Revolution By Redefinition

It’s easy to laugh at the Q people, or to regard them with horror as a grave threat. Deplorables squared. Which is to say, the worst sort of people made exponentially worse by their adoption of a false revolutionary religion. Both Malcolm X and Confucius agree: the function of a revolution is to call things by their proper names. Revolutions that do the opposite of that are a curse.

With Q it’s easy to see the bullshit. Even a lot of Q followers see it now, as this article describes. The very first Q prediction was that Hillary had been secretly indicted and would soon be arrested and tried. That was in late 2017. Needless to say, it didn’t happen, and with the inauguration of Biden, all the rationalizations about Trump’s secret behind the scenes plan to wrest power from the pedophiles in one epic storm of 11-D chess brilliance fell apart. No doubt there are some people still spinning their wheels to keep hope alive.

What most interests me in this article, though, is its old school use of the term “white supremacists”:

In the days after the Capitol riots, white supremacist groups expressly targeted “Parler refugees,” or Trump fans who they believed could be radicalized after the conservative social media platform Parler was at least temporarily shut down and QAnon was banned from Twitter and Facebook.

“Focus less on trying to red pill [or recruit] them on WW2 and more on how to make them angrier about the election and the new Democrat regime,” read a white supremacist recruitment message on Telegram. “Heighten their burning hatred of injustice.”

Until recently, “white supremacy” was an ideological position consciously held by a small group of Americans who had long ago been pushed beyond the pale. These were neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates, people who kept alive revisionist histories of World War 2 and the Civil War. That’s what the mention above about red pilling people on WW2 refers to. To ‘red pill someone on WW2’ does not mean simply to “recruit” them. It means to convert them to an alternative understanding of the nature of that conflict, Hitler and the Third Reich. These alternative histories are in no way new. They’re just completely marginal within American society, with few adherents and absolutely no institutional support.

Note that the article describes white supremacists as angling to recruit disillusioned QAnon people. Such recruitment makes no sense using the expanded notion of “white supremacy” that became commonplace in 2020. From that expansive definition, QAnon people are *already* white supremacists, even those who are not racially white. (In case you missed it, transracial whiteness is now a thing.) Why do white supremacists need to convert white supremacists to white supremacy?

It makes no sense until you recognize the conflict between the old definition of “white supremacy”, an ideology which views American history since the Civil War as an accelerating betrayal of the “white race”, and the new definition of “white supremacy”, which views all of American history to this very moment as one long and unbroken shape-shifting defense of “whiteness”. According to the current revolutionary redefinition, the old school white supremacists have only been imagining themselves as historical outsiders. Won’t they be surprised?

This equivocal understanding of “white supremacy” came to dominate the political Left over the Trump years. A similar thing was on display this past summer, when Antifa memes declared Dwight Eisenhower and American troops storming the beaches of Normandy were “Antifa”, even though according to the actual ideology of Antifa both Eisenhower and the American army were part of a fascist order. In short, the radical Left has become normalized within American politics cloaked as a defense of the American tradition it has long despised as nothing more than a facade.

I’ve termed it “the politics of equivocation”, by which radical redefinitions are normalized through the use of polarizing terms in equivocal ways. Most everyone is against the old, narrow, meaning of terms such as “white supremacy”, but few are really clear on just how expansive the new definitions are.

Most unfortunately, these radical redefinitions rhetorically prepare the ground for apocalyptic social conflict, redefining tens of millions of people beyond the pale of American society, regarding them as ‘literal Nazis’, while actual neo-Nazis view their disenfranchisement as a prime opportunity for recruitment.

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