Ever wondered why sheep close ranks and go in one direction if prompted by a leader and why politicians tend to disagree?
The first part of the riddle has been unraveled by scientists. The second part is really up to us.
I have to agree with a group of European researchers whose findings were published in Britain’s prestigious Royal Society.
Using GPS and computer models, they studied how a sheepdog gets so many sheep to move so efficiently in the same direction.
And it all came down to a simple rule about packing — the more tightly packed the herd, the easier it is to manage.
The sheepdog sees a big white fluff in front of him and observes some gaps. The dog runs around the sheep to make them move closer together and when those gaps disappear, that’s when the dog gets them to go in one orderly direction, according to the scientists.
But politicians are a little harder to organize, probably because their leaders are not as smart as a sheepdog.
Also, a politician probably has a poorer eyesight which makes him unable to see differences within his group and with others outside it.
Which leads us to the next question: Should politicians be led by another politician or by another species such as business executives, technology geeks or plain, ordinary citizens?
It’s all up to us. We could elect politicians that have more in common with each other on the basis of their aptitude for, say, fashion, big talk, small talk, corruption or good governance.
We could make our legislatures smaller, so they’re forced to sit closer to each other. And make our jail cells more tightly packed.
As for the rest of the unruly bunch, we could send a sheepdog to round them up.
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