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Erroneous Idioms #2: “A Lion Does Not Concern Himself with the Opinion of a Sheep”

Here we have another gravely flawed idiom that ought to be deconstructed. The meaning is pretty clear. The idiom basically says this:

Translation: “Really important powerful people don’t have to bother to listen to what common people think”

Not only should this immediately smack of ad hominem, but it’s a bit worse than that. This idiom gives the powerful reason to ignore reason, and ignore popular vote.

It’s anti-democratic, which is a small problem, but not absolutely definitively wrong.

It is absolutely definitively wrong because it supposes that the powerful inherently have more sound judgement than the weak. Talk about an attempt to maintain the status quo. The idiom deliberately seeks to avoid listening to reasonable arguments based on an ad hominem principle that goes something like this:

“Common/weak people inherently possess weaker arguments than the powerful”

I shouldn’t need to spell it out anymore than that.

Do society a favor, anytime you hear someone use this idiom, laugh at them for using it.

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About forthesakeofdebate

I enjoy intellectual discussion and learning, metal music, martial arts, and blades. Pretty soon I'll be your favorite misanthrope.

6 responses to “Erroneous Idioms #2: “A Lion Does Not Concern Himself with the Opinion of a Sheep”

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  3. paul ⋅

    …or maybe the intellectual depravity of the masses is of no effect on those who possess wisdom

    • You’re falling for the exact trap that the idiom suggests and that I’m fighting.

      “Wisdom” and “ignorance” don’t have a 100% correlation to right and wrong. Sometimes really wise smart people can be wrong, and sometimes really dumb ignorant people can be right. Even if it doesn’t happen frequently, we can’t allow ourselves to categorically dismiss people we deem “ignorant,” ESPECIALLY if we think ourselves wise. That’s dangerous.

  4. Scott ⋅

    Your wrong about this not in the way you interrupted it but for the other meaning this one when applied to warriors (if your in a western nation I suspect my use if that word will either horrify you or confuse you since we are mostly so far removed from it) but a lion as a meat eater and a killer does not worry itself with what the sheep think . A lions action will horrify and scare the sheep as the sheep will never be able to do what the lion must do.

    • Yeeeeaaah, that’s how it’s intended to be used, and that usage is dangerous because it dismisses people too quickly by putting them lower on some imaginary hierarchical ladder.

      When “sheep” are horrified with something a “lion” does, it’s entirely possible the “lion” is actually just acting in gross moral neglect, and someone ought to be able to catch that and point it out without being dismissed as a “sheep”.

      After all, that’s how dictators are born. They rationalize their behavior as “doing what needs to be done” and dismiss naysayers as just merely not having the stomach for it.

      Also, “you’re”.

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