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Tucker-Shabazz Aunrika Tucker-Shabazz November 12, 2011 Period 4 AP Language Mrs.


Who Dun It?

We take the credit, you take the blame. This is the mission statement of scapegoating, an unnecessary, though profitable, business. Subscribers to the business' practice believe it is necessary to create scapegoats, strategic individuals molded to take the blame for others, for the sole purpose of a society escaping negative consequences. Said consequences are always derived from situations creating change, or division, in a society. As a result, these societies, which are reluctant towards change, throw the value of personal responsibility and the principle of free will to the wind. In these societies, scapegoats are necessary and they serve a necessary purpose: relieve society of the dilemma, panic, and restore a semblance of peace and order. Evidence of this is present in several literary works, and throughout history. Decisions and the resulting consequences of those decisions are necessary parts of life. When something is necessary, it is crucial to the end goal and it required for the achievement of that goal. The goal of a decision is to create a separation, division: the choosing of sides, for better or worse. Throughout history, decisions have both made and broken societies. The goal of free will in a society is to teach the decision maker to deal with the resulting consequences, good or bad. When a society, facing the threat of division, snatches the element of personal responsibility from the equation, it violates the goal of free will; it deludes the citizens, teaching them the contrasting message: make a decision. If you do not like the consequences shift the blame, if you like the consequences, take the credit. According to Jeff Poor, who quoted political analyst Bill Maher, on the assassination of Bin Laden, by President Barack Obama's order, ...America didn't know...America... cant give credit to our ninja president now...But he got him...ideology out the window . (Poor1) As a result of this double

Tucker-Shabazz standard, there is no respect for rules, laws, or logical procedures set in place to guide decision making. As a result of this double standard, thinking is no longer logical, it is illogical, fallacious. Scapegoating is an illogical social mechanism, based on a double standard; therefore, it is not necessary- scapegoats are not necessary. Scapegoating violates the purpose of free will, the principle on which the illogical practice is based. Those who adhere to the principle of free will, taking the responsibility for negative and positive consequences, do not mold scapegoats. For example, in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, there were a group of young people who decided to once again honor free will, and separated themselves from the societies that practiced the ridiculous death tradition by, ...quitting the lotteries (33). They were viewed as, ...a pack of fools (Jackson 34). The goal of free will is to emphasize taking full responsibility for one's decisions. The goal of scapegoating is to escape full responsibility. That is why scapegoats, and the practice of scapegoating in society, are not necessary: it is not a critical practice helping to achieve the goal of free will, it teaches the wrong message, and it is illogical. The molding of scapegoats in societies always happens when change is present; change represents division, between the old and new. This change may stir up emotions such as panic, fear, and hysteria, all dangerous motivators for dangerous action. The origins of Rome attest to this fact. Romulus and Remus,were abandoned by their uncle, when out of fear, he blamed them for the inevitable collapse of their society, and convinced the citizens the boys must die. Left to drown, the twins were saved and raised by a she-wolf. However, when it came time to decide who would rule the city they had founded together, Romulus panicked and killed his twin. To a society reluctant to change, any and all means are on the table to quell the catalyst of change, even lying and killing, and scapegoating is definitely lying. In the dystopic society of District 12, Katniss Everden is the face of resistance, change, and threat to The Capital's peace, order and tradition. The division comes with the rebellion of The Capital's traditional hunger games, in which children fight to the death, fight for their

Tucker-Shabazz lives and the position, if they survive, of mentor to next year's fighters. The games are a punishment, as well as a reminder to the districts that rebellion was quelled once, and will not be tolerated again. In fact, as the president tells Katniss, "In several of [the districts], people viewed your little trick with the berries as an act of defiance, not an act of love. And if a girl from District Twelve of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?" he says. "What is to prevent, say, an uprising?" (Collins 21) ; the districts are the scapegoats, framed by the luxurious Capital for all that is wrong in their society. Lastly, in the world of football, Brett Favre, quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, was the prime scapegoat during the team's failing 2010 season. A critic was quoted in the BlackedOut sports blog saying, ...Ive never hated a public figure more than Brett Favre in my life. He is everything that is wrong with not only sports, but with life itself. So if the Vikings get off to a **** start, and he sucks, he already warned you (BalckedOut 1). Hysterical, disappointed fans needed an excuse to explain why the Vikings had such a poor season. Their claim? Their season sucked because Favre had surgery as an ...attention hungry player... and ...he sucks (BlackedOut 1). While scapegoats are not necessary, they do serve a necessary and critical purpose in society. Scapegoats bear the sins of the unrighteous; they carry the ugly characteristics and secrets of those who condemn them. John Maerz said in Is God Necessary Or The Ultimate Scapegoat?, Scapegoats are the fabricated existence of beings absolving us from the responsibility for the creation of our misery, loneliness, and our insecurity about the fact that nothing is guaranteed. (1) It's often said the only constant in life is change; when societies are reluctant to change any condition threatening tradition and stability has the potential to divide the society. It must be eliminated. Scapegoats unify the potentially divided society by providing it with a common aim and enemy- a common, though temporary, goal. Scapegoats are chosen for their convenience- the false accusations seem plausible. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the accused witches were easy to target: they owned no land and were dredges of society. There were so many of these convenient individuals to accuse as witches, it took

