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Straw Dog

Posted by Bob on July 11, 2003

In Reply to: Straw Dog posted by ESC on July 11, 2003

: : Can someone help with the meaning and derivation. Have heard it used in a context of setting up a straw dog. Many Thanks

: STRAW DOGS -- Heaven and Earth are not humane./ They regard all things as straw dogs. Lao-tzu (c. 604 - c. 531 B.C., "The Way of Lao-tzu." Note: Straw dogs were used in sacrifices and then discarded. "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," Seventeenth Edition, edited by Justin Kaplan (Little Brown and Co., Boston, 2002)

In business, something (an idea, or plan, usually) set up to be knocked down. It's the dangerous philosophy of presenting one mediocre idea, so that the listener will make the choice of the better idea which follows. It backfires with some frequency, as the listener (out of sheer perversity) will insist on the straw dog. Moral of the story: if you are required to present two or three alternatives, make sure you can live with any of them.