Shoot the looters!

In “Rioting For Rage, Fun, And Profit” (regarding the 1992 Los Angeles Riots), Rothbard writes: “The crucial point is that whether the motivation or the goal is rage, kicks, or loot, the rioters, with a devotion to present gratification as against future concerns, engaged in the joys of beating, robbing, and burning, and of massive theft, because they saw they could get away with it. Devotion to the sanctity of person and property is not part of their value-system. That’s why, in the short term, all we can do is shoot the looters and incarcerate the rioters.”

No offense, Macy’s-window-breaking vandarchists.

Clarification: The point here is not whether shooting looters is proportionate punishment or not; or whether it ought to be the state doing it. The point is that Rothbard clearly and correctly classified these people as criminals–he didn’t excuse their actions by saying that the property they were looting was not “really” private property because the owners were all really just “part of” the state.


11:12 am on September 22, 2008