Sunday, May 21, 2017

Extremism vs Terrorism: How Language Is Used to Cultivate Conformity

If you watch CNN, or pay attention to nearly any news outlet, you may notice how often the words "extremism" and "terrorism" are used interchangeably. But they not the same thing.

Using the two interchangeably, however, creates the impression that anyone who is the former must therefore be the latter, and vice versa. Keeping in mind the difference is important to understanding how the deliberate use of these two words as being synonymous is used to cultivate conformity.

Terrorism, after all, is the willingness to engage in violence and bloodshed in order to scare people into accepting an idea or to engage in some action. 9/11, for example, was an act of "terrorism" perpetrated on the US by Muslims who, depending on who you believe, either wanted the US out of Saudi Arabia or for America to accept Islam. (If you believe the alternate interpretation, it was a "false flag" perpetrated by the US on itself, for the purpose of blaming Obama Bin Laden, so as to expand National surveillance by the shadow gov't in the US and to justify military action in the Middle east to control more oil.)

Either interpretation of "terrorism" confirms that "violence" is being used to advance an agenda, regardless of who is it engaging in that violence, and however it is engaged in.

Terrorism can obviously be considered "extremism," in some ways, but "extremism" itself is simply any ideas that may seem "extreme" to the what is considered "normal" to a majority. If ISIS wants everyone to wear a burqa or the NRA wants everyone to own a gun, for example, such ideas would be "extreme" compared to the majority.

If the NRA or ISIS engage in violence to try and advance their "extremist" agendas, that would be "terrorism." So even if you hate the NRA, and consider them to be "extremists" in some ways, that does not mean the NRA are a bunch of terrorists. (As far as I know, the NRA has never engaged in any actions that could ever be considered "terrorist" activities. But I have never done any research on that. So lets just assume they never have, and never will, for the sake of this comparison.)

ISIS, however, is an "extremist" group of thinkers who HAVE engaged in "terrorist" activities, on the other hand.

But to use the terms interchangeably is to eventually conflate the two in the minds of a passive audience, who watches the tube in an almost hypnotic state. The danger then, is that anyone who wishes to express an idea that is NOT within the 'norm' of society, can come to be seen as an extremist, and by extension a terrorist.

And when just expressing ideas that challenge or fall afoul of the general consensus becomes synonymous with an act of terrorism, you know you are living in a time and place that is really only interested in cultivating conformity.

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