TURES COLUMN: If you truly value ‘liberty,’ stop quoting Hitler and Stalin

Published 7:16 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

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Over the past few weeks, a group known as “Moms For Liberty” and an official from Liberty University found themselves at the center of a debate over using a Hitler quote about education and the need to control it.  It’s a questionable decision to do anything other than condemn it, given not only rising antisemitism but a growing tolerance for other ideas espoused by Nazis.  As the quote is also made by Stalin, why use it while condemning opponents for being “Marxist?”

“Moms for Liberty” thankfully retracted the use of a quote, attributed to Hitler in a 1935 speech, which states “He alone who owns the youth gains the future.”  The Indianapolis Star documented several other times where politicians and school groups utilized this quote to justify their own attempt to control education.

A Liberty University official argued “So if you do not control education, you cannot control the future. And Stalin knew that. Mao knew that. Hitler knew that. We have to get that back for conservative values.” Later, “He also tweeted, ‘It’s clear that education in many pockets of America has been weaponized against students and parents to advance Marxist, gender & deconstructionist ideologies.’” As a reminder, Stalin and Mao are Marxists. 

Hitler was sadly much more than just a talker. His Hitler Youth organizations for boys and girls produced graduates that committed atrocities in World War II, something more in our generation should know more about. 

As Time Magazine reports “The world’s fascination with what was forced on young people under that regime — and what young people, under duress or not, did under its influence — has endured much longer. And today, especially amid trends such as the rising presence of white supremacist messages on college campuses, the vulnerability of young people to propaganda is no longer just a matter of historical interest.”

These totalitarians need to be opposed, not quoted. As the Anti-Defamation League notes “On the bright side, a relatively low share of Americans harbors significant anti-Semitic attitudes, a finding in line with ADL’s previous surveys over the past 20 years. However, that share still represents tens of millions of people harboring virulent views. Also, of deep concern is the widespread belief among Americans in one or more anti-Semitic stereotypes.”  Neo-Nazis have tried to flex their muscles in my state of Georgia, in Cobb County and in Macon.

It turns out many Americans are knowing a lot less about the horrors of the Holocaust, as Kit Ramgopal from NBC News reports. “The findings raise concerns not just about Holocaust ignorance, but also about Holocaust denial….the survey shows that about half of millennial and Gen Z respondents have seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts online. Fifty-six percent reported having seen Nazi symbols on social media or in their communities within the past five years.” We have also seen Holocaust denials and antisemitic rhetoric from celebrities and politicians, even a call to re-read some quotes from these despots at another liberty event .Such ignorance among some extends to whether we should have stood up to Hitler. According to the New York Post, “The poll found that a whopping 18% of participants were unsure if Uncle Sam should’ve participated in WWII, in which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deployed troops to fight the Nazis and the Japanese Empire in 1941.  Meanwhile, 14% thought fighting in the ‘War Against Hitler’ was a mistake.”

Thankfully, such percentages of those who opposed WWII, are ignorant or deny the Holocaust, and are anti-Semitic remain pretty low. But for the sake of liberty, let’s do what we can to keep them low.  Perhaps we should say instead “Hitler said we should control education to control the future.  And we love liberty enough to oppose his thinking, and reject following his awful plans.”