FBI deems 'red-pilled' and 'based' as terms that indicate 'Incel Violent Extremism'
The FBI could be investigating any of a thousand legitimate scandals in its role as principal federal law enforcement agency — like the military's very public accounting problem or the NIH's alleged illicit funding of gain-of-function research on monkeypox, just to name a couple.
Instead, it's targeting "incels" — a tiny fringe online subculture of (mostly young) men who feel alienated by modern society. ("Incel" is a joining of "involuntary" and "celibate," meaning that these men do not have sex although they would like to.)
Via the New York Post:
New documents released Monday warned that common internet lingo is being associated with 'Violent Extremism' by the FBI.
The Heritage Foundation's Oversight Project said it used a Freedom of Information Act request to expose FBI documents that include glossaries showing that common internet slang has been flagged as an indication of 'Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism' or 'Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism.'
The FBI defined "red-pilled" as "a belief shared by many online communities that society is corrupt, and that the believer is a victim of this corruption."
"Based," according to the FBI, is a term that "refer[s] to someone who has been converted to racist ideology, or as a way of indicating ideological agreement."
Both terms were flagged as indications of one's affinity for "Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism," although the connection is not immediately clear beyond their origination within these groups.
The agency's working definitions of the terms are suspect. They don't actually mean, in their initial conceptualization or the way they are currently used, what the FBI claims they mean. There is nothing inherently violent about them or indicative of a proclivity to violence.
For the uninitiated into Gen Z internet slang:
- "Red-pilled" means "understanding that everything you were taught, everything you were led to believe is a lie." One takes the "red pill" and then he understands that he has been deceived by authority figures — it's a metaphor borrowed from The Matrix.
- "Based" means "being yourself and not caring what others think of you."
Whether these terms are cringe or not, regardless of their origin, they are now used ubiquitously on the internet. To claim that they are confined to the incel subculture, as the FBI does, is a pretext to criminalize a large swathe of the population that is not remotely tied to any kind of subversive movement.
Perhaps that's the point?