On "In Defense of Looting”
I know a Dominican immigrant who lost his small store to looting. They arrived in the US in 1977 and opened their store in 1995 after 18 years of saving and taking out a loan. I know these people children and they are very black skinned Dominicans. I am Dominican too and grew up seeing them visit every summer. Like most Dominicans, they have no idea of “Twitter battles” or America’s culture wars. These are just head down and work people minding their own business. Model immigrants —not the caricature many made us to be—and yet they suffered the wrath of looters. The insurance company will only cover a fraction of the damages and only after the underwriter has properly assessed the damages. Properly assess is a code name for indefinitely waiting until cities clear things and looting has officially stopped (kind of subjective right?) Also, the underwriters don’t get to your case after the area of looting had been cleared. For instance, if you were in Minneapolis and lost your business the first week of June, it’s very likely you still haven’t received a cent from the insurance company. I watch in disbelief how pundits parrot the same lies and dishonest that insurance companies will cover the damages. It’s reprehensible to see some multimillionaire pundits smirk at the destruction the looting caused when discussing this garbage book you mentioned. I have met disconnected people in my life. But no one can hold the candle to Twitter leftists, pundits, and white anarchists. They are a bunch of charlatans that only in America they’d make so much money and get so much adulation. In the DR they’d be cleaning latrines if they were lucky.
“If no one in the party says anything, Trump will argue, with some justice, this is the true face of his opposition.” That’s where I’m at. It’s why I’m voting for Trump. I grew up in the area impacted by the ‘92 LA Riots. The fact that these people believe that rioting and looting is justified disgusts me.
I was 10 years old and it was terrifying and horrible. I saw elderly Koreans crying as their businesses were looted and destroyed. I saw Reginald Denny get beaten for no reason except that he was white and in the wrong place at the wrong time. I could smell the toxic fumes from the market burning 3 blocks down.
I saw the media vilify the rooftop Koreans for protecting their stores after the LAPD abandoned Koreantown. I asked my father why the media said they were bad and I remember him cursing under his breath.
Much of why I hate war, violence, and racism comes from that experience when I was a child. Rioting and looting is not something to be celebrated. It’s not a right. And the Dems encouraged this behavior. Even if the Dems come out now and disavow the violence, it’s too late. It’s been 3 MONTHS! I’ll take the guy that’s been against the rioting since day 1.
I can’t believe NPR would highlight this author at all. How can anyone take NPR seriously after they would highlight such a book? How is this not a stepping stone into communism? This ideology needs to be stopped. It’s disturbing that it’s already manifested itself in all of our institutions and that they’re using TDS & propaganda to push people into siding with this ideology.
Once you get into advocating for violence, this peace-loving hippie is out.
I'm beginning to think the entire Antifa/BLM/In Defense of Looting is an elaborate Roger Stone plot to re-election Trump. They can't all really be this stupid, can they?
Before I deactivated my Facebook my very white and fairly wealthy friends were posting about why people cared more about property than people. I found that an odd virtue signal to make - considering both of them lived in pretty nice houses in really nice areas of Los Angeles. I wondered, how would they feel if their houses burned down after a shooting? Sure, they had insurance but what about what they would lose, their memories, their photographs (they're that old), paintings, furniture - what then? Are we not to feel for them? Would they feel too guilty to be angry or sad? I watched the old man in Kenosha take up a fire extinguisher as a weapon to protect his friend Sue's 100 year old mattress store. He was knocked unconscious and the store burned to the ground. I understand people supporting the protests, maybe even understanding why they would destroy a whole town and then threaten to do the same thing again. But I don't understand not feeling compassion for that old guy and his friend Sue. We have become systems of dehumanization. And weirdly, that's sort of where we were back in the late 60s and early 70s - and why when Charles Manson's family slaughtered rich "piggies" he was applauded for doing so by the Weathermen. Nixon took full advantage of it for the exact same reasons. The only difference between then and now are two things.
1) We did not yet have a completely muzzled and castrated left press that simply will not tell the truth about anything if it puts their jobs or their status in jeopardy - this is true all the way from The Atlantic to CNN.
2) The generation that read Steal This Book and their counter culture revolution blew open convention, censorship, artistic oppression, a stifling utopian vision of white American life in the 1950s - and spit it back out as free love, women's lib, black power - acid rock, rock n' roll, Woodstock. It was the era that produced the best American films ever made. Art, like information or anything else, wants to be free. Now Gen Z is exploding out of that generation and their counter culture movement seems to be to zip everything back up, purify films, books and ideas and thoughts into convention, to divide people up by race and force them to take a side against each other. You can't sympathize with the old man with a fire extinguisher because he's white and if you do that you are a racist who doesn't care about the murder of Jacob Blake.
