By The Propaganda Professor
Editor’s Note: We have borrowed from the original site a couple of comments and the replies by the author. The thread is worth examining as it reminds us, for the Nth time, how many COMPLETE imbeciles (most your low-info Fox News zombies or Christian zealots), walk around proudly brandishing pseudo-knowledge and pseudo-understanding, the worst kind of ignorance. It’s worth pointing out that in a nation where far too many people believe “everyone’s entitled to an opinion”, and the mainstream media do nothing to clarify anything of importance, this kind of entrenched and petulant stupidity is liable to continue to multiply. —P. Greanville
Whenever a politician, or anyone else, starts talking about regulating guns, it’s a safe bet that someone will bring up how Hitler supposedly outlawed guns in Germany, which supposedly enabled him to do all the mischief he did. As we’ve noted before, Adolf is a staple reference among propagandists. It’s become an automatic response to compare anyone you don’t like to Der Fuhrer, on the grounds that since he was evil incarnate, everything he ever said or did must also be evil. People have even been known to suggest that since he was a vegetarian, vegetarians are evil. It’s not surprising, then, that you often see this quote pop up:
“This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” –Adolf Hitler, 1935
Trouble is, Hitler never made such a speech in 1935. Nor is there any record that he ever spoke these particular words at all. This little “speech” was obviously written for him, many years after his death, by someone who wanted you to believe that gun registration is Hitler-evil.
What he did say, seven years later, was this: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.” So it’s fair to conclude that he believed “gun control” had its uses. But that’s quite a different thing from claiming that “gun control” was instrumental in the NAZI rise to power.
And the truth is that no gun law was passed in Germany in 1935. There was no need for one, since a gun registration program was already in effect in Germany; it was enacted in 1928, five years before Hitler’s ascendancy. But that law did not “outlaw” guns, it just restricted their possession to individuals who were considered law-abiding citizens, and who had a reason to own one. And there’s no reason to consider that law particularly significant, either; the NAZIs didn’t seize control of their own country with gunpowder. They used a much more potent weapon: propaganda.
Under their reign, Jews were prohibited from owning guns, just as they were prohibited from doing many things. And it has become an article of faith among the gun culture that had they been armed, the Holocaust would not have happened (that is, among those members of the gun culture who know that the Holocaust really did happen). But the concept of a handful of citizens armed with hunting rifles and Saturday night specials fending off an army is delusional hubris peculiar to gun addicts. On American soil, its most glorious day in the sun has been perhaps Waco. And we all know how well that turned out.
The gun culture is right about one thing, however. Hitler really did enact a new gun law. But it was in 1938, not 1935 – well after the NAZIs already had the country in its iron grip. Furthermore, the new law in many ways LOOSENED gun restrictions. For example, it greatly expanded the numbers who were exempt, it lowered the legal age of possession from 20 to 18, and it completely lifted restriction on all guns except handguns, as well as on ammunition.
Given all of this, it’s pretty hard to make a case that “gun control” played a significant role in NAZI conquest. In fact, one might well say that when gun addicts brandish Hitler as a weapon, they are unwittingly arguing against their own cause.
NOTE: (1/10/13) Following the link to this post by Randi Rhodes, my readership has gone through the roof, for which I am grateful. But it means this post has been bombarded with comments, and it may take time to sort through them all. Furthermore, I may not respond to all of them. I will, however, do at least one followup to this column.
About The Propaganda Professor
For the time being, I have chosen to remain anonymous for several reasons — not the least of which is that I want this blog to be about my research and analysis rather than about me. But since some readers have expressed curiosity about my identity, I’ll at least give you a rough outline.
I am a Caucasian male in my fifties. I am an American citizen. I am a left-handed vegetarian. I have a grown son of whom I am damn proud. My background is in folklore, literature and forensics. I am not an expert in history, science or math, though I consider myself better versed in those topics than the average lay person. I was once a film critic. I also once worked for the IRS. Both jobs were fun jobs working with fun people. Really.
I do not belong to any political party or persuasion. I have voted only once in my life, and that was more than 20 years ago. Any interest I have in politics stems mostly from its prominence as an arena for propaganda. I tend to support whatever works rather than whatever fits an established paradigm. (By contemporary standards, this marks me as a “liberal”.)
I have absolutely no religious beliefs. Nor am I the least bit interested in acquiring any. But thank you for asking.
I am a multiple award-winning writer. I am also a composer. I’m an avid outdoorsman, but I have absolutely no interest in hunting or fishing. I have traveled extensively, and have spent at least a fair amount of time in almost every state.
And for what it’s worth, I’m a Gemini.