Nazi (n.) - The other N word. (What does Nazi even mean anymore?)
Someone who does not believe that political authority for Europe, or the globe, should be centralized in powerful nations like Germany.
Historical: A member of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
History & Etymology
People have been mean all throughout history, and things haven’t changed very much. People have always come up with terms to deride and insult people. Bumkin or Hillbilly meaning things like unrefined or clumsy. And the Germans of the early 20th century were no different. A term used in Germany to insult people who seemed like backwater farmers or peasants, primarily from Bavaria, it was a mispronounced version of the name Ignatius, or Ignatz. This word was Nazi. It generally meant clumsy or stupid person even before the existence of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
It came as a surprise to me that the word Nazi didn’t always refer to a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party. This word had already gone through a redefining in its history.
In the 1920s the opponents of the National Socialist German Workers Party wanted a derogatory term to refer to their opposition. That’s when they took the german abbreviation for Socialism, Sozi, and replaced the first half with Na from the word “National” in the party’s name, and it fit perfectly with the already existing insult. Thus was born what most people now think the word means.
The name Nazi never really caught on in Germany to describe the party, but those who escaped that terrible regime sure spread the word far and wide.
But things are changing again, and this is wear my new definition comes from.
Prescription & Commentary
I hear a lot about people being called Nazi’s. Most of the people using the word probably have the common definition of the word Nazi in mind when they use it, but what they mean and what is true aren’t always the same thing. This all comes down to the anarchic way language comes in to being and change over time.
What I’m about to explain might make more sense if we first look at another word like “Silly” for instance. In English Silly used to mean holy or innocent. Silly gained its current meaning because people were using it to refer to people who were ignorant of the ways of the world, and overtime as children heard it more often referring to people who don’t understand that became the only meaning of the word. I think we currently have a similar situation happening with the word Nazi.
The recent boom in the use of the word Nazi I think is causing a change in the definition. Certain political groups are using the word to associate their opponents with the racist megalomaniacle beliefs of the National Socialist German Workers Party, and in some instances this comparison is accurate, but most of the time it seems to miss the mark and is merely applied to people that these groups disagree with. This is where the new definition comes in.
I was thinking about what the people who are being called Nazis have in common. It’s certainly not racism, anti-semitism, or homophobia, because people like Ben Shapiro, a pure bred jew, and Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay man married to a black man, are all called nazis.
What ties all the people being called Nazis now have in common?
What kick started this idea was when I saw the group of brexiteers shouting at Anna Soubry calling her a Nazi at the beginning of Count Duckula’s video “I’m about to say the N word” and I immediately realized what the definition of the word Nazi is going to be if it continues being used the way it is. When the British government starts looking into making calling a government official a Nazi a hate crime they are telling us who the word should be applied to and who it shouldn’t. They are operating on this new definition already.
If you believe the EU, which is primarily controlled by Germany, should control sovereign countries you are not a Nazi by this definition, but if you think countries should maintain their sovereignty, you are a Nazi and it’s acceptable to call you that.
Even in the United States the word Nazi is applied primarily to those who want less centralized control over their States or themselves.
I really don’t like this word, and I don’t want it to become truly conflated with the ideas of sovereignty over one's self or one's own nation.
But if it keeps getting used and over used in the manner that it has been this will become the new definition of the word.