The man who was arrested for the slaughter in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh had a verified social media account on Gab, a favorite platform for followers of the Alt-Right whose views are not allowed on Twitter and Facebook.

Reading about Gab on Wikipedia sent me to an entry called “Fourteen Words.

Reading that entry made me feel that I had fallen into a rabbit-hole of fascism.

Fourteen Words, 14, or 14/88, is a reference to slogans coined by white supremacist David Lane,[1] a founding member of the terrorist organization The Order.[2] The terms were coined while he was serving a 190-year sentence in federal prison for his role in violating the civil rights of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg, who was murdered in June 1984.[3] The slogans were publicized through now-defunct 14 Word Press, founded in 1995 by Lane’s wife to disseminate her husband’s writings.[4][5]

Lane also used the phrasing in other pamphlets including the “14 points” of his White Genocide Manifesto and further in his 88 Precepts essay, stressing his support for racial and ethnic religions, opposition to universal religions (such as Christianity), his opposition to miscegenation, his anti-Americanism,[5] and support for racial separatism.[2][6][7] Many of his concepts, ideology and values, particularly the Fourteen Words slogan, are either inspired by or derived from Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical book Mein Kampf.[8]

The terms were later adopted by white supremacists[2] and neo-Nazis,[2] white nationalists and identitarians, members of the far-right and alt-right, the most widely used variation being:

We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.[9][10][11][12]

Another less commonly used variation is:

Because the beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the earth.[13]

It is sometimes combined with 88, as in “14/88” or “1488” with the 8s representing the eighth letter of the alphabet (H), with “HH” standing for “Heil Hitler,”[12] or simply as a reference to Lane’s 88 Precepts,[14] which when combined with “14” refer to Lane’s white supremacist neo-Pagan religion, Wotanism.[15]

In 2018, although dismissed by the US government as a coincidence,[16] the Trump administration’s United States Department of Homeland Security were accused of referencing both “88” in a document,[17] and the Fourteen Words by creating a similar fourteen-worded title,[18] starting with the same first three words (“We must secure”), in relation to illegal immigration and border control:

We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again.[19]

The slogan has been used in acts of white supremacist terrorism and violence.[2] It was central to the symbolism of 2008’s Barack Obama assassination plot,[20] which intended to kill 88 African Americans, including future President Barack Obama (at that time the Democratic Party nominee), 14 of whom were to be beheaded.[21][22] Skinhead Curtis Allgier notably tattooed the words on to his body after his murder of corrections officer Stephen Anderson,[23] and Dylan Roof’s race war-inspired Charleston church shooting was influenced by the slogan.