“White Supremacy”—the “Devil Term” Invented to Dispossess Americans

“White Supremacy”—the “Devil Term” Invented to Dispossess Americans by  for UNZ Review

Founding stock Americans are now perilously close to becoming a powerless minority ruled over by aliens who cherish a carefully cultivated resentment—not to say hatred—towards us. If nothing is done to change the trajectory in which our society is moving, it is hard to see how our children can avoid outright physical persecution.

The hostile elites who rule over us, of course, paint a different picture. Even as they triumphantly celebrate America’s growing racial diversity, they are incredulous any whites could imagine their group is being replaced: that is a “conspiracy theory,” perhaps a symptom of mental illness. Nonwhites are, indeed, growing in numbers and power, but somehow, simultaneously, whites are not losing out in any way. Indeed, we enjoy enormous unearned privilege. The real danger to America is white supremacy, a “sinister ideology” (Donald Trump), a “depraved evil” (Ted Cruz) now said to be on the rise.

The two side in America’s looming struggle now live in such different mental universes that communication between them has become almost impossible. One reason for this mutual incomprehension is language. Popular political discourse is filled with expressions meant not to communicate, but to manipulate.

Much of this involves what the great rhetorical scholar Richard Weaver called “god terms” and “devil terms.” God terms include freedom, justice, and—in our own age—democracy and equality.

The special character of god terms is to combine highly positive connotations with an absence of clear denotation. Thus, people of directly opposed principles can both appeal to “freedom” or “justice.” They use the same words, but do not refer to the same things. Democracy, e.g., can refer to Periclean Athens, Jacksonian America, or even the communist “people’s democracies” set up by Stalin after World War II. Freedom can mean sovereignty and independence, the right to participate in politics, or the absence of state intervention in the market. For Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa, it means the freedomto seize other people’s property.

Devil terms can be even more manipulative and dishonest than god terms. Obvious contemporary examples include “racist,” “white supremacist,” “fascist,” and “neo-Nazi.” Past ages had different devil terms—”heretic,” “atheist,” “communist,” etc. The specific words change, but they always combine intensely negative connotations with extreme vagueness of denotation, i.e., they denounce a presumed referent without serving to make clear exactly who it is.

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