Shit You See on Facebook…

One thing about Facebook that simultaneously drives me crazy while providing a sense of joy is finding posts in my newsfeed that serve propaganda purposes.  I appreciate them because it forces me to research for myself – is their position accurate?  Is there merit to what they are saying or did they just view a post that popped in their own newsfeeds, find that it aligned with their own thoughts on the issue and hit share willy-nilly without bothering to check and see if what they are propagating has any basis in truth?

Take the following examples.  The first comes via a retired Marine:

hitler 1935

Divorcing the notion that “liberals” are “following Hitler’s lead,” which is actually somewhat humorous considering that Roosevelt, the father of US socialism (Social Security, et al) and a democrat-majority congress were in the vanguard of Hitler’s demise; let’s instead focus on the actual quotation – did Hitler say these words?  Was this the policy of Nazi Germany in 1935?

The best response found – {better than anything I could write myself} – follows:

It turns out, for example, that Hitler’s infamous quote, rehearsed in so many newspapers, is probably a fraud and was likely never uttered. The citation reference is a jumbled and incomprehensible mess that has never been properly identified or authenticated, and no one has been able to produce a document corresponding to the quote. It has been the subject of much research, all of it fruitless, and has now entered the annals of urban legends—in fact, it is an entry in the urban legends website. The webloggers seem to have this one right: “This quotation, however effective it may be as propaganda, is a fraud. . . . This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date often given [1935] has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been any need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar governments (in part to address street violence between Nazis and Communists) were already in effect.”24

More important, as a historical matter the passage of gun registration laws in Germany during the first part of the twentieth century is a complicated matter. Following Germany’s defeat in World War I, the Weimar Republic passed very strict gun control laws essentially banning all gun ownership, in an attempt both to stabilize the country and to comply with the Versailles Treaty of 1919. The Treaty of Versailles itself imposed severe gun restrictions on German citizens. One of the key provisions of the Versailles Treaty, Article 169, stated that “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.” But even before the Treaty was signed, the German parliament of the Weimar Republic enacted legislation prohibiting gun possession. In January 1919, the Reichstag enacted legislation requiring the surrender of all guns to the government. This law, as well as the August 7, 1920, Law on the Disarmament of the People passed in light of the Versailles Treaty, remained in effect until 1928, when the German parliament enacted the Law on Firearms and Ammunition (April 12, 1928)—a law which relaxed gun restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme. The licensing regulations foreshadowed Hitler’s rise to power—and in fact, some argue, were enacted precisely in order to prevent armed insurrection, such as Hitler’s attempted coup in Munich in 1923, as well as Hitler’s later rise to power.25

ON GUN REGISTRATION, THE NRA, ADOLF HITLER, AND NAZI GUN LAWS: EXLPODING THE GUN CULTURE WARS, Bernard E. Harcourt, THE LAW SCHOOL, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, June 2004

The next one is similarly funny:

Obama Zakaria

Let’s again break it down.  We see the president of the United States carrying a book entitled “The Post-American World;” All of us Americans should be stunned and saddened to see this.  The book is written by “a Muslim” – and is focused on a world “after America as we now know it.”  (With an informative description of the meaning of “post” thrown in to burnish the writer’s smarts!) In order to inform our friends, family, and fellow Americans, we are urged to share the “hell out of this” picture!

This is scary and inflammatory stuff!  We now have proof that the president of the United States is really the “secret muslim” we’ve been warned about – and he’s reading a road map of how to destroy America!

Let’s just hold our horses for two seconds – who’s the author of this book?  None other than Fareed Zakaria????  The Fareed Zakaria?  Indian-born, American citizen, with degrees from both Yale and Harvard?  The host of CNN’s GPS?  Renowned author and thinker whose opinions are actually based in things called facts?  The one even Conservapedia acknowledges his religious identification by his own words: “I occasionally find myself reluctant to be pulled into a world that’s not mine, in the sense that I’m not a religious guy.”  [In a different post it would be worth exploring why conservatives feel the need to have their own version of Wikipedia…this article goes a long way to explain why though…]

Now we must look at who put this post up in the first place?  Easy to find out in the world of Facebook – it’s [drumroll please] Cassie Barnard!  What does Cassie do for a living?  According to her public profile, she’s a full-time mother in Springtown, Texas (just checking to see if she’s been writing books, or hosting big think Sunday morning news shows – which apparently she is not…).  Where was she educated?  Yale? Harvard?  The same schools Mr. Zakaria attended?  No, apparently she went to “fuck that” university in New Castle, Pennsylvania after attending Springtown High School.

 Cassie Barnard

Sorry Cassie, despite the fact that more than 18,000 people have shared your picture, your bona fides really don’t qualify you to jump in to the realm of geo-political discussion.  I understand the fear you have in your heart, having a secret-Muslim/Fascist/Socialist/Black man/Communist/Liberal president, but you and your 18,000+ friends would probably be better served watching another episode of Jersey Shore or Hoarders – you know, something constructive – than trying to play gotchya with shit you learned at Fuck That University.

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