In the previous part to Criminalisation is the Crime! I pointed to the central act of the State in understanding the nature of crime. That, for the majority of crimes resulting in incarceration, they are non-violent acts. In the case of the United States many of these offences relate to drugs, often just their mere possession or use. I also referred to the undeniable reality that some crime – indeed, much violent, physical and mental, crime – relates to complex biological and social factors. The danger in calling out a crime as a fact of biology or society is, or should be, apparent. Until we arrive at some future golden age of total knowledge the true content of criminality will elude us. This perhaps disspiriting observation should not, however, deter us from the task of peeling away the detritus of archaic understandings and customs.
We also observed, through the initial case study of Singapore (to which we will return), that the political nature of crime is one of the primary means of social control in the State’s arsenal. In its role as social arbiter, the State goes by many names: the Judiciary, jurisprudence, justice, the Courts, and so on. (All reflecting the Roman foundations of law, ius.) In the case of Singapore, the State wields the authority and power of law to mould society, punish miscreancy, and to ensure that the balance of power, between the State and the populace, is bent toward the former. This is not to single out Singapore as a singularity among the modern ‘democratic’ bureaucratic States. Indeed, Singapore falls into line within the spectrum of Anglo-American liberal democracies, albeit more overtly within the control of an authoritarian political dynasty (the Lee family and the populist party it has helmed since the 1960s, the People’s Action Party).