“We Can Take Anything We Want!” With a report from Andy Vaught of SNO

Finally.  No more lies about police brutality and the legacy of slavery.  Black Lives Matter goes on the record with its mission statement.  BLM organizer Ariel Atkins, describing the  looting in Chicago as 'reparations,' declared:

 "I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats, that makes sure that person has clothes."

And not just any clothes, but clothes that make you feel good about yourself, clothes you can trade for drugs.  As we used to say in the 1960's:

Right On!

Ariel, as if she might have left something in doubt, added this:

Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.

Andy Vaught, our crack reporter from SNO News was there and asked on of the demonstrators if he agreed with Miss Atkins.  In his own words, Andy explained,

"I couldn't get everything he said.  He was pretty angry and all that years I spent in Scandinavia, where everyone speaks standard English, did not prepare me for Chicago.  Anyway, here is what he said, Englished and cleaned up for your family-values readers:

Everybody knows, insurance doesn't cost anything to anyone.  And, if you can't afford to pay your property and casualty, the government will pay it.  Everybody knows.

When I suggested that this would mean higher prices and higher taxes, he dismissed the idea with contempt.

Whatchoo talkin about?  I don't pay no taxes, and when I takes what I wants, I ain't payin nothin.  What are you, stupid?

At this point I delicately suggested that some of the people in the movement have not limited their activities to robbing stores to acquire useful items like food and clothing and alcoholic beverages.  Some have robbed jewelry stores and broken into houses.  "What, " I asked, "Do you have to say about that?  Surely, you'd wish to condemn such behavior."

Everybody  knows, if I have the right to carry automatic weapons and threaten people with them, to  set fires, break in stores, and shoot cops if they has the audacity to interfere, I have the same right to break into anybody's home, including your next-door neighbor, steal his movables, assault his wife and daughters, all with remunity--I just learned that means the government gots to pay you for every crime they force you to commit.

I suggested that I was not able entirely to follow his argument.  I could understand why, because of past injustices, he was demanding reparations from the government, but what could possibly justify armed robbery and looting of private property.  He smiled at my ignorance

Didn't you go to school?  Everybody knows that the sins of your ancestors, will be visited upon their descendants down to the umpteenth generation, and, whatever good deeds they did in rescuing us from devil-worshipping cannibals, feeding and clothing us, and teaching us the rudiments of decency--that don't mean sh-t.

There was some white guy said who said in somethin we had to read in high school.

The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft. interred with their bones.

Yeah, what he said.

But, I persisted--I really couldn't help myself--what about black-owned businesses and homeowners?

If they own a store, how they get the money.  I ask you.  They got it by robbing their brother and sisters, that's the only way anyone makes money in this country. s  Buncha Uncle Toms deserve everything they get.

I started to ask him:  "Let's just say, for the sake of argument--"

I ain't arguin, I'm telling you.. You ain't tellin me nothin.

"What I mean is, let's say I agree with you.  Isn't all this a bit counter-productive?"

No, you pullin something on me.  Counter-productive!

"Look, if you keep this up, all these stores will close down.  Then what will you do?"

How the hell do I know.  That's next year or next week.  This is what we doin today.  Next week, maybe we go to the suburbs or--where you live?  We could come there.

"But surely you can see that if you keep this up, you could be electing Donald Trump."

You think that makes a difference?  He ain't doin nothin now, and he won't do anythin if he gets elected.  Chicago's our city now, boy, and you better move along, before somethin happens to you. IF white people had any guts, we'd never have dreamed of doin any of this.

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Raymond Olson says:

    Very funny, and as a Chicagoan for 26 years (fortunately behind me 10 years), I can say it’s eerily credible. One sentence–compound, yet!–in the rant is also borderline indisputable: “They got it by robbing their brother and sisters, that’s the only way anyone makes money in this country.”

