Saturday, February 25, 2006

We’re All Extremists Now

Ranting SaturdayThis morning we got a couple of emails that indicated that Dymphna and I are considered extremists.

Now, that wasn’t the point of the emails, and these were friendly communications, but our correspondents seem to take it as a given that we are… well, extreme.

I suppose I am an extremist by today’s standards. If you pay much attention to the legacy media, you know that anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat (or maybe Green) is an “extremist”.

It wasn’t always that way. Back when I was growing up, in the ’50s and ’60s, extremists were people who fought the fluoridation of the water supply, who saw Commies under the bed, who liked racial segregation or wanted to impeach Earl Warren. Extremists belonged to the John Birch Society and wanted us out of the UN.

But in those days you could vote Republican and still hold your head up in polite society. You weren’t an extremist.

Barry Goldwater was an extremist. George Lincoln Rockwell was an extremist. George Wallace and Joe McCarthy were extremists. But not Dwight Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller. They were nice, tame Republicans. Maybe a little bit stupid, and amusing to your average East Coast intellectual. But not extreme.

And there weren’t any extremists on the Left, really. Not even the Communists — they were just misguided and somewhat overzealous Progressives, not that much different from us.

Let’s look at some of the “extreme” statements from those days:

  • Impeach Earl Warren
  • US out of the UN
  • Keep the Negroes in their place
  • Hunt down the commies
  • White supremacy
  • Bring back the monarchy
  • No fluoride in the water

That’s quite a varied group of positions. But they were all lumped together into the general category of “right-wing nuts”.

I suppose I do the same thing with the hard Left today. To me, the anti-globalists, the “no blood for oil” people, the Socialist Workers’ Collective, the tree-huggers, and the “Meat is murder” crowd are all more or less the same. But I’m sure that some of those factions are barely speaking to one another.

Of all those old-time “extreme” positions, the “US out of the UN” one has become the most respectable these days. After watching the last forty years of malevolent UN actions towards Israel, and its coddling of genocidal tyrants of all stripes, it’s hard to see the point of the UN.

But I’m not sure what made me the extremist I am today. It might have started when those barbaric “students” took Americans hostage in Tehran. Watching the bumbling and inaction of the Carter administration made me feel helpless, ashamed, and frustrated. It awakened in me an atavistic urge to kick Iranian butt.

Then there was the little matter of leaving Saddam in power in 1991. That one rankled. Oh, I could understand the geopolitical arguments for doing what we did; we would have faced the same kind of thing we’re facing now, namely sectarian strife, insurgency, terrorism, and fratricide. But still — there was something wrong with leaving a thug like Saddam in power.

And I wanted to see those Bradleys sitting in the heart of Baghdad.

I knew I was naughty, but I still wanted to see it. It took another twelve years, but I finally got my wish.

And now there’s the Iranians again. The extreme viewpoint says it’s time to do something about them. Because we didn’t do anything about them in 1979, it’s going to be a much harder job. A lot of people will probably die, and if we wait long enough, it will be a gamma ray blast and radiation disease that will kill them.

But the regime in Iran is determined that people will die. They don’t really mind at all; it serves their purposes, since they want to usher in the chaos that precedes the End of Days.

I’d like to prevent the return of the Twelfth Imam. I guess that makes me an extremist.


von Schlichtningen said...

Another great posting. Thank you.

It does not take much to be considered an extremist.

Let us fight back:
Get the most prestigious award for fighting the Islamists

Support freedom and the victims by applying (results guaranteed) for the most prestigious award in figthing the fanatic Muslim fundamentalists:

Also name the responsible Quislings in our midst:
Name the quislings

shoprat said...

Extremism must be in the eye of the beholder. I was called an extremist by a co-worker this week. (This guy isn't an extremist, just very naive.)

I guess an extremist can be anyone who disagrees with you and is unwilling to budge.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I can totally relate to what you are saying, particularly the Bradleys in Baghdad thing. I was so angry in 1991, when the job was left unfinished, and a second chance at Saddam was one of my political wish-dreams from then till Bush 43 granted it.

I've had four political wish-dreams, of that nature, in my life (1) the fall of Saddam; (2) the end of the Soviet Union and the liberation of eastern Europe; (3) the fall of the Tehran mullah regime; and, (4) the fall of the Castro regime.

Halfway there.

Thomas von der Trave said...

Sehr gut, Herr Baron!

Speaking of "extremists," did you know that Ted Rall is collecting pledges so he can take Ann Coulter to court?

Maybe. He hasn't screwed his courage to the sticking point, yet.

I pull down his pants on my blog...

Always On Watch said...

In the eyes of many, those of us who aren't moral relativists are extremists. Also, those of us who want to preserve Western civilization are considered extremists by the multi-cultis.

airforcewife said...

There are those in my family who tiptoe lightly around me because they are afraid I will "bite their heads off" for their opinions.

Which is interesting, because I love nothing more than a good politics discussion... I merely expect my discussion mate to be able to intelligently define their opinions. If they do so and can make solid points, I very well may reconsider my opinion.

However, statements like, "Well, it just feels right," will most certainly get ripped apart.

I most sincerely hate the use of, "Well, MY God isn't/doesn't [insert political cause here]."
Knowing the Bible fairly well, I can usually point out where God, indeed, points out His divine displeasure. That just makes them really angry.

Van Helsing said...

If you ask me, staying in the UN may be extremist. Letting Iran get nukes is definitely extremist.

maccusgermanis said...

There are also legitimate concerns behind the "extreme" position of opposing fluoridation of water supplies.

But somehow I think this is incidental to your point. "Extremism" is only a slur to suggest that most "normal" people don't agree with you. The degree to which something is believed should not be as important as how resonable the belief is.

Baron Bodissey said...

Airforcewife --

It seems that these days, everyone gets to define God for themselves. "Whatever I don't like, God doesn't like." Appropriate to the Age of Narcissism.

Baron Bodissey said...

Maccusgermanis --

Yes, I'd heard about those fluoride studies. It made me say, "Damn! Those right-wing cranks were right all along!"

But you're right; that was incidental to my point. After all, the extremists were right about the commies and the UN, too. Impeaching Earl Warren posthumously couldn't hurt, either.

But the best thing the conservatives did was to chuck the racists off the back of the sled. Of course, back in those days the Democrats were even more racist than the Republicans.

But that's all been conveniently forgotten, along with Walter Duranty and the zeal of the Left for Eugenics in the 1920s.

Mother Effingby said...

How is my picture for extreme. D'you think I should wear the burka or not? This is as in your face as it gets for me.....

X said...

I think I've figured out how the left can justify their "extremist!" label. Moral relativisim allows for a great deal of principle leeway; I've met people who, if they find tehmselves even slightly agreeing with someone they considere to be a rightist, will swing their opinions right over until they're diametrically opposed to whatever the other person is saying. It's fun playing mindgames with such people; you make a statement, then listen to their polar opposite counterstatement, then make another statement that reasonably disagrees with what you just said. After a few rounds of this you can have them justifying murder while abhoring charity. It's quite fun...

@Jauhara: Take it off baby!

Bill Faith said...

Dang it's nice to have company out here on this limb.

Kiddo said...

My desire to save Western Civilization and not become a dhimmi in my own country pretty much got me branded an extremist. It also kind of ruined my music career. Being lumped into categories in which I don't really fit doesn't really bother me. Not being in a band really does. Oh well.

Always On Watch said...

Pim's Ghost: My desire to save Western Civilization and not become a dhimmi in my own country pretty much got me branded an extremist. It also kind of ruined my music career.

I've lost several clients as well. So be it.