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“In order to see yourself and your group as all good, you have to project the evil you are unable to acknowledge in yourself onto an external entity: some other group, the ones not like us. The stronger the cognitive dissonance, the more intense will be the projection. The other becomes the embodiment of evil. This then gives rise to the pathology of victimhood and is the ultimate source of scapegoating: ‘It wasn’t us, it was them.’ From this flowed rivers of blood of human sacrifice throughout the ages. They still do today.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation
In this book, Rabbi Sacks explains how the meaning of “scapegoat” has come to mean precisely its opposite. In ancient times, two identical male goats were selected: one was to be sacrificed to G-d, the other was taken by the High Priest who took the sins of the Jewish people and placed them on the second goat, which was then sent into the desert to Azazel, where the goat would plunge to its death.
Scapegoating came to have a particularly ominous quality. In olden times, a person could be held guilty and killed to preserve the group. Rabbi Sacks describes this thinking as “one of the most vicious ideas ever to disfigure the human mind.”
One of the factors I’ve found fascinating about scapegoating is a theory that people who are scapegoated must behave in a way that those around them believe that they have “earned” the loathing of others. I couldn’t help thinking of Donald Trump and how he has become the scapegoat of the Left for nearly everything—even when he’s not connected to the situation. Unfortunately, the Left doesn’t realize that scapegoating not only wounds the victim but can be devastating to those who commit it.
Time will tell whether or not the Left pays a price.