The Fat of the Land was the third LP by British techno band The Prodigy, released in 1997, most likely their best and arguably one of the most emblematic piece of 90's techno music.
The album title is drawn from a quote included in the CD's booklet (spread out, one line per page):
We have no butter,
but I ask you
- Would you rather have butter or guns?
Shall we import lard or steel?
Let me tell you,
Preparedness makes us powerful.
...Butter merely makes us fat.
Although it is not credited in the booklet, the quote is adapted from a broadcasted speech pronounced by Luftwaffe commander and Nazi official Hermann Göring in 1936 (Prodigy's Liam Howlett read it in a book of quotations he was given by his record company for Christmas a couple of years before and liked it).
It served as an introduction to the presentation of his five year economical plan - a critical move in the rise of Nazi Germany from a weakened recession-stricken nation to a hugely powerful military power.
The quote seem to be itself inspired by Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels who established the "guns instead of butter" motto ("Kannonen stat Butter") by saying in January 1936:
Man zur Not auch einmal ohne Butter, nie aber ohne Kanonen auskommen
"In times of emergency, we can do without butter, but never can we without guns"
Göring's butter vs. guns quote is, in my opinion, a fascinating example of the frighteningly powerful Nazi war rethoric.
Here is, for reference, a statement by band's composer/producer, Liam Howlett regarding their use of this quote:
"Do you know where that came from? This is actually like a Nazi quote. It’s like Hermann Goering, Hitler’s right hand man. This is the quote he made during the war. Now a lot of people have picked up on this in England. You can imagine what the press have been like, ”Oh the Prodigy are Nazis...” All this crap, you know. To simply answer that question: yes, the quote is a Nazi quote and no, we’re not Nazis. Obviously we’ve got two black guys in the band. So to even suggest that is totally brainless anyway. To be honest, that quote is like me using a sample. I look upon that quote as like a sample. I take it out of its original context, put it in my own context and it means something completely different. I look at that quote and that’s like a b-boy quote. That’s like someone out of a hip-hop scene could have said that. And that’s the reason I used it ’cause it’s a totally different context. It’s like a completely different thing. And it just works well. It has power and it has the right message for what we want. It has nothing to do with what it’s originally about."
DejaMorgana mentioned that the expression "The Fat of the Land" can also be found in the Bible (Genesis 45:18) In this passage, Joseph says to his brothers:
"And take your father and your households, and come unto me and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land."