Perhaps man-on-the-street interviews ought to be renamed “Man, beware the street!” interviews if what some Americans know — or don’t know — is any indication. Mark Dice (shown), who has achieved minor fame for illustrating how some Americans are unaware Barack Obama is a Democrat and asking questions such as “Did you hear we nuked China last week?” (his respondents didn’t dispute the claim, and one thought it was a good idea), now has posted a YouTube video (see below) in which citizens were willing to sign a petition in support of an “Orwellian,” “Nazi-style police state.”
Framing the matter as one of budget cuts that threaten the “police state,” Dice said to one willing signer, “We’re petitioning to just keep the police state and implement some more Orwellian measures to keep the community safe — and signature, too [he requested of the individual], for the Nazi-style police state.”
The man didn’t balk.
To another he explained, “This is to support the Orwellian police state; we just want to model it after Nazi Germany.”
There was no double take.
The only person who seemed to take issue with the idea replied, “You find the pot of money, though.” Despite his budgetary concerns, the man still signed the petition.
In fairness, we never know with such videos how many people had to be approached to find the number of (very) low-information voters presented. Moreover, Dice made his comments while the respondents were in the process of signing, and it seemed they weren’t fully processing what he was saying. Dice also doesn’t show what he said to induce these people into participating in the first place. Paul Joseph Watson at InfoWars.com writes that the signing took place after the respondents illustrated “their enthusiasm for repealing the Bill of Rights.” But this isn’t shown in the video, so I can’t confirm it.
As Watson points out, however, other Dice interviews evidence “how Americans are willing to support just about anything, so long as it is done in the name of supporting Obama or the government, including granting Obama immunity for all crimes he commits while in office, adding birth control drugs to the water supply, and repealing the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution while detaining gun owners in concentration camps.” Watson also reports that as far back as 1990 “people would sign petitions to ban water, but only if it was renamed “dihydrogen monoxide” and that Penn and Teller were able to induce environmentalists (who would claim to be informed about what they lobby for) to sign a similar petition years later.
It’s fairly safe to say that the Americans in Dice’s new video wouldn’t knowingly support the type of tyranny his comments implied. So what explains their willingness to sign his petition? After all, even if they weren’t fully paying attention to Dice’s sales pitch, terms such as “Orwellian,” “police state,” and “Nazi-style” are alarm-clock buzzer words that should rouse even a political narcoleptic. But this phenomenon is explainable.
While tutoring a 14-year-old boy in religion many years ago, I used Adolf Hitler as an example of the manifestation of evil in the world. After having done this two or three times over the course of weeks, my student finally asked me who Hitler was.
I was shocked.
I’d taken for granted that this was common knowledge, but today I know that the boy was no anomaly. For example, author Rhonda Fink-Whitman recently asked undergraduate students at four Pennsylvania universities basic questions about WWII, the Holocaust, and genocide in general. You may find the results interesting. The first two respondents didn’t know what the Holocaust was. The next couple had no idea where it took place, and the second of those two didn’t know what country Hitler led but wondered if it was “Amsterdam.” Another guessed that the Holocaust occurred approximately 300 years ago. Some other things respondents didn’t know were
• that the Nazi prison camps were called “concentration camps”
• what the “Night of Broken Glass” was
• what the Nuremberg Laws or trials were
• why the Americans stormed the beaches at Normandy
• what the Final Solution was
• who Josef Mengele or Winston Churchill was
• what “genocide” is
Given this widespread historical ignorance, it can’t be taken for granted that all Dice’s petition signers even knew what “Nazi” meant. And it’s highly likely that they didn’t understand the term “Orwellian” or that “police state” has a negative connotation.
But this brings us to an important point. Since James Madison warned that “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives,” we should wonder: If a person doesn’t know who Adolf Hitler was, what of history does he know?
One of Fink-Whitman’s college respondents provided the answer. When asked what other groups were persecuted during the Holocaust, she replied, “The African-Americans; here in the United States they used to be, like, discriminated, because of skin color. And the whites, especially, American people, they used to, like, um, put them aside.”
Ah, so once again everything bad comes back to America. Do you have any inkling at all, high-information citizen, as to where the young lady might have gotten that idea?