In this troubling and complex world it still feels good to have simple answers, to place all the blame on particular individuals whom we have learned to despise and fear. When ancient societies felt pressures similar to this they commonly engaged in the practice of human sacrifice.
The reason so many liberal churches are empty or mostly populated with aging rationalists who seem to have a somewhat embarrassed attachment to religion, is that trying to reduce spiritual experience to something verifiable is a dead end.
We see other people fulfill or seek to fulfill their desires, and a kind of craving is born for the same object the other wants. This is why television advertising works. Desire is born from a concrete witness.
According to René Girard, in periods of collective crisis the phenomenon of scapegoating flourishes. Today, the notorious "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland or Italy, Greece, Spain), have become those animalized, "criminal" scapegoats.