Ben Carson keeps digging, calls Anti-Defamation League’s Holocaust history “foolishness”

Ben Carson isn’t a politician. Sometimes that’s good — he gets to say he isn’t a politician, and Republican voters hate politicians. Sometimes that’s bad — he doesn’t know basic things that politicians are supposed to know, like what the debt ceiling is.

But you know when being a politician really comes in handy? When you talk some nonsense about the Holocaust and have to walk it back as gracefully as you can.

Not-politician Ben Carson spoke some nonsense about the Holocaust this week, and he isn’t walking it back at all, let alone gracefully. After saying that gun control was one of the causes of the Holocaust (one of many awful things Carson’s said in the last 72 hours), the Anti-Defamation League, among others, stepped in to say that, no, that’s not how it went down. As they said in a statement, quoted by ABC, “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”

That last point is thoroughly outlined in this article from Tablet Magazine.

If you’re a politician, you know this fight is over. You aren’t going to win a debate over the history of an oppressed people with a group whose primary function is to serve as an arbiter of that people’s oppression. At times like these, your best move is to pack up your things and go home, living to fight another day. But Ben Carson is not a politician, and is therefore unconstrained by these unwritten rules of the political game. Which means he is going to spend at least one more day doubling down on the his radically offensive and historically ridiculous gun control analogies, starting by calling the ADL’s statement “total foolishness” on Good Morning America today, adding:

I’d be happy to discuss that in depth with anybody but it is well known that in many places where tyranny has taken over they first disarm the people. There’s a reason they disarm the people. They don’t just do it arbitrarily.

Yes, of course. Per Carson, the only reason one could want to pass any regulations concerning who can own which types of guns is because they intend to form a violent, tyrannical regime. I mean, have you seen what’s going on in Australia and Great Britain lately? Two steps away from totalitarianism, for sure.

Something tells me that Ben “Fire Hose of Awful” Carson is by no means done here. The gun-control-as-Hitler meme is straight-up catnip for the Republican base, and I’m sure it’s not lost on Carson that this is allowing him to overtake Donald Trump in terms of airtime, which correlates with support. This is the same guy who said yesterday that the victims of the UCC shooting should serve as a lesson for other would-be shooting victims, and that “their sacrifice may be the thing that will trigger an appropriate response the next time so that not as many people will be killed.”

A politician would recognize their offense, cut their losses and stop talking. Ben Carson is not a politician.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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50 Responses to “Ben Carson keeps digging, calls Anti-Defamation League’s Holocaust history “foolishness””

  1. BigGuy says:

    Ben Carson’s comments are totally ahistorical; its all nonsense. Jews in Germany wouldn’t have
    survived if they had guns. They did survive by leaving, More than half the Jews in Germany left before the war began.

    Carson presupposes that guns were available to be bought and that people had the money to buy them. Guns were not easily available to anyone in Central and Eastern Europe before the war. Besides, people who did have guns couldn’t get ammunition. After Hitler became Chancellor, ALL the ammo produced or imported in Central and Eastern European countries was delivered to army munitions depots, not to stores selling ammo to the public.

    The 3+ million Jews who had small businesses in small farming towns in Central and Eastern Europe may have been able to have protected themselves a little bit from the SS if they had firearms, but few had any money to buy guns. Small farming market towns in Europe where the Jews lived suffered a Depression from 1917 until the war began; similar to the rural US in the 1920’s, but much worse. Jews in those shtetls who were lucky to have extra cash would buy a chicken for the Sabbath, not a gun.

  2. GreenEagle says:

    If the Nazis had had no guns in the 1920’s, they never would have come to power.

  3. Nelson Kerr says:

    You are advocating books by an open racist like Buchanan to back your point?

  4. If there were no guns, the Nazi’s would simply have done it another way.

  5. GreenEagle says:

    Don’t play stupid. I’m saying that households with guns are about six times more likely to suffer a shooting than households without them.

    I do want to make this argument about the Holocaust, however: if both Jews and N azis had been denied the right to own guns, the Holocaust and World War II itself would have never happened. There’s the real solution for you.

  6. So you’re saying if the Jews had had a few guns, more than 6m would have been murdered. I don’t think so.

  7. Indigo says:

    It occurred to me just now to wonder where his financing is coming from.

  8. GreenEagle says:

    That would also be one family with about six times the likelihood that one of their family members would be shot than the families without guns.

  9. If even one family still had their gun, that would have been one family that had a chance to escape. The ADL is incomplete. I and two other friends could paralyse a town with 3 rifles and 30 shells each for days.

  10. nicho says:

    He digs out distinctions that liberals will never understand.

    No thinking person will ever understand them. Ben Carson is unhinged. Hitler’s rise to power had nothing to do with the availability of weapons. He was welcomed by most people. The few who opposed him, even had they had weapons, would have not succeeded.

