What is an Extremist?


This term extremist is thrown about in the media all the time.   But, what does that even mean?  Do people think about it at all?  I think most people hear what their particular news source tells them, they hear the word extremist, nod their heads in agreement, and accept the negative connotation that goes along with it – believing the person of interest to be an awful human being.

But what does extremist actually mean.  Literally it would mean you hold a full consistent set of beliefs on a certain topic.   So if you’re a scientist who absolutely adheres to science and facts, I suppose you’re an extremist.  If you believe in a non-violent philosophy of voluntary interactions, self-ownership, and the potential of each individual – completely with no exceptions, then I guess you’re also an extremist.  And of course if you’re an absolutely hateful horrible person, with no exceptions, you’re also an extremist.  Each of these people is an extremist in their own way.  I see only one of them being bad though.

The implication that some murderer is an extremist is to imply that there might be an “okay”, non-extreme level of murder. In other words its okay for certain people to murder, but if the wrong person commits murder they’re extreme.  Everyday when some guy kills his wife, some gang member kills a rival gang member, some cop kills an innocent person, someone on government approved (pharmaceutical) drugs shoots several people, or a drone operator kills some kids – none of them are called extremists.  But if some other guy kills someone, and just happens to have views critical of the way the government operates – he is an extremist according to law enforcement, politicians, and the media – thereby purposefully linking an unhinged killer with anyone who doesn’t love, or at least accept the way society is run – i.e. “You must be crazy if you dislike how the government is run”, and “We need to be scared of these people, and anyone we say is like them, because they could be home grown terrorists”. Its the government broad brush approach – linking 99% of people with anti-government views who are peaceful and many philosophically principled with the 1% who are simply angry, confused, deranged, and violent. Instead of blaming violent people they come up with outlandish connections, spreading the blame as widely as possible. Contrary to the common perception, governments are not mutual fair referees. They are independent entities interested in growing themselves, like a giant monopolistic corporation, and will use propaganda, advertising, manipulation, and fear to achieve their ends. We must always have a boogie man to fear – they’ll drum up Hitlers all over the world, and if the world is relatively quiet they’ll create some enemies at home. They need to be needed.

The additional implication here is that you should not be critical, not voice opposition, not think outside the box – because you’ll be on the side of extremist murderers. They should be denouncing murder universally and equally – not creating things for propagandistic political purposes.  Killing someone is the thing that is extreme.  In fact, anytime someone resorts to violence, they alone are responsible and they alone are acting immorally, no matter if they’re a police man, a  gang member, an abusive family member, or some unhinged prescription drug user.  Average people do of course sometimes resort to violence to solve their problems – but government is the entity that always resorts to violence to solve problems.  It is their one and only tool.  Everything they say and demand is backed by a gun.

So the underlying idea that those in power promulgate is don’t be too consistent in your thinking. Don’t look into things too much.  Don’t think for yourselves.  Always compromise.  And never hold to any principles.  Thinking consistently, i.e. extreme, is bad and you should strive for lots of contradictions.  Of course this is only in regard to ideas that don’t match up with state mythology.  If you’re a hardcore government worshipper of some sort or another who advocates for wars, government schools, chemical laden foods, and economic and social controls, etc.- I consider that person a threat to peaceful existence.  But nope, to the media and government – the “e” word is saved for those “radicals” who just want to be left free of force and coercion.

For example they’ll often label some idea to be extreme or some thinker or writer or politician to be an extremist.  What they really mean is those people or ideas don’t fit in with what we want you to think.  As Tom Woods often says we’re all suppose to fit on to this little 3×5 card of opinion.  The whole spectrum of discussion in society is meant to be very limited so the course of events and discourse can be guided along by those in power (which is why republicans and democrats really aren’t all that different since they’re playing the same game, with the same rules, and the same premises.)  Again, saying extreme doesn’t really denote the good or bad of the thing.  They’d call a brutal dictator and Ron Paul both extremists; not to mention someone much less extreme like some “conservative” politician – who is extreme because he outlandishly wants to stick to what the Constitution says.  Or if some republican or democrat recommends some type of libertarian or socialist idea, respectively, the establishment will quickly pounce on them with the extreme label as they must keep their own on a tight leash.  Its a sort of overton window effect.  They slowly move the point of view of society in their direction, and will frame the political discourse to keep the view from slipping back away from their chosen trajectory.

