Looters Skip the Middleman

by | Aug 9, 2011

We’re told that the riots throughout the U.K. are the fault of people who cut social service programs. The implication is clear. To those who teach and rule us, in academia and government, these riots are justified. Here’s a question nobody has yet asked: What is to protect the looters from the same treatment once […]

We’re told that the riots throughout the U.K. are the fault of people who cut social service programs. The implication is clear. To those who teach and rule us, in academia and government, these riots are justified.

Here’s a question nobody has yet asked: What is to protect the looters from the same treatment once they seize the property to which they’re supposedly entitled? We’re expected to believe that they’re entitled to this property as compensation for poverty, and for cutbacks in government programs. Does this mean that another mass group of poor people, who feels that they deserve that property even more, are not entitled to do the same? One good looting deserves another, doesn’t it?

And if not, then what’s the standard by which we’re to judge some people entitled, and not others?

Another question: What is supposed to stop people from looting, once the government has legalized it? Liberals and socialists practice redistribution of wealth, in Great Britain even more than the U.S., which is nothing more than legally sanctioned looting. Once that wealth redistribution is cut back, simply because the money has run out, then what’s to stop people from looting by any other means? If members of Parliament are allowed to take from any group they want, then why can’t the people, out in the streets, do the same?

That’s the sham and hypocrisy of expressing outrage over looting.

Looting IS outrageous, but the only people entitled to condemn it are those who condemn it in all its forms — including the form it takes in Congress and Parliament.

Morality trumps politics. This isn’t simply an opinion. It’s a reflection of the fact that morality refers to more fundamental ideas than politics. Although political policies can matter, morality matters more. Politics as we know it, including in Great Britain and the U.S., rests on the moral premise that those who do not have are entitled to have more of it — provided, free of charge, by those who do have. Marx said it best: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” This moral premise is either true, or it isn’t. If people are entitled to what they don’t own, merely because they claim to want it or need it, then they’re entitled. If the government won’t provide it, then they have every right to take matters into their own hands.

This assumes, of course, that people really are entitled to what isn’t theirs. And they’re not, morally speaking. But government, by claiming otherwise for many decades now in politics, has ensured that people will act on it, in practice.

Is the looting actually about poverty and unhappiness, or is it really about rage? More likely it’s just an excuse to go on a rampage. People can be angry about all kinds of things. They’re resentful because they don’t get what they want as easily as they think they should. They resent their girlfriends, boyfriends, teachers, children or all manner of things. Looting is a form of mob psychology. It’s what happens when a large number of people decide — all at the same time — to take their resentment and rage out on others. It’s really paying looters an undeserved compliment to say, “They’re acting out in frustration against their poverty.” Looting is not planned; it’s an impulse. You flatter looters if you give them even that much credit. If the motivation behind looting were given words, it would say, “I’m not getting what I want in life. So others must suffer too.”

Socialists who claim that looting is punishment against “society” for cutting welfare programs flatter themselves. They assume that those welfare programs make such a huge difference that people are willing to resort to violence to restore them. Does anyone seriously believe that there’s a social welfare program anywhere worth fighting for? Are people going to draw blood for the sake of a midnight basketball program, or a meeting with a social worker in a community center? I don’t think so. We all know that these welfare programs exist for the sake of the highly paid politicians and government executives. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the poor people they’re supposed to benefit.

Liberals and socialists constantly rage against the “evil power mongers”of capitalism and the private sector. But capitalists cannot get anything from a customer without that customer’s voluntary consent.

Socialists get their trillions through coercion and compulsion. Looters skip the middleman. The looters are really not motivated by what the socialists claim, but they serve the purpose of the politicians and academics quite well. This is why those politicians and academics excuse them.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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