  11. emjayay says:

    Carson just lives more exclusively in a delusional fantasy world than most.

  12. emjayay says:

    I’m not sure he doesn’t understand the debt limit concept. It could be that he has a need to stay within his fantasy world where things make sense for him.

  13. emjayay says:

    Did anyone see him on Charlie Rose the other night? I had to get to bed halfway through, but Charlie seemed unusually focused and informed for this one.

  14. Professor Fate says:

    he’s also retired and one begins to think that maybe the retirement wasn’t quite all his choice.

  15. Professor Fate says:

    “in another generation or two will become a historical document.”
    I suppose it could but not in the way you think it is. And Pat Buchanan is shall one say not an unbiased source.

  16. Ray Tapajna says:

    It is perhaps timely to read the latest biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who gave his life to stop Hitler. It not only portrays the deep spiritual live of a soul in desperate times but also a fantastic background of all the groups in Germany who were trying to stop Hitler and the Holocaust. Bonhoeffer worked with many of them. The state even had it own approved version of the Lutheran Church.
    There are many historical accounts about the lack of weapons to fight Hitler. Ben Carson is more than right. He digs out distinctions that liberals will never understand.

    Another great book is Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War by Pat Buchanan which in another generation or two will become a historical document of everything that lead up to the Holocaust.
    Hitler could have been stopped several times in the early stages and more likely in the later stages if the Germans groups who were against Hitler were supported. Churchill just wanted war. He fought as the “Huns” in World War 1. You can go back this far to trace the element of arming the people to stop tyranny. Even President Wilson can be questioned about his part in disarming the Germans and the League of Nations that tried to make Germany one big land of farms with no industrial base.
    See book reviews at

  17. HeartlandLiberal says:

    I disagree with those who call for Carson to STFU.With every word that drips from his mouth, he further reveals the depths of disinformation and militant ignorance to which the core adherents and leadership of the GOP have sunk. After his revealing remarks on the debt ceiling, showing he lacked even the most basic comprehension of what it was, and why not raising it would destroy the nation’s credit and economy, I read this morning that Wall Street minions have written a letter to Obama, Boehner, and all members of the House, demanding that they abolish the concept of the debt limit, and quit playing kabuki theater with it. Maybe we are finally reaching peak wingnut, when the collapse of the GOP is so evident that even the oligarchy must step back from supporting the spawn of Satan their money created. There comes a time when the monster you created turns on you. That is today’s GOP.

  18. Don Chandler says:

    That disaster would be effective socialism: improved obamacare, improved infrastructure, less wars, less corruption, real employment gains, a social net that catches the huge numbers of homeless people in the US, income parity as opposed to disparity of wealth. How could the Republican’s Blame liberalism if the people saw real change attributable to liberalism. That’s been our problem. Democrats are not really friends of the middle and lower classes either. Hopefully Bernie will keep up the good work.

  19. RepubAnon says:

    I disagree – the political landscape has changed. Facts and reality no longer matter – instead, Republicans are intent on “creating their own reality.” It’s a shared delusional world, a fo·lie à deux. I’m not sure whether anything can bring these people back to reality other than a disaster so sweeping that it cannot be blamed on some liberal plot.

  20. olandp says:

    Crackpot is the perfect description.

  21. Thom Allen says:

    No, Ben, foolishness is thinking that sending men to prison turns them gay and that being gay is a choice.

    Foolishness is saying that the U.S. is like Nazi Germany because people are afraid to speak out. Have you looked at the posts on social media, sites like this, Yahoo and others?

    Foolishness is comparing Obamacare to slavery because they “both make us subservient to the government.”

    Foolishness is pretending that you’d be a hero if you were caught up in a shooting incident on a college campus.

    Carson, thy name is foolishness.

  22. Akbar O'Flaherty says:

    I suspect it might be really interesting to see interviews with the people who survived his brain surgery, if any exist.

  23. GreenEagle says:

    The problem is not that Ben Carson is not a politician. It is that he is not a decent human being.

  24. Kevin Alfred Strom says:

    If the Australian and British peoples had been well-armed, they might have more strongly resisted the ongoing invasion of their nations, which as it is bids fair to become a genocide. There is indeed tyranny in those lands: In Britain, for example, one is not allowed to question the invasion on pain of imprisonment for “inciting” “hatred” of the invaders. Those who do so question it may find their homes visited at night by armed men who do not take “no” for an answer and to whom the words “free speech” are meaningless.

  25. rwlorenz says:

    Carson: please hand me that shovel.

  26. rwlorenz says:

    Many of the Republican candidates transparently pander to the right-wing base by saying stupid things, but Dr. Carson appears to be genuinely ignorant. Lying is bad but at least there is some mental activity taking place; this poor gentleman appears to be truly empty.

