Judas Goat Politics

Judas goat: a trained goat used in general animal herding. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared.

A couple months ago I asked the question Why does Trump hate his supporters?
I asked that because the Republican tax reform plan and health care plan seemed specifically designed to inflict pain on the people who voted for Trump.
Then a few weeks ago I noticed that Trump had flip-flopped on his opposition to free trade agreements, one of the few things that his supporters cared deeply about.

It does seem unusually cruel to target your own supporters for the most pain.
It's the opposite of how democracy is supposed to work.
OK. It's Trump. A certifiable con-man and liar. So what do you expect, right?

Then I got thinking: Is this really so unusual?

It occurred to me some time ago that we live in the era of the Big Lie.
Humanitarian wars. Capitalism having something to do with freedom. Debt being a good thing. Greed being a good thing. Alternative facts.
I think we should add one item to this list: Lesser Evilism.

Many Republicans voted for Trump because they considered him the lesser evil to Hillary.
They were clearly wrong, but refuse to acknowledge it.

Many Democrats voted for Hillary because they considered her the lesser evil to Trump.
A strong case can be made that they were also wrong.
For instance, the Democrats are even further to the right than Republicans on foreign policy. The Democrats have for 40 years been the leaders at pushing deregulation of big business.

Wait a second! One of the parties has to be the lesser evil, if for no other reason than because one of the parties has to be a greater evil. Right?

I think we've misread the objective of the game.

What if the purpose of the political parties is to deliver up their constituents to be fleeced and exploited, just like a Judas Goat?
Or to put it another way, what if the greater enemy of Democratic voters is the Democratic Party? And the greater enemy of Republican voters is the Republican Party.
Thus switching party allegiance does the voter no good in the slightest because no matter who they vote for they'll be voting for the greater evil.

What got me thinking about this is how partisan Democrats reserve all their venom, not for Democrats that vote Republican, but for independent leftists that don't vote Democrat.
Partisan Democrats always start with the baseless assumption that they are entitled to your vote. They don't have to earn it because your vote is their privilege, even when you aren't a registered Democrat.
This illogical thinking doesn't apply to the vastly larger group of liberals and minorities who vote Republican, or don't vote. Only to third party voters.
As Hillary Clinton says, people who vote third party are, "the crazy third-party people.”

I used to think that Democrats couldn't do math - a vote for a Republican causes twice the damage to a Democrat that a vote for a third party candidate does. So they should focus their venom on the Democratic turncoats instead.
Then it occurred to me that beating the Republican candidate isn't as important as leading their flock of sheep to the slaughterhouse. Winning the election is just gravy.

Instead of thinking about our "democracy" in the terms of an actual functioning democracy, think of it in terms of a business.
For instance, Google provides services to their customers (search, email, etc.), pays for it through ads, and then sells that customer information to a higher bidder for the profit.

Now apply that same reasoning to our "democracy". The progressive institutions, such as labor unions and environmentalist groups provide services to their members by giving them a forum to harmlessly agitate without endangering the status quo. Then the leadership of those progressive institutions sell out their members to the applicable political party - the Democrats - for a profit, without consulting the membership.
When the people in the liberal spectrum gets antsy, the Democratic establishment astroturfs a "movement" for it's customers, just like a good business would.

Republicans do the exact same thing, but with a different flair tailored to reflect the specific needs of their customers.

After being sufficiently pandered to, mollified, agitated, or whatever their customers have demanded at the time, the public is them delivered to their corporate masters to be sheered.

When you think about it, this is actually how things should work for a public that thinks of itself as consumers rather than citizens.

Don't get me wrong. Americans aren't stupid. Even political partisans, the most foolish of people, aren't stupid.
No, the crime of the vast majority of Americans is that they are lazy. Too lazy to do the research. Too lazy to figure things out for themselves. Too lazy to question what they hear. Too lazy to think.
Yet they never seem to lack for energy when it comes to judging, hating and denouncing those independent thinkers that don't fall into pre-packaged, clearly labelled categories. You know, like third-party voters.

up
74 users have voted.

