the things which are wrong with
> McDonalds as a company, the food is not particularly
> bad for children when compared to the typical Western
> diet.

It *IS* the typical western diet. I shouldn't have to argue that McDonalds food is unhealthy. Really, now.

> Your final point seems to be a matter of taste.

No, not at all. It is the hypocrisy that is evidence of conditioning. Anyone with half a clue knows that alcohol is far more deadly than marijuana.

> Which leaves the one about the homeless person, which
> I'd like to hear more about.

What, specifically?

Despite the mischaracterization of anyone who mentions the "l" word here, there is nothing about being a libertarian, or voting Libertarian, or holding certain libertarian views, that results in a purge of compassion and charity from the subject person. Despite the mudslinging, I am a lot like many of you.

Except that I don't think the State is the best way to solve the world's problems. Because the State ends up only concerning itself with the problems that are detrimental to the State, and ignores all others, and forces me to solve the problems it cares about while holding a gun to my back. My views are only consitent with about 70% of the LP's position. But that is a hell of a lot more than Bush, Gore, Nader, or Buchanan, so I'm voting Browne this fall.

> But you've got an aesthetic dislike of
> people who actually decide to use that privacy to not
> be involved in anything very important, to have
> trivial hobbies, to allow the state to carry out their
> charity work for them through the income tax and to
> never really give any thought to active engagement
> with anything outside their small social groups unless
> there's a war on.

Guilty as charged, I guess. It is FRUSTRATING to try and explain something as henious as the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation act to someone and have them change the topic to what was the funniest sitcom from the night before.

> I don't, in
> general, care for ideas which involve persuading the
> "sheeple" to do anything which they haven't themselves
> decided to do,

My goal is only to make people fully informed. Not control.

> and the same general preference for
> truth over falsehood which led me to Marxist political
> economy tells me that it's just wrong to suggest that
> the lives of the sheeple are in any way worth less
> than those who would presume to change them.

I am not making a value judgement. At least not directly. I do place a higher value upon being informed, and aware, and conscious, than ignorant and asleep. But I do not blame the sheeple for their situation! No gulags here!


-- Matt Cramer <cramer at voicenet.com> http://www.voicenet.com/~cramer/ Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, but what came was the Church.

-Alfred Loisy

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