September 7, 2020

DON’T STEAL THIS BOOK: On In Defense of Looting.

Steal This Book could stand alone as a work of assiduous experimental journalism, filled as it was with “survival techniques” for life underground he’d gleaned in multiple innovative ways, including responses to ads placed in revolutionary newspapers. Hoffman even supposedly fact-checked the anonymous tips about places on the map to find free food, get treated for sexually-transmitted diseases, score drugs, etc.

Steal This Book was also an equal opportunity offender, as cutting toward phonies within the revolutionary ranks as it was toward the “Pig Empire”:

The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk or collecting postage stamps.

There are a lot of things one can say about Abbie Hoffman, but he was no LARPer. He wrote the introduction for Steal this Book in jail, doing time for contempt for his memorable lunacy at the Chicago Seven trial, when he among other things told the judge to “stick it up his bowling ball.” He once tried to halt the Vietnam war by using psychic energy to levitate the Pentagon 300 feet in the air, where it would turn “orange and vibrate until all evil emissions had fled.” Abbie Hoffman was interesting.

Then there’s Vicky Osterweil.

Like Hoffman, Osterweil is a self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary who justifies stealing on the grounds that property is a crime. The similarities pretty much end there.

Plus:

Adherents to this theology are characterized by a boundless, almost Trumpian capacity for self-pity, even as they’re advocating setting you on fire. They can make wrapping fishwiches sound like digging coal in Matewan, being deprived of a smartphone like being whipped by Centurions, and they matter because everyone, including especially Democratic Party politicians, is afraid of the fallout that comes with telling them to shut the fuck up. So their “ideas” spread like cancer.

If no one in the party says anything, Trump will argue, with some justice, this is the true face of his opposition. The first Sister Souljah moment was a drag, but this moment actually calls for one. Will there ever be a more perfect candidate than this book?

I doubt that what’s left of Joe Biden’s cerebral cortex agrees with Osterweil’s In Defense of Looting. But since Joe’s far-left handlers are running the show, it’s difficult to see him making an easy lay-up of a Sister Souljah moment. As Ben Shapiro noted last week, during Biden’s speech on generic violence, “Biden name-checked ‘white nationalists’ once, ‘white supremacists’ once, ‘right-wing militias’ twice and ‘armed militias’ once in his supposedly unifying anti-violence speech yesterday. He did not mention Antifa or BLM. This is gaslighting and cowardice.” No enemies to the left.

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