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That NPR gave a sympathetic interview platform to perhaps the most idiotic book containing the most idiotic idea in memory, Vicky Osterweil's "In Defense of Looting," should not be cause for condemnation, as so many have suggested, for in this particular instance a media organ has done what more should do--provoke debate in such a fashion that idiotic ideas and the idiots that support them can be fully exposed.

The NPR interview also performed another service--allowing the author to express the ideas contained in her book in a nutshell and thereby spare those of us who aren't idiots from becoming more idiotic by having to actually read it. You usually can't judge a book by its cover, but you can almost certainly judge this one from the NPR interview of who wrote it, wherein some astounding comments are made, including that "without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free," that looting "strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police," and that looting doesn't actually hurt people because "It's just money. It's just property."

We also get a useful clarification that any hand-wringing over looting is unjustified because the claim that the small business owners whose stores are being looted create jobs and are part of the community is just "a right-wing myth."

So let's at least give a tip of the hat to NPR for allowing us to spend our inherently scarce reading time on other, more worthy material. For those of us whose reading lists seem to, somewhat paradoxically, get longer rather than shorter as we get older, this is no small service.

Osterweil's book probably won't enhance respect for looters so much as for book reviewers who out of professional obligation are forced to slog through the thing, an experience during which they apparently encounter chapters with titles like "All Cops are Bastards," phrases like "cisheteropatriarchal racial capitalist," and claims that private property is "innately, structurally white supremacist."

From the purely stylistic perspective, Matt Tabibi notes that "'In Defense of Looting' continues the impressive streak of the woke movement having yet to produce a single readable piece of literature."

Of course the thought also occurs that rather than having to spend valuable time reading the book in order to refute the ideas contained therein, one could simply ask Vicky Osterweil whether she locks her car when she gets out of it.

Indeed, just as those most enthusiastic about sharing the wealth tend to be those with the least wealth to share, those most in favor of looting tend to be those whose property is most secure from it--as long as it's only other people's property, we can even dress it up as some form of redistributive social justice in which what other people worked for can be stolen by people who don't work and might never have to if looting becomes sufficiently pervasive because it's approved of by the kinds of woke liberals found at places like NPR.

Perhaps the greatest indignity of all in all this might flow from a scenario in which the bedraggled looter, home late from a night of smashing windows and making off with property that doesn't belong to him, perhaps even having acquired aching muscles by having to use a wheelbarrow to push all the booty around, is shocked to find his own property being looted (this kind of thing being potentially contagious and with no guarantees against reciprocity). One suspects that under such circumstances even the pea-sized brain of the looter might begin to understand the concept of property rights.

"What's mine is mine (even if I stole it), and what's yours is mine too, if I can manage to steal it" constitutes a strange motto for our social justice warriors, but then if Marx can conclude that profit equals theft, why not take it a step further and include the property purchased by the profits as well?

We could perhaps even argue that, contrary to Osterweil, who describes it as providing a sense of "freedom and pleasure," looting is actually an especially arduous form of proletarian labor, given the need to break windows, knock down doors, and fight off other looters intent upon the same flat-screen TVs, cell phones, and sneakers.

Within this context, it becomes conceivable that we might actually forget that the primary rationale for creating government in the first place was to prevent the caveman in the cave next door from coming over and whopping you on the head with his club and taking all your possessions; that if "civilization" defined as the rule of law is repealed, we can all go back to the law of the jungle.

Among the poor saps who had to read Osterweil's book in order to write reviews to earn money with which to buy the property that she claims is "inherently, structurally white supremacist," Graeme Wood at The Atlantic noted that his favorite part of the book was written not by the author but by her publisher and said, "The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author's intellectual property."

--ā€“ā€“ā€“ā€“ā€“vā€“ā€“ā€“ā€“ā€“--

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

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