Friday, October 09, 2015


Apparently, a lot of people believe that Ben Carson has strange and unusual ideas about the rise of the Third Reich:
Ben Carson said Thursday that Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of Jews “would have been greatly diminished” if German citizens had not been disarmed by the Nazi regime.

The comment ... came during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer....

His comments about gun control in Nazi Germany are explored in his just-released book, “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties,” in which he expands on his political views.

He said Nazi Germany was one of the regimes that he used as a cautionary tale against curbing citizens’ gun rights.

“But just clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?” Blitzer asked.

"I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said.

Blitzer pushed a bit more: “Because they had a powerful military machine, as you know, the Nazis.”

“I understand that,” Carson said. “I’m telling you that there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first.”
But there's nothing unusual about what he's saying. He's echoing an assertion that right-wingers have been making for years. If you didn't know that, it's probably because the mainstream press routinely ignores or downplays this sort of conservative extremism.

In January 2013, when President Obama was pressing for gun control measures in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, the Drudge Report posted the headline on the left below:

And as Alex Seitz-Wald pointed out at the time, the idea had been in the right-wing air for a while:
The NRA, Fox News, Fox News (again), Alex Jones, email chains, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, Gun Owners of America, etc., all agree that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (“America’s most aggressive defender of firearms ownership”) is built almost exclusively around this notion, popularizing posters of Hitler giving the Nazi salute next to the text: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.”

In his 1994 book, NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: “In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler.”
On Fox, Seitz-Wald Fox cites Judge Andrew Napolitano and a Fox & Friends guest named Joshua Boston; a month after Seitz-Wald's article appeared, the Big Kahuna, Bill O'Reilly, echoed the talking point:
The Nazis were not told off. They were defeated by brave men armed with guns. Also the Nazis took most guns away from civilians, both German and those under occupation. In fact, Hitler imposed the strictest gun control on earth.
A few months later, former Fox star Glenn Beck, in a gun control book, invoked the meme as well, although he didn't buy into it completely:
"If there had been no gun control laws in Germany prior to Hitler, and the German people were as heavily armed as Americans are today, would things still have played out the same way? Obviously, no one knows for sure -- but it's hard to make a convincing case that things could've been much worse."
The idea goes back decades:
According to gun rights activist Neal Knox, the Nazi gun control theory was first suggested by Jay Simkin and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) founder Aaron S. Zelman in a book they published in 1992. In it, they compared the German gun laws of 1928 and 1938, and the U.S. Congressional hearings for what became the Gun Control Act of 1968.
In 1992, supporters of a congressional candidate named Frank LoBiondo linked Nazism and gun control in a campaign flier:
In September, during the Sportsmen's Jamboree in Millville, someone in a booth behind where LoBiondo was campaigning distributed literature focusing on gun control that compared [incumbent William J.] Hughes to Adolf Hitler. The offending flier showed Hitler saluting the image of a bull's-eye, and was captioned, "Everyone in favor of gun control - raise your right hand - dump Bill Hughes."

Hughes said LoBiondo had endorsed the inflammatory flier, and LoBiondo heatedly denied having any connection to the literature.
(LoBiondo, by the way won a congressional election in 1994, and has been a congressman ever since.)

Ron Paul endorsed the idea on the floor of the House in 2003:
I would remind my colleagues that policies prohibiting the private ownership of firearms were strongly supported by tyrants such as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tong.
So if you think Carson is saying something uniquely crazy, you simply haven't been paying attention -- or the news sources to which you regularly turn have been trying to persuade you that conservatism isn't as crazy as it actually is.


And the idea really is crazy, as Ed Kilgore notes:
Nazis were the masters of extralegal violence; had an early armed resistance arisen, it would probably if anything have sped the imposition of state terror, much like the Reichstag fire did.
I'd add this: Literally millions of right-wing Americans believe that we're enduring a totalitarian dictatorship right here, right now. A huge percentage of those right-wingers -- perhaps the majority -- are armed, some of them heavily. If these people are so certain that armed citizens can overthrow a tyrant, why aren't they trying? Why isn't there an armed resistance movement threatening the Obama administration? Do you think maybe they've made a reasonable calculation of the odds of success, and have decided not to give it a go? And what does that say about their pathetic blows-against-the-empire fantasies?


Never Ben Better said...

Oh, they're suffering under tyranny, all right, and just as soon as one of them dad-burned feds shows up at the door to take their sacred guns away, why, by golly, they'll put that goldurned animal down!

Meanwhile, the game is starting and there's another beer....

Ken_L said...

