"On the Day of Atonement the high priest confessed the sins of the people while laying his hands on a goat. The guilt-laden scapegoat was then expelled from the community into the wilderness, bearing away their iniquities."
-The Story of Isaac-
The irony here is that in the original story, the scapegoat was set free without punishment. I mean, a goat doesn't really know that the sins of all the people in the village have been heaped upon him by the priest, does he? All he knows is that his buddy back there, the Lord's goat, is getting his ass gutted while he's being let free in the wilderness. The folks think he's taking all their little sins with him and giving them a fresh start; but all the goat knows is, "Hey, hey, hey. Another day! I think I'm as horny as a goat. Right Now!"
So, the "escape goat" is free and clear. Today, the scapegoat must endure all the punishment which was meant for others. . . . . How did this phrase get so turned around?