Sunday, August 30, 2020

'In Defense Of Looting'

The destruction of Western Civilization and the general madness really isn't stopping.

National Public Radio recently featured as a serious book for discussion Vicky Osterweil's In Defense of Looting.

From NPR:
Writer Vicky Osterweil's book, In Defense of Looting, came out on Tuesday. When she finished it, back in April, she wrote (rather presciently) that "a new energy of resistance is building across the country." Now, as protests and riots continue to grip cities, she argues that looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society. The rioters who smash windows and take items from stores, she says, are engaging in a powerful tactic that questions the justice of "law and order," and the distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society...

For people who haven't read your book, how do you define looting?

When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot. That's the thing I'm defending. I'm not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. It's not a home invasion, either. It's about a certain kind of action that's taken during protests and riots.
RW response:

How mad can you get? There is a convenience store near my office, business for the owner is down by 80%. He is barely surviving. He tells me urban primitives regularly enter the store in packs of 5 or 6. They take what they want and leave. "I can stop them," he says with frustration, "They have knives and the police don't come when I call."

What the hell kind of "tactic" is this? It is destroying the livelihood of this proprietor and has nothing to do with the so-called grievances of the primitives. He is Ethiopian, he came here for a better life.

If he shuts down, it will be one less "re-distribution of property and wealth" that the primitives will have to worry on the stretch that they are even thinking about such a thing. There is no one mad enough to open another convenience store in the area.

All looting does is lower the standard of living. It makes setting up shop for mutual exchange that much more risky.

Vicky Osterweil
More from Osterweil:
[Looting] tends to be an attack on a business, a commercial space, maybe a government building—taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free.
RW response:

"Sharing" Osterweil calls it.

It is outright thievery when looting is focused on private sector businesses.

Osterweil apparently thinks that the goods and services that appear in shops are magically available and the business owners are taking advantage by controlling this availability.

Osterweil's understanding of how society and economic distribution occurs is at the level of a young child who puts a tooth under her pillow and finds a dollar in the morning and thinks it came from the Fairy Godmother.

I mean listen to this Osterweil madness:
Can you talk about rioting as a tactic? What are the reasons people deploy it as a strategy?

It does a number of important things. It gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage—which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities is often not available, or it comes at great risk. That's looting's most basic tactical power as a political mode of action.

It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed. It attacks the idea of property, and it attacks the idea that in order for someone to have a roof over their head or have a meal ticket, they have to work for a boss, in order to buy things that people just like them somewhere else in the world had to make under the same conditions. It points to the way in which that's unjust. And the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.

Remarkably, Osterweil doesn't even understand that regular looting will cause insurance prices to go up, which will mean prices of goods will go up or cause the goods to become unavailable (not to mention Osterweil absurd lumping of the state and business owners):
One thing about looting is it freaks people out. But in terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, it's basically nonviolent. You're mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it's just hurting insurance companies on some level. It's just money. It's just property. It's not actually hurting any people.
And get this:
It's actually a Republican myth that has, over the last 20 years, really crawled into even leftist discourse: that the small business owner must be respected, that the small business owner creates jobs and is part of the community. But that's actually a right-wing myth.
A business being attacked in the community is ultimately about attacking like modes of oppression that exist in the community. It is true and possible that there are instances historically when businesses have refused to reopen or to come back. But that is a part of the inequity of the society, that people live in places where there is only one place where they can get access to something [like food or medicine]. 

I don't think there is a better example of the lack of basic understanding of how an economy works than these shallow comments about economics cloaked in the garb of revolution.

At its core, this is the battle lovers of liberty are fighting. It is an ideological battle against hardcore ignorance about the importance of free markets, free exchange and respect for private property.

At present, we are losing to the Vicky's of the world.



  1. There's only one solution: "Go Galt".
    BTW, at least Abbie Hoffman had the honesty to say "Steal This Book".
    So, I think we should go ahead and loot the bookstores and "liberate" Vicky's book.
    BTW, I really like her cleft chin. "She" makes Kirk Douglas look like a pansy.

    1. I never knew about "Steal This Book" so I downloaded a copy. Here's a pertinent section "Trashing
      Ever since the Chicago pigs brutalized the demonstrators in August of 1968, young people
      have been read to vent their rage over Amerika's inhumanity by using more daring tactics
      than basic demonstrations. There is a growing willingness to do battle with the pigs in the
      streets and at the same time to inflict property damage. It's not exactly rioting and it's not
      exactly guerrilla warfare; it has come to be called "Trashing." Most trashing is of a primitive
      nature with the pigs having the weapon and strategy advantage. Most trashers rely on
      quick young legs and a nearby rock. By developing simple gang strategy and becoming
      acquainted with some rudimentary weapons and combat techniques, the odds can be
      shifted considerably."

  2. No sense in talking reason to a male who thinks it’s a female. A good metal winch bar to the face on the other hand...
    They better enjoy their criminality now, cause the further they drift into middle America, and western America, or heck, come to Alaska, it’s just a plain fact, they will be shot for trying this BS.