The media uses the term always in the negative, making the decision for you what to think about the people in question.  The point is don’t treat people as groups.  People are individuals.  Links and associations which might or might not exist should not be used to place blame and judgement on others.  Individual people are responsible for their actions.  If some whackjob unhinged himself from reality and morality and went off killing people, he alone is responsible.  If he adheres to some religion, its not the religion’s fault.  Plenty of other people follow religions and don’t kill people.  If they “liked” something on Facebook, that something isn’t to blame.  Plenty of others like the same things and aren’t insane killers.  When someone becomes violent, they are the one with the issues.  It doesn’t matter a person’s supposed influences – any kind of politics, religions, philosophy, or whatever else.  It is up to every individual on the planet to make choices and each is responsible entirely for themselves alone.  It is never right to initiate violence against others, no matter what.

Don’t let the media fool you.  Make up your own minds, using reason and evidence. Withhold judgement until you really understand something.  This subject was brought back into my mind this past week when these two people shot some cops in Las Vegas.  As I’ve just discussed; that was an awful event, because it is never moral to initiate violence.  The husband and wife had gone down their own twisted path, had lived messed up lives, and simply looked like meth heads.   Predictably the media did everything they could to find connections with these people to place blame all over the place.  They tried to link them to the folks at the Bundy Ranch, near Las Vegas – essentially saying anyone who stands up for property rights, and against theft and land grabs – must be a homicidal maniac.  The guy had apparently showed up there, but what the media was mostly failing to mention was that everyone else at the ranch was asking them to leave, and even had to offer him money to get out of there.  The media is also mostly ignoring the fact that they had attended occupy rallies in the past, and apparently they were police informants as well.

What got my blood boiling the most was that this guy had “liked” something having to do with Adam Kokesh – so the media jumped on this and declared that they were big fans of the “extreme, patriot, gun-advocate Kokesh”.  My jaw dropped at the blatant propaganda.  What Adam has been talking about for years has nothing to do with violence, patriotism, or the “taking back our country” kind of talk, but has always been based on philosophical libertarianism, universal non-violence, the NAP (non-aggression principle), and thus of peaceful, voluntary human interactions.  This is laid out briefly here in a short video, and in detail within his new book Freedom!. Never has he advocated violent revolution or for killing government officials.  Yes, he discusses how the jobs of most government officials are based on immorality and force, so they’re often not decent people.  But the solution is a revolution of ideas; changing the paradigm of how people view government; and of developing peaceful solutions to organize society, paying as little attention to politics as possible, and living happy productive lives – in essence slowly, but eventually rendering governments obsolete.  That has nothing to do with hate or violence.  Adam has countless videos discussing the non initiation of force, ideas of individualism, libertarian philosophy, free markets, and participating in peaceful civil disobedience.  I guess Adam Kokesh is extreme – by the definition of being consistent and principled.  And I’d say there’s nothing wrong with that.

Again, if you have a brain, a willingness to learn, and an internet connection you would never come to the conclusion of violence from a principled philosophy of voluntaryism. If the media or some violent whackos want to draw irrational conclusions and commit violence in the name of, or blame people like Kokesh for it – then that is their problem with understanding, and of dishonesty about a subject matter.  If you are part of the state apparatus, then just be that; but it is not right to attempt to deduce falsehoods about anyone who points out the inherent problems, immorality, and violence of a government system. If you’re a network/cable news watching zombie, yes, they might fool you.  But you can do something about it.  Be against murderers, always, and decide for yourself if an idea is good or bad or dangerous.  Don’t have the presumption that you have it all figured out already.  Hop on the internet.  Don’t watch TV news.  Learn ideas and philosophy, not events and news.

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