To Be Based or Not to Be Based

To be Catholic today often means to be "based." But there are dangers to chasing after baseness.


September 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Are you based?

A few years ago, such a question was nonsensical; after all, what does it even mean to be “based?” Based on what? But now it’s the term thrown around on social media and the basis (no pun intended) of a way of living.

For those of you, like me, who are no longer of the generation that automatically understands new slang by osmosis, to be “based” means to be “courageous and unique or not caring what others think” (Thanks, Urban Dictionary). In practice, it often means going against the woke hegemony by saying something thoroughly offensive to woke ears.

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily

Email subscribe inline (#4)

Being based has become a strong desire among many young people today. They see our ruling elite shove lies down our throats on a daily basis and demand we support those lies. They see the destruction of free speech in order to maintain those lies. So when they see someone get canceled for the slightest infraction against the woke narrative, they understandably react by purposefully embracing decidedly non-woke speech. Being based has become a strong desire among many young people today. When they see someone get canceled for the slightest infraction against the woke narrative, they understandably react by purposefully embracing decidedly non-woke speech.Tweet This

In itself, this is a healthy reaction, one that values truth, even uncomfortable truth, over falsehood. We should resist the stifling of free speech and the crushing of everyone who speaks the truth. But to be based, in and of itself, is a neutral action, morally speaking. It is based to say “a man can’t become a woman.” But in some circles it can be based to declare that “the Jews are the main cause of today’s problems.” Both statements contradict the dominant narrative, but one is founded in truth and the other in dangerous fantasy.

The Catholic world is not immune to this desire to be based. After all, the lies being pushed upon us often directly conflict with both natural law and Catholic doctrine, so resistance to those lies—i.e., being based—is a natural reaction. I remember the first time I was called based was when I noted that transgenderism was a mental illness (and yes, I had to look up what “based” meant at that time). It’s understandable, then, that many Catholics, especially young Catholics who see the lies of our culture more clearly, now desire to be based.

And as I already noted, this can be a good thing. We need to stand strongly against the transgender heresy that is wrecking society. It might be incredibly based to say that Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner is a man and Ellen “Elliot” Page is a woman, but it’s true. Supporting the transgender lies is not an option for any Catholic. We need to reject the acceptance of homosexuality, which is prevalent even among many Catholics. We need to support the Christian teaching that a man is the head of his household. These things are now based, but they are also important truths. 

That being said, there are three areas where being based can be either good or bad; namely, when it comes to feminism, race relations, and antisemitism. The dominant woke narrative gets many things wrong about these topics, but they also get some things right. To be automatically reactive against the narrative just to be based can lead to attitudes contrary to Catholicism.

By this author:

I’ve written before about how anti-feminism can be as toxic as feminism. There’s no question that feminism has caused incredible damage to our society. However, embracing overly-strict gender roles based in 1950’s American cultural stereotypes might be based, but that doesn’t mean it’s Catholic.

Likewise when it comes to race relations. Even though our country elected a black man as president not once, but twice, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 supposedly signaled that there were Klan members behind every corner and that whites were just itching to kill any black person they encountered.

That’s nonsense, of course, and supporting that fiction only harms race relations. But it’s also considered untouchable to note any deficiencies in black communities, such as the lack of father figures or the celebration of gang-like behavior. To point those things out marks you as a racist by the woke mob, although it’s considered based in other circles. In this case, based is just acknowledging reality, and ignoring these deficiencies only harms the people in those communities.

Yet some people in their desire to be truly based will go even further. They will suggest that problems in the black community are 100% self-inflicted and have nothing to do with racism, even historical racism. That’s just not the case. To cast blacks as “naturally” directed toward depravity is racist, even if it is based. It’s certainly not Catholic.

The issue, however, that seems to most creep into some Catholic circles is anti-semitism. To reasonable people, it’s clear that the term has become meaningless, an insult thrown at anyone who dares to challenge a Jewish person, no matter the circumstances. It’s a weapon used to silence any opposition. Criticism of Israel or a Jewish leader may be based, but it can also be true.

Likewise, Catholics are bound to evangelize Jews. We absolutely want them to convert to Catholicism, just like we want everyone to convert to Catholicism. It’s not anti-semitic to acknowledge—as the New Testament acknowledges—that the old covenant with Israel is no longer in effect but has been fulfilled in the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Catholic doctrine that “outside the Church there is no salvation” applies to Jews as well. As we have already seen, Catholic teaching is based.

Yet it’s easy to jump from this true, based view to many false, based views. To suggest that there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world or to undermine Christian values or to control the world’s finances—always said without any real proof—is nonsense. While it’s accurate (and based) to say that an inordinate number of Jewish people are powerful in Hollywood, it’s a leap to then say, based on that fact alone, that there is a Jewish plot to undermine our morality. Declaring that might get you tagged as based on social media, but it’s not doing anything to further the cause of the truth.

Ultimately, we should not strive to be based for based’s sake. We should strive to be faithfully Catholic, which is often based but not always. Our standard should never be social acceptance, whether from the woke crowd or the based crowd. Even though most Catholic teaching has become based in recent years, we must be careful not to shift our standards to chase after baseness.

So, are you based? The answer for the Catholic is not to care if he is based, but only to care that he is faithful to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ.


  • Eric Sammons

    Eric Sammons is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine.

Join the Conversation

Comments are a benefit for financial supporters of Crisis. If you are a monthly or annual supporter, please login to comment. A Crisis account has been created for you using the email address you used to donate.

Editor's picks

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Email subscribe stack
Share to...