What's the origin of scapegoat?
Almost everyone uses scapegoats. It is in our fabric. The word "scapegoat" has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes. It is a potent human disposition to blame others for our failings.
The derivation of the term scapegoat also comes from the Old Testament-see Leviticus 16. During the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur in the Temple era high priests would sacrifice a goat that would be consigned "for Azazel" and would carry with it the sins of the nation.
Without scapegoats to blame, we are forced to look at ourselves for our problems. Examining ourselves can be very disturbing, particularly when we either lack the resources or the willingness to tackle them. So, we take the good old easy way out of the mess by shifting our focus to the outside world for targets to blame.
Look at young kids. They are expert blamers. They always have an answer, someone or something to blame in self-defense. We, the chronological adults, don’t completely abandon our childish strategy of ascribing blame to external sources. We simply do so with a greater degree of sophistication by finding, if at all possible, a grain or two of truth to legitimize our attributions.