What is cool, though, is that there are still free and courageous minds like yours, and a medium like this where they can be posted and read and shared. Your Substack is, I might offer, a Steal This Book of its own kind.
I suppose the irony here, as Matt points out, is the generation that wants to bring American society crashing down is the generation that, by most accounts, can't change a tire or feed themselves without an app or a delivery service. The same generation that would probably acquiesce to having their phones sewn to their heads if that was the only way they could avoid giving up that little addiction. (Qualifier: I'm a 58 year old man with a flip phone. I refuse to join the smartphone cult. Y'all are creepy. One day, a few years back, I was sitting with my teenage son & daughter at a mall food court. My daughter said, "Poppy, look..." I turned around & the entire food court was staring at their phones. It didn't matter how many people were at each table, they were all staring at their phones & no one was talking. I thought, "Shit, the pod people have won." If this offends, oh well...)
I also love the added rip on heterosexuals. Do trans women not realize that, no matter how elaborate their woman costume is, they don't have a womb. If all women were trans women the human species would die out in a generation. For all of its faddish cache these days trans folk are an evolutionary & species dead end.
I happened to mention this book to a female coworker when I came in this morning and she said she had to read it for her college class. Fucking hilarious. Kids going into debt peonage so they can read this tripe and, no doubt, make the author a pretty penny. I wonder how she'd feel if her new found wealth was looted?
Would it be celebratory & empowering?
Or would she be speed dialing 911?
Honestly, Matt. Just charge me more money. This is some of the best literary entertainment Ive had.
I can't help wondering at what point did reality become a Monty Python skit?
Pity she didn't have access to history books or more than a single anthropological antidote. She damns civilization flat out without considering the consequences -- every person or family will fight over the last edible animal, and every item, once liberated, will again be subject to seizure. She apparently does not consider the layers of cooperation that lead to farming and grocery stores, manufacturing and shoes, governing bodies and paved streets or innovations of any kind.
This sounds like pre-Marxist (very pre-Marxist) reductionism, the sort of thing that even a thoughtful five-year-old would reject out of hand. And yet it's been taken up by a publisher and theoretically serious news organizations.
This is hilarious! I laughed out loud several times. Talk about a generation suffering from arrested development. The snowflakes are alive and well, and coming to take your shit just cuz. The audacity, narcissism, and utter arrogance of a generation of people who think they're suffering more than anyone else ever has is beyond the pale. The cries of "just look at what you've done to us...given us a planet that's dying, doomed us to low-paying jobs, no universal healthcare....." and their disgust for "white privilege" as though all those complaints about their hardships don't smack of just that. Whiners. Read some history people -- you aren't the first and won't be the last generation to face epic problems. And shame on their parents' generation for creating these monsters because they gave their offspring no coping skills for when times get tough and now we all have to suffer for it. The "everybody hits, everybody wins," generation appropriately throws themselves on the floor and kicks and screams like petulant children when it doesn't go their way because that's what you get when people think it's better to be your kid's friend than to step up and do the hard thing and actually parent and set appropriate boundaries. And teach kids that sometimes life isn't fair and no Vicky, you don't always get what you want even when you think you can just take (loot) it. Boo hoo. They should learn that a little humility goes a long way and grow the fuck up.
Thank you for the sacrifice you have made on behalf of your readers. Reading this book could not have been easy, and you are, no doubt, dumber having exposed yourself to such drivel.
"Gen-Z geniuses who think the world will run on magic intersectionality dust once they get rid of the cops and the kulaks" -- comedy gold.
As an immigrant and a veteran, I cannot fathom the mentality of this woke generation. They truly do not know how good they have it. Sometimes I wish we would bring back compulsory military service....so folks would be forced together at boot camps and bases, and learn to respect each other for their differences and work to one common goal. We have lost that socialization ritual, and it has allowed for increased regional tribalism and echo chambers....some one should write a book about that. How about you Matt?
