The Huguenots and the Second Amendment

 

Francis1-1What I learned from yesterday’s Ask Me Anything was that overwhelmingly, Ricochet wants to know more about the history of the Huguenots and their relationship to the Second Amendment. (Or, at least, Tenacious D does.)

When Ben Carson suggested that an armed populace would have been better able to resist the Holocaust, he walked off the history cliff for two reasons. The first was his failure to appreciate what it took to defeat a modern engine of death like the Nazi war machine — one that rolled over armies comprised of millions of trained soldiers with guns, planes, tanks, and artillery in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Yugoslavia, and Greece, and often did so in a matter of days.

He also missed a chance to explain to Wolf that in all likelihood, the Founders were thinking about the extermination of a European religious minority. But that minority wasn’t the Jews — it was the Huguenots.

What he should have said was, “Wolf, as you should know, if the Huguenots had been armed, their chances would have been a lot better. It all started with the Catholics taking away their weapons. Every American in the eighteenth century would have known that.”

And they would have.

Now, historians differ about the number of dead in the French wars of religion and even its exact dates. But they now estimate that between 1562 and 1598, the war claimed between two and four million lives, and could well be described, in modern vocabulary, as a Huguenot genocide.

We all know the background. The Reformation was spread by the invention of the printing press. For the first time, there was an inexpensive way to mass-produce and disseminate books. This fueled a wildcat spread of information — in all disciplines — across Europe’s borders. (Those familiar with this period know exactly why I wonder if we should just bomb the undersea cables before this Internet business gets out of hand.)

Francis I firmly opposed heresy, of course, given that he ruled by divine right, but he was genuinely unsure whether the early Lutheranism that arrived in France during his reign was heretical. (Catholic doctrine was as yet unclear.) Distracted, perhaps, by foreign affairs — he was building an alliance with the Ottoman Empire — he failed to see that of course this was heresy, and moreover, a revolutionary doctrine. As the schism developed, he attempted to steer a middle course. But in 1534, the Affaire des Placards woke him from his naive fantasy about “moderate Protestants.”

Overnight, posters appeared in public throughout France warning of “Genuine articles on the horrific, great and unbearable abuses of the papal mass, invented directly contrary to the Holy Supper of our Lord, sole mediator and sole savior Jesus Christ.” These directly attacked the Catholic conception of the Eucharist and supported Zwingli’s position on the Mass, denying the physical existence of Christ in the sacraments. Most terrifyingly, he awoke to find such a poster on the door of his bedchamber — an unthinkable security breach. It left him deeply shaken.

Fast-forward to 1535, when the ambassadors from the Ottoman Empire accompanied him to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris to share with him the satisfying sight of Protestant sympathizers burning at the stake.

His heir, Henry II, was in no doubt that he was dealing with a heresy. On June 27, 1551, he issued the Edict of Châteaubriand: Protestants would no longer be allowed to worship, assemble, nor even speak of religion. And the 1557 Edict of Compiègne imposed the death penalty on those who preached illegally — or even assembled to discuss it.

The repression only hastened the onset of the civil war. By 1560, violent religious extremists were destroying images and statues in Catholic churches. Huguenot rhetoric changed: At first, they had opposed the policies of the monarch. Now, they began opposing monarchy itself.

Eight wars ensued. Religion had been the basis of the European social consensus for a millennium; the entire social order rested upon the belief in a single faith. And the entire social order collapsed. France was laid to waste, the crops wiped out; citizens suffered a nightmare of destruction. Whole villages were massacred. Famine and disease killed the survivors. Details here.

Now, I confess that here my memory is failing me. I can’t remember when, exactly, the policy of disarming all but the Catholic nobility came into effect. But I do remember that it did. Does anyone on Ricochet remember? I know that it happened, but I can’t remember when.

In any event, Catherine de Medici — the king’s mother, an Italian, a Catholic, and a member of the family for whom Machiavelli wrote The Prince — is widely believed to have instigated the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. (I believe some historians contest her role.) The king’s sister was to be married in Paris to a Protestant, Henry III. The wedding attracted France’s wealthiest and most prominent Huguenots. The king gave the orders that they be assassinated.

