There is an old law on the internet. It was coined by Mike Godwin in 1990:
In short, in a heated argument, eventually someone will bring up the Nazi’s, Hitler, etc, and the moment they do, the argument is over because the side that does it has just lost it. This is because, no matter how bad the other side is, nothing can compare to the systematic, methodical and calculated genocide perpetrated by the Nazi’s in their goals for racial purity.
So, it was amusing when the Drudge Report posted this headline earlier this week:
You know who else got a splash on the Drudge Report? twitter.com/BuzzFeedAndrew…
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 9, 2013
Note the not-so-subtle attempt to compare firearm regulation with Nazi Germany and Joseph Stalin. In addition, there is a quote going around the right-wing blogosphere being attributed to Hitler:
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!
This is of course complete bunk. Hitler never said such a thing. Germany had enacted tough gun control laws in 1928, years before the Nazi rise to power. Instead of banning guns, Hitler instead expanded gun ownership for German citizens (he’d stripped the citizenship of undesirables already) to levels which one cannot even get inside of the United States. The 1938 German Weapons Act actually relaxed all gun ownership restrictions save on pistols. A German citizen could own a fully automatic weapon complete with grenade launcher, legally, under Nazi control.
Why was Hitler comfortable doing this, when all common wisdom is that dictators eliminate gun ownership? Because Hitler ruled from a popular standpoint. He had little to fear from German Citizens, and for those who would stand against him, he made sure to strip away their citizenship, therefore their rights to firearms. This left him with a well armed nation who worshiped the ground he walked on. This is one of the reasons why the closing days of World War II were so bloody. The majority of German citizens, however, were untrained, so ineffective on the battlefield against the well trained Allied forces.
Hitler did discuss gun confiscation in 1942, but not against his own citizens, but against the people who he had conquered:
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.
Indeed I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.
Everything in it has to do with the fact he conquered them, and they were subject races, little better than slaves.
As for the gun control discussion in the United States, Obama has not discussed eliminating gun ownership. To the contrary, his policies so far have expanded gun ownership opportunities for law abiding US citizens. What is being discussed instead are restrictions on gun manufacturers and importers. The Assault Weapons Ban passed under President Clinton was just that, a regulation on the manufacture of weapons, not on ownership. The problem is, the gun manufacturers lobby, through their front group, the National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturers paint any form of restriction of the manufacture of weapons, any form of weapon, as something unpatriotic, an attempt to eliminate freedom, to enact a police state, and, as Drudge here did, the first step before the rounding up of people into FEMA camps and wholesale extermination of “pure blooded Americans” as one commentator put it.
Godwin’s law is still in effect, and by throwing the Nazi argument, gun advocates have lost the fight.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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