  2. Thomas Fleming Thomas Fleming says:

    Ray, I am delighted that you, unlike someone who claims to be “one of my biggest fans” but condemns the piece, you understand that satire has to be a two-edged sword. Of course, what the street thug is saying, both about many entrepreneurs and about the President, has more than a grain of truth. One of modern American fiction’s greatest characters appears in a not-so-great novel, namely Jones in A Confederacy of Dunces, a black equivalent to an Aristophanic hero. One thing I learned from working with and knowing black people who were not law professors but stock boys and car-washers (as I was) is the amused contempt in which we are held by so many in the black community. Who but white people (and Asians) are dumb enough to waste their lives in pursuit of the almighty dollar and grow old without attaining any wisdom. If there are black Gateses and Jobses and Buffets, I haven’t met them.

  3. Avatar Vince Cornell says:

    I got confused by the “years spent in Scandinavia,” attributing it to the wrong side of the interview, and I thus read all of the quotes with a Dutch accent in my head. I realized my mistake by the end, but I have to say it was eerie how easily modern thug vernacular coincides with the Dutch accent.

    The more I have learned about the black community (I’ve been listening to various points of view from folks within that community) the more I realize they are more “woke” than even the liberal white “woke-sters.” It doesn’t take much for them to turn on a Bill Cosby or a Jay-Z or a Kanye and start denouncing them with their version of “cancel culture.” Pace to Lord Tennyson but, “Snowflakes to the left of me! Snowflakes to the right of me! . . . etc.”

    White people use to have guts. I just finished watching “Hue and Cry” and loved the climax of all the boys of the city flocking to the promise of adventure, and gladly taking their lumps just for the opportunity alone. I would love to put out a call to men to rally to Portland to dispatch the thugs just for the sake of dispatching the thugs, but I’m sure either only a small handful of souls would rally or a large number of just-as-bad-if-not-worse thugs would answer the call in droves. I don’t think there’s any direction to go out of the current mess except for down, down, down.

  4. Avatar Dot says:

    According to the 2018 FBI report comparing whites versus blacks, whites represent 69%, the blacks represent 27.4% of the population. The rate of murder for whites was 44.1%; for blacks, 53.3%. The percent for robbery (looting) was 43.5% white versus 54.2% black. Yet they never stop demanding reparations for slavery. Of all the races in this land, white, black, yellow, red (American Indian) and brown, the blacks have become the golden calf of the country for all the demands they make and get. Reparations?

  5. Thomas Fleming Thomas Fleming says:

    Dot, I ‘m afraid I don’t understand the statistics. Of what is a murder rate expressed as a percentage? Is it 44% of murders are committed by the 69% that is white?

    FBI uniform crime reports used to be honest figures, but then government agencies have learned to play games. For some purposes, Latinos count as white–and that would be in this case, if I am interpreting figures correctly–but elsewhere non-white. Since their murder rate is considerably higher than the white rate, their inclusion rather skews the figures. B

  6. Thomas Fleming Thomas Fleming says:

    Before they started fudging numbers, the numbers were about 50% of the violent crimes were committed by 15% of the population. According to the most recent census figures I’ve seen, blacks are still about 14%, nowhere near 27%.

  7. Avatar Dot says:

    This comes from Table 43 A of Uniform Crime Reporting Program – FBI, 2018. The table represents the total arrests, 1 by race and 2 by percent distribution. The estimated population recorded was 247, 752, 415. I used the percent distribution of the total arrests based on the estimated population number. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/table.43

  8. Avatar Robert Reavis says:

    Some of this is like listening to Cornel West or Bill Kristol talking to themselves on national television or debating each other at Harvards Kennedy School of Politics. In principle it is very close to an accurate every day expression or “dialogue” of what is considered today as “higher learning.”

  9. Thomas Fleming Thomas Fleming says:

    Dot, the the first thing to note is that you have overstated the black percentage of population bu 100%. The second is that the FBI figures have been cooked for at least 10 years.

