Little remembered now, in the 1920s and 1930s, the “merchants of death” theory was the notion that munitions manufacturers and banks had engineered World War I so as to sell arms. Indeed, the first couple of Leslie Charteris’s Saint novels used that theory as a background to their plots.
The origins of World War I were much more complex, far less coherent, and, frankly, much sillier than the reasons posited by the “merchants of death” theory. Nevertheless, as Solomon Jones points out as he recalls the death of Philandro Castile, the U. S. now has its own actual merchants of death.
. . . while I believe the NRA loves that the Constitution’s Second Amendment allows Americans to bear the arms that have made gun manufacturers wealthy, I also believe the NRA hates that the Constitution allows for a free and unfettered press. That’s because a truly free press can expose the NRA for what it is — a right-wing organization that used racial and religious bigotry to help gun manufacturers sell 27 million firearms to Americans in 2016.
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