The extermination began suddenly, with the ringing of church bells. Admiral Coligny — the leader of the Huguenots — was stabbed and his body thrown out a window. There’s no evidence (as far as I know) that Charles IX and his mother intended the bloodshed to go beyond the assassination of the their leaders, but the murders inspired the mob to a frenzied massacre of Protestants that rocked the Continent. Catholic clergy were said to have fallen upon unarmed men, women, and children. Commoners began hunting Protestants throughout Paris, barricading the streets so they couldn’t escape. The bodies of the dead were collected in carts and thrown in the Seine. The fish were said to have been poisoned. The slaughter spread to other cities and the countryside. In the end, according to contemporary historical estimates, as many as 30,000 were killed.

The Huguenot movement was crippled by the loss of its leadership. Those who remained were radicalized; those who could, fled — to Germany, Switzerland, England, Ireland, and, of course, what was to become the United States.

Their descendents included George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Paul Revere.

The history of the Second Amendment is of course complicated, and this was certainly not the only event on the Founders’ minds. But if Wolf Blitzer had interviewed them at the time, very likely this is how it would have gone:

Wolf: But to make the comparison, Mr. Washington, to Catholic France, the slaughter of millions of Huguenots by the Catholics, the devastation that erupted in Europe and around the world, to the United States of America, I want you to reflect on what that potentially means.

George Washington: I think the likelihood of the Catholics being able to accomplish their goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. There’s a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.

And about that, he would have been right.

Whether this has any relevance to America now, I don’t know. But if you’re going to argue this point from history, that’s the example you want.

Published in General, Guns, History
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  1. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Tommy De Seno: I am, and will remain, skeptical of assessments of mass killings in an age without transportation and the best available weapon, assuming many even had them, was a clumsy old flintlock rifle. Put me in a duel with a guy with one of those and I’ll beat him with a knife. I don’t have to stop and hold my weapon between my legs to reload it.

    Genghis Khan’s hordes managed about 40 million dead without firearms. By comparison, Tamerlane’s 17 million or so made him a piker. No doubt the figure includes the work of the other two Horsemen, not just War and Conquest.

    • #91
  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    HVTs: Hasn’t Islamic society been unstable since the passing of the Prophet?

    No.

    It’s precisely for lack of a mechanism to pass the reins of authority from one generation to the next

    This was a problem in the Christian world, too — the idea of the divine (and hereditary) right of kings died a very bloody death.

    that Islam’s political ideology is one that promotes instability. Isn’t that the root cause—the Left’s Holy Grail for every social phenomenon—for Shia-Sunni sectarianism?

    No. If it were, we’d have great problems accounting for all the periods during which Shia and Sunnis lived in reasonable harmony.

    • #92
  3. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    RightAngles:We almost gave my daughter the middle name of Duval, after her great-grandmother’s family who were Huguenots that came to South Carolina to escape the Edict of Nantes. But I didn’t even know half the information Claire gave us here. And the liberals call themselves the intellectuals. Hah!

    I’m amazed how many people we have here who know they’re descended from Huguenots. (I would have predicted that many were, but didn’t know it.) I wouldn’t at all be surprised if their descendants were over-represented on Ricochet. Many people pass on the political ideas of their parents and grandparents without really understanding where they came from. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if many Americans who now find themselves called “conservatives” are in fact just people who are passing along Huguenot family wisdom.

    But I’m surprised by how many of us know for sure that they have Huguenot ancestry. This sort of thing will always be a wonderment to the descendents of Jews who fled the Holocaust: Most of us have no clue who our great-great-grandparents were, and never will, beyond the hints we could piece together from talking to our grandparents. Everyone died, and the records of their ancestors were destroyed. I know my great-great grandparents lived in the Pale of Settlement, and that’s all I’ll ever know.

    My grandfather told me that his father, my great-grandfather, bought Ottoman Empire passports for his children, just in case — he sensed it was time to get out. I’d probably be able to find a record of that: The Ottoman archives might well be that well-preserved.

    • #93
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Tenacious D: This post and discussion was everything I dreamed it would be :)

    Great to hear we provided you with good customer service. Is there anything else we can help you with today?

    • #94
  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Tommy De Seno: According to Claire, they were all Huguenot deaths, thus her basis for calling it a Huguenot genocide.

    Hi Tommy, they were definitely not all Huguenot deaths — I did not mean to suggest that and it’s completely false. It was a civil war, with both sides shedding a tremendous amount of blood, and as others have pointed out, famine and disease are thought by modern historians to account for much of the death. The reason one might in modern parlance call it a genocide is because the Catholics ultimately won, to the point that about 88 percent of France’s population descends from them. “Genocide” is an entirely modern word with a strict definition: It’s more than mass murder; it’s mass murder with the intent to systematically eliminate a racial, ethnic, religious, cultural or national group. Both sides in that war intended and attempted to commit genocide, although the term is an anachronism — no one thought in those terms in the 16th century. But only one side succeeded, in the sense that France became a Catholic country, not a Protestant one, even though ultimately a Protestant minority was tolerated.

