What A Socialist Once Said About Gun Ownership

Opinion

George Orwell ~ “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”
George Orwell ~ “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Fayetteville, AR – -(AmmoLand.com)- The election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has brought some genuine socialists into office, meaning that Bernie Sanders is no longer alone as a supporter of that political position on the congressional left. I see the assumption being made in social media—and in the comments section here—that a socialist must be someone who opposes the private ownership of firearms, a belief that is asserted as an article of faith among many of my fellow supporters of gun rights.

Except that there is a statement by George Orwell that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has spent time in discussions about guns on-line: “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Orwell is known to American middle and high school students as the author of Animal Farm and 1984. Computer people of my generation will remember his work as the source material for Ridley Scott’s Superbowl ad for Apple. But his entire career was a battle against totalitarianism on the right and the left, having fought on behalf of the Spanish republic and against both Franco’s fascists and communists supported by Stalin during that country’s civil war. And his essay, “Politics and the English Language,” takes a stand for clarity in language, as opposed to the mealy-mouthed dishonesty among politicians and the people who write about them.

With that in mind, I can hear him telling me never to accept an Internet meme without checking the source. And unlike the oft-quoted line from Sigmund Freud about a fear of weapons being a sign of immaturity that he in fact never wrote, Orwell did write that statement about keeping rifles in the hands of ordinary people.

His essay, “Don’t let Colonel Blimp ruin the Home Guard,” was a response to attempts at putting the British version of a militia, organized during fears of a German invasion, under stricter control of upper class toffs and reactionary imperialists. Orwell’s argument sounds like today’s discussions about the role of private gun ownership in a free society. He advocates for an armed population able to engage in hit-and-run attacks against an occupying enemy, suggesting that military discipline—particularly marching drills and submissiveness to one’s social superiors—is contrary to the purpose of a militia. And he makes the key point that armed citizens are a political force, a force that can say no to a tyrannical government. One of the reasons for gun control in Britain has been the worry that guns in the hands of the uppity many would make it difficult for the elite to stay in charge. The line about rifles on the walls of ordinary people’s homes is Orwell’s summation of his belief that armed citizens are a bulwark for the rights of everyone.

It’s always difficult to take someone from the past and try to insert that person into a current policy debate, but Orwell spoke directly to the concept of gun rights as a defense of democracy, both against external enemies and home-grown tyrants. And he’s an illustration of how support for private gun ownership isn’t necessarily limited to one wing of the political spectrum—or to the establishments of major parties.


About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

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Chris Hubbard
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Chris Hubbard

I can’t take any article seriously when it starts by claiming there are genuine socialists in office. ‍♂️
NO ONE in office supports abolishing private enterprise and transferring the means of production to sole ownership of the state. Does no one understand what socialism even means?

A Libertarian
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A Libertarian

I beg to differ. There is no totalitarianism on the right, only anarchy at the far right. All totalitarianism is a product of the left no matter how you label it.

Terry
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Terry

That is a very totalitarian statement, so you must not be from the right. The right is EXTREMELY totalitarian – They just hide it behind a cape of Christianity. Its called a theocracy, and it doesn’t get any more totalitarian than theocracy.

GeneE
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GeneE

Socialism, communism, fascism; If any of these take place in this country we will all be SLAVES to the ruling class, whomever they are. The ones pushing for it now will not be around to see the results of their rhetoric. They will be some of the casualties of the uprising. Because it will happen, so I just say, They should be careful of what they wish for!

TK
Guest
TK

You have it exactly backward, unbridled capitalism and trickle down economics IS MAKING ALL AMERICANS SLAVES right now,

and the right is FAR more fascist (check out how that goes hand in hand with “nationalism” – all great dictators start with that, Hitler, Trump, etc… Make questioning them a crime, eliminate all supervision/oversight of the ruler, etc… You should look up these terms before bandying them about).

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@TK, Hitler was not a capitalist or far Right. Hitler was a head of the National Socialist party. Your other great dictators (e.g. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ortega, and the Castro bro.s ) were not capitalists, trickle down economists, fascists, or nationalists. Each were true believer communists. You should read up on some history before twisting it all about.

som sai
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som sai

We’ve had elements of socialism since the very beginning of our country, even before that. People working together for the common good and common use. Currently anti gun sentiments are ensconced in the Democratic Party, but make no mistake, the people who fear an armed populace are those in power. I’ll keep my Social Security and my AR both, thank you very much.

