If we had one wish: If you only read one opinion column today, we'll recommend the opinion column written by Bret Stephens.
Stephens describes a recent act of supernatural dumbness. Let it be said that principal target of the piece should be understood to be NPR.
According to Stephens, NPR seems to be trying to re-elect Trump. Here's how his column starts:
STEPHENS (9/1/20): On Thursday, as Donald Trump was about to accept the Republican nomination from the South Lawn of the White House with warnings that “No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” National Public Radio was doing its small part to make sure the president would be re-elected."In Defense of Looting!" He isn't making that up!
NPR’s assistance in this matter was surely unwitting. But that doesn’t make it any less effective.
The assist came in the form of a lengthy interview by NPR’s Natalie Escobar with Vicky Osterweil, author of “In Defense of Looting.” The book makes the case for looting because it “attacks some of the core beliefs and structures of cisheteropatriarchal racial capitalist society”; “rejects the legitimacy of ownership rights and property”; and “reveals all these for what they are: not natural facts, but social constructs benefiting a few at the expense of the many, upheld by ideology, economy and state violence.”
To judge by the NPR interview, “In Defense of Looting” is not an interesting book. It speaks for almost nobody beyond the fringe left—and certainly not for looters who hadn’t thought about “cisheteropatriarchalism.”...
Nonetheless, the book is symbolically important.
Our liberal/progressive tribe has always been massively self-impressed. We've always been completely convinced that we're the smart/brilliant/bright/smart ones.
How much better the world would be if we had the ability to comprehend our tribe's enormous capacity for self-defeating dumbness. If we could be granted only one wish, we might well spend it on that.
Spectacular dumbness also exists among The Others, of course. But good lord! How dumb we progressives can be!
This particular NPR interview is just stupendously dumb. Let's set Osterwald to the side as an incurable case. (She's the author of the book in question.)
Instead, consider the dumbness of NPR in assigning, then choosing to publish, this interview about the wonders of rioting and looting.
Start with the interviewer herself. For all we know, Natalie Escobar may be the world's nicest person, She may be on her way to a deeply productive journalistic career.
That said, she's currently two years out of college—Northwestern, class of 2018—and seems to have almost zero savvy, awareness or overall cultural smarts at this point in time.
There's no reason why Escobar should have masterful smarts at this early date. But her questions—she poses nine in all—persistently read like outtakes from a parody interview. Here are questions 2-4:
Questions 2-4:Dear god, those myths and tropes! Unsurprisingly, they all turn out to be racist or colonial in nature! And by the way:
During the uprisings of this past summer, rioting and looting have often gone hand in hand. Can you talk about the distinction you see between the two?
Can you talk about rioting as a tactic? What are the reasons people deploy it as a strategy?
What are some of the most common myths and tropes that you hear about looting?
Why do people turn to rioting as a tactic? "It does a number of important things," Osterweil says as she starts her response. "It gets people what they need for free immediately."
Who but a deep-thinking progressive would have thought of that?
(Also this: "It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed...[You] demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.")
(No, we didn't make that up. Yes, NPR put it in print, and it's attracting attention.)
Question 6 goes like this. You can almost hear votes swinging to Trump, even before an answer is attempted:
Question 6:Apparently, it's OK to destroy a small business if it belongs to someone who's "white!" So that question's logic seems to say. Can you hear the votes swinging over to Trump?
During recent riots, a sentiment I heard a lot was that looters in cities like Minneapolis were hurting their own cause by destroying small businesses in their own neighborhoods, stores owned by immigrants and people of color. What would you say to people who make that argument?
In his column today, Stephens warns about the way over-thinking of this type could help re-elect Donald J. Trump. Inevitably, the dumbster fires within our own tribe swung into action in comments, defending every syllable which ever fell from tribal lips while attacking Stephens as an obvious running dog working in total bad faith.
At any rate, this is the work of NPR, which is branded as one of our pitiful tribe's brainiest news orgs. Despondent anthropologists keep telling us that there's simply no cure for this.
How much better off we'd be if, Over Here in our liberal tents, we could see how thoroughly hapless we libs and progs frequently tend to be. If we could be granted only one wish, we might wish for that.
The answer to Question 6: Meanwhile, how about it? What about when rioters and looters destroy small businesses owned by immigrants or people of color?
Osterweil has an answer for that! According to major credentialed experts, we "humans" always do!