    I’m sorry I didn’t make that more clear, because certainly, I can see how you read it that way. What I was trying to stress was that the refugees from that conflict (and “refugee” is also a completely anachronistic term in this context) ended up in the Anglophone world — and many in the American colonies. At the time of the writing of the Constitution, the wars of religion, not the Holocaust, would have been the epic historical event on the minds of Anglophones. And as I’m sure you know, it took many years for American Protestants to overcome their deep distrust of Catholics. 

    • #95
  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Basically, a conservative is exactly a person who recognizes value in wisdom passed down, from one’s own family, other people, Huguenot or … not.

    • #96
  7. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I’ll quibble. Genocide may be a modern word, but it’s hardly a modern concept.

    • #97
  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ball Diamond Ball:I’ll quibble. Genocide may be a modern word, but it’s hardly a modern concept.

    Fair enough. It’s not at all a modern concept. What’s modern is a) the word; and b) a moral sensibility around it. The modern world sees genocide as a crime that goes even beyond mass murder.

    • #98
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ball Diamond Ball:Basically, a conservative is exactly a person who recognizes value in wisdom passed down, from one’s own family, other people, Huguenot or … not.

    I think that’s as good a one-sentence definition as we’ll ever have, actually.

    But no American could be a true conservative, in the sense that our shared, passed-down wisdom is very close to “Anything is possible.” This is based on real experience. Vanquished the Nazis and Imperial Japan, created the modern world, put a man on the moon, the only country ever to have practiced freedom of expression (as opposed to paying lip service to it), invented the Internet — why wouldn’t our inherited wisdom be, “We can do anything we set our minds to?”

    • #99
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire, have you read Dan Hannan’s Inventing Liberty? Our self-determining, sky-is-no-limit spirit comes with a heck of a pedigree.
    You are defining conservatism as Luddite backwardness. I reject your premises and your conclusions.

    • #100
  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Inventing Freedom? I agree with the basic argument, although I think Dan Hannan himself’s a bit of a fraud. But how do you conclude that I’m defining conservatism as Luddite backwardness? (While I’m taking a trip through history, let me just point out that the Luddites are widely misunderstood: They didn’t fear new technology, they feared that they’d be put out of a job by it — and they were. Their analogue in modern America would be trade unionists and what I would have called the anti-globalization left, until Trump got in on the game. Now I suppose it’s the anti-globalization mainstream.)

    • #101
  12. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ball Diamond Ball:I’ll quibble. Genocide may be a modern word, but it’s hardly a modern concept.

    Fair enough. It’s not at all a modern concept. What’s modern is a) the word; and b) a moral sensibility around it. The modern world sees genocide as a crime that goes even beyond mass murder.

    There’s a lot to this. Extermination wars were more or less part of war for the longest time. They were brought back in WWII & suddenly every free mother’s son & daughter were shocked into disbelief. There is a very real change which the word hides; it’s a coward’s word, it seems to me.

    • #102
  13. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    So, Tommy D.S., are you trolling us?

    Are you saying that the French were justified in exterminating the Huguenots?

    You are defending the Massacre of Mérindol?

    You find no fault with the French for enforcing Catholic doctrine by the sword?

    I recognize that condemnation of the French for not having modern American sensibilities regarding religion is unfair.  But you are saying that it was not a genocide, even though it clearly was.  You fault the Huguenots for fighting back, which they did sporadically.  The French specifically reaffirmed that no religious dissent would be allowed, in 1536, and started killing unarmed civilian Protestants in 1545, long before the events that you are blaming on the Huguenots, who feared for their lives and the lives of their people.

    • #103
  14. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    It seemed to me that Dr. Carson’s statement wasn’t that an armed Jewish population would have stopped the Holocaust, merely that it would have made it more difficult. If an armed Jewish population had resulted in one more dead Nazi than otherwise, I’d call that a gain.

    Arguing against Pilgrim earlier in the thread, even if the Supreme Court signs off on the confiscation of the people’s guns that doesn’t make it right. I think he’s correct that many people who say “From my cold dead hands” now will have a change of heart when they’re forced to the decision. Those who do not, however, will be justified in resisting said confiscation with force.