Tucker-Shabazz Miller two pages to complete the scene! On the first page, I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil! (Miller 46) In fact, a girl woke up from deathly sickness to accuse a woman. On page two,Betty, calling out hysterically with great relief: I saw Martha Bellows with the Devil! (Miller 45) These 'witch trials diverted Salem's focus from the fact that land was being put up for grabs, and only the wealthy of the town would acquire it. Puritans strictly believed in the no excess principle; for an individual to be accused, and found guilty, of falsely accusing a person of witchery simply to obtain more land excess they would have been severely punished- best to divert the focus, and blame innocents of witchery, also worthy of a severe punishment: death. Scapegoats are molded by society, for the purpose of relieving socioeconomic, or sociopolitical, tension and restoring peace and order to a chaotic situation. An example of this lies in Michael Moore's Bernie Madoff, Scapegoat: he draws attention to the fact that Madoff is a small scale scapegoat for a larger issue- a diversion to the American public. Will the head of Goldman Sachs reveal what he was doing at the meetings with the Fed chairman and the Treasury secretary before the bailout? Will Bank of America please tell us what they've spent $45 billion of our TARP money on? That's probably going too far. Better that we just put Bernie on this list. (2) Blame Bernie for the failure of the economy because he ...preyed on his side of the tracks. (1) Moore, in his article, states scapegoating is, ...too easy and the wrong lesson learned... (2), but Madoff was, ...a timely diversion. (2) Scapegoats serve a necessary purpose in society. They relieve social tension, restore a semblance of order and peace, divert and dissuade the public panic from the real dilemma, and absolve society of their responsibility for creation of misery and negative consequences that may backfire. It's understandable why an individual might argue scapegoats are necessary in society: their purpose is helpful, but the nature of situations surrounding scapegoats is illogical and immoral. To believe that shifting the blame to another when something goes wrong is correct, but taking credit when something goes right is also correct, is hypocritical. It's immoral. The catalysts for scapegoating in

Tucker-Shabazz history were always negative;for example, Germany's failing economy and Hitler's discontent with life prompted the scapegoating, and genocide of Jews. After he killed generations of people, Germany's economy was still failing- in fact, its depressing financial situation became even more abysmal after the war. If one argues that scapegoats are necessary in society then they condone Hitler's purpose and practice throughout WWII. Their faulty reasoning would claim Jews were responsible for an economy that was already failing because after Hitler eradicated their people, there was no lower class to stimulate German finances, creating a more abysmal situation. An individual arguing that scapegoating is necessary would also condone the witch hunts taking place in America during the late 17th century. They would argue that when the hysterical Puritans finished hunting the supposed witches, the people causing the hysteria that swept the coast, the towns were purified. But the hysteria was still present and the towns in New England became even more corrupt. In Robert Calef's More Wonder of the Invisible World, he demonstrates that the witch hunting solved nothing, and purified nothing. He calls the illogical witch hunts a, ...late Tragedy, raised among us by Satan and his Instruments. (143) A late tragedy where people paid the price for lies with their lives, taken by their fellow man, while people blamed the Devil. Yes, the deaths seemed to give the towns peace, but not for long; the peace was fleeting, and because there was no respect for morals and the principle of free will, New England towns began the scapegoating cycle again and again. Scapegoats, do not, and are most certainly not needed to teach individuals to take responsibility for their actions. Those who believe so are not of sound mind or clear conscience. A scapegoat is the one who takes the fall, they are the falsely accused based on what may seem like sturdy evidence. Often the accusers frame the individual because they know others involved may not investigate further into the irrational, illogical practice, and just go with the flow. The molding of scapegoats in societies always happens when change is present, when a negative consequence is the result of a decision, or when something threatens the peace, order, and traditions of that society.

Tucker-Shabazz Scapegoats are then created, and thoroughly eliminated, in order to restore peace, order and tradition. The process of scapegoating as a social mechanism is not necessary in societies who value the sacred principle of free will. Although scapegoats are not necessary in these societies, the truth of the matter is that they exist. Because they exist, they do serve a purpose in society, but they are not needed.

Tucker-Shabazz Works Cited BlackedOut. "Brett Favre Already Comes Up With A Scapegoat |" - A Blog For Your Entertainment.. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>. Calef, Robert. More wonders of the invisible world or, The wonders of the invisible world, display'd in five parts .... London: Printed for N. Hillar, and J. Collyer, 1700. Print. Collins, Suzanne, and Suzanne Collins. Catching fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2009. 20-21. Print. Jackson, Shirley, and Reg Sandland.The Lottery. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Education, 1983. Print. Maerz, John. "Is God Necessary or the Ultimate Scapegoat?." Is God Necessary Or The Ultimate Scapegoat?. N.p., 17 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>. Miller, Arthur. "2." The Crucible. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books, 1996. 45-46. Print. Moore, Michael. ""Bernie Madoff, Scapegoat" by Michael Moore (for Time magazine) |"Welcome to N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <> Poor, Jeff. "Bill Maher | Osama Bin Laden | Barack Obama | The Daily Caller." The Daily Caller. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>