Debate Magazine

Fact Checking Gandhi on Guns: To Lie is to Lose

Posted on the 06 February 2013 by Doggone
Fact checking Gandhi on Guns: To Lie is to Lose
I like to fact check. I fact check the right, the left, and the center; whenever I see a fact that looks questionable I check it.
The right is lying, again, still; this time about Gandhi and guns. We cannot have a productive, honest discussion when people on one side refuse to tell the truth as a foundational premise of such a discussion.
Gandhi = Guns? Gandhi advocating a 'lock and load' policy? Gandhi as Rambo? No, emphatically NO.
But it is the most fun to bring the right to book, because they seem to make the most egregious errors, and to just plain make up shit far more often. The difference between honest error and deliberate deception is in the willingness to correct, and in the intention of the error.
I recently for example, caught a left leaning face book page promoting a quote from Thomas Jefferson, complete with date (1816) that was not a genuine statement, spoken or written, by Jefferson.  The definitive one-stop shopping, so to speak, for fact checking all quotes from Jefferson is  They not only track what quotes are genuine, they do an excellent job of tracking when and where and by whom the fake quotes originate.
So, I called this to their attention - and got a prompt response acknowledging that they knew the quote to be inaccurate, but that they had tried to paraphrase the content, several paragraphs long, from letters.  The letters did exist; I read them, and the paraphrase was somewhat expressive of that content, but still not a quote, and even as a paraphrase, there was some cherry-picking taking place.
The site's reaction was to inquire if I disagreed with their position, which the quote was used to support. My response, was 'No', in fact I agreed with them, I just felt that their paraphrase masquerading as a quote actually weakened a position that could stand better on its own merits.
They agreed to review and revise their face book poster. Reasonable people, they tried to be more accurate and representative. Most importantly, they acknowledged that being inaccurate weakened their position, and did not support it.
The opposite is the case with the right; they feel that so long as someone makes a statement even kind of / sort of, that any amount of misrepresentation, any amount of alteration, is legitimate.  We saw this in the arguments supporting the illegal and misleading, deceptive and intrusive recordings done by James O'Keefe, who has made an infamous career of serial dishonesty.
With that in mind, it is another pleasure to debunk the right wingnuts and extremists bogus claims about the late, great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and guns. Here are a few examples of dishonesty from the right:
Fact checking Gandhi on Guns: To Lie is to Lose

Fact checking Gandhi on Guns: To Lie is to Lose

Ouch gunners!
How does it feel
to be busted
lying about
Gandhi and guns?

From the Academy award winning biographical movie Gandhi, with Ben Kingsley, reprising Gandhi's actual speech.
Fact checking Gandhi on Guns: To Lie is to Lose
What is true? What is the historic reality?
It's not this nonsense.
The video below is from the Academy award winning biographical movie Gandhi, with Ben Kingsley, reprising Gandhi's actual speech about non-violence, one of the best repudiations for the claim.that he was a pro-gun advocate or pro-violence in any way, no matter what the provocation.
So.....where did the gun quotes come from? It was a reference to the India Arms Act of 1878, and it came from a pamphlet written by Gandhi, urging Indians to fight alongside the British in WW I.
“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.”
And as anti-gun violence crusader Ladd Everitt noted, quoting K.P. Nayer, of the Calcutta 'Telegraph' about Gandhi's statements taken out of context, they were made as “an opportunity for a political struggle against the colonial rulers and for the repeal of the unjust Arms Act,” not “for more Indians to have access to guns.” Also noted historian of non-violence Peter Brock wrote about these comments - the FULL comments:
“[Gandhi] believed at that time (although he became more skeptical of this later on) that India could win equal partnership for itself within the British Empire if as large a number as possible of its able-bodied men volunteered to help the Empire, in one way or another, in times of need.”
But just in case there might still be any ambiguity in what Gandhi had to say about guns, in his autobiography, quoting a letter he wrote to the Viceroy of India during WW I:
“I would make India offer all her able-bodied sons as a sacrifice to the Empire at its critical moment, and I know that India, by this very act, would become the most favoured partner in the Empire … I write this because I love the English nation, and I wish to evoke in every Indian the loyalty of Englishmen.”
And when it came to his own participation on the side of the English in WW I, Gandhi joined the ambulance corps in 1914, stating:
A rifle this hand will never fire.”
In that context, could the images of Gandhi advocating for more guns be more wrong? Could the right, the pro-gunners who promote this lie be more dishonest? There is nothing more obscene, more false than the notion that Gandhi was 'pro-gun', especially pro-gun for private gun ownership rather than a national military.  When a side of an argument lies like this, far more so than any bogus reference to Hitler and Nazis, they have a failed position - a position they resist correcting. The values party supports the value of lying and that the end justifies the means. Their lying is deliberate, their refusal to correct or revise proves it.
Gandhi = Guns? Gandhi advocates 'lock and load'? Gandhi as Rambo?
No, emphatically NO. Bad. Wrong.
To lie is to lose. The pro-gun / Gandhi advocates are epic failures, with a losing premise; they underline the end of the failing American gun culture.
To lie is to lose. What we do not gain in discussion, we will gain over time, as the lies they tell catch up to them, making them look the liars and cowards they are when they fail to tell the truth. The gun culture in America is not a permanent fixture; it is changing, evolving, towards consistency with the rest of the world, and towards sanity in the face of the gun violence statistics.
To lie is to lose. However much the pro-gunners push back against gun control, to the extent they lie, they are failing, they are losing, they are already defeated. The only solutions and the only direction we will ultimately head are towards truth and fact. The right, the pro-gunners, need to correct their side to have any effective role in the discussion on guns and gun control, and they need to do it NOW.

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