    • #104
  15. Pilgrim Coolidge
    Pilgrim
    @Pilgrim

    Hank Rhody: Arguing against Pilgrim earlier in the thread, even if the Supreme Court signs off on the confiscation of the people’s guns that doesn’t make it right. I think he’s correct that many people who say “From my cold dead hands” now will have a change of heart when they’re forced to the decision. Those who do not, however, will be justified in resisting said confiscation with force.

    The question always seems to come back to acceptance of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy in determining what is constitutional.  When you say “that doesn’t make it right” do you mean something different than “doesn’t make it constitutional?”  I, together with four justices, don’t think that the abortion, SSM, Obamacare, affirmative action, immigration, and commerce clause decisions (and others) were “right.”  But I don’t think that I have any more moral justification for protecting my firearms with violence than I would blowing up Planned Parenthood clinics.

    • #105
  16. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:Inventing Freedom? I agree with the basic argument, although I think Dan Hannan himself’s a bit of a fraud. But how do you conclude that I’m defining conservatism as Luddite backwardness? (While I’m taking a trip through history, let me just point out that the Luddites are widely misunderstood: They didn’t fear new technology, they feared that they’d be put out of a job by it — and they were. Their analogue in modern America would be trade unionists and what I would have called the anti-globalization left, until Trump got in on the game. Now I suppose it’s the anti-globalization mainstream.)

    Sorry, didn’t see this earlier.  Look at the opposites you have set up in your second paragraph.  Conservatism the opposite of achievement!  Conservatism is not just standing pat on whatever the old way was.  It’s the acknowledgement that if old ways are to be changed, they should be changed with something better, and that the bar should be pretty high.  Progressivism and conservatism both have accomplishment as goals, but differ on the means.  Progressives reject the arguments of the past as out of date, because of their novelty bias and swollen-headed hubris about me/here/now.

    You say that we can’t be conservatives because we’ve done too much that’s awesome.  I disagree with this conclusion and with how you got there.  We achieved awesome things because unlike the Soviets, we allowed science to operate without insisting it be politically correct.   I am sure you know about Soviet science — it’s what Global Warming and Security Theater are now.

    • #106
  17. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    HVTs: Hasn’t Islamic society been unstable since the passing of the Prophet?

    No.

    It’s precisely for lack of a mechanism to pass the reins of authority from one generation to the next

    This was a problem in the Christian world, too — the idea of the divine (and hereditary) right of kings died a very bloody death.

    that Islam’s political ideology is one that promotes instability. Isn’t that the root cause—the Left’s Holy Grail for every social phenomenon—for Shia-Sunni sectarianism?

    No. If it were, we’d have great problems accounting for all the periods during which Shia and Sunnis lived in reasonable harmony.

    Just to be clear, presumably you are not suggesting this blood feud is imaginary or inconsequential. Were that your premise I think it’s fair to say the burden of proof lies with you.

    That periods of “reasonable harmony” (which is simultaneously subjective and relativistic—a separate discussion in itself) have existed is not a refutation of the underlying instability, nor of its cause, is it?  Neither does the fact a similar problem existed with a similarly totalitarian ideology which similarly claimed religious sanction for its actions.  Indeed, that rather lends support to the original argument, does it not?

    It’s also entirely accurate to say periods of reasonable harmony existed between Huguenots and Catholics. Yet this does not in any way change the reality that episodes of horrific sectarian violence resulted from an underlying ideology that was totalitarian and, therefore, devalued tolerance and diminished compromise, and instead exulted pitiless brutality.  All totalitarianisms share these traits, in my view.

    • #107
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    HVTs: Just to be clear, presumably you are not suggesting this blood feud is imaginary or inconsequential. Were that your premise I think it’s fair to say the burden of proof lies with you. That periods of “reasonable harmony” (which is simultaneously subjective and relativistic—a separate discussion in itself) have existed is not a refutation of the underlying instability, nor of its cause, is it? Neither does the fact a similar problem existed with a similarly totalitarian ideology which similarly claimed religious sanction for its actions. Indeed, that rather lends support to the original argument, does it not?

    No, it’s neither imaginary nor inconsequential. But to suggest it’s entirely causative is far too simple, and it allows people to be fatalistic and shrug and say, “Oh, it’s always been like that and it always will be.” It’s bad history and bad analysis, just as it is to say, “It’s all because of the oil,” or “It’s all because of imperialism,” or “It’s all about the class struggle,” or “It has nothing to do with religion.”