The argument is just wrong. Hitler's Germany had much the same gun laws as the rest of Europe, and they dated back to the Weimar Republic. Moreover the argument totally contradicts another favorite NRA argument, namely that gun laws DON'T prevent people who really want to get them from succeeding. So if Jews genuinely wanted to resist, according to NRA received wisdom, they could have got the guns. Europe certainly had no shortage of guns after the First World War.

Don't miss Charlie Cooke's fabulous post over at National Review. He implies there might possibly be some slight historical inaccuracy in Carson's nonsense. But it totally doesn't matter! Because what the good doctor meant to say was that governments can't take our guns! And he's right!!!

Ten Bears said...

slight inaccuracy in Carson's nonsense

When did medical doctors become paradigms of wisdom? Rout memorization is not knowledge, it's going through the motions - kinda' like a robot, or a trained monkey, though without the degree of confidence. Thinking outside the box - cognitive reasoning - is something they make television series about. You know, fantasy.

Unknown said...

So the nut cases cite actions after Hitler was already in control as "leading to Hitler's takeover". Well here's a truth: The only party in the US that would or might confiscate guns is the Republican party. That would occur when/if they actually "took the country back" to the primitive past and had to prevent decent people from rising up to oppose their right wing tyranny. Then armed citizens could rise up to restore what the Founders had to fight for 240 years ago. What they ignorantly seek is what the Founders opposed. But are they capable of understanding "they" are the threat to the Founders noble experiment? Of course not.

Feud Turgidson said...

I think the GOP can thank Limbaugh & his "Barak the Magic Negro" campaign for all the attention wingers have ladled over retired brainiac surgeon "Dr. Ben", & all the hope they injected in him.

Lefties play a lot of attention to GOP goings-on. Some feel we've no choice; to some extent that's undeniable. But the GOP base doesn't reciprocate: to them, we're all interchangeable fungus, not even important to differentiate except for or in relation to general elections.

So, candidates like Dean, Sanders, even Obama (despite that how much more obvious does it need to be speech at the 2004 DNC and the TIME-fueled cosmic afterglow) catch their attention often very late in the election process. Indeed, for millions to tens of 'em in the base, the November 08 result never sunk in until gross features of its reality started hammering them - like, the daily microscope view of our POTUS at work. Now EVERY FREAKING DAY they were "forced to listen to that one" & his big butt black beyotch & picaninny offspring & PUTTING UP WITH a negro living in the White House acting like he's in charge. I'm sure it made many (millions) of them actually physically ill on a regular basis.

Then Rush came along with his Barak the Magic Negro doll: a thing to abuse, a phenomenon for which they could consign responsibility to ... voodoo - as they awaited Obama's clay feet to catch him up, his stupid black brain & negro mouth to get him into trouble, to screw up, then get beat like a crippled snake in 2012.

Instead, turned out "Barry" was one o' them shifty clever dark devils with white libtards wrapped round his finger. Check it out in the Urban Dictionary: rightwing blogs and non-public after 2008 all used "SCoaMF", acronym for 'Stuttering Clusterfuck of a Miserable Failure'. And evern as he kept succeeding, they kept up with the acronym, now unhinged from anything existential (just like long form birth certificate, Kenya, Muslim, toy animals roaming about in fake petting zoo). But BEHIND it there was a place almost all had in their heads that said basically, He's not only uppity, he pulls it off cuz he's SMARTER. UNFFFFFFAIR!

Then comes Dr. Ben, certified degrees-having honored actual smartypants genius brain, saying stuff they LIKE: Obama bad, Reagan good. He's Magic nice tame OUR Negro!

What gets ignored or discounted, cuz they now hate pols, is Obama clearly planed out all his post-prep school life to head to a career in big-time electoral politics. Because none of that shit is USEFUL except to steal elections and run the government the hate.

I can see now how this Chauncey Gardner MD/PhD could prove resilient stay a factor in the Clown Race right thru to the RNC (& to infinity, and beyond ... unto FNC!).

Dr Ben is every bit as understandable to these morons as Obama was, except fashions change and now they got one they own, to prop up and show off for all the neighbors and relatives.

Yastreblyansky said...

The moron myth of Nazi gun control is even farther from the truth than Ken thinks. Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon:
University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them.

The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Matt Osborne said...

Remember the Freikorps, those proto-fascist militia groups that popped up in the chaos of post-WWI Germany to "protect" the people by shooting communists and deporting Poles back across the 'impossible border'? In today's America, we call them "III-Percenters" and "patriots."

Unsalted Sinner said...

"If there had been no gun control laws in Germany prior to Hitler, and the German people were as heavily armed as Americans are today, would things still have played out the same way?"

Yes, because the people who are the most fanatical opponents of gun regulations are the exact same people who would be most likely to support Hitler. Shout "Godwin" all you like, ammosexuals; it's still true.