  27. Marsha Matthews says:

    OMFG. His ignorance to history, his oozing hubris, his dismissiveness is mind-numbingly breathtaking (“curious” as to his take on the armed French resistance, the armed Warsaw ghetto uprising and other like events). I’m rarely rendered speechless when reading/hearing the tired and factually baseless talking point “if the Jews had guns … yada yada yada yawn yawn yawn” but, in this case … I just … can’t.

  28. Kenster999 says:

    Interesting… is that true? Do you happen to have a link for more info? Thanks!

  29. The_Fixer says:

    Yeah, that was on my mind, too.

    It seems that when people put faith in anything or anyone, rather than logic, fact and analysis, they are bound to get screwed.

  30. mf_roe says:

    Who certainly had successful procedures that resulted in dead patients. Doctors live in an Alice in Wonderland world where the concepts of success and responsibility bear no relation to how most people understand those concepts.

  31. Quilla says:

    Please make this Uber-idiot STFU.

  32. mf_roe says:

    You notice how your description of Hitler also describes most prophets of religion. Nothing good comes of replacing logic and reason with belief and conceit.

  33. nicho says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– until some gun worshipper gets it.

    Every adult male in Iraq had at least one gun, maybe more. That didn’t save them from Saddam and certainly didn’t save them from the Cheney/Bush invasion.

  34. Max_1 says:

    A mindless brain surgeon…
    … That practiced on dead baby parts.

  35. Charles Carey says:

    idiot savant

  36. FuzzyRabbit says:

    I learned a long time ago that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. Evidently Carson has yet to learn this.

  37. Naja pallida says:

    Neurosurgery is definitely something that you have to dedicate yourself entirely to. A single-minded pursuit, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Including developing basic interpersonal skills that make most people seem human.

  38. Demosthenes says:

    Being good at one thing (surgery) does not translate to anything at all in an unrelated field. He’s a full fledged ignorant crackpot.

  39. BeccaM says:

    We’re witnessing the middle part of the end of the Carson campaign for the presidency. Not satisfied with saying one offensive thing every couple of days or every few weeks, Carson is, as you’ve said, now a firehose of awful. And he’s now in the process of alienating large parts of the demographics he’d need just to win some of the GOP primaries.

    I predict he’ll be out of the race before the end of the year, maybe sooner, as I do think it’s likely his poll numbers will be collapsing any day now.

  40. Hue-Man says:

    Definition of expert – someone who learns more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing.

  41. 2karmanot says:

    I misread that last word as ‘dicks.’

  42. nicho says:

    And surgeons have an even more phenomenal opinion of themselves than regular docs.

  43. MoonDragon says:

    Carson is a neurosurgeon by training. That makes him a skilled technician, not necessarily a towering intellect. My experiences as a TA in the physics department of a major university (back in the paleolithic times) was that most pre-meds had good memories, quick recall, and phenomenal opinions of themselves. They didn’t do well when confronted with situations for which they had no precedent. Except for those who wanted to do diagnostic work, critical thinking wasn’t a strong suit. Carson would seem to fit that pattern.

  44. emjayay says:

    Kai tried to have a discussion with Carson that was not even “in depth” and that didn’t work.

  45. The_Fixer says:

    You’re giving him too much credit, this being much more complex thought than he is capable of these days. I don’t believe he thinks further ahead than “what’s for lunch?”

  46. Naja pallida says:

    I don’t disagree, but that sort of mindset seems to be commonplace with anyone who has the hubris to think they deserve to be President.

  47. The_Fixer says:

    Ben Carson – proof that you can be good at something, and still be a dolt.

    Keep digging, Ben. But you might want to watch out for the earth’s molten core – it’s very hot.

    No, totalitarianism does not start with disarming the citizenry, it starts with gaining political power. In the case of Hitler, he gained political power by telling non-thinking people what they wanted to hear, making promises that can only be fulfilled by war, and demonizing an entire group of people. Those who voted him in power were stupid enough to believe it.

    Which brings us to the Republicans. They are telling the easily-led what they want to hear. Carson is no exception, he just chooses an elegantly stupid way of doing what Republicans have been doing to 40+ years.

  48. Indigo says:

    “Foolishness?” Okay, that’ll be enough now. He’s had his 15 minutes.

  49. Naja pallida says:

    It’s like Carson suddenly decided “You know what, I really don’t want to be President, but I don’t want to actually drop out. So I’m just going to say all sorts of stupid shit and see if I can get people turn against me and give me a reason to leave the race.”

  50. iamlegion says:

    Ben Carson is not a politician – that’s for damn sure. But he _is_ a doctor. More than that, he’s a surgeon. More than that, he’s a world-renowned neurosurgeon. He’s spent his entire adult life acting & being treated like a walking god. His opinions on any subject – within his realm of experience or not – are simply not to be questioned. The idea that he might actually have to learn something, beyond what he currently knows, in order to have an informed opinion on a subject – let alone make the best possible decision about it – literally never occurs to him.

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