Understanding Political Process: We the People Are the Goats

Dr. Scapegoat keeps wondering when our understanding of the dynamics of scapegoating will enter politics.

Anthropologist tell us over and over again that scapegoating is the most pervasive group process in traditional cultures. A relative innocent is identified by the collective to hold the sins and is then sacrificed. Politics is group process and in the eyes of history, we are very traditional indeed.

Case in point. The debt crisis. The government shutdown. There are many scapegoats along the destructive road we have all watched, but I would say that those who were furloughed and forced to leave their jobs were most affected. Next the people who really lost out because, immediate and long-term effects of shutting down services.  That’s millions of people.

So who are the scapegoaters within Congress?

For this essay, let’s limit our analytic view to the political body authorized to work.  So who are the scapegoaters within Congress? It’s probably too easy to select the group of Republicans who set the process in motion but they are certainly the instigators. But an instigator group always needs support from group leaders, those who use their institutional authority or personal power to manage the process. In this case Boehner, the speaker of the house, is a likely candidate — but he is a weak leader, with many covert powers behind him. Finally, and most important, there is always a complicit, passive group that goes along. If we stay with the boundaries of Congress, it includes most of the Republicans and Democrats who were too afraid or too incompetent to stop the process.

Simplistic, yes. Scapegoating begins as a small group process and the Congress is a large and complicated inter-group beholden to endless groups outside its system. Political analysts can have a go at checking that out. But scapegoating is the name of the game and we the people are the goats.


  1. I am outing myself as a perpetrator! For 18 years I purposefully and knowingly caused great pain and suffering to a scapegoat. Why ? Because I could! He by himself, through self education, at great cost to him, was able to shine the light on my pathway! He has never asked me to be sorry, which causes me to be more sorry! I found in my ancestry a path strewn with corpses of dead husbands. I would have killed him just like my mother killed my dad, but he just wouldn’t die! I dedicate my life of service to the education of people to stop this horrible crime against humanity! I’m sorry!!


Speak Your Mind