Comments

dervish's picture

up
29 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish I have a recollection that Howard Zinn once said something to the effect that the function of the Democratic Party was to prevent the formation of more progressive third parties. There are elements of truth to this assertion (whether it was Zinn who said it or not), but it is probably simplistic. The Democratic Party did do a lot of good for people in the FDR-Carter period. It was completely capitalist and ultimately served capitalists by saving them from themselves. It was also militarist and helped build the monstrous military industrial security complex that poisons the minds of the people of the US, drains money from our society and murders thousands of people around the world. At the same time, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, rural electrification etc., etc. are achievements that can not be ignored. From Bill Clinton on, however, the Democratic Party became the junior party of Wall St. and both parties function as agencies of diversion as you suggest, always acting in the interest of Wall St. and only throwing crumbs to the people that vote them in. I am not sure that Americans are politically lazy, however. It may be that we are fed such a mass of BS by the media, resplendent with false framing and with sooo much left out, that it takes a lot of effort to see what is going on and even if we see what is going on, who can say that despair and denial are unreasonable reactions to what we see.

up
42 users have voted.

@Roy Blakeley @Roy Blakeley going on, but it isn't discussed in public in the common square of mass-media. Just in self-pigeonholed online places, where the liberals and conservatives never see each other but are busy engaging cartoon versions of each other.

Last year Gallup, iirc, found 79% thinking neither party gives a flying fuck about the well being of the people; just they're own wealth and position.

Put that as the headline on the mass-reach media for the days and see what happens.

up
32 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@jim p Many there would agree with you.

up
17 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Wink's picture

@Roy Blakeley
and, as you say, politics takes a Lot of Time to figure out. Most would rather spend that time with their families or on the golf course. You know, actually living. Can't blame them. So would I. Just when I thought I'd finally reached the time in life where I'd be spending most of it between the golf course and the barcalounger here I am banging on a keyboard. There's something wrong with this picture. But, since Mr. Newt's Contract on America (which is exactly what it was), and then the Supremes' choosing G. Dubya years later, I couldn't let "Them" steal what was left of this place from under our nose as I snoozed away in the barcalounger. What do you say to the grandkids? "yeah, I knew they were stealing it, but I was just too old to stop it." Really? That's my lame excuse? So we continue to march knowing we'll rarely see the barcalounger. Or the golf course. So much for "retirement."

up
25 users have voted.

the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

edg's picture

@Roy Blakeley

Carter was a plantation owner. While he had some positive views on social issues, it was Carter that started the deregulation frenzy that destroyed much of the post-WW2 progress. Examples include airlines (how great is flying nowadays, huh?), oil, railroads, trucking and telecommunications.

up
11 users have voted.

@edg which states that the US will fight wars to gain/keep free access to oil in the ME? American energy needs ya know.

up
6 users have voted.

@edg On the one hand, he was probably one of the best Presidents with respect to human rights (faint praise, I know), but he did begin the deregulation mania. Having said that, Carters early deregulatory efforts were tiny and barely consequential in comparison with the later efforts of Reagan and Clinton.

up
4 users have voted.

@Roy Blakeley

Carters early deregulatory efforts were tiny and barely consequential in comparison with the later efforts of Reagan and Clinton

See my link in the essay. Carter did massive deregulation just between 1978 and 1980.

up
5 users have voted.
Steven D's picture

@dervish but I haven't read every single thing he wrote at TOP. Still this one nails it.

up
10 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

in the rigged cesspool of the 1%s media and parties. Swim in that and the best is that nothing will happen. Maybe something good might happen by 2052. But according to all existing information neither the planet, nor the people, nor the nation has that much time to deal with the stuff that's coming down, and soon.

Gotta rip off both Parties' Mask and do it in a way there's nobody at all who can deny that they are scamsters, or to deflect from the need to root out corruption top to bottom (top first).

up
27 users have voted.
riverlover's picture

Thinkers decide after thought. Non-thinkers judge.

Both Ds and Rs are Judas goats, we are all tossed into the maw of non-representation.

up
24 users have voted.

Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

to this fact until you wrote it: "Democrats reserve all their venom, not for Democrats that vote Republican, "

up
15 users have voted.