I blame our education system. My parents fled Communist China after the takeover in 1949, after the devastating war with Japan. A family of 8, they scratched out an existence in Taiwan, at that time a backwater Island. Most immigrated to the US where they started up, yes, grocery stores and restaurants. Their children, my generation, has reaped the benefits of their hard work and sacrifice. We are all happy, well adjusted, successful citizens. Some of us started small businesses that employ minorities, others are ER doctors or pediatricians. Very few, if any, of this type of generation would even think of writing a book like this because we know what the alternative to having a nation of fair laws is. It’s China, with its social credit score and dictatorial powers. Or it’s Venezuela, with its soaring inflation. Or it’s one of the myriad African nations that are in states of perpetual civil war. America for all its flaws is still one of the best places for people to work and realize their dreams. Work entails labor, not rioting, not getting a Masters in Gender Studies. People like this author have a myopic view of the world, watered and fertilized by our education system.
“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”
― George Orwell
The nearly insurmountable challenge in critiquing books like this -- and the related phenomenon of wokeness, critical race theory and all their variants -- is the almost supernatural level of stupidity that permeates it all. First, a "theory" is either provable or refutable through empirical experiment. Critical race "theory" is an assertion based on a form of selective perception, it's not a theory. It can't be refuted. It can't be proved. As a result, one can't "argue" with it. One can only produce a counter-narrative.
Take U.S. history and society. Imagine if someone took your life's 10 worst, most immature, cringe-worthy moments -- all of which now humiliate you, reflecting on them, which you would do-over if it were humanly possible, and which have formed the rungs of the ladder your soul has climbed in its wordly journey toward a higher state of consciousness. And then they made a movie about them. And the movie said THAT IS WHO YOU ARE! I don't know about you, but I'd find that devastating and unfair. But that's what they do -- with their theories.
The thing they don't do is look around the world and use the same perception. If they did, they'd see tribal conflicts, misogeny, racial hatreds, tribal hatreds, wars, pogroms, genocides, fantastic abuses that make Dante's hell seem like a refuge. How they can ignore all this is a reasonable point of inquiry - for which psychology and psychoanalytical theories do indeed offer insights. But these forms of intellectualizing are either -- like math and physics -- too hard for them, or they are simply unwilling to be so challenged.
One reader below mentioned Rene Girard. Indeed. And also James Frazer of The Golden Bough fame. And Gustav LeBon and Charles Mackay and of course the Big Guns Jung and Freud too. A deconstruction of the anti-whiteness hysteria, wokeness and CRT along those lines would be enlightening. Although indeed also fairly exhausting to perform. And probably the pay wouldn't be very good.
Such is the dilemma facing truth seekers in this world. Generally, the pay isn't very good and you might get yourself hurt. As a result, governments are instituted among men (and women and children) with laws that protect free speech, free inquiry, the press and assembly. One wonders how someone in academia, or those who call themselves theorists, can possibly ignore all this too. How it came to be, where and why and what all that means for the phenomenon they claim their are deconstructing. It's almost funny. It certainly is pathetic and ugly. It should be embarrassing. I suspect a few will find, as they get older, that it was and that they wish they'd seen it for what it was, at that time.
Malcolm X did. In an interview with the photographer Gordon Parks late in his life he said, "I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then -- like all [Black] Muslims -- I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he's ready to pay the cost. It cost me twelve years."
Not that the Nation of Islam is any different, better or worse than any other group. The point is group think vs. the individual. And so much of real Western intellectual history is the difficult navigation of that impossible chasm. And much of world history is the ignorance of that chasm, for reasons that do indeed speak to theories of mind, of group, of consciousness itself. One would think an "intellectual" would understand that and not paint it all white and throw it all away.
This book is clickbait made physical. The author won as soon as you bought it. The contents are irrelevant. NPR is ridiculous for giving it a platform.
1. How did such garbage manage to get published in the first place. 2. Why are people who can afford SUVs rioting and stealing? Didn't their parents teach them anything? 3. Well, current politicians are spineless and have been for sometime, but this just shows the Democratic Party doesn't care about voters and the little guy. No surprise there. The victims aren't their donors. This is how you lose an election. 4. The country will just move further right towards fascism because the right-wingers will restore order. This is a way to win an election. 5. The best thing to happen to the "Woke" generation might be to make them get a job and support themselves. If they have to support themselves by looting, they can get free meals and board in jail. 6. How is any of this sane, and why are these insane ideas even being given any credence? No wonder people are buying guns and there's shortages of both guns and ammo in gun stores. 7. How are the Democrats going to handle this mess if they somehow manage to win? You can't support the ideas of the movement and throw the people who believe in them in jail without looking like a complete hypocrite. And, what sane person would believe such nonsense?
2020 is a raging dumpster fire and the insane asylum inmates are dancing around the blaze, while the politicians waffle. This is going to end badly.