Extremism is another of these words that has been crippled and disfigured by decades of abuse. So, flashing back 55 years or so ago, 2 persons at least outwardly agreeing about civil rights but disagreeing about whether or not Dr. King were extreme might reason along different lines, but using at least some similar principles:
- King was extreme because he advocated breaking the law
- KIng was not extreme because he did not advocate nonviolence
So we might identify several levels towards “extremism” among those who worked for civil rights: the NAACP, which favored working within the law; King, who favored nonviolent resistance to the unjust law; Malcolm X, who came to favor change “by any means necessary.”
But now we have someone like Ocasio-Cortez who wins a nomination by footwork and energetic campaigning based on popular principles, yet who is labeled extremist. The “non-extremist” candidate whom she opposed had been one of the House’s primary recipients of corporate payola. The “centrist” presidential candidate had been involved in several underground foreign coups and considerable other destruction, had taken money from five foreign nations and diverted funds given to Democratic candidates towards the nomination of Donald Trump–all actions that we might reasonably regard as extreme in any other context.
This sort of thing happens because politicians, pundits, and reports bend and break usage because they want the caché of being centrist or leftist or progressive or whatever without actually adopting policies to suit. That works in part because their financiers are pros who look at positions and extract and check on promises, whereas most voters must consider politics after work and family and a bit of rest finally, and who don’t have the time and energy to look behind the waves of competing lies.
But one way to do this in part, when one has no better, is to look at the nature of the lies that are told. Some lies require more to spot, but calling someone “extremist” is bogus on the face of it. Support for Israeli extermination of Palestinians, the general destruction of Libya, the CIA-funded ISIS and ISIL in Syria is fairly standard among American politicians, and a fresh candidate would be hard pressed to come up with something more extreme.
More original, maybe.