Slow Buffalo

What is a Slow Buffalo?

A slow buffalo is an old, diseased, or otherwise weak buffalo that trails at the back of the herd.

A herd of buffalo only travels as fast as its slowest member, so the slow buffalo slows the entire herd down to its speed.

Wolves and other predators often hunt the slowest, weakest members of a herd because they are the easiest to catch and the least likely to do any damage fighting back. The Slow Buffalo Theory says that when a predator takes out the slow buffalo, it is actually beneficial to the herd, because then the slow buffalo no longer impedes the entire herd. There is also no chance then of the slow buffalo breeding, so in the case of a disease-prone or weak or clumsy animal, its death ensures that the weaker genes will not continue in the herd. Predators thinning the herd of these slow buffalo are a form of natural selection.

The Human Condition

Similarly, there are many slow buffalo in the human population. However, in first-world countries, we have almost completely defeated natural selection. This is not necessarily a good thing. Imagine the time and resources we could devote to higher pursuits if we did not have to continually look out for the slow buffalo of our society.

I am not advocating actively killing our slow buffalo. However, there comes a point when, as a society, we should stop protecting them from themselves and let natural selection take its course. We passed that point quite some time ago.

One thing we should do is get rid of a lot of warning signs. Of course, we do need warnings on many things, but we have them on everything, to the point where there are far too many to pay attention to them all. Now we're likely to miss the few that are really important. We need to stop plastering warning signs on the obvious things, and if someone is too stupid to figure out they shouldn't stick their tongue into a light socket, maybe we don't really need that slow buffalo in our herd anyway.

Fraudulent lawsuits also have to go. There should be penalties for lawsuits that are nothing more than a slow buffalo trying to make a quick fortune, and the accusers should never win simply because it's popular to take a stand against some big faceless corporation. If somebody sticks a screwdriver in an eye, it's not Craftsman's fault, even if there was no warning label. Again, we're better off without the slow buffalo. They're wasting our time and money, and they're slowing (and dragging) us down as a society.

I am not saying we should refuse to help old people. Families, especially, should care for their elderly members. But we should not use all means available to science to drag out their lives indefinitely to some long, miserable end -- unless they really want it that way, and they (or their families) can pay for all the expenses themselves. Throwing money and medical equipment at people at the end of the line will not make up for treating them badly or ignoring them the rest of their lives. Enjoy their time here, treat them with love and respect while they're still with us, and be willing to let go when the time is right.

Sidenote: Slow Buffalo Alcohol Theory

As a sidenote, I should mention that the Slow Buffalo Theory has gained awareness and popularity in recent years (indeed, before this site was created) since it was facetiously adapted to describe the effects of alcohol on the brain. The Slow Buffalo Alcohol Theory suggests (again, jokingly) that although alcohol allegedly kills brain cells, it only kills the slower and weaker ones. Culling those inferior brain cells thus allows increased functionality of the remaining brain cells.

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