Jonah Goldberg was a guest of Greg Knapp Friday promoting his new book, The Tyranny of Clichés. As might be expected, the depth of intellectual exchange was exceedingly shallow. The two mocked those who say “violence never solved anything,” and Knapp, a professed Christian, commented that it would be fun to punch someone who eschews violence and watch them get mad.
They discussed Adolf Hitler and Mohandas Gandhi in the context of civil disobedience, with Goldberg suggesting the latter was successful only because the British were civilized enough to eventually accept nonviolent resistance. Knapp agreed that Gandhi would not have been so successful, had his methods been used against the Nazis. This is of course only speculation, since there was no such attempt at peaceful non-compliance during the rise of the National Socialist movement.
This is due in part to the fact that so many felt as if they were free. Indeed, journalist Milton Mayer studied the German people after the war, and published his findings in a book entitled They Thought They Were Free. For the most part this is the case here and now – very few recognize how little freedom now exists.
Goldberg noted (correctly) that Gandhi referred to Hitler as “friend.” What went unmentioned, in fact what was denied, was the context of the exchange, and what Gandhi actually wrote in his appeal to Hitler not to start a war. He wrote:
It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to a savage state. Must you pay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?
But this is neither here nor there since, as Walter Block points out, it was the Allies who made it possible for Hitler to rise to power after the U.S. entered the war and helped enforce the Treaty of Versailles:
There were not two separate wars, so-called World War I, and then so-called World War II. There was only one World War. It started in 1914 and ended in 1946; yes, yes, there was a slight cessation of hostilities between 1919 and 1939, but the so-called ‘interwar period’ consisted of the Allies taking steps that brought Hitler front and center, in effect created him, and thus assured the continuation of this one World War.
Had the U.S. not entered the war, that is to say, had it taken a non-violent approach, it’s doubtful the terms of the ceasefire would have been so harsh against the Germans, and the war could have ended much sooner.
The two then went on to discuss Jesus’ admonition to carry a sword, apparently a reference to Luke 22:36, cause it wouldn’t have been Ephesians 6:14. I mean, you know that Jesus guy, he was all about violence and returning evil for evil, as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:9. As many know, Jesus taught that “blessed are the [war-makers], for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9); if “someone slaps you on the right cheek, [strike their] other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). And who could forget that epic battle scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus leads the disciples in hand to hand combat after one cuts off the ear of one of the arrestors (Luke 22:49-51)?
As a Christian it frustrates me to no end that so many followers of the Prince of Peace will so readily promote violence and war. Not only do they ridicule those who denounce violence, but they also fantasize about hurting them.
Audio of the interview is below; skip to 6:00 for the relevant segment.
The irony of all this is how the two excoriate the Left for using clichés and Orwellian language manipulation to promote their policies, all the while glossing over historical facts and taking scripture out of context to fit their own agenda.