Monday, December 03, 2007

Merchandise Liberation

Sidetrack with Jason Croft” had an interesting little story about “Merchandise Liberation” Saturday on AM 580 (our local NPR station). A guy named August Bleed (a name he probably stole from somewhere), talked us through the “subtle art of shoplifting,” just in time for the holiday season.

Of course, he prefers the term “merchandise liberation.” He said: “I see it as a form of socialism – I think it evens out some of the things that are unequal in society.”

Great, just what we egalitarians need – someone who thinks he is on our side but instead reinforces the idea that socialism is petty theft. Thanks a lot “August” – uh, hey, could you maybe do us a little favor, and not talk into microphones for awhile or in front of TV cameras, perhaps ever? Thanks.

I wonder why he thinks merchandise needs to be liberated, anyway. Is a 19” TV really all that oppressed sitting in a Target? What needs liberation are people who are not paid living wages when making TVs or when working in stores, not the merchandise itself. I’ll admit that stealing from big, evil corporations like Walmart is different from stealing from old ladies at church, but it is still stealing, and it is definitely not socialism. Socialism tries to ensure there are not terrible inequities in society. Socialism is not individuals stealing stuff because they want it.

Rationalization is a powerful thing. It allows capitalists to feel like they deserve the wealth they often squeeze out of the lives of others, and it allows have-nots to justify simple theft. There may be times when theft can be justified, but stealing TVs from Target is not one of them.

Finally, in answer to the question of: Did Dan just write a blog post taking the controversial position that stealing is wrong?

Answer: Yes, I did.


dw said...

In the spirit of "information liberation," I am going to cut and paste this into a handout for my students and tell them I wrote it myself.


Dan S said...

Careful there - I might like the idea and start using your full name for all my posts :)