I find it interesting quite often that people call me some form of extremist. Of course, they also call me a Trump supporter, a Hillary supporter, a Russian bot/agent/whatever. I get called such things by virtue of the fact that I oppose both major parties, all major names. I focus on issues and reject even passive-aggressive support leaning toward either RNC or DNC.
Best way to piss off a cult member? Refuse to join the cult or reject the idea that the cult is benign.
The US has become a nation of extremists. There is no denying it. Of course, most extremists deny being extremists because then they have to admit their views are completely unbalanced. Does anyone think that Nazis considered themselves extremists? How about the KKK? ISIS? Heaven’s Gate, Jim Jones, David Koresh followers? People that watched public lynchings and burning at the stake?
On more personal levels, do you think abusers consider themselves extremists? Years ago wife and child beating was common, sometimes even expected in society. How about those who supported suppressing pay for women? Do you think parents thought spanking their children years ago was extreme? Or sending their child to bed with no dinner? How many people for decades have supported the war on drugs?
All the above are things we now consider to be extreme. Those who engaged in these things at the time would defend their beliefs and actions ferociously. If you opposed them, they would call YOU an extremist. They would attempt to invalidate you, marginalize you, ostracize you, have you ejected from church and fired from your job. Because chances are the boss and congregation held the same beliefs.
Many things in their time were considered extreme and protested against widely. Equal pay, the civil rights movement, Social Security (OMG! It will raise our taxes!!), Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, national parks, bank regulations, consumer protection laws, public roads, child labor laws, even public schools. In each and every case, the question was “how do we pay for it?”
Can you imagine what our society today would be like without those things? What it would do to the economy and environment to eliminate them?
Have you seen any “capitalists” that will turn down government money? Or not lobby to get MORE government money?
Yes, I consider myself a Democratic Socialist. This is a balance. I do not agree with the right who claim that capitalism will solve anything at all. Look back at the age of robber barons. Look what has happened since Reagan to worker rights and protections. Yet I do not agree with those who propose absolute Socialism (Marxism). I do understand that some various levels of profit and pay keep a society motivated. I do not support “centrists” who are actually right wing economically, which MEANS right wing socially. They deny it but you cannot support social support verbally and deny that support financially. (I will be continuing the series on Democratic Socialism shortly. Been busy making my living in a capitalist society.)
How does a person become an extremist? The answer is usually simple. Fear. They fear loss of money, job, status, safety, way of life. Then they do not realize that the advertising industry is based completely on fear. They make you afraid of not making enough money, that your breath is not minty fresh, that your feces smells, that your shirts aren’t white enough, that you’re not getting the RIGHT drugs to keep you apathetic.
The audience does not realize that MSM “news” is really nothing but advertising which utilizes that fear. “If it bleeds, it leads.” They try and get ratings which translate to advertising money. So they sell you on fear. Fear of Russia! Fear of China, fear of Trump, fear of crime, fear of guns, fear of NOT having guns, fear of speaking out, fear of others speaking out, fear of immigrants, fear of climate change, fear of DOING anything about climate change, fear of taking the same drugs they advertise, fear of insurance companies, fear of not having insurance.
Have you noticed the wording constantly used by the media? Today we have:
The WAR on drugs
The WAR on terror
The WAR on Christianity
The WAR on crime
“We have been ATTACKED!” (Attacked with FB ads.)
“We must DEFEND ourselves!”
“THEY (whoever ‘they’ are) are TAKING our jobs!”
“THEY are STEALING our money!”
“THEY are building defensive weapons!”
“THEY are ATTACKING us because we invaded THEIR country!”
“THEY don’t like us having war games on their borders or surrounding them with OUR weapons!”
“THEY are EVIL because they want to expand trade!”
“THEY (any opposing party) are trying to DESTROY our country!”
“WE have to take OUR country back!!” (From the other citizens of the SAME country.)
“WE have to WIN and BEAT ‘THEM’!!”
People turn on the TV and read limited, biased “news” sources not to be informed but to get their daily (or hourly) dose of fear, hate, anger, offense. To become even more embedded in their own extremism and call it “justice”.
Never noticing the fear words, the “call to action”, the “limited time offer”. (Do some reading on sales tactics and you’ll understand this more. For real.)
Just take your anxiety and anti-depression meds and it will all be better. Then go buy a new pair of shoes, a new car, etc.
What are some of the signs of being an extremist? Here are a few-
Following one group or source. It is truly cult thinking. They always “trust” their chosen cult in words and actions. Yet they ignore when the words and actions directly oppose one another. But the cult YOU belong to is ALWAYS right.
Being closed to any source of information which does not align with their own existing belief or opinion. Any minor variation marks a person or source as an “enemy”. The “enemy” must be ignored, rejected, invalidated, attacked. Evidence does not matter as long as your “leader” has “high confidence”. That’s always enough.
Opposing any form of peace, discussion, detente, diplomacy. Opposing any thought process which has any presentation where “we” are not “superior” to “them”.
The thought that “winning” is worth any price, including debt, destruction, suffering or death as opposed to allowing the “enemy” any peace, profit, space, voice. Peace without complete annihilation is weakness.
Nothing is ever the fault of the extremist. The other side is always extreme but not “us”. Both sides can use the exact same weapons, tactics, words and actions but “they” are extreme. “We” are innocent victims.
None of this is what democracy is about. Democracy is about opposing voices being able to discuss issues rationally. We cannot continue demonizing each other if they do not agree on every subject. Especially when the opposing side is demonizing you the same way. When does THIS country begin having peace talks with each other? When do we focus on solutions, rather than force, oppression, superiority?
Start paying attention to all the key words being used. Pay attention to how much you use them yourself. If you are using these key words, these thought processes, then you are engaging in extremist behavior. You’re making things worse, not better. You extend a fist and reject a handshake.
I’ll say it again. Issues unite, names divide. ALL names are cults, Trump, Hillary, Obama, Bernie, RNC, DNC. As long as you only support the cult, you are the extremist. Look in the mirror and admit it.