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View Diary: Mike Huckabee validates, endorses militia-based logic of violence (121 comments)

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  •  Conservatives and History (11+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, history has - historically - been treated quite cavalierly by conservatives.

    The "Nazis disarmed everyone" claim doesn't accurately describe what happened in Nazi Germany.  It wasn't that the Nazi's opponents were disarmed.  It was that Hitler's movement achieved a partnership with the German Army and German industrialists that, alongside his potent populist movement twinning racial pride with resentment of minorities, allowed him to hold unchallenged power.  No amount of personal weapons in the hands of the Jews, leftists and others would have mattered - it would simply have made them easier targets.  Democracy itself was not that hard to undermine - the Weimar Republic was hardly stable even in the best of times.  The role of the Great Depression of course also played a major part.

    The other example, that Stalin and the Communists ruled through disarming the population, is also dubious.  The Communists took power in a series of coups and civil wars, during which they liquidated first their opponents on the left, then those on the right (the latter requiring open warfare between armies).  During the 1930's the Soviets instituted a series of measures that created a national reserve force of virtually every adult person.  When the Wehrmacht invaded in June 1941, they met resistance not only from the regular Soviet forces, but also these irregular forces.  

    Both the Nazis and Soviets used the militarization of their societies as political tools.  They put weapons in the hands of as many as they could as a means of control.  Neither society was a "disarmed" society where only a few had weapons.

    It is worth noting that irregular forces, alone, are not a magic pill for resisting superior forces.  They take enormous losses when pitted against enemy regular forces in open combat and typically are unable to stand for long.   This has been true since the American Revolutionary War up until the present.  What wins wars or forces a peace are main force regular armies.  

    Conservatives linking possession of weapons to power should bear in mind as well that history is full of examples of relatively unarmed populations overthrowing their governments simply because those governments no longer could compel obedience.  Quoting Mao ("power comes from the barrel of a gun") or Stalin ("how many divisions does the Pope have?") ignores the many figures who achieved major lasting change through peaceful means (e.g. Gandhi).

    The conservative mindset concerning the application of violence as the ultimate arbiter of human affairs is a brutish and primitive misreading of human history.  Yes, weapons matter quite a lot.  But they are only a tool and often backfire.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:02:27 PM PDT

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