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Are YOU an Extremist? The Slippery Definition of Extremism!

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posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:14 PM
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The Slippery Definition of Extremism


Americans are once again hearing of the perils of extremism. But the definition of this offense is slipperier than a politician’s campaign promise. The definition of extremism has continually been amended to permit government policies that few sober people previously advocated.

Prior to 2000, anyone who asserted that the Census Bureau was deeply involved with the roundup of Japanese-Americans for internment camps in 1942 was considered an extremist. The Census Bureau spent 60 years denying its role but finally admitted its culpability ten years ago after academics uncovered undeniable proof. Regardless of the Census Bureau’s past abuses or perennial deceit, only extremists believe that their answers to this year’s census could ever be used against them.

Prior to September 2001, anyone who suggested that the U.S. government lead a crusade to “rid the world of evil”would have been labeled both an extremist and a loon. But when George W. Bush promised exactly that three days after 9/11, the media cheered and his approval ratings soared.

Prior to November 2001, anyone who suggested that the president had the power to suspend the right of habeas corpus and perpetually detain anyone he accused of serious wrongdoing would have been considered an extremist. But Bush’s executive decree on enemy combatants made this the law — or at least the policy — of the land.

Prior to 2002, anyone who suggested that the U.S. government create a Total Information Awareness database of personal information on tens of millions of Americans would have been considered an extremist. But federal spy agencies rushed forward with exactly such plans, and the feds have stockpiled far more data on citizens.

Prior to April 2004, anyone who asserted that the U.S. military was torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan was seen as an anti-American extremist. The leaking of the Abu Ghraib photos and official reports on abuses at Guantanamo and elsewhere proved that the extremists’ worst fear had become national policy. And when Congress effectively ratified Bush’s torture policies in the 2006 Military Commissions Act, “extremists”came to connote people who believed that American democracy had utterly disgraced itself.

Prior to the war on terror, anyone who advocated using tortured confessions in judicial proceedings would have been considered an extremist and perhaps also a medievalist. But the Justice Department and Pentagon effectively claimed a right to use confessions regardless of how they were acquired.

Prior to late 2005, anyone who asserted that the National Security Agency was routinely and massively illegally wiretapping Americans’ phone calls and email without a warrant was considered paranoid — as well as an extremist. Within weeks of the New York Times’ exposing the government’s warrantless surveillance apparatus, Republican congressmen stood and cheered during Bush’s State of the Union address when he boasted of his intrusions.

Prior to recent years, anyone who suggested that Uncle Sam should be able to take naked snapshots of all airline passengers would have been considered a lunatic, as well as an extremist. But the Transportation Security Agency, with its Whole Body X-ray systems, is doing exactly that in many airports around the nation. And the TSA’s promises that such photos will not be stored or abused are as credible as TSA’s earlier promises that no one would be delayed more than 10 minutes waiting in airport checkpoint lines.

Prior to the post-9/11 era, if someone suggested that the federal government should bloat its Terrorist Watch List with more than a million names, the person would have been considered a fool and an extremist. But this is exactly what the feds have done — and that is part of the reason why the watch lists have become almost useless as well as a peril to scores of thousands of innocent Americans.

Prior to this decade, only extremists believed that the president should be permitted to order the assassination of American citizens — with no attempt to arrest or try the suspected wrongdoer. Yet, President Obama recently officially made this the national policy.

Time and again, the U.S. government has adopted policies that only extremists advocated a few years earlier. And yet, no one is supposed to think that the government has become the biggest extremist of them all.

JAMES BOVARD serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation and is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books.


www.counterpunch.org...



I am finding that whatever your political beliefs are, if you do not agree with the government, you are going to be labeled as an extremist.

Lets see a little checklist to see what the government considers as an extremist:

- Defender Of The US Constitution - CHECK

- Against (Corrupt) Federal Government - CHECK

- Against The United Nations - CHECK

- Groups Of Individuals Involved In Paramilitary Training (militia) - CHECK

- Make Numerous References To The US Constitution - CHECK

- Attempt To Police The Police - DOUBLE CHECK

- Animal Rights (No, I'm not like PETA) - CHECK

- Lone Individual (possibly) - CHECK

- Display "Gadsen Flag" Or "Vote Ron Paul", etc... Bumper Stickers (not on this one, but is on others) - CHECK


All of what I mentioned is considered by the US government as an extremist.




posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:24 PM
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Can you provide any proof whatsoever that the government considered these people extremists?
It seems like the author of the article is just listing things he believes in and says the government calls them extremists...but where is the evidence for his claims?



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:25 PM
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Are YOU an Extremist? The Slippery Definition of Extremism!


Extremism is no longer an extremist thing. Today, it's mainstream and mostly found in domestic politics. Of course, since no one sees themselves or their views as being extreme, the term takes a hit and the very meaning is challenged.

I suggest that instead of trying to rewrite the definition of extremism, you work on rediscovering the meaning of moderation. It is in this mostly-deserted land where meetings take place in the middle and respect is shown for all.

Yes, it is rare today to find moderation so the word may seem alien to most. But it will be in the center rather than the extremes, that answers are found and success is defined.
edit on 1-10-2011 by redoubt because: typo



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by MidnightTide
 


Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm on "The List" for half a dozen reasons (or am I on half a dozen lists for one reason?)


Things that make you go "Hmmmm."



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:30 PM
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Originally posted by Ghost375
Can you provide any proof whatsoever that the government considered these people extremists?
It seems like the author of the article is just listing things he believes in and says the government calls them extremists...but where is the evidence for his claims?



Govt Report

Govt Report

ADL Report

SPLC Report

Sprinkled throughout honest concerning behavior are loosely defined terms and language broad enough to get some guy with an NRA sticker on his pick up harassed should anyone call an anonymous "tip" in to any agency.

This is all old stuff. I frankly surprised you'd have to ask as though this concept were new. Better late than never I guess.
edit on 1-10-2011 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 12:35 PM
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reply to post by MidnightTide
 


I believe that I am a extreme centerist...


uh?...what? Not too conformist for ya?



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 08:11 PM
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This is the issue I have with the term "extremist". It's being used in MSM and governmental circles as a synonym for "existential threat", which it isn't.

For example,. you'd have to be blind to argue that "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Jesus) isn't an extremist position; it certainly was to the Jews of Jesus' time. But is it threatening? Not so much.

It's all about what your views are, not about how extreme you are in adhering to them. I would count the majority of Islamic text as being violent extremist, for example - but that doesn't mean that all Muslims are violent, or extremists.

I could also be called a "PC extremist". I love my PC and PC hardware. It borders on an obssession at times... does that make me a dangerous individual...? Shutting myself in my living room tinkering with my PC's insides?

not so much.



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by redoubt
 


The kind of moderation you suggest is nothing more and meeting extremists half way so it the extremists that are setting the boundaries of moderation.



posted on Oct, 3 2011 @ 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by bussoboy
reply to post by redoubt
 


The kind of moderation you suggest is nothing more and meeting extremists half way so it the extremists that are setting the boundaries of moderation.


Actually, yes and no.

Extremists can indeed choose to meet their opposites in the middle but the moment they both agree to work together towards a common goal, their extremism moderates, to one degree or the next. Definitions change when behavior does. It's not entirely conceptual.

Actions speak louder than words... though not as often, lol.



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