3 Extremists and the Constitution John GeorgeExtremism is a word with different meanings to many people. Obviously it can
be temporocentric and geographically bound. No doubt early advocates of rights
for women and blacks were considered extreme by most Americans. And it is
also likely that persons wishing to advance the ideas of press freedom and
competitive private enterprise have been viewed as extremists in the Soviet Union,
but especially in Albania and North Korea. Thus we have the problem: What
do we mean by extremism and just who may fairly be labeled a political extremist?Realizing long ago that there is probably no definition of extremism which
would satisfy a majority of scholars, and believing that extremism is more a matter
of style and tactics than of goals, I have delineated six common characteristics
exhibited by the overwhelming majority of those inhabiting the far-left and far-
right portions of the U.S. political spectrum:
|1. ||Absolute certainty they have the truth. Which, among other items is that|
|2. || America is controlled to a greater or lesser extent by a conspiratorial group.
In fact, they believe this evil group is very powerful and controls most
nations. It is not surprising then that extremists exhibit|
|3. ||Open hatred of opponents. Because these opponents (actually "enemies"
in the extremists' eyes) are seen as a part of or sympathizers with "The
Conspiracy," they deserve hatred and contempt. Due to the aforementioned
factors it is not surprising that extremists have|
|4. ||Little faith in the democratic process. Mainly because most believe "The
Conspiracy" has such influence in the U.S. government, and therefore
extremists usually spurn compromise and show a|
|5. ||Willingness to deny basic civil liberties to certain fellow citizens, because
enemies deserve no liberties. Therefore extremists have no qualms about
|6. ||Consistent indulgence in irresponsible accusations and character assassination,
such as calling fellow citizens Communists, Insiders, Amoral Secular Humanists, Fascists, Nazis, Racist Pigs, etc., and constantly imputing wicked
motives to those who openly oppose them.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe:Political Extremism in America.
Contributors: John George - Author, Laird Wilcox - Author.
Publisher: Prometheus Books.
Place of publication: Buffalo, NY.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 63.
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