‘The Big Lie’ And Its Anti-Semitic Reinvention

Holocaust Memorial, Miami Beach, FL
Walter Bibikow via Getty Images

Earlier this year, I published a piece for The Daily Wire titled, “The ‘Holocaust Law.’”

Criticizing the growing prevalence of arguments which use the Holocaust as the standard fill-in for any “bad thing” while making a damning political comparison, the “Holocaust Law” was defined as follows:

Unless the person or event being criticized is demonstrably guilty of enforcing the same physical — not rhetorical, metaphorical or hypothetical — actions as Nazi Germany, resulting in the forced detention or murder of millions of civilians due to personal characteristics, they are not to be compared to the Holocaust.

In recent months, another branch of this same hyperbolic insanity has appeared: references to “The Big Lie,” with politicians and pundits alike referring to falsehoods — whether real or imaginary — of varying levels of severity as “big lies.” For example, in early January, Joe Biden claimed that Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley were “part of the big lie” regarding their positions on election integrity.

Just this week, CNN referenced the “big lie” in an “analysis” piece on Trump and Russia.

Unfortunately, this logic is built on the same ignorant and historically delusional foundation as overwrought comparisons of “bad things” to the Holocaust.

The term, “big lie” — in German, große Lüge — was first used by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, and is a political propaganda technique which involves constructing an untruth so “colossal” that the population cannot “believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Hitler believed that Jews used the “big lie” technique to blame Germany’s defeat in World War I on German general Erich Ludendorff, who himself was vocally anti-Semitic, an argument viewed by many historians as a precursor to the Holocaust.

Goebbels and the Nazis pushed the conspiracy theory that international Jewry was in control of western powers and that Jews were actively working to exterminate Germany, presenting Jews as the aggressors and Nazi Germany as the victims, with the goal of justifying the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people in “self-defense” as part of the Final Solution.

By defining any subsequent “lie” unrelated to Nazi Germany in our current society as a “big lie,” one of two arguments is being made. First, that the “lie” has consequences synonymous with Hitler’s “big lie.” Second, that the “big lie” is not definitionally tied to the attempted implementation of the genocidal extermination of the Jewish people.

Both of these are entirely false.

The Holocaust is — in terms of human loss — the worst event in the history of the Jewish people. Not only is it arguably an act of historical revisionism or erasure that aspects of this tragedy are used in throwaway political attacks, but doing so is also a veiled form of anti-Semitism. The comparisons — regardless of intent — are not themselves anti-Semitic.

However, the intellectual consequences are, in that they dismiss and dilute the unique ideology which underpinned the Holocaust, and the unique terror of its culmination.

Stop comparing things to the Holocaust, and stop calling lies — whether real or otherwise — “big lies.” The English language is diverse and descriptive. Try some other words.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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