Proctor
Guest
Proctor

Socialism requires a very powerful government which will lead to tyranny even with the best intentions. No, the USA did not have Socialism since its start. Roads, military, etc are not Socialism. The founders were against the kind of power required for Socialism. Social inSecurity is a great example of government with too much power leading to tyranny and mismanagement. SS recipients receive more money than they paid. The difference is made up by taxing a, let’s cross our fingers, ever increasing work force and, worse yet, fake money conjured into existence by the Federal Reserve. I will never benefit… Read more »

tK
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tK

Socialism require no more strong a government than any other. You are confusing ( as is usually the case) socialism and communism.

Police, fire department, public roads, the military, coast guard, border patrol – ALL SOCIALISM (All contributing to the common good. IIRC that “the common good” phrase is even in our Constitution, but hwy pay attention to that old document?

Joy
Guest
Joy

You are wrong!!! Look at the behavior of this so-called “anti-fascist”. Their behavior and actions are extremely totalitarian and fascist! Trying to wipe out freedom of speech and expression. It is look at the behavior of this so called “anti-fascist“. Their behavior and actions are extremely totalitarian and fascist! Trying to wipe out freedom of speech and expression. It is shocking! Try to save yourself from the onslaught of liberal brainwashing that you get on every news network except Fox.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Joy, What surprised me was that the libtards used the same arguments to oppose our First Amendment enumerated rights that they previously used, and are using, to oppose our Second Amendment enumerated rights. The “Nothing Social About Them” crowd (NSAT for short.) has revealed that they are going after all of our Civil Rights.

Joy
Guest
Joy

Liberals hate the constitution, and most are calling for a new constitutional convention to get rid of it! They have spent the last several decades trying to destroy our children’s view of the founding fathers. It’s disgusting!

tomcat
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tomcat

That is interesting to look into Orwell’s history. I have never bothered to look into it that close but I did enjoy reading 1984 and was somewhat mesmerized by his accurate description of where we are headed and how difficult life will be under the “big Brother”. It must be the insight he gained fighting communism that allowed him to predict where we are headed.

Docduracoat
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Docduracoat

“Some animals are more equal than others”
A socialist is just a communist without a gun

John H
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John H

Truer words were never spoken, I agree with your comment 100%
All this time I have been saying socialist are just Communist in training !!

Joy
Guest
Joy

I agree 100%! That’s the reason the USSR stands for United Soviet Socialist Republic. Try to deny it, you “American“ socialists! Socialism is the same as communism. Communism is socialism with a gun! They will take your freedom, they will take your guns, and they will make you a prisoner in your own nation! Wake up, America!

A J
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A J

Well, it would seem my comment will not be published either.

Michael
Guest
Michael

What kind of stupidity is this?! “The article was right on about the rich, famous and elite not wanting the common man to own guns”?? Nobody cares about the common man owning the gun, which was legally obtained! All the talk is about assault weapons sold without an accurate background check. Get reasonable and please stop spreading lies.

LAG
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LAG

There is no such thing as “assault weapons”. If that would be the case then mine are “defensive weapons”

TL
Guest
TL

Troll. For those of you that DON’T want to have firearms, then don’t buy them. And as for Assault weapons, that’s a verb. My pillow I rest my head on, can be used to assault someone by having a pillow fight. Let’s ban pillows.

rich z
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rich z

Read the UN’s attempt at AGENDA-21 or GLENN BECK’S CONTROL . SEE who the enemy really IS.

joefoam
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joefoam

Orwell was better than Nostradamus in predicting the future. Read those classics of his and see how spot on he was.

TrueBornSonofLiberty
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TrueBornSonofLiberty

The modern democrat party are THE domestic enemies our Founders warned us about. These filthy Liberal Terrorists™️ are irredeemable. There can be no reconciliation or redemption and there is only one remedy.

Concerned patriot
Guest
Concerned patriot

The article was right on about the rich, famous and elite not wanting the common man to own guns. If they had their way, they would love to bring back slavery! And to raise taxes on middle class and poor to 70%.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Is there any truth behind this?! “The article was right on about the rich, famous and elite not wanting the common man to own guns”?? Nobody cares about the common man owning the gun, which was legally obtained! All the talk is about assault weapons sold without an accurate background check. Get reasonable and please stop spreading lies.