@jim p
I wrote about it on TOP, and of course, got a lot of nasty replies.
I pointed out that more than 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush, while only 34,000 voted for Nader.

To which the reply was "They were just DINOs".
My response was "So?!?"

I then pointed out how a Dem voting for Bush hurt twice as much as a Dem voting for Nader.
To which the reply was a big yawn.
Math didn't matter to Dems when it came to liberals voting 3rd party, anymore than Repubs care about actual climate change science.
The sheeple have their marching orders and logic will never change that.

up
28 users have voted.

@gjohnsit

up
11 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@gjohnsit a few head that go through the wrong chute don't really matter, but the few that get away altogether, that's a problem.

up
19 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@gjohnsit for the reasons Nader is saying, among others. It seemed very clear to me that the Democrats had all the reason in the world to go after the Republicans for a hacked election (to use a currently popular term), but they expended much more energy on chastising the small number of Nader voters. I'm someone who tires to use logic over emotion and frankly the "Nader cost Gore the election" crowd just didn't make sense. There's just no logical way for that to have been true, and, even assuming it was, it is up to the Democrats to earn the votes. They don't just get them for showing up and it's pure arrogance to assume those votes somehow belonged to the Democrats.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the willingness of most people at TOP to believe this line edged me out the door the first time. Even then, too many were of the mind that the Democratic party can not fail, it can only be failed. And here we are today.

Excellent essay, BTW.

up
20 users have voted.
Wink's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

up
5 users have voted.

the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

@Dr. John Carpenter

it looks to me that the "butterfly ballot" did Gore in. Not Nader voters, but Buchanan voters. I remember heavy votes in a largely black area and Buchanan himself on TV, saying that he couldn't believe the number of votes he got there. Yeah, sure, huge amounts of black people voted for the open racist. It's much more believable to think the confusing ballot had tricked them into voting for Buchanan when they thought they were voting for Gore.

up
6 users have voted.
ZimInSeattle's picture

@gjohnsit It is my key point when slapping down the stupid argument that Nader responsible for Bush. Excellent essay, BTW.

up
14 users have voted.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK | Bernie would have WON!

@gjohnsit

Hey, if American voters actually choose outside the Two-Faced Corporate Party, that'd be a threat to the billionaire/corporate body forming ownership, which owns both wings and finds it easier to contain and distract the public within the Two-Party Trade-Off scam. Just as with universal/single-payer/public health-care, "America can't afford more than two parties, even if other countries can'.

America did have a choice far better than Clinton/Trump, but Jill Stein was shut out of the media and debates. And if anyone tries telling me that the Green Party would have been worse (assuming that they'd been allowed to win) because they wanted life to win over corporate profits...

up
4 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

dervish's picture

@Ellen North That's not to say that we shouldn't keep trying, organizing and raising consciousness though. There's more than one way to skin these corporate bastards.

up
2 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish

Amazing how many people have been propagandized into believing that they somehow owe votes to one side or another of the Corporate Party, though... hard to believe that that Monsanto/Bivings-style of kindergarden spite actually works to manipulate people into following their dictates, rather than making people metaphorically draw their skirts close to either walk well away and around them or kick them...

up
3 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

k9disc's picture

Remember when Kerry was running and the "orange man" argument actually had emotive value to the electorate? I do. It was about that time that I started to think that we're fucking in high school.

Fast forward 7 years and the idea had completely crystalized. They are not smarter than us, or better than us, they're just in the rich kids clique.

Everything is just personal experience and pop culture. BiBi Netanyahu, Hillary, Kerry -- personal experience and pop culture -- just like in High School.

I'll never forget how terrifying this realization truly was, "We're so fucked..."

@Ellen North

up
5 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Big Al's picture

And if it's not voting for the democratic party, then why worry about the democratic party?

up
13 users have voted.
Steven D's picture

@Big Al would be for the Dems to die like the Whigs.

They don't stand for anything.

They've existed so long out of sheer inertia.

up
12 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

dkmich's picture

Sheep herders and Judas goats have the same job. We can follow or stay home, but free thinking and path blazing are not allowed.

up
17 users have voted.

