The Modern Invention of Moderate Extremism

I don’t know why the word “extremist” is used as an insult in this country. If I was an extreme snowboarder or if I talked about going to the gym and “pushing myself to the extreme”, I’d generally be applauded by most people. We can see the virtue in boldness, courage and commitment when it comes to physical feats but when it comes to beliefs and ideals we’d all rather be metaphorical bubble boys.
There seems to be a general consensus that truth and justice, or at least safety, can be found somewhere in the intellectual gray gooey middle. According to conventional wisdom the individuals who listen to two wholly opposite and entirely contradictory views and then say something inherently nonsensical like “I think you’re both right”, are the most enlightened people in the universe. Never mind the fact that it’s metaphysically impossible for something to be simultaneously true and untrue, just as it’s unfortunately impossible for these pseudo-pragmatic idiots to exist and also not exist. Although if anyone could pull off that trick it would be these ideological jellyfish.
This whole dynamic is not surprising considering “whatever” has become the slogan for two generations and most of us have never made a declarative remark in our lives because we use the word “like” seven times per sentence, turning every potentially bold statement of fact into an emasculated whimpering suggestion.Personally, I embrace the label of extremist. Especially because these days it simply means I sometimes commit the sin of coming to a conclusion and when I walk down the street I generally have a solid idea of where I intend to go. On occasion I argue with the intent of proving a point. Every once a while, in a moment of prideful delirium, I may even insist in the existence of things like “truth” and “reality”. But luckily some wise sage will usually swoop in to remind me that nobody can ever know for sure that anything is true (which means that nobody can ever know for sure that nobody knows for sure that anything is true).

It’s far too easy to get the label of “extremist” nowadays. In times past you really had to do something to deserve that designation. You had to be committed to it. You had to live in a cave in the desert wearing a loin cloth shouting about the end times. Now all you have to do is suggest a trillion dollars in annual welfare spending might be a tad financially unwise or propose the possibility that maybe the salvation of our country lies more in the stability of the family than in any government program. Now you venture six and a half inches to the right of the mainstream view and you’re a dangerous lunatic. Or a “domestic terrorist” as I’ve been called in more than a few instances. Absolute and total faith in government has become the starting point — the moderate perspective — and any opposition at all is viewed as unhinged lunacy.

Basically I wish everyone would stop being such wimps and make me really go out and EARN my extremist badge. Tragically, I’ll never be pushed to the loin cloth/desert caveman thing if I can end up on an FBI watchlist just for watching a Ron Paul video on Youtube.

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