Tag Archives: Low-income neighborhoods

It’s Not “Just Property”: How Looting Destroys Lives and Low-Income Neighborhoods, by Ryan McMaken

One of the obscenities peddled by the rioters is that it’s okay to loot and destroy businesses because looting is actually reparations. By that rationale anyone can take anything from anyone, including from the looters (almost all of whom, on a global scale, rank in the top 10 or 20 percent of income and wealth) themselves. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

It’s now become fashionable on the left to defend looting as a means of redistributing wealth from allegedly unworthy business owners to the more deserving looters themselves.

“It’s just property!” is the refrain, with the implication being that property owners should not defend their property with coercive means—such as calling in the police or using privately owned weapons against looters.1

This is the philosophy behind a recent declaration from a Black Lives Matter organizer. As the New York Post reported on August 11:

“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes,” [BLM organizer] Ariel Atkins said at a rally outside the South Loop police station Monday, local outlets reported….“That’s a reparation,” Atkins said.

A more full apologia for looting now comes in the form of a new book titled In Defense of Looting by Vicky Osterweil, who identifies herself as “a writer, editor, and agitator based in Philadelphia.”

In an interview with National Public Radio, Osterweil states:

When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot….

It 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.

Osterweil then goes on to assert that looting is basically a poverty relief program and that it liberates the looters from having to work for a living:

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.

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