In my opinion, an extremist is anyone who has decided that they are absolutely right, and that any sort of means that they use to fulfill their cause is justified by the end they seek. For instance, an extremist group recently threw about a hundred thousand bottles of butyric acid (classified as a warfare chemical by the UN) onto a whaler, injuring both members of the crew, and ruining the whale meat they had already gotten. Now, not that I’m supporting whaling, but for the people on that ship, the whale meat was their income for a half a year, at least. Extremist groups like that are reasons why many people don’t want to go green.
Rhathymia made a great answer! Hit the nail on the head. I’d like to add that extremism is often marked by tactics not only that hurt people (as rhatymia implied) but also hurt the cause. Eco-extremist arsonists in Eugene, OR, for example, set fire to a tire store and various cars. The fumes released by the fires had the potential to be extremely dangerous for the environment!
Again, to re-emphasize what rhathymia said, extremists like to get attention to themselves and (often secondarily) their cause at all costs. They’re often extremely unrealistic in their approaches to environmental problems.
Any extremist, whether religious, political, or environmental, takes a great cause and pushes it way to far. Extremists often use violence or scare tactics to get their point across. This kind of behavior does not enhance their message; rather, it weakens their argument. It is much easier to dismiss an idea that is presented in a violent way than one that is delivered with reason and logic.
Good previous answers. I would like to add that some times extremists actually can hurt a movement. If people are on the end or undecided about whether they should join the movement, they may be turned off by such extreme actions. Extremists usually attract the media and their story is well publicized, some times in a negative light. If someone is not well educated about the green movement, they may decide tha they do not wan to be associated with such extremist activities and decide to not participate at all.
We must be careful to educate people about the benefits of movements and point out that doing even a little makes a positive difference. In all areas there are extremists and they usually are not the majority.
Yes, these are all good answers. I think it should also be considered that extremists often lose sight of what originally attracted them to a cause or movement in the first place, and start to see personal gain by embracing certain tactics. In the course of becoming a fanatic, one will see themselves as the end, rather than understanding that they can be a means to an end.
What motivates people is the big question. I believe in connecting with diversity: stereo-types breed hatred and violence; build a bridge, not a dam. The label: extremist is just another stereo-type to be scared of. What you fear becomes.
You tube: drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us
Where do you fit in of not, belong or not; on what personal demons(issues) are you aware of or not: was your past overwhelingly a sense of powerlessness, injustice, disconnection, fear or ego…unrelenting poverty, injustice….a gang, membership, mindset,
“The majority of the time the majority is wrong” George Bernard
My opinion of an extremist is someone who holds a viewpoint and/or commits an action that is further form the average or most moderate viewpoint. If no one has a similar viewpoint to that person than he or she is likely an extremist. For instance, Muslim extremists are very few and take radical actions that are the furthest from the moderate muslim viewpoint.
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