Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Judas Goat

Wikkipedia's entry for "Judas Goat" reads like this: "A Judas goat is a trained goat used at a slaughterhouse and in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and on to trucks. The term is a reference to the biblical 'traitor' Judas Iscariot.

The phrase has also been used to describe a goat that is used to find feral goats that are targeted for eradication. In many ecosystems goats introduced there mostly by European colonists are a pest or can outcompete endemic endangered species. The judas goat is outfitted with a transmitter, painted red and then released. The goat then finds the remaining herds of feral goats, allowing hunters to exterminate them.

Is it possible that this strategy is also used in American politics? In a country where those at the top want one set of policies and the general citizens want another, such a tactic might be a useful means of advancing the will of the elites while still preserving the illusion of self-government for the masses. The most likely form this concept would take is that the establishment would groom certain political figures as the "designated outsiders" who would pose as the "defenders" of the polices that the masses favor but that the establishment opposes. They would be covertly supported when needed and even attacked by establishment press organs when necessary to give the the name ID and credentials as "defenders" of the anti-establishment policies. This way, it would be possible to engineer races where even if the "establishment's candidate" loses, the establishment still wins, because the "anti-establishment candidate" was their guy too.

Signs that this is occuring would include:

1) Even when the "populist" candidate wins, he always seems to back off his populist polices but instead pushes the establishment's policies. Those that rise high began to spout the establishment's line in an effort to redefine the movement to accommodate the establishment's prefered policies. I.E.- a candidate will start calling statist policies they rose to prominence opposing "conservative" and ones they once claimed to hold as "extreme". This is done in an effort to draw followers of the person (who they still perceive to be their "champion") off in a desired direction. It will also be done in an effort to marginalize those who refuse to keep following the Judas-goat once their destination becomes clear.

2) The designated "anti-establishment" policy candidates are strikingly inarticulate and ineffective at advancing the policies they claim to support, yet they still get the media attention as the "go to" person for those policies.

3) Others who share those same views (sincerely) are never able to get the same degree of funding as the Judas-goats.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good piece. I think if you refine this analogy a bit, you'd have an excellent article.

7:23 PM, January 03, 2007  

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