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I suggest that a bellwether MAY indicate the future.

Surely the point is that the flock uncritically takes its lead from the bellwether (=lead sheep) - but that a human observer may, or may not, follow the chosen path. When somebody observes that x could be a bellwether for some social tendency they're often probably implying "OK, x is leading the the flock in that direction, but perhaps that's not the best direction."