Internal FBI documents reveal that the agency has started labeling terms like “based” and “red-pilled”—common internet slang—as indicators of “violent extremism,” according to a new report by the New York Post.
FBI documents associate internet slang like ‘based’ and ‘red pill’ with ‘extremism’ https://t.co/L9i3MC9YSP pic.twitter.com/v4vT4eCv16
— New York Post (@nypost) April 10, 2023
The documents were obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Heritage Foundation. They show the agency has glossaries that flag the terms as a sign that the user may be associated with “Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism” or “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism.” The documents say that “While most incels do not engage in violence,” some have been involved in “at least five lethal attacks in the United States and Canada.”
The attempt to tie these terms, “based” and “red-pilled,” to violent extremism is baseless. Here’s where they actually come from.
The term based has traveled a long and winding road to popularity. It originated in the 1980s as a reference to people who were “free-basing” or a “basehead” (aka, consuming coke). But shortly thereafter, rapper Little B repurposed it and made it more about being oneself, not caring what others think, and being upfront or truthful with swagger.
While it’s true some seedy corners of the internet have tried to claim “based” as a moniker (like the racists and incels found in the alt-right), the term is much more widely in use and has no inherent connection to the seedy underbelly of the online Right.
Similarly, “red-pilled” is a pretty innocuous term. It comes from the massively popular movie “The Matrix” and is used to refer to the experience of discovering politically incorrect truths or beginning to see conservative viewpoints as accurate. (An entire category of memes has emerged referencing the decision to “take the red pill.”)
Take the red pill 🌹
— Harry Bōlz (@elonmusk) May 17, 2020
Don’t misread the FBI’s attempt to malign anyone using these terms online as “extremists” as anything less than the overt threat that it is. They know these terms are widely used by many people on the Right, not just extremists. But by associating them with fringe extremists, they are attempting to label practically half the country as a threat. This is similar to the attempt we saw last summer to label parents who lobbied at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.
In reality, many people who use these terms simply believe in concepts like limited government, free-market capitalism, and individual liberty. (They’re not “violent extremists” by any stretch.) Still, you can see why the government would view these ideologies as a threat—particularly when they’re gaining traction online.
At BASEDPolitics all of this comes as no surprise. Because throughout history, these ideas are extreme. Before America, they’d never been tried.
When our founders wrote “all men are created equal,” it shook the foundations of time. When they declared our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” the wheels ground to a halt and slowly began to roll in reverse. For our short 250 years, we’ve been grinding against the ingrained notions of power.
Our country was founded by men who risked their life, their liberty, and their honor to insist on a new way of structuring the world. That is extreme.
We’ve asserted that individuals are best at determining their own paths and should be free to live as they want so long as they aren’t hurting anyone. Historically? That’s wildly extreme. Even throughout the world today, it is extreme.
We’ve proclaimed people can make their own economic decisions without the government’s involvement. Extreme. We’ve said the people should have power over their government, not the other way around. Extreme.
At BASEDPolitics we’re proud to stand strongly for these ideals, extreme or not. We reject all forms of violence—but if you want to label us “extremists,” we’ll take it, because we are “extremely” opposed to the horrific acts governments have perpetrated against mankind.
Radicals, revolutionaries, and extremists in the pursuit of liberty are sorely needed these days, and we’ll continue to step up to the plate and go up to bat against corrupt and heinous agencies like the FBI. They should be afraid of us, because the winning ideas and the moral arc of history are on our side.
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