Every now and again, I’ll see a word haphazardly thrown around in an attempt to sensationalize a person or a group. I could make a series out of this, since it seems to happen a lot, especially from the left.
Maybe in the future, I’ll tackle words like “racist,” or “-phobe,” but today I want to cover the word I see bandied about quite often since President Donald Trump took office.
And that word is “extremist.” The definition we get from Webster’s is that “extremist” is the “quality or state of being extreme.” From there, “extreme” is defined as “going to great or exaggerated lengths.”
We, in the English speaking world, have a knack for taking words of intensity and using them in our everyday language to make our speech seem more dynamic. We take this sensationalism into our lexicon, especially when it comes to politics, as it makes any task we accomplish epic, and any villainy we encounter that much more villainous.
Now rest assured, extremists do exist on both the right and left, but not where you think they do, and not in the volume you’re told.
For instance, this tweet recently popped up into my Twitter feed and prompted me to write this article. It’s a tweet from Mark Meechan (aka Count Dankula) laughing at the fact that he was called an “extremist” alongside such figures as Paul Joseph Watson and Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) in an article talking about their recent switch to the UKIP party.
"Free Speech EXTREMISTS"
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) June 29, 2018
For those unfamiliar with who Meechan is, he was recently found guilty of a hate crime for playing a prank on his girlfriend by teaching her dog to lift his paw whenever he heard Nazi phrases. Meechan is in no way a Nazi and is openly against Nazism both by exhibiting anti-Nazi beliefs and by his own word. That mattered little to UK courts, however, who sentenced Meechan to prison for a year and then just ended up fining him the equivalent of $1,200 with no prison time.
Meechan, Benjamin, and Watson, and even here in the Americas, the likes of Steven Crowder and Jordan Peterson, are all known for saying things that ruffle feathers. While their targets are sometimes various groups, their primary target is the left.
While they do make waves, they don’t exhibit what we would accurately define as extremism. Despite any bombast they may exhibit, at no point have any of these three men actually advocated for the harm of others. Yet, the left continuously labels them as “extremists.” They aren’t extremists, but what they are is blunt.
Typically, especially in the case of Watson and Benjamin, their commentary videos tend to pull zero punches in regards to their thoughts. They will contextualize to make sure they’re not being misunderstood, but in regards to giving their opinions, they don’t utilize any politically correct language, nor do they soften their blows when it comes to defining their target. This has caused the left, which primarily relies on controlling narratives and messaging with meticulously crafted language, to lose it.
Without the leftist language to muddy the waters, these three men give their audience an “emperor with no clothes” view of the left. Stripped bare, the left tends to look self-important, childish and silly. You may agree or disagree with the methods these men employ, but their audience is a large one because of it.
But at no point do any of these men, from Meechan to Peterson, engage in violent rhetoric, or encourage violence to be done on anyone. They are merely advocates for free speech.
Currently, the left equates speech they are offended by with actual violence. For instance, saying that you believe transgenderism is a mental illness best described as gender dysphoria would be considered by some groups to be violent speech, as they will say it encourages others to lash out and hurt those who are transgendered.
This thinking can also be seen with other groups as well. Bringing up crime statistics in regards to the black community is supposedly racist, and encourages negative stereotypes which lead to violence. Arguing against feminist talking points is said to lead to violence against women, etc, etc.
This kind of “reasoning” — and I use that word very lightly here — leads leftist groups to what they believe is retaliatory violence. They will show up en masse to shout down speakers or even begin riots that destroy property and harm individuals.
And it’s here that we see the extremism, but it’s also here that we see everyone from the left to the mainstream media turn a blind eye.
Be it burning private property because Trump was elected…
…or targeting white people for violence and theft because “black lives matter”…
…or resorting to destruction and mayhem because you don’t want someone to speak…
…extremism is too often seen by the left itself. Riots and protests that turn violent aren’t exactly an uncommon occurrence.
If you’re willing to engage in violence in order to protect your opinions from outside interference, then you’re an extremist. If you’re willing to target someone because of their skin color, religion, etc, then you’re an extremist. If you’re willing to resort to deadly and unprovoked violence because your religion tells you to, then you’re an extremist.
Extremism isn’t free speech. In no way should we start labeling the giving of opinion, at least the kind that doesn’t call for the extermination of or violence against groups, as extremist. We should start labeling those who resort to extremes as extremists. While it’s safe to say that Benjamin, or even Crowder, say things that will definitely make people angry, to say that they’re the type to take their rhetoric to deadly levels is absurd.
Let’s be more careful about how we use the phrase “extremist.” To make it seem like those who disagree with you are so hateful as to be unapproachable or violent helps no one and accomplishes nothing.