*donate *follow us on Twitter *like us on Facebook *dump Google

movie buff's picture

I remember during the 2004 election I went to hear Howard Zinn speak. At the time I was still a Democrat and--judging by what went down--so were most others in the room. After he spoke, Zinn took questions, and several people in the room started badgering him: "You're voting for Kerry, right? You're voting for the Democrats?" Zinn ducked and dodged and finally said yes, in the voting booth he was going to be practical. Voting for John Kerry would pretty much go against everything Zinn had just said, but no matter. Some people in that room listened to his entire speech (war, empire, blah, blah, blah) but their ONE concern was that there not be even one individual voting for Nader. I guess the thought that any leftist anywhere might actually be voting their conscience was too much for the herd to bear. I knocked on doors for Kerry that year, but I thought the whole spectacle was unseemly.

You saw that kind of attitude on steroids last year. I've heard this described as Stockholm Syndrome among rank-and-file Democrats, but it also reminds me of the colonial subject who has lost all sense of who they are, who wears their subjugation with pride, and who enforces the colonization of others. It's the minds of Democrats that have been colonized, and now they can't envision life without their masters.

up
33 users have voted.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." --Noam Chomsky

@movie buff that's a pretty good way to put it. I know I experienced that myself last year. Sorry, can't hold my tongue if you want to act like the Republicans ran the worst, most corrupt candidate of all time and ignore the many sins of Herself. "But you're still voting for Hillary, right?" No. I just told you all the reasons I couldn't vote for either of the major party candidates and I stuck to that. For a while, some people I knew seemed to be holding me personally responsible for Her losing (even though Democrats rarely win the Presidency here and Her wasn't even close.)

up
18 users have voted.
ericinsantarosa's picture

Spot on! Posted to my groups with the following comments:

"People always get mad when they vote for a duopoly candidate based on their campaign promises, only to have that candidate, when they win, either not follow their promises or, even worse, do the exact opposite of their promise. I'm not just pointing fingers, I've been there myself.

But is blaming the candidate really where it's at? Isn't the candidate, like the Judas goat, just doing what it has been trained to do? And, really, does the Judas goat have any choice in the matter?

Or might the blame more appropriately lie with the sheep who willingly follow the Judas goat into either of the two slaughterhouses, where, history has shown, they should have no expectation but to be slaughtered?

Until we all refuse to be led to slaughter, until we demand the open range and the protection and enhancement thereof, we should have no expectation but that we are only choosing who will lead us to our doom and the manner of our death."

up
15 users have voted.

"If you're on fire, and running down the street, people will get out of your way." Davey- Cordovan Athabascan Native

@ericinsantarosa
Bill Clinton or Chuck Shumer are doing what they were trained to do. I think they developed the routine for which they are very well compensated by themselves. They may have patented it.

I refuse to blame the sheep because for more than half of my fairly extensive lifetime the sheep were led by (relatively) good shepherds. And there are plenty of paid shills assuring them it's not the shepherds' fault. It's that evil other party and if the sheep will just stick together to get enough of OUR shepherds elected, a number always out of reach, our shepherds will be as good as they were before.

up
8 users have voted.
Song of the lark's picture

there is less pie to go around so political parties become more mercenary. It's not the parties, it's the whole thrust of our civilization, every organization, PTB, from government agencies thru universities, unions, to political parties. We have recently witnessed the most cutting edge organization of this endgame phenomena in ISIS. Kill all the others and take their shit, then kill your members. Or maybe I'm wrong and they are the opposite of the democrats who start with their adherents first. Oh well Alice in wonderland. I guess I'm still foolishly alittle blue pill... But I must say its wearing off...as I titrate down. The judas goat metaphor is food for thought.

up
9 users have voted.
Amanda Matthews's picture

I'm not too sure about that considering we're so willing to allow ourselves to be used and abused. Look how many idiots voted for these asswipes. How in the Hell did we ever get to the point where this is the 'best' we have to pick from?

Oh wait...maybe since the Supreme Court made it easy for TPTB to chose who our choices are?

up
9 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa