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A Small Bias Cleanup[edit]

I have removed the links for Evangelism and Fundamentalism from the list, which were almost certainly added as part of someone's personal agenda. Fundamentalists and evangelists are almost never aggressive or violent radicals looking to cause trouble.

The problem here is to sound more like an encyclopedia entry than a philosophical essay on the nature of extremism. What would be the audience for this article? - David Gerard 00:03, Jan 16, 2004 (UTC)

And what the heck was the original source of "One man's 'terrorist' is another man's 'freedom fighter'"?? - David Gerard 00:18, Jan 16, 2004 (UTC)

It's based on the "moral equivalency" assumption. Frankly, I think its full of crap for two reasons: Freedom fighters don't deliberately kill innocent people in their cause and Terrorists are criminals who stress no mercy. It's meant to muddle the political debate on Terrorism and try to "understand" the enemy, which is good, we've got to understand how to undermine them, right? The far left has been sporting this shirt for awhile. Remember, I give no credibility to the far left as much as I do the far right, I just happen to live in a place where there's more of the radicals, The Bay Area :) So I see the hypocrisy up close. Maybe if I lived in Idaho, I could see the White Supremacist groups up close? So please understand my contempt. RMartinez

  • Well, that quote has been attributed to virtually anyone, e.g. Ronald Reagan [1] and Yassir Arafat [2] - User:Captain-c, Jan 16, 2004.

Cut this para, more philosophical than encyclopedic:

Those who must respond are placed on the horns of a dilemma - whether to become a repressive society or to accept the depredations. This indicates that terrorist acts are actually actions against humanity and civilization itself.

Cut this one as superfluous, the article's a lot tighter without it (need a more neutral example than Islam for the remaining mention):

For example, beliefs such as Islamic extremism, right or left wing extremism and ethnic or nationalist extremism have been held to be leading motivations for terrorist attacks. Generally, moderates of the beliefs in question are quick to condemn such actions as unrepresentive and uncharacteristic.
  • I'm the one that added the "Islamic Extremist" point. I had a sense reading this initially that it was POV and the phrase Islamic Extremist has risen to the level of cliche. I'd like to keep the Islamic in to be honest that we had a time when this article was rather POV. In the future as other extremist labelings develop our successors can pick something topical. BTW, I was raised in the Christian world, subspecies Lutheran. Kd4ttc 03:01, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Dante quote is fixed and attributed. Translation I've used is as per [3] - the usual rendering is as it was quoted by John F. Kennedy. See also [4].

I'm also going through Google for suitable stuff on the subject of extremism. I'm thinking of the audience for this article as being, say, a bright child who wants to know about the subject. - David Gerard 10:17, Jan 16, 2004 (UTC)

... or, of course, readers of the many articles already linking to it! - David Gerard 10:24, Jan 16, 2004 (UTC)

I want Sister Souljah moment in there as an example of the political uses of labeling something "extremist". - David Gerard 11:29, Jan 16, 2004 (UTC)

Text below moved from this page's 'Votes for Deletion' entry:

  • Extremism The author has used a dictionary definition as an occasion for a POV attack against fundamentalists. Pollinator 09:15, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep. Seems pretty accurate and 99% NPOV to me. How else would you word an article on extremism? Anjouli 15:10, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep, although it needs a lot of work. Request for deletion seems more POV than the article does. Bmills 15:26, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Delete. The article really doesn't say anything. It suffers from being a straw man attack- there are no examples of any of the extreemisms listed or support that they were reviled. It is interesting to consider that extreemism is worth an article. "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" is a quote from Goldwater. Nazi's were extremists. McCarthyism was a form of extremism as well. What is interesting is the history of the changes that followed. That would be worth an article. A google search on extremism shows a number of links much more interesting than the one here. Seems the author did zip research on this. Kd4ttc 16:29, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
      • So improve it. Bmills 16:46, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
        • People seem to be at work on just that. Think it's ready for Pages Needing Attention yet? - David Gerard 19:45, Jan 14, 2004 (UTC)
        • Hey, I'm just a medical doctor. I don't know squat about poli-sci. I figure if some is gonna fix it they should have at least a little interest. My role in saying delete is to put it at risk. Pollinator was the first to complain. It already has some improved content, so it looks hopeful. It did get me to look at a Google Search on Extremism, some interesting stuff, but I'm new here and am not ready to negotiate in the POV/NPOV jungle. Steve Kd4ttc 23:03, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep--a worthy topic for an article. I added the Goldwater quote and tried to make it more balanced, but this is a two-minute fix. Pages Needing Attention would be perfect. Meelar 20:29, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
      • Agree totally. Keep. Andrewa 03:52, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Absolutely keep. But needs a bti more work. Certainly not delete though! SpellBott 08:07, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep, edit, thats what were here for right? Not just to delete stuff and argue? ;) JackLynch 10:17, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep, and improve. Topic is worthy for an article. User:Captain-c, 15 Jan 2004
  • I've just hacked it a bit - tightening it up and trying for more NPOV. (Last paragraph still needs work - doesn't feel sufficiently encyclopedia-ish to me.) Also, there's already a stub-like entry for fanaticism, which isn't quite the same thing. Saveable yet? - David Gerard 21:21, Jan 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • If such a thing is possible I'll withdraw my VFD. The article is no longer a rant, but thoughtful enough to have Wikipedia possibility. I think I may even add some editing. Pollinator 22:27, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I pulled the attribution regarding Hess because the reference detracted from the point of the article. I think, also, that pointing out Goldwater had a speachwriter seems to give a POV slant, though how to take the POV reveals more in the reader than the writer. Speachwriters are also ones who write what the candidate wants to say, so the attribution belongs to the speach speaker, not the speach writer. The issue of Hess and his politics does belong in the Goldwater article, so I threw it over there were it could be more easily developed. The link to Goldwater in this article gets you to Hess that way. I think I'll go over to the Goldwated article and see where in went. I'm adding comments on the editing to make transparent motivations, and hopefully keep this NPOV. Kd4ttc 03:08, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