    Any theory that sees Sunni-Shia sectarianism as the monocausal determinant of the conflict we’re seeing now has to account for facts that don’t fit. Both armies in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war – which claimed one and a half million lives — were majority Shia. Iraqi Shias fought Iran fiercely, especially after 1982. So obviously the Sunni-Shia conflict in its current form is linked to other political changes in the region. Trying to explain Saudi-Iranian rivalry in terms of “ancient hatreds” doesn’t tell us why it’s happening now and not 50 years ago, 200 years ago, or in 2080. It doesn’t explain why it would have been perfectly safe for me to travel in Syria in 2009, but it isn’t now.

    This isn’t the resurgence of a 1,400-year-old conflict. Nothing now is the way it was 1,400 years ago, no matter what fantasies Islamic radicals have — and no matter how eager Westerners are to believe them. Sectarian foreign policy is has been used to maintain domestic regime stability. Regimes mobilize sectarian tension abroad as gambits in the region’s power politics, or to maintain domestic control. The Saudis are experiencing a succession crisis; they’re feeling the ramifications of cheap oil, and they’re running unprecedented budget deficits. All of this is part of the story — ignore any of it at your peril.

    Sectarianism today is intense, but to discount the effect of our invasion of Iraq and then our withdrawal, the Syrian civil war, and the Iranian nuclear deal in favor of “It’s just a timeless religious conflict” is taking the easy way out. Bad analysis makes for bad foreign policy.

    I could probably sell this kind of analysis to someone who didn’t know much about the Christian world. (It’s a parody, but it’s far more insightful than the author meant it to be.) Obviously, it would be missing many key points — and anyone trying to figure out how to devise foreign policy toward the regimes in question would be quite misled by it.

    • #108
  19. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: But to suggest it’s entirely causative is far too simple . . . Any theory that sees Sunni-Shia sectarianism as the monocausal determinant of the conflict we’re seeing now has to account for facts that don’t fit.

    That simply was not my argument . . . not even precisely the topic.  A better summary of what I said would be that totalitarian ideologies suffer from a common weakness, which has to do with the legitimacy of rulers and in particular how instability manifests itself during inevitable leadership successions or during a challenge to leadership generally.  Certain commonalities are apparent with totalitarian worldviews and totalitarian regimes. Among them are intolerance, lack of compromise, and condoned/encouraged violence and brutality.  Said plainly, whether we are talking about Caliphs, Czars, or Commissars it tends to all go to hell when the reigning Supreme Leader departs the stage or gets challenged.

    When you address “the conflict we are seeing now” it seems to me you are referring to radical Islam’s conflict with “us”—the West, if you will.  I was referring to a conflict inherent to Islam, rooted in its totalitarianism.

    • #109
  20. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    Still and all, there is something about what Dr. Carson said that is true. Maybe it’s really about having hope when there is no good reason to. I can’t find fault with him for his comment. I think most Israelis would agree with him.

    Perhaps just a romantic hope or is it Hollywood? Did we invent Liberty or did we discover it and recast it in a pure a priori form? Something is at the core of the exceptional or indispensable nation. Dr. Carson wasn’t as far off as he has been framed to be.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #110
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    HVTs: I was referring to a conflict inherent to Islam, rooted in its totalitarianism.

    I misunderstood your point, I apologize. I thought you were referring specifically to recent Sunni-Shia tensions.

    Totalitarianism is a 20th century concept. You need to have a modern state apparatus for totalitarianism. Repression under the czars was obviously severe, but to compare it to repression under Stalin makes no sense. The Hapsburg monarchy wasn’t totalitarian; the Third Reich was.

    Many Islamic societies have been savage, barbaric, repressive or corrupt. But to say they were always “totalitarian” is to rob the word of its meaning. Under Ottoman millet system, religious and ethnic minorities often managed their own affairs with substantial independence from central control. The Sultans had no choice: They didn’t have modern technologies of administration, communication, and control. They took taxation very seriously, but were otherwise extremely flexible about the internal affairs of minority communities.

    The system for transferring power was remarkably gory because they practiced open succession — survival of the fittest son, not the eldest, so the brothers tended to strangle each other — but it wasn’t viewed as illegitimate. And the House of Osman lasted far longer than the United States has so far.

