Dan Greenfield examines the revolutionary credentials of some of our loudest tricoteuses.
A hardcover copy of “In Defense of Looting” will run you 21 bucks at Amazon and 28 bucks at Barnes and Noble. Thatâ€™s just how capitalism works for the distribution and sales of a product from one of the biggest publishing companies in the world thatâ€™s part of the LagardÃ¨re empire.
Why is the largest publishing company in France pushing what Publishers Weekly called, â€œa provocative, Marxist-informed defense of lootingâ€ to Americans? Because it makes money.
Learn why private property is just a social construct for only 21 bucks.
“In Defense of Looting” quickly ended up a major topic of conversation on social media.
And that means Arnaud LagardÃ¨re, the head of the French empire that swallowed Little, Brown and Company, adds to his $220 million net worth and keeps the model he married, half his age, in the style she expects at his country estate. So what if a whole bunch of small businesses, many owned by immigrants and black people, get trashed and put out of business.
“In Defense of Looting” was published by Bold Type Books, a LagardÃ¨re subsidiary imprint in partnership with what used to be Nation Books. The Nation, a hard lefty magazine, is partly owned by Katrina vanden Heuvel, the daughter of an MCA heiress who was worth over $38 million when she jumped out of her apartment window.
And then there’s Vicky Osterweil, the author of â€œIn Defense of Lootingâ€, who graduated magna cum laude from Cornell, where he tried to make his own movie, before moving to Brooklyn to live out the hipster dream of playing in a punk rock band while aspiring to become a novelist.
Two years later he was being profiled in the New York Times attending an Upper East Side party. Such are the hobbies of the worthless dilettante brats of the New Left.
The son of a professor and a producer from a wealthy suburb of Boston, Willie, his original name joined the Park Slope Food Coop, and scribbled terrible movie reviews, â€œcapitalism is built on the bones of the witch, her magic the first threat against capitalist rationalizationâ€, followed by equally terrible leftist screeds for The Paris Review, Jacobin and The Nation. In 2011, he was in Barcelona, taking part in protests there as training for his work on Occupy Wall Street.
Fast forward to the present, Willie had married Sophie Lewis, a British lesbian feminist who has two degrees from Oxford, had translated â€œCommunism for Kidsâ€, and had her own book â€œFull Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Familyâ€, which attacked the existence of the family. Willie, her new â€œwusbandâ€, now appeared to be Vicky Osterweil.
The happy young white couple both had major books with radical Marxist premises.
Sophia was calling for the elimination of the family and Vicky was defending looting. And the upscale couple was doing it in the name of destroying capitalism.
“Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family,” The Nation headlined a review of her book.
All of this made marriage a little awkward, but there was nothing that couldnâ€™t be overcome.
A splashy Vice profile mentions that at their wedding, instead of vows, the happy couple gave speeches disavowing the institution of marriage and the biological family.
And then they headed to Boston where Willie’s mother wanted a more traditional wedding.
You can disavow the institution of marriage, but youâ€™re still going to get married. And you can write a book attacking the existence of the biological family, but when your â€˜wusbandâ€™s mommy wants a traditional wedding she can invite her friends to, you drop the nonsense and go.
Itâ€™s unknown what Sophiaâ€™s parents, journalists who had given birth to her in Vienna and raised her in Switzerland and France, places that speak to her oppressed background, thought.
Sophia might be gay and Vicky might be transgender but they were a conventional enough couple living the hipster dream in a gentrified area of West Philly, and touting a gift certificate to an antique shop that they had received as a wedding present. The sort of thing you do when youâ€™re trying to smash capitalism, and abolish the family along with private property.
Right after you get married and pick up something nice at the antique shop.
The Black Lives Matter riots and the looting trashed parts of West Philly, but it doesn’t seem to have done much to disturb their idyllic world of community gardens, social justice yoga studios and punk hair salons. And even if it did, unlike their proprietors, Vicky and Sophia can move on.
The ugly truth about Marxist capitalism-smashing hipsters is that they are the least exposed to the consequences of their theories. When a third of Philly pharmacies were robbed in a coordinated campaign by gangs coming in from outside the city, it had a major impact on black senior citizens getting their prescriptions, but not on an upscale white hipster power couple.
Spending your twenties and thirties deconstructing everything is the luxury of the upper class. Itâ€™s the hobby of people who donâ€™t really have jobs or a family depending on them for support. Thatâ€™s why the deconstruction is fundamentally unserious. After writing a book calling for the abolition of the family, Vicky and Sophia got married. Vickyâ€™s living in West Philly where the riots and the looting are going on, shopping for antiques, and writing a book in defense of looting.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisyâ€”they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness.”