Some Thoughts on Moderates and Extremists, Beliefs and Actions


– 24 August 2015 –


Clusivius-sqIn any group of people, there are those who advocate moderate views and those who push more extreme views.

Normally there is a whole spectrum of views between extreme wishy-washiness on one side and die-hard militancy on the other, but most effective organizations are led by people who possess views that are extreme enough to be decisive but moderate enough to be responsible.

Of course, there is a difference between moderate to extreme action versus moderate to extreme beliefs.

Moderate actions are those that involve compromise and less-direct, less-thorough tactics to advance goals.  Extreme actions are those that refuse to compromise or show mercy towards opponents, and they use more direct or thorough tactics.

Moderate beliefs either deliberately compromise on ideological points to make them more mainstream, or they are formed through only a casual interest in the ideology itself.  For these reasons moderate believers are often considered traitors by those with more extreme views.  Extremist beliefs are more pure and uncompromising, demanding a rigid orthodoxy and all-consuming thought.

You can have moderate believers who advocate extremist action, and you can have extremist believers who advocate moderate action. Of course, usually extremist believers advocate extremist action.

Former U.S. president Gerald Ford is an example of a moderate Republican who advocated moderate action.  While taking a soft line on liberal issues such as the failed Equal Rights Amendment, he took indecisive positions in foreign affairs such as the Middle East conflicts and, particularly, the disorganized U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.  For this perceived weakness, Ford was an unrespected leader both in the United States and abroad, and probably he will be as well-remembered in a hundred years as Chester Arthur is today.

John McCain is a moderate believer in the tenets of the Republican Party but more of an extremist when it comes to applying his beliefs.  That is why he he would crush patriotic “crazies” and push for war with Russia while vehemently promoting a soft view on homosexuals, illegal immigrants, and socialists.

Bill Clinton was a political extremist on the Democratic side who ended up favoring moderate action to advance his goals.  When first taking office, he advanced his extreme liberal views on abortion, gun control, health care, and homosexual acceptance in the military.  But after the Democrats took a beating in the 1994 election, Clinton took a more moderate tone for the remainder of his time in office.


Almost anyway.

And now we have Obama, an extremist all around.  Enough said about him; I don’t want a headache tonight.

ISIS is perhaps today’s quintessential extremist group that favors both total extremist Muslim ideology and absolute extremist action.  ISIS seems particularly extreme because Islam is by its nature an extremist religion, so their bleeding edge will gush quite a lot of blood.

The most conservative Amish sects, by contrast, hold extremist views in today’s society and they also demand extreme outward adherence to their beliefs in order to remain in good standing with their brethren, but because of their mild Anabaptist ideology, the Amish can be peaceful while living an extremist existence.

It is good for any group of people to have this range of thoughts and viewpoints.  One might even consider it a group survival mechanism.  In peaceful times of plenty, somewhat moderate views can be better suited to preserving that peace.  In times of conflict and scarcity, extremism is more useful.


Patulcius-sqBut moderates who are willing to betray their own beliefs in the name of peace have no place in the leadership of a functioning society.

They are worse than the enemy outside the gates!  Let such people wax toilets and milk cows!


ConcussusWell said, Patulcius.

But you’d be wise to keep their despicable grubby human hands off my cows, if you know what’s good for you!

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.



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