What is dangerous about extremists

August 16, 2008

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”

Robert F. Kennedy, 1964

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4 Responses to “What is dangerous about extremists”

  1. Tracy said

    I did find your blog and want to thank you for the hint to look at ashed and snow. What a spectacular creation.

    PS I basically agree with you on extremists: however, if they did not exist, would we be able to recognize what a middle path was?

  2. exuvia said

    Welcome Tracy,

    I can only repeat my personal appreciation of Ashes and Snow: hope many people find their way to it and realize and act upon the fact that we stand in danger of loosing our biological ‘ground of being’.
    It is bitter sweet when beauty and Life are in dire straits due to our own doings.

    The amenable middle Path is its own proof, testimony and reward; why though must we experiment and burn in the fires of excess to the left or to the right in order to appreciate such a way of living? There seems to be too many casualties in the fools way of learning to live with Nature; his own and that of Her’s

  3. Den Relojo said

    That one is a very powerful quote! People should be wary about their inclination to be intolerant. After all, difference should make no difference at all.

  4. remistevens said

    My biggest problem with extremists is the defining of the term “Extremist”.

    I remember maybe 5-10 years ago the term was always terrorist. But “terrorist” got overused and lost its effectiveness. Who hasn’t heard a co-worker impersonate the Bush accent saying “Mericans gotta deal wit tha terists”. Or maybe a buddy steals your last beer and calls you a terrorist for it; the term is now too comical to be taken seriously.

    So the new scary word is extremist. Once again this term is being thrown around in completely inappropriate ways. I argued on forums in defense of our left wing NDP in the last Canadian election campaign. I was frequently called extreme! %20 of Canadian voters go NDP- is that much of Canada really extreme?. The leader of the party is a mild mannered city councilor from Toronto- looks more like somebody’s uncle than a terrorist.

    To be fair it happens the other direction as well. Manipulators on the left would have us believe conservative PM Harper is evil and no different than Bush. Which just isn’t true.

    Of course there are, in fact, scary people out there with very extreme views. Soon enough politicians will start calling these people by a different name. Then manipulative types will take the new term and use it inappropriately against their opponents. Finally your buddy will call you the beer “_______” and the cycle will need to re-start.

    The best middle path becomes obscured by manipulators on either side grouping moderate and extreme opponents under the same term.

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