This past week the U.S. Senate passed S.1867. The bill is called the National Defense Authorization Act (see full text). While lengthy as many pieces of legislation are (even I have yet to slug through it), sources a divergent as the ACLU and WIRED magazine have decried certain language in the legislation that is currently making its way to the House of Representatives. According to sources, the bill allows, in the words of NewsVoice “the entire USA to be a ”battleground” upon which U.S. military forces can operate with impunity, overriding Posse Comitatus [grants] the military the unchecked power to arrest, detain, interrogate and even assassinate U.S. citizens with impunity.” In other words, the U.S. senate wants to perpetuate the dismal failures in Iraq and Afghanistan here in the U.S. That poses a question: Why would the senate pass such a bill, and why now?
Occupy Wall Street and Support Movements
For the sake of brevity, the Senate is full of lawyers. Part of their training is Criminological Theory. That includes discussions on Merton’s Strain Theory (and deviance), and to a lesser degree Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Merton describes four stages towards revolution. This was not by design, but living in 1938 he took into account what was happening in Germany during that era.
The five stages of deviance according to Merton are:
To understand the Senate’s response to Occupy Wall Street, one has to understand how they have been taught to view the actions of the movement. The key to that are in the last three steps.
It is pretty much a given that the Western World is in a financial mess. This was caused by unscrupulous lenders writing bad loans, bundling those in with good loans and selling off the Dirty Paper (High Risk Financial Instruments passed off as safe investments, a.k.a Toxic Asset) as if it was good. To any sane criminologist, that would be called Innovation. Suffice it to say that the acceptable means to accruing wealth were faltering and certain bankers got “creative.” The creativity was ill conceived and has created suffering upon others for the personal gain of the very few. That tends to be a classic definition of crime, by the way.
In response to this mess members in society have pretty much divided into two camps. One camp goes about their lives as they have, but have little hope of achievement. This is ritualism. This pretty much describes the actions of the police in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, New York, Boston, Chicago and other locations (as of this writing Occupy Boston is the last major Occupy Camp in existence—even if the Boston Police Department arrested their kitchen sink). They will even mimic the American Dream theory as if it a magical mantra warding off the evils of the age.
For clarification: the American Dream is a fantasy for most (see other blog entries).
The other camp (no pun intended) is the Occupy Wall Street Movement as a whole. As seen through the criminologist viewfinder, the attempt to create an alternative society within the mainstream society is classic Retreatism. The protestors are seen as rejecting the socially accepted goals, and the socially accepted means to obtain those goals. Everything (housing, clothing, food, participatory government) becomes a challenge, if not condemnation, of the current status quo within Western Society. This perceived move towards retreatism, however, may be a wrong assessment, but to congress it is leading to a mass rebellion.
This is where Maslow’s Hierarchy comes into play. People who are operating at a fear of loss level are not thinking in terms of friendship or respect. They fear the loss of control of the people, and the loss of privilege, and by extrapolation the loss of income. Succinctly put, they fear the consent of the governed. As such they are not acting wisely for the nation. They are acting for themselves (see payroll tax discussion).
The Senate get it Wrong … Again.
Truth is, Congress, and the Ritualist, are wrong about Occupy Wall Street. The protestors who Occupy are not engaged in retreatism. They are engaged in public, social innovation. They have learned to live with their own loss. Accepting that loss they are trying to get the government to accept the responsibility of addressing the criminal behavior, and the criminals who committed the massive fraud. The Occupation is the counter movement rejecting the criminal innovation that created this mess in the first place.
Bully with a Billy Club … or Riot Baton
Congress, and the Ritualist, are using the police to coerce the Occupation into accepting the edicts of the criminal element controlling the nation. This is unlike what happened in the 1930s under FDR. As a nation, we’ve yet to realize that the actions of the past 40 years have led to this financial and economic fiasco.
This innovation, which came about after the Nixon Shock (see note 13), has brought us to this point in history. Furthermore, based on the work in 2000 by Mark Colvin in his Crime and coercion: an integrated theory of chronic criminality, beating people into submission will not work. Bullies do that. It does not work in the school yard, and will not work with the constituents in the street.
We Owe Them, They Own Us
The final rub in all this is that Congress knows that it too is in debt to the same financial institutions, and the loan sharks of the nation. It turns out that congress dipped into their till to finance the colonial wars to expand commercial influence in the Middle East. U.S. Bankers hold more than half of the U.S. debt. They are demanding to get paid. And, one doesn’t throw ones banker in jail because he is demanding to get paid. Little things like fraud and usury have to be ignored for the sake of ethical consideration, right? The U.S. Senate seems to think so. In addition to assault, unlawful restraint, torture, trafficking in contraband, sex trade, slavery, and other high crimes, congress seems to think that lawlessness is lawful as long as they put a stamp of approval on it.
 This morning, December 4, 2011, on Twitter