Bill
Guest
Bill

What all the talk is about, is only the tip of the iceberg of what the agenda is about. Important to stop letting them get you to dance in the parlor while they burglarize the bedroom.

2WarAbnVet
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2WarAbnVet

The article gives the impression that Franco was supported by Stalin’s Communists. In actuality, the Communists supported Franco’s adversaries.

Rap Scallion
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Rap Scallion

The German Nazis supported Franco, to overthrow the country and put it in the Axis camp…..late in the civil war the Russians/Stalin decided to counter the Germans, but to little to late, and Germany neutered Spain for WWII!

Jack Moose
Guest
Jack Moose

George Orwell was anti-Soviet and anti-communist party due to his experiences fighting in Spain, but he was definitely a socialist and not a “centrist”.
Why I Write” (1946): “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”

Will Flatt
Guest
Will Flatt

Except that Orwell was no longer a socialist when he wrote those books, or made that quote. He may have still leaned a little to the left but by that point he was a committed centrist. ‘1984’ and, in particular, ‘Animal Farm’ were warnings against socialism.
It was reading 1984 as a child and later Animal Farm as a young adult that cemented me squarely in the right-wing of the GOP. I knew of Orwell’s origins as a socialist, but also understood that he had repented of that ideology else he would not have written the novels that made him famous.

Clark Kent
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Clark Kent

Nope. Animal Farm and 1984 were both warnings against Communism, not socialism. Nice try; no cigar.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Explain the difference, ‘superman’. One leads to the other supposedly but unchecked they turn out the same.

Laddyboy
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Laddyboy

Same difference. It has been stated that; ” Socialism leads directly into Communism”.

hippybiker
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hippybiker

Clark, you’re simplistic answer what denies the realit6 that Communism and Socialism are nothing more than different branch’s of t(e same poison tree.

Mark
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Mark

Me I said that socialism is one step away from Communism.

Michael Cichy
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Michael Cichy

Communism, socialism, what is the real difference? Not much in my opinion.

KuhnKat
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KuhnKat

…and Socialism is the feed in to Communism. It creates the conditions for Communism to be accepted.

Nice try, but, no cigar.

Hoppla
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Hoppla

Communism has no property rights. American Capitalism has property rights as long as you pay the lease to the government disguised as property tax. Don’t pay your tax and all you thought was yours will go back to the real owner which is the American government. You don’t own Shi$#@.

Heed the Call-up
Guest
Heed the Call-up

Hoppla, unless you are a tax-exempt organization.

Mark R
Guest
Mark R

“The Goal of Socialism is Communism” – Lenin “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.” ― Norman Thomas “The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideals of socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly.” ― Norman Thomas Socialism, communism, fascism – call it what… Read more »

Hoppla
Guest
Hoppla

All “ism” have the same totalitarianism goal.

Johnny Langston
Guest
Johnny Langston

Great article Gregg the 2nd amendment has all the things American people gave as a choice and a right

Laddyboy
Guest
Laddyboy

I agree that this is a GREAT article.
However, the Second Amendment does NOT give Americans’ the Right to own/have weapons.
The Second Amendment RESTATES or REAFFIRMS that Americans ALREADY had this RIGHT BEFORE the Constitution with its first ten (10) Amendments already existed.
With these words; shall not be INFRINGED; the Second Amendment is the MOST INFRINGED RIGHT among all of the RIGHTS listed in the Constitution.

Valdez
Guest
Valdez

Debatable as which rights according to the Bill of Rights is most infringed upon.
States rights are almost non-existent

Nat Rights
Guest
Nat Rights

Great point! Self defense is a natural right. This self evident truth is the root of rights, not just the 1st and 2nd either.
They are not a privledge “given” or taken at the whim of governments. The tyrrany and abuse of power of governments is not legitmacy. Rather the abuses of power show governments illegitimacy and are a sign of a government failing.

dliff
Guest
dliff

So called (misnamed) assault weapons are not sold at any gun store without a background check! To state otherwise is factually incorrect! In addition, perhaps you should talk to a few expats from Venesuala about gun control! The goal of gun control is, and always has been the disarming of the common man! You are either terribly misinformed or puposely spreading falsehoods to advance an anti gun agenda.

dliff
Guest
dliff

Laddyboy: You, sir, on right on the money. So happy someone made the point that our rights DO NOT extend from government! When we buy into the notion the government is the purveyor of rights we relinquish all power to that same government. Simply put: What the government bequeaths to the People the government can repossess at will.