  3. I wonder how her worldview might change when some of her brothers in arms and oppression decide to "share" her against her claim of self-ownership. If she isn't killed in the exchange, maybe we'll have a convert to anarcho-capitalism. It's amazing how the thieves lie to themselves as they rob an actual African escaping actual oppression. Wakanda wouldn't have anything to steal, never having produced anytrhing. The revolution won't be televised, 'cause there'll be no technology. Savages.

  4. This nutty reasoning obviously stems from his/her/their/zeys pre-existing mental illness. Deeply damaged goods.

    1. You've nailed it:
      Yes, Vicky used to be a Willie (and had one, too).

    2. That stare coupled with the fake joker-looking smile was creepy enough before it decided to fiddle with its gender.

    3. I imagine that Victor/Victoria spent years (starting around the teen years, when hormones start kicking in), stewing in confusion, depression, anxiety and various neuroses, before hitting upon the supreme method of gaining attention/exclaiming to the world the source of his/her angst: You see, he wasn't a man at all, but rather, a woman! But now, addicted to the body's chemical rush attained by all that attention, the high must be duplicated, and so he/she/ze writes provocative and outrageous articles like above, and marches with the Marxists, and other acts that must cause his/her parents to roll their eyes at such rebelliousness.
      When the dust clears in a decade or so, poor little Victor/Victoria's quiver will be empty, yet the internal, mental derangement will remain, and he/she'll still be staggering under the same old familiar load of depression, anxiety and confusion---the distractions didn't help, and only pushed it below the surface for a time.

  5. She said it all when said looting “gets people what they need for free immediately.” A pearl in a sea of poop.

    1. He/Her premise comes down to: "People by and large have a high time-preference, so therefore they shouldn't have to work, earn or produce for the things they want right away."

  6. I think the quotation should read, "I can't stop them."

  7. For decades, the State has been looting the middle and upper middle classes to the benefit of the dependant classes and the crony classes.

  8. Unbelievable, hope she gets a taste of her own medicine. It's #2819 in books at Amazon, which is scary, but the reviews are fun.

    1. I thought about buying it as a joke, but it's not funny enough for $20 or so. And I thought about shoplifting it, but why punish a poor shop-owner who paid for the inventory?

  9. This is a perfect example of when rational argument breaks down. When two sides have differing ends there is no point in arguing means. It is also why unfortunately war exists and people feel they must create governments to protect themselves. If people choose to hold this view their is no peaceful solution, and violence is inevitable. Scary stuff.

  10. To defend looting is to think only about the short run consequences for one group. Since looting is an economic activity (causing loss of inventory and capital), Henry Hazlitt, from 'Economics in One Lesson' applies:

    The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

    Someone should challenge her to do this for all the affected parties, including the future customers who are not present at the looting.

  11. 'It' need to come try that looting shit in Texas. It won't be tolerated by most store owners. A couple bullets to the back on the way out while liberating someone else's property ought to do the trick and it has in the past.

  12. Every major American city has a suburban area, usually near the major university, where the elitist leftist source of support for this trash lives in semi-seclusion from the fallout this kind of propaganda ultimately results in. Here in San Diego, we have La Jolla, while the more conservative types favor Del Mar or Rancho Sante Fe. It’s not my hope that things get worse, but I will put on my Che t-shirt, put my fist in the air, and direct the mob to La Jolla for their needs.

  13. RW may be correct that "we are losing to the Vicky's of the world." But based on comments here and elsewhere critics far outnumber supporters.

    What troubles me is that she quite accurately describes the dominant might makes right attitude of our culture. The second paragraph of the introduction to her book lists everything from the right and left love of war to their embrace of murder via Obama's drone executions to Trumps assassination of Solemani to torture to international sanctions, to fines, and taxes of all kinds that are "so naturalized as to rarely even be recognized as a form of political domination at all." Suggesting somewhat convincingly that looting is not as radical as most people seem to think. Looting may appear less civilized but in the end its destructive results are no different than sending in the IRS. Except of course different people will suffer and different people will benefit from the forced redistributions. But for me the guiding principle remains the same: Might Makes Right (MMR). Until this principle is rejected by most people most of the time the destructive activities she identified will continue.

    Vicki's solution doesn't address this principle at all. She simply wants her anti- "cisheteropatriarchial racial capitalist society" friends to be in power. And most of her critics want the opposite. If we could get both sides to focus on eliminating or at least reducing our acceptance of MMR and embracing voluntary interaction everyone could pursue their own ends without being forced to accept each others lifestyle or stepping on each other.

    1. Indeed.
      "Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like." ~ Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

  14. I am not going to insult transgender people as whole, but I do think that a certain subset of these people view themselves as hero figures who are breaking down all of the binary oppositions and other boundaries of society. They view themselves as romantic type rebels whose existence brings down the allegedly arbitrary and oppressive boundaries, oppositions, and rules upon which the majority of people and society in general operate. It might also be looked at as a distant offspring of the notion that the weak or poor shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.

  15. There is a simple premise. You loot owners shoot. I saw the threat of well armed shop owners in Los Angeles zero problems when the urban primitives know their lives are at risk.

    Quit playing stupid games with the Idiocracy and we will see what spine they have when there are real consequences