You are, of course, entirely right :-) - David Gerard 00:04, Feb 4, 2004 (UTC)

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in time of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality" - This is a popular mis-quote. Dante never said any such thing (it's clearly not his style). You can read what Bartleby says about this quote here: - or even better just go read any of the translations of Canto III from line 35 onward and you will not find that quote - it might be argued that it is a possible paraphrase, but even that is suspect. Go check it out for yourself: ( - dante's inferno translation by Norton)

"This miserable measure the wretched souls maintain

of those who lived without infamy and without praise. Mingled are they with that caitiff choir of the angels, who were not rebels, nor were faithful to God, but were for themselves. The heavens chased them out in order to be not less beautiful, nor doth the depth of Hell receive them, because the damned would have some

glory from them." 00:45, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)


This article needed to be made less circular and vague. The definitions kept using the word extremism to define the word extremism. There was a total mixing up of ideology and methodology. Folks who endorse the idea of extremism should try to find some quotes from groups that use the term to balance the article. --Cberlet 00:59, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Why is Zionism under extremism?[edit]

I am removing Zionism from the list of extreme philosophies. Zionism, a peaceful and religous concept has no place on this list. Josh a z 23:41, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

That's true, Zionism alone is not extreme, but there are extremist Zionists. A person can be simply a Zionist if they believe Jews should have a country in the Palestinian/Syrian region. The extremism revolves around how and to what extent this will be done. RMartinez


Needs to be split into categories The Fish 18:55, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Uncited comments[edit]

Please discuss comments inserted into the entry that are POV attacks on the alleged political "left."--Cberlet 18:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Psychology of Extremism[edit]

Maybe there should be an article about this? Anyone who has met an extremist would be surprised that the followers would make a continuum in terms of sympathy. I have seen this up close. From the people who sincerely believe an ideology and will verbally pummel or even pick a fight to people who just like the rhetoric. It's quite interesting to meet these people. They all tend to revolve around how a particular leader or system is so bad that I must risk everything to stop it...oh and give some money too:) RMartinez

About "Uses of the term in mainstream politics"[edit]

I don't feel qualified to edit this article, but this section's subjectivity is blatant. The last sentence "This is all nonsense and so is this term, coined by weak, shallow and insecure fools" is even somewhat shocking. Why not give examples of the uses of the term instead of giving your opinion on it? Struc 18:01, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

That sentence seemed to be vandalism, so I removed it--Acebrock 19:18, 6 November 2006 (UTC)


I'm unsure how the list of 21 things gives undue weight. N734LQ 23:40, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Extremism in Historical context[edit]

This article lacks the perception of extremism in historical context. What I mean by this is that what's extreme in one society or time setting may not be in another.

Take for instance the notion about a round earth during the middle ages.

Or take for instance (Let's take a nice sensitive subject)the fact that Nationalists who want to preserve their nation or identity all over the world media are seen as negative while Zionists (=Jewish Nationalist)who want to settle in other peoples country and change the identity of that country are generally portrayed as positive. Whilst the Zionist attitude if taken by any other people would be considered as nationalist expansionism. While in the past defending once country was taken as normal and taking another peoples country , be it with or without force, was considered rude to say the least.

I personally believe that whatever you think of both of them, there is a strange contradiction in this position of the media. It is an attitude that applies to at least some of Wilcox's 21 characteristics of extremism. Which only prove how difficult it is to remain unbiased. And that even mainstream thinking can be extreme in itself, if not towards the truth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:46, 8 May 2007

A mess[edit]

Let's face facts: this is the MOST controversial topic out there because we are discussing the basic phenomenon underlying controversy. It is no less a large part of at least one presidential candidate's rationