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Actually, I think there was enough context

“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.”

That was said by Vicky Osterweil, author of In Defense of Looting. Ms Osterweil was given such a fawning interview by Natalie Escobar of the American state radio station npr (note the cool lowercase initials) that it became an embarrassment, and the record of it is now prefaced by the words:

This story was updated on Sept. 1, 2020. The original version of this story, which is an interview with an author who holds strong political views and ideas, did not provide readers enough context for them to fully assess some of the controversial opinions discussed.

25 comments to Actually, I think there was enough context

  • William H. Stoddard

    You know, I have to respect her saying that she considers looting an inherent part of the “demonstrations” and not an aberration, and for saying that small businesses deserve to be targeted just as much as corporate chains. It’s refreshing to see someone who is openly evil rather than a hypocritical apologist. On the other hand, I’m not impressed by her saying that looting only targets businesses. With her being a published author of a book that sells well, she’s just as far from the actual urban poor as any store owner, if not farther, and if stores are a legitimate target for looting and arson, so is whatever building she lives in. She’s less of a coward and hypocrite than NPR, but she still is one.

    It’s really remarkable to learn of someone so like an Ayn Rand villain in the real world. “The goods are here. How did they get here? Blank-out.” But of course if the looting continues there won’t be any goods, or any stores, and then the poor really can starve.

  • […] Actually, I think there was enough context […]

  • Itellyounothing

    Only in our bountiful times could that the amount of stupid demonstrated in the interview is survivable….

  • Snorri Godhi

    And people are still in denial of the brain-damaging effects of the modern Western diet?

  • Flubber

    Why is anyone paying attention to an obviously mentally disturbed tranny arsehole?

  • lucklucky

    NPR just went against the current Democratic party narrative that pays lip service against violence due to bad poll results. If this interview was 1 month ago they would not have posted the denial. They are Marxists like Vicky Osterweil.

  • Flubber
    September 5, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Why is anyone paying attention to an obviously mentally disturbed tranny arsehole?

    While I have known several mentally disturbed tranny arseholes, you aren’t really aiming your scorn in the right direction. Boringly commonplace though it may be, “obviously mentally disturbed Marxist arsehole” fits better. “Marxist” is something that applies to many forms of arsehole.

  • SkippyTony

    Let’s see how well the book I’m working on “In defence of shooting looters” gets reviewed

  • Flubber

    Depends which state/country you’re in Skippy obvs.

  • bobby b

    Ellen, chalk it up to the fear of the unfamiliar. Most people I know have never knowingly encountered a transsexual person. Ever. (I’m Minnesotan, suburb and rural.) It’s all a mystery, and we don’t always react well to mysteries. In the face of no knowledge, we see one-dimensionally. (SEE, Flubber.)

    (Just as an aside: With your political views, I bet you explode heads when you let them in. Fun to watch.)

  • Flubber (September 5, 2020 at 11:35 pm), you might as well ask why people are paying attention to someone who urged looting Jews because “Jews are the face of capitalism”. Both the looting of Jewish stores, and the accusation that Jews simultaneously cause capitalist exploitation and communist revolution, have happened before.

    In the employers association, Isaac Coen urges the employers to resist the workers demands, while on the factory floor his brother Moses urges the workers to strike.” (Hitler, early-1920’s speech, quoted from memory)

    There is still a lot of discussion of why he was listened to – and of whether he had only one ball or (much more probable, I think) his corpse was mutilated by shell splinters at the end of the battle for Berlin, after which the Russian pathologist was incompetent and in haste.

  • Check Light

    When the smirking thug looks around your shop and says, “Nice place you got here. Shame if something should…” [smashes display case with his gun butt] “…happen to it”, is he being hypocritical?

    Everything leftists say is a threat. They want you to believe that it is more dangerous to disagree with them than with reality.

    In this sense, they are not ignorant, stupid, or hypocritical. They’re just evil.

  • John

    Both from personal observation and the opinion of US based friends and family the descent of npr from a worthy source of education and information to the Democrat shills they have now become has been even more extreme than that of the bbc.

  • Snorri Godhi

    […] the accusation that Jews simultaneously cause capitalist exploitation and communist revolution, have happened before.

    That is partly due to the ambiguity of the term ‘capitalist’, which can mean both a person living off the proceeds from capital and a person in favor of a free-market system.

    Needless to say, the free market is not always in the interests of the former type of ‘capitalist’.

    the descent of npr from a worthy source of education and information to the Democrat shills they have now become has been even more extreme than that of the bbc.

    Didn’t know that NPR was ever a worthy source of education and information. (Not surprising, since i never used it as a source of anything.)
    When did this decline begin? Or should i say, when did it become noticeable?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “That is partly due to the ambiguity of the term ‘capitalist’, which can mean both a person living off the proceeds from capital and a person in favor of a free-market system.”

    As usual, people commonly see only one axis where there are two. On one axis is the free market versus protectionism. On the other axis is whether the means of production (capital goods: like tools, workshops, factories, etc.) is owned by the producers (individually by the workers using the tools in the factory, or collectively via the state) or potentially by separate private investors.

    So for example, if you’re a skilled blacksmith, but you are too poor to buy a hammer (a capital good), you can’t make a living. Zero income means you starve. Bill owns a hammer, but he’s not skilled with it and so can’t make much money using it. You rent Bill’s hammer, paying Bill more than he could make using it himself, and you do the hammering, and keep the extra money you can make through your greater skill. You both engage in trade for mutual benefit.

    However, this means Bill gets paid for sitting on his arse all day while you do all the hard work, and only get a small slice of the proceeds. This doesn’t seem fair. The owner of the capital gets paid for doing nothing. Worse, he can use the money you pay him to buy 20 hammers, hire them out to 20 blacksmiths, and get paid 20 times as much as you, accumulating ever more wealth to invest, and still do nothing to earn it, while you’re all sweating away in smithies hammering all day, barely paying the bills and going home with no more than you started.

    It’s this aspect to the ownership of capital than sticks in the Marxist’s craw. They think the workers doing all the sweating should be the ones being paid full value for it, and this means they need to own the capital themselves. Since they can’t afford to buy it, they must necessarily steal it. But since they argue it was all stolen from them in the first place…

    The question of the ownership of capital has little to do with the question of protectionists versus the free marketeers. A capitalist (whether that’s someone who just believes in capitalism as a beneficial economic system or one who practices it) can also be a protectionist, and often is. And Labour Unions are fundamentally protectionist in the same way – seeking a monopoly on the supply of labour in order to constrain supply and raise its price (i.e. wages). Marxists oppose both capitalism and free markets, and often blur the line, but I think it’s useful to maintain the distinction.

  • John

    @Snorri Godhi

    NPR always had a leftish and urban tilt, due to the rather (reverse?) provincial backgrounds of most of the staff and their location in Washington, DC. They have not only shifted further to the left, but the quality of the journalism has suffered. It has declined over time and didn’t collapse all at once.

    However, there have been several inflection points, most especially the departure of Bob Edwards and the high profile involvement of Michele Norris and Audie Cornish. I do not know that these people are responsible, I merely state that on-air tone and content shifted at the same time, or slightly after, these staffing changes were made. This is all very regrettable, since they were the only thoughtful, literate, and well researched news source available. (25-30 years ago I’d have counted the BBC via short wave, but the same thing seems to have happened there.)

    Overall, when I worked in that business there were still quite a few “Greatest Generation” folks involved, and no matter what their personal politics, they had very high journalistic standards, especially compared to the next generation younger then them who mostly knew the rules but frequently broke them. In my estimation the generation following that doesn’t even know there are rules or standards or what quality journalism might look like.

  • bobby b
    September 6, 2020 at 2:36 am

    […](Just as an aside: With your political views, I bet you explode heads when you let them in. Fun to watch.)

    In many situations, “they” outnumber me. I’m a recognized outlier in the modern science fiction community also. The time heads exploded was when I chaired a panel on “Religion and Science”. I had carefully selected the participants to include a staunch Catholic, a Ba’hai, and a blind man who had actually felt an elephant. My contention was that the two were orthogonal. Science told you what you could or could not do, Religion told you what you should or should not do. (Of course, you can never be completely sure what science and religion are telling you. That’s another discussion.)

    The heads actually imploded rather than exploded. They’d expected fireworks, but there were none.

    Now if you want explosions, there was the time I was doing a talk on the difference between science and engineering. The other member of the panel was late, so I started without her. About five minutes into things she strode into the room, snarled “male science” and the discussion went downhill from there. Never be in a room with a strident feminist deconstructionist. Over twenty years later, people who were in the room remember.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Let’s see how well the book I’m working on “In defence of shooting looters” gets reviewed

    When it comes out, I want to read it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It’s this aspect to the ownership of capital than sticks in the Marxist’s craw. They think the workers doing all the sweating should be the ones being paid full value for it, and this means they need to own the capital themselves. Since they can’t afford to buy it, they must necessarily steal it. But since they argue it was all stolen from them in the first place…

    The Marxists get a number of issues wrong. First, very few people are purely members of “the working class” or the “capitalist” class only. I am an employee, and also a part-owner of my firm; I have amassed certain “human capital” in the form not just of specific skills, but also habits, a character, a back-story that is in my CV, etc. When I am hired, a business is not just hiring “labour”, it is hiring a set of capacities as much as if it rented out a 3-D printing machine or an office. On the other hand, a capitalist is not simply owning capital – he has to deploy it, think about the pros and cons of doing so, be willing to risk losing all or some of it, and so forth. And in many cases both “workers” and “capitalists” are doing these things at the same time.

    Marx also starts his story by assuming that the capitalist acquires capital by squeezing “surplus” value out of workers, but how did the capitalist even get to the point where he was in a position to do that? What does the Marxist say if the capitalist bought his machines or rented his offices by saving enough from his own wages when he was a “worker”? The Marxist formulation ignores how even quite lowly-paid workers can, by putting aside a small portion of wages to, for example, study to learn new skills, invest in themselves and hence create more human capital and become more of the capitalist system themselves. Even in a socialist collective, workers cannot be paid the “full value” of their labour (leaving aside the whole mess of the labour theory of value) if there is a need to keep some resources aside to replenish capital stock, never mind expand it.

    This is not really all that hard to understand, and surely some of this should have been obvious to writers about business even over a century ago when Marx wrote Das Kapital. The role of entrepreneurship as a valuable factor in wealth creation, of risk-taking, of judgement about deployment of resources, etc, was not just something discovered by business writers a few decades ago. Marx really had no excuse not to be aware of this.

    I strongly recommend this book by David Conway. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Farewell-Marx-Outline-Appraisal-Theories/dp/0140223657/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=David+Conway+and+a+Farewell+To+Marx&qid=1599413879&sr=8-1

  • The heads actually imploded rather than exploded. They’d expected fireworks, but there were none. (Ellen, September 6, 2020 at 4:08 pm)

    “but there were none” – that is too rare an achievement in the modern world (and too rarely valued by loudmouths for whom ‘if it bleeds it leeds’ even when stirring up conflict isn’t the overt aim). But I value it (and believe you – the aim sometimes shows in your comments).

    Sadly, I fear whatever talents you have in that pacifying direction risk being overly tested in your current location.

  • When it comes out, I want to read it. (Johnathan Pearce, September 6, 2020 at 5:25 pm)

    Your wish is (almost) granted. The book has been looted – that is, scanned and pirated gratis.

    Regrettably, a request to the publisher and author that they confirm this action is in accord with their beliefs had gone unanswered last I looked, so the looter has not yet put the PDF online (not that I have seen – but I haven’t looked). However he assures us he found it “surprisingly easy to do”, so by all means roll your own.

  • Rob

    NPR’s interview with this hypocritical extremist fruit loop was an ‘interview’ in the same sense that a grandmother’s chat with a favourite niece is also an ‘interview’.

  • Kalashnikat

    SkippyTony,
    put me down for an autographed copy!
    Subtle Subtitle Suggestion:

    You Looty, We Shooty!
    K-kat.

  • Paul Marks

    The answer to defenders of looting is simple.

    “If looting is good – then we will loot your homes, and strip the clothes of your bodies, and if you resist you will get a bullet in your face”.

    What is “Vicky” going to do about that? Complain to the police whom she wants to kill? “The bad man threatened to put a bullet in my face – arrest him!”

    People like “Vicky” are at least honest about what they are – LOOTERS.

    They will destroy you – or you destroy them.

    Kill or be killed – there is no “peaceful alternative” no “dialogue” possible, with people who loot.

    And, by the way, most of the Corporate media are not better than NPR – they would also respectfully interview this defender of looting and give her money as well.

    And spend a fortune to have their children “educated” by people like “Vicky”.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – “Vicky” is quite correct about looting being Social Justice without the middle man of the state.

    This goes back long before Karl Marx – the followers of evil have always known that looting and destruction is their objective.

    And this is, for example, what the “Social Responsibility” taught to future Corporate Managers really is, looting and destruction.

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