Sheep, Cowards, and Social Mores

When a society denies an objective standard of morality, the average person’s determination of the difference between right and wrong will ultimately be based on the social norms of the day.

Any person who doesn’t hold to even a single position which is in opposition to the ever-shifting values perpetuated by the media is a simple-minded sheep. But it is better to be a sheep than to be a coward: one who publicly condones all of the most progressive social mores despite having private misgivings about their ramifications, but will not speak up because they fear being bullied by the mob. Often, they overcompensate. The coward poses a very real threat to a free society: while the sheep simply parrots the talking points and catchphrases of the day, the coward, driven by fear, tries to avoid detection by actively and aggressively attacking anyone who they see stepping out of line with the opinions permitted by society’s perpetuated narrative. The only people more dangerous than a coward are the radical activists whose extremist talking points set the tone of a society’s moral standards, and the politicians and CEOs who allow them to do so.

In Saudi Arabia, a sheep might genuinely believe that homosexuality is a grievous sin, but a coward might search his sister’s computer to see whether she has been exchanging amorous messages with any other women – and then if he finds that she has, he prints off the messages and mails them to the authorities so that she will be either imprisoned or hanged.

In the American South in the late nineteenth century, a sheep might genuinely believe that her father’s slave was subhuman because of his ancestry, but a coward might falsely accuse that same man of trying to rape her if her beau caught her kissing him behind the barn.

In Germany in 1938, a sheep might genuinely believe that the Jewish shopkeepers whose shops were ransacked and looted deserved what had happened to them, but a coward might report his neighbour a few months later for protecting one of the shopkeeper’s orphaned children.

In the USA today, a sheep might genuinely believe that gender is a social construct, but a coward might search through a coworker’s old social media posts to see whether he has made any posts saying that men are men and women are women – and then if she finds one, she shares a screenshot with their employer so that her transphobic coworker will be fired because, as she tells her manager, her coworker’s views make her feel unsafe.

In the USA, a sheep might genuinely believe that a Christian wedding photographer should not be allowed to choose whether she only accepts contracts for traditional weddings, but a coward might search out Christian photographers who are known to only take contracts for traditional weddings, then try to start a movement to boycott their business so that they will be forced to either go hungry or apologize for having religious convictions and trying to act according to them.

What is the solution? When we see someone make a false claim, we happy few who are still willing to speak truth must not let their lies go unchallenged. We must publicly counter falsehoods with truth. Even if the listener does not change his or her mind, bystanders might. The coward might have some of her courage restored. The sheep might follow those leaders speaking from a place of reason instead of those bullying others through their pure emotional illogicality. And then, finally, we might be able to get off of this sick cycle carousel.

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