Extremism: The Cult of Fearing the Extreme

If you are afraid that Liberals are out to take your guns and destroy all notions of masculinity because some extremist group on the political Left has said that that is their goal, you may be as extreme as they are. How so?

You see, all extremism has a polarizing effect. Anyone who holds any position, can always find someone who holds an "extreme" position that opposes them. But should we always base our decisions only on such extremes? Must we become extreme in response to extremism? And if so, are we not become the very thing we are agaisnt? 

If people base their ideas about homosexuals in general, for example, on a small minority of homosexuals who may claim they want to make everyone in the world homosexual, is that not the same thing as all homosexuals in general basing their ideas about Christianity on the anti-homosexual hate of the Westboro Baptists, who openly believe that homosexual should be put to death?

To argue that one group must be considered a legitimate threat, is to argue that all extremist groups are equal threats. To claim that any one extreme group, however small, represents the ultimate goal of any movement or group, is to say that all extremists groups, however small, represent the ultimate goal of all movements or groups.

If  5 Catholics claim to want to burn all homosexuals alive, then using such reasoning, ALL Catholics should be seen as supporting such a plan, even if they do not believe it personally. And if one group says they want to ban all guns everywhere, by such reasoning, then all people who support gun laws should therefore be seen as simply supporting the complete confiscation of all guns everywhere.

To actually adopt or preach either of these positions in response to such extremists, is to become an extremist. That's how fear and terror and manipulation and cold wars have always worked. They do not fix anything, they only ever make things worse, by allowing extremism to beget extremism.  

In fact, how can anyone ever know for sure that people like St. Augustine and other Christian writers, who wrote the most horrible things about women and homosexuals, weren't seen by the majority of people in their day as crazy extremists, in the very same way that the majority of people today see the Westboro baptists or even ISIS as crazy extremists? 

The only difference is that there were far fewer people around back then who had any education to challenge such extremists, especially when you consider just how truly superstitious most people were (they burned the mentally impaired as witches ferchrisake!), and just how ruthlessly violent the Church was to anyone who challenged it's supreme rule. Indeed, the Church treated all those challenged it's authority even more brutally than the Sanhedrin had treated Christ himself for challenging theirs.

 And when everyone is terrified of the extremism, everyone becomes an extremist. 

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