Study: Occupy Wall Street Motivations Are “Self Centered” And “Fear Based”
Frontier Lab, a market research organization, produces the sort of studies that tell manufacturers and retailers why people buy things. But they go beyond mere polling. For instance, most people would say on a poll they bought a particular brand of dish soap because of the color or the cost or whatever. The truth is that most people tend to use the same brand of dish soap their mothers use.
That’s the sort of in-depth look Frontier Lab gave the Occupy Wall Street movement, looking beyond the slogans and the talking points and looking at what’s really motivating these people. What they found was interesting.
Charles Cooke gives us a summary:
What did Frontier Lab discover? First, that many of the rank-and-file occupiers feel isolated in their lives, and appear to lack basic community ties such as are provided by participation in clubs, churches, and strong families. Indeed, much of the report could have come from the early chapters of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. They thus attach to their political causes with something like a religious fervor. For many, a commitment to “social justice” is “not the end, but rather a means to an inflated sense of self and purpose in their own lives.” Crucially, involvement with others who agree with them provides an “overwhelming feeling of being part of a family.” I noticed this on my first trip down to Zuccotti Park, when I saw a telling sign adorning the entrance to the tent city: “For the first time in my life, I feel at home.” On subsequent visits I was struck by the importance of the commune to the project. As much as anything else, vast swathes of occupiers were simply looking for a new club. This group, Frontier Lab dubs the “Communitarians.”
The second group, which to all intents and purposes forms the leadership, is less existentially lost, and derives its fulfillment from the “prestige,” “validation,” and “control” afforded by the movement’s coverage in the media. Frontier Lab calls this group the “Professionals.” Its members fill the ranks of the professional Left and boast long histories of attending and organizing protests. For them, indignation is quotidian, “community action” is a career, and they feel “validated by the fame and attention” and “rewarded for their life choices.” Unlike the Communitarians, the Professionals actually want tangible change, or a “win,” but politics is still playing second fiddle to self. There is nothing spontaneous or organic about the movements they lead. They are waiting for the revolution and hope to be in its vanguard. Their careers depend upon it.
…the report unhappily concludes that “the Occupy path directly opposes fundamental American values of freedom, equality of opportunity, and individual responsibility,”…
Frontier Lab also took a look at the Tea Party movement, and found some not very surprising contrasts:
The Tea Party, conversely, appears to derive its enthusiasm from a sense of responsibility to others and is primarily working for the children and grandchildren of those involved. In the main, its members are not veterans of political protest, nor do they need to be involved to satisfy their souls. Tea partiers seem concerned with preventing fundamental change to the United States in order to bequeath to others a nation they love, not to gain for themselves. When was the last time you saw a tea partier stand up and say, “I’m unemployed, and . . . ” or “I have college debt, and . . . ”? (In Zuccotti Park, this was the default formulation.)
In other words, the divide is between one group of sheep led by a few professional activists whose goal is to have one segment of society live at the expense of another and another group of individuals who just want to be free to provide for themselves and their progeny.
Sounds about right to me.Tags: Asshats, occupy wall street, tea party