  10. Avatar Vince Cornell says:

    Dot, the talk about Reparations is very serious in the black community. The code word is “tangibles” – any time you hear a spokesperson from that community say “tangibles” they mean trillions of dollars in Reparation payments to ADOS (African Descendants of Slaves) – which, I presume, means they want to exclude folks like Kamala Harris, Barrack Obama, and the Minnesotan Somalis from the payouts. Their position is that all of the many, many, many government programs and laws that have been enacted on their behalf don’t count, and only cold hard cash will finally “settle the debt owed.” In the meantime, the looting and rioting is just “pro bono” work they’re doing to make ends meet until the Reparations arrive.

    The more I’ve tried to make a good faith effort to understand the thoughts and reasoning on the other side of the “argument”, the more I’ve become convinced that any form of peaceful coexistence is impossible. At least under the current National/Federal/Corporate/Technocratic system. It makes me sympathetic with the final stand off in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” where Clint Eastwood tells the Indian chief that we can get along just fine, man to man, if everyone else just gets the heck out of our business.

  11. Avatar Dominick D says:

    I believe Tocqueville pointed to the white/black divide as a, if not the, great fault line in American society. It has been years since I read Democracy in America, but I got the sense he meant that the divide would eventually destroy American society. Those weren’t his exact words of course (not even in translation) and maybe I did not read him properly. LoA edition.

  12. Avatar Dot says:

    Mr. Cornell: Thank you.

  13. Avatar Irv Phillips says:

    Over at takimag Steve Sailer has written a good article which succinctly summarizes black/white crime disparities. Per the FBI UCR reports:

    “[In 2018, ] (w)hen the race of the offender was known, 54.9 percent were Black or African American….”

    As Dr. Fleming mentioned, crime statistics obfuscate the difference between Hispanics (white or black or both) and non-Hispanic whites, so it is likely that the white numbers are inflated. Here is how Sailer addresses the problem:

    “…the simplest work-around is simply to compare blacks to all nonblacks. If blacks make up 13.4 percent of the population at present, then they were 7.9 times more likely to be homicide offenders than nonblacks on a per capita basis in 2018 and 7.4 times more in the decade of 2009–2018.

    “Here’s the formula for 2018:

    “(54.9% of murderers are black / 13.4% of population is black) / ((100% – 54.9%) / (100% – 13.4%)) = 7.9

    “Incredibly, among known killers in 2018, the ratio of blacks to nonblacks (7.9 times greater) was bigger than the ratio of males to females (7.1 times).”

    I present data to people for a living: I am aware of the ‘eyes glazing over’ phenomenon. This is why I believe that the last quoted sentence above is the ‘takeaway’. I think of it this way: when most of us are walking on a city street, even in a rough neighborhood, a noisy group of young women behind us is not terribly worrisome. We know, in an abstract way, that women do commit violent crime, yet that knowledge rarely affects how we live our lives. However, if that boisterous bunch were young white men we might and perhaps should modify our behavior. Maybe we’d move to the other side of the street or slip into a store. Now let’s imagine a third scenario: a bunch of young black men. Astonishingly, with respect to committing murder, the male/female ratio is the same as the black male/white male ratio. How would we, in this case, change our behavior? We would rightly be far more worried and would act with greater haste. More importantly, we would likely realize that we have progressed from being safe to being scared. In short our male vs. female perceptions are *qualitatively* different. Pari passu, our black vs. white perceptions are also extra-quantitative: it is not just that Group 3 is more violent than Group 2, it is that our reasonable interpretation is, with regard to crime, we are dealing with distinct populations. It is this, the appropriate apprehension of reality, which must be not only denied, but forbidden from being mentioned.

    So, to paraphrase one of Tom’s favorite lines, “who you gonna believe, the New York Times or your own lying eyes?” One of the primary goals of BLM is to gouge your eyes out.

    [Sailer article: https://www.takimag.com/article/crime-roaring-twenties/ ]