Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Argumentum Ad Hitlerum

Beware, my libertarian and conservative friends, of acting like liberals.  That's not to say that we should eschew all tactics used by liberals, but we do have to be careful, because a lot of their tactics are corrupting and false.  Chief among these bad tactics is lying.  That's why neoconservatives are morally corrupt.  They've adopted the liberal tactic of lying, over and over again.  Or, it's more accurate to say, they brought their lying tactics with them when they left the Democratic party and came to infiltrate the Republican party.

Sometimes, of course, we don't intend to lie, we just make mistakes.  One of the biggest mistakes that has become very significant lately is the "Argumentum Ad Hitlerum," which has been polluting the gun rights movement for quite some time, but which has really thrown a spanner into the works lately, making Second Amendment activists look foolish.  The poster reproduced above, you see, is bogus.  As much esteem as I have for the JPFO, they got this one wrong.  Hitler was not a gun control advocate, except in the trivial sense of disarming conquered populaces, which, of course, what everybody does with conquered populaces.  That's what 'conquered' means.  Now, most of the people displaying this poster and others like it, and repeating the same sentiments other ways, are, I'm sure, quite sincere and assume that since he did lots of awful things, Hitler most certainly did this awful thing, too.  Except that he didn't.  He didn't need to.  Oh, he didn't allow "Gypsies and vagabonds" or conquered nations to bear arms, because he didn't trust Gypsies and vagabonds and conquered nations.  He didn't disarm regular Germans because he trusted regular Germans.  (There is some disagreement about whether he prohibited gun ownership by Jews or not.  More information in the links.) On the other Hand, Obama is trying to disarm regular Americans because....?  Fill in the blank yourself.

Well, the truth is dribbling out, making those of us who unknowingly perpetuated the lie look foolish. But the truth has been there for some time, of course.  The late William Pierce wrote THIS some years back, and Anthony Gregory writes a partially dissenting view of the same issue HERE.  But a good, readable summary of the whole controversy by DailyKenn is reproduced here:

The phony 'Hitler banned guns' argument

The narrative follows this path: Hitler's rise to power was enabled by the Nazi's ban of private gun ownership in Germany.
Hitler-era Germans inherited gun laws from Hitler's
predecessor. These laws were relaxed by
The German Weapons Law of 1938.

The narrative isn't true.

Advocates of Second Amendment rights are often tricked into using the "Hitler's gun grab" argument, then embarrassed and discredited when they are told that Hitler actually liberalized Germany's gun laws.

Below is 'ammunition' you need to avoid that pitfall.

• Hitler's gun restrictions

Although Hitler was adamant in opposing gun ownership by conquered peoples, his government slightly liberalized gun laws inherited from his predecessors.

Those laws were enacted in 1928, five years before Hitler assumed control of Germany. They restricted ownership to responsible citizens who could prove a reason to own firearms. Hitler actually lowered the age threshold of gun ownership from 20 to 18 and further liberalized gun ownership by revoking the necessity for registering long guns. Muzzle-loaded hand guns were also exempt from registration.  Hitler's government further extended gun permit validations from one year to three. It also removed restrictions on the number of firearms and ammunition an individual could own.

Hitlers government also lightened gun laws by removing the requirement to obtain a permit to purchase handguns by individuals who held a gun-owners permit. That is, if one carried a permit to carry a gun, he no longer needed to acquire another permit to purchase additional guns. The same was true of those who held a hunting permit. Hunting permits, it should be noted, authorized Germans to carry handguns as well as hunting guns.

Hitler-era gun laws prohibited criminals, the mentally handicapped, those convicted of treason, persons under age 18, vagabonds and gypsies from owning or carrying firearms.

Many are surprised to learn that The German Weapons Law of 1938 didn't ban Jews from gun ownership. While Jews in Germany were free to own firearms, they were stripped of their rights to manufacture or otherwise deal in the munitions trade. Jews, you will recall, were not considered citizens under the National Socialists regime. Nonetheless, they were allowed to own guns for self defense.

Ironically, it was Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower who imposed confiscation of firearms in Germany. American soldiers have been faulted for absconding hordes of guns from Germans after the Allied victory and the Russians have been summarily condemned for executing Germans found with guns or bullets in their possession.

Note, also, that The German Weapons Act (German: Waffengesetz) of 1972 is considered one of the most restrictive gun laws imposed by any government and was enacted decades after the demise of Hitler and his Third Reich.

• Godwin's Law

There is a concept called 'Godwin's Law.' It observes that virtually every debate regarding public policy will ultimately degrade to evoking Hitler or Nazis as a means to discredit the opposing view.

Consequently Hitler has been credited with everything from banning God from government schools to outlawing gun ownership. It should be noted that Hitler's rise to power can be attributed to the skillful use of the media rather than violent force.

Furthermore, Hitler was wildly popular in Germany and faced little opposition. He had no need to ban guns among the general population. The threat of armed revolution among the populace was non-existent and violent street crime, typical in today's America, was highly unusual among the orderly and well-behaved German culture.

Unlike most world leaders, Hitler toured the nation in an open vehicle, undeterred by the prospect of being taken out by a crazed gunman. The last American president who did that was John F. Kennedy.

While Hitler's socialist and fascist policies are anathema to liberty-loving republicans, no one can argue with his success at reviving Germany's post-war economy. It is, therefore, foolish to make untrue attributions to Hitler, or anyone, for that matter. Misquoted history will eventually be discredited.

• Addendum

The problem is we don't read history, we read about history. There is often a significant difference between the two.

For the record, I am adamantly opposed to socialism and it's evil fraternal twin, fascism. However, history is what it is and intentionally distorting it to makes one's case is not only immoral but ill-advised.

Advocates of Second Amendment rights should be careful not to exaggerate Hitler's gun laws. Such exaggeration will ultimately lead to a loss of credibility. Rather, we should 'stick to our guns' and base our argument on the veracity of the United States Constitution.
(An update on this story HERE.)


  1. Thank you for properly correcting the false argument which has and still passes for the "historical record".

    1. Ditto.

      I've long thought that no serious effort at saving the west will occur until enough (?) men understand the propaganda that has been used against us all, down to the realization of the great lies absorbed about Hitler and WW2.

  2. If Hitler hadn't got Germany involved in WWII he might have gone down as one of the greatest leaders ever in Germany. At the beginning even FDR and Churchill praised him.

    1. Hitler didn't get Germany involved in WW2. The governments of GB & France did that on their own, although with many empty promises from the USSR and many carrots from the USA. And I don't recall any documented instance of FDR praising Hitler. If they never forgave Nixon it would've been extremely unlikely for a Hitler-praiser to be elected four times.

  3. People with no imagination or any real knowledge always end up doing as described under Godwin's Law. Almost any political discussion degenerates to the invocation of Hitler. Insofar as gun roundups go Hitler and Stalin are always brought up as the two dictators that supposedly did it. However, I see no evidence that either one of them carried it out to any great degree. As is the case here, rural people have a greater connection to guns than city-bound types. In the USSR gun shooting clubs were common and many Russians were proficient with rifles. Lots of them hunted. During the war they had many snipers and others who already had shooting skills before they went into the military. Handguns weren't highly regarded and weren't all that common even prior to Stalin. I read this while doing some other reading so it wasn't the main topic but made a mental note of it. There's not a lot of objective information about it out there. It appears there's plenty of myths out there. Crime and attitudes towards guns seems to correlate more with the culture of the people involved. If a group isn't prone towards having crime then the availability of guns doesn't increase it.