Pathetics, or Leaders of Some: A response to “Apathetics and Followers for Others”
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 10, 2013 17:02
The article “Apathetics and Followers for Others” should not have been published, or, at least, it should have been prefaced with disclaimer explaining the decision to print it. The editors of The Crusader failed to follow their own policy by publishing an anonymous article, so, unless they are unaware of their own guidelines, they should have stated their reasons for allowing a nameless article to appear.
Technicalities aside, there are other issues with the aforementioned piece. One could say that world is divided among three animals, but those animals are dissimilar. They all may be furry quadrupeds, but the similarities do not go much further. Even if sheep live by and with the herd, they still provide valuable commodities, such as wool and meat. There is no reason the sheep should be discontent or bored with their lives. If they are eating, sleeping, and, I daresay, reproducing, they are carrying out their natural actions.
By leading and protecting their charges, sheep dogs are fulfilling their responsibility. They have been bred, raised, and trained to protect the sheep, so they do just that. The fourth creature in “Contributor’s” societal hierarchy is the wolf.
To call a wolf “purely evil” is dangerously reductionist. In fact, wolves have killed fewer people since the turn of the century than dogs did in 2011 alone. It should not be forgotten that they must eat to fill their lupine needs, and if it were not for the farmer’s disruption of the natural pattern, wolves could eat their prey freely.
The farmer is, of course, the third animal in “Contributor’s” world. “Contributor” noted the farmer’s existence and the training of the sheep dog, presumably carried out by some human, if the not farmer. Although this additional character poses a problem for the metaphor, it does answer a burning question about the sheep dog: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” The answer, the reader now knows, is agricola.
Contrary to the erroneous claim, every Holy Cross student does make decisions, even if they are uninformed or misguided. By choosing to follow the crowd, the individual has, by definition, made a choice. The worthy “Contributor” has admitted this point by writing “Many a student . . . chooses friends . . .” That was, naturally, a poor choice of verb.
Although it is unclear how attending school at one’s parents’ expense and posting a status about Kony 2012 are related, the first point is worth consideration. If one’s parents are paying for college, one ought to be grateful and make the most of the educational opportunities. Whether their ability to provide this chance has come from suffering or not, gratitude should still be shown. Education, especially one paid for by another, is a privilege, so one should not simply feel “entitled” to such a gift. Even though the existence of evil and the need to repay someone ten-fold are not clearly related, they are both worthy topics. One would hope that after receiving an education as “men and women for others,” one would fill (or, at least, try to) the world’s absence of good. As for the second point, ten-fold is quite arbitrary. An education, especially a good one, can never be fully repaid. Perhaps, a better way to quantify an attempted repayment would be “seventy times seven.”
Calling the faculty wolves and blaming them for the Smart cars are wrong. If the earlier definition of “wolf” is maintained, then the entire faculty is composed of “purely-evil-dog-cousins.” The blame for the decision should be refocused onto whatever party actually deserves it.
There are leaders in this flock, and, naturally, there are followers. The faulty and reductionist view presented in “Apathetics” fails to capture the complexity of interactions and personalities at the College. Instead of nebulous generalities condemning I-know-not-quite-whom, the author would have better served the readers by either being direct or by remaining silent. Nevertheless, the overall, if obscure, point of “Contributor’s” article is worth considering.
Are we conscious the choices we make, or do we simply fall into the herd mentality? Are we cognizant of the sacrifices others make for us? Do we use our time productively, or do we fritter it away? Are we prepared, and willing, to do what is good and right, even at the risk of painful separation from the flock? Do we even care?