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What Mo Brooks Got Wrong When He Quoted ‘Mein Kampf’ to Criticize Democrats

Well, pretty much everything.
March 27, 2019
What Mo Brooks Got Wrong When He Quoted ‘Mein Kampf’ to Criticize Democrats
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks castigated critics and opponents of President Trump on the House floor Monday for their reactions to the now-complete Mueller investigation. Brooks’s victory lap was indistinguishable from so many others until he indulged a bit of reduction ad Hitlerum.

Brooks accused Trump critics of using the “Big Lie,” a propaganda theory first explained and then employed by Adolf Hitler.

“Socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies were shameless – shameless! – in their Big Lie scam that has inspired hatred against President Trump and violence against Americans who support America’s foundational principles,” Brooks said.

The Bulwark asked Brooks’s office if there was a specific instance of violence to which he was referring, but did not receive a reply. He also said:

If socialists in the fake news media had any honor, they would cleanse their souls and atone for their sins by uttering mea culpas and apologizing to the American people the fraud and scam committed. More likely, however, they will double down and propagate even more Big Lies because doubling down is essential to Big Lie theory. In that vein, I quote from another socialist who mastered Big Lie propaganda to a maximum and deadly effect.

He then read a quote from Mein Kampf:

In the Big Lie, there is always a certain force of credibility because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily. And thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more readily fall victim to the Big Lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously, even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think there may be some other explanation.

The Big Lie was originally a calumny Hitler leveled against Jews, who he said had scapegoated Erich Ludendorf, Germany’s second-in-command during WWI, for the loss of the war. Instead, he propagated the stab-in-the-back theory, which claimed that German Jews had shirked their responsibilities during the war and surreptitiously sabotaged the war effort.

The stab-in-the-back theory was untrue, but it proved that Hitler could put the Big Lie into practice, as it became official dogma after the Nazis took power.

But the Big Lie doesn’t describe what happened with the Mueller investigation. The hypothesis that members of Trump’s campaign colluded with representatives of the Russian government wasn’t a lie just because it turned out to be wrong, just as gravity wasn’t a lie because Einstein came up with a better theory.

In his letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr reported that, over the course of two years, the special counsel’s office had “executed nearly 500 search warrants.” Search warrants need to be approved by a federal judge after the government has shown probable cause. It’s hard to find probable cause for an outright lie, especially a gaslighting lie so contrary to all observable fact that it undermines the concept of truth itself. It’s harder to find it 500 times.

Brooks has alleged that the Mueller report is the nexus of a lie so powerful that contrary facts have no impact on people’s belief in the lie. But why then, did he vote to make the Mueller report public? Of what use could the Mueller report be in the face of a Big Lie?

If the collusion hypothesis had no basis in fact whatsoever, why did Brooks wait until this month to address the theory? If the collusion theory were so obviously a fabrication, Brooks should have gone to the floor every day for the past two years to explain how far-fetched and divorced from reality the theory was.

If the collusion narrative was as ill-founded and unrealistic as Brooks claims it was, why did he wait until after Mueller’s investigation to say so? He couldn’t have been waiting for the facts, could he?

Did Brooks think the collusion hypothesis was a big lie last week, or did he have his doubts?

Benjamin Parker

Benjamin Parker is a senior editor at The Bulwark.