Is the word “extremism” a synonym for “radical” or “fundamentalist”? Both?
What is “extreme” relative to what “moderate” position? What if the supposedly “extreme” position turns out to be correct and that the moderate position, whatever that may be, is wrong with regard to a set of true propositions? This might offer a departure from discussion about the spectrum of belief and gets into whether or not an ideological position contributes to material reality.
Rhetoric of Extremism
The label is equated with violence or irrationality. Metaphorically, this idea is then applied to “religious extremists” for whom doctrine is upheld without regard to the consequences or facts; “political extremists” who prejudicially favor one set of programs, personalities, or consequences; “theoretical extremists” 1 who might be “extremists” in investigatory disciplines, that is, materially or (literally) theoretically demanding account for a particular phenomena that current explanation doesn’t explain: Imagine such an unwavering “theoretical extremist” who doesn’t let go of a bad explanation or a badly framed question.
Extremists take an idea which has more than one outcome, a range of outcomes from seemingly “inconsequential” through to “the moderated” or “the modulated”, by competing emergent properties, to an outcome which is considered preferentially. That preference for outcome seems to make people uncomfortable. This discomfort or fear comes from the fact that the outcome or conclusion conflicts with practice, status quo, or “common sense”. Culture is the sum and emergent properties of a million compromises and allowances for divergence. The extremist allows for no compromise or divergence.
- I just made that up; ↩