    • #111
  22. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Pilgrim: The question always seems to come back to acceptance of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy in determining what is constitutional. When you say “that doesn’t make it right” do you mean something different than “doesn’t make it constitutional?” I, together with four justices, don’t think that the abortion, SSM, Obamacare, affirmative action, immigration, and commerce clause decisions (and others) were “right.” But I don’t think that I have any more moral justification for protecting my firearms with violence than I would blowing up Planned Parenthood clinics.

    Quoting from the Declaration of Independence:

    That to secure these rights governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it…

    The Second Amendment isn’t right because it’s in the Constitution, it’s in the Constitution because it’s right. If they confiscate guns the government has taken a serious step down the road to tyranny and illegitimacy. If one starts with the premise that there exists tyranny that deserves to be rebelled against and legitimate governments that don’t, one has to consider where the line is between the latter and the former. I cite gun confiscation as one of those lines because it makes resistance to tyranny much, much harder.

    • #112
  23. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    I wonder if a lot of the criticism of Ben Carson’s Holocaust comments derives from the fact that he’s talking about the Holocaust and Nazis?

    Would the same criticism be leveled if he had said:

    The Israelis would not have been able to defeat the five Arab armies (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt) massed against them in 1948 if they had been unarmed.

    • #113
  24. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Man With the Axe:I wonder if a lot of the criticism of Ben Carson’s Holocaust comments derives from the fact that he’s talking about the Holocaust and Nazis?

    Would the same criticism be leveled if he had said:

    The Israelis would not have been able to defeat the five Arab armies (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt) massed against them in 1948 if they had been unarmed.

    MWTA,

    Funny you should mention this. A couple of weeks ago they showed this documentary film at our synagogue. More and more I am convinced that 1948 was a miracle from Gd. This will give you some idea of just how touch and go it all was.

    https://youtu.be/TY4OZRbdoRc

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #114
  25. Matt White Member
    Matt White
    @

    Tommy de seno:
    “Not sure where the animosity comes from Sabr”.
    Probably this.
    “On June 27, 1551, he issued the Edict of Châteaubriand: Protestants would no longer be allowed to worship, assemble, nor even speak of religion.

    I still support this.”

    Would you repeal the first amendment?

    • #115
  26. Pilgrim Coolidge
    Pilgrim
    @Pilgrim

    Hank Rhody: The Second Amendment isn’t right because it’s in the Constitution, it’s in the Constitution because it’s right. If they confiscate guns the government has taken a serious step down the road to tyranny and illegitimacy.

    I think you are making the natural law argument that the right of self-protection and autonomy trumps the Constitution so resistance is justified even if the 2nd Amendment was repealed by constitutional means.  That is legitimate but I don’t go that far.  I am content to be a member of this society and to accept the rule of law, even the stupid ones.

    • #116
  27. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Pilgrim:

    Hank Rhody: The Second Amendment isn’t right because it’s in the Constitution, it’s in the Constitution because it’s right. If they confiscate guns the government has taken a serious step down the road to tyranny and illegitimacy.

    I think you are making the natural law argument that the right of self-protection and autonomy trumps the Constitution so resistance is justified even if the 2nd Amendment was repealed by constitutional means. That is legitimate but I don’t go that far. I am content to be a member of this society and to accept the rule of law, even the stupid ones.

    I am. Nothing more to say.

    • #117
  28. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Matt White when a Catholic comes across a column baselessly accusing our church of gun confiscation and genocide you can certainly anticipate some chest thumping in response.

    Every time there is a terror attack by Muslims I’m inundated with phony “Well what about Catholics” memes, including the President’s false equivalency about the Crusades, where Catholics were fighting Muslim violent expansion even back then.

    Considering there is an actual Christian genocide going on right now with ISIS crucifying little children in the desert, the timing of Catholic libel dressed as historical analysis sucks.

    • #118
  29. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Tommy De Seno: including the President’s false equivalency about the Crusades

    Of all the ignorant things Obama has said, and there have been plenty, that was the most ignorant, for a whole bunch of reasons, the least of which is that he got the history wrong.

    It was the sort of thing a college freshman would tell his parents while home for winter break.

    • #119
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Hank Rhody: The Second Amendment isn’t right because it’s in the Constitution, it’s in the Constitution because it’s right.

    That’s really the heart of the argument, isn’t it. Best one-sentence summary of the argument I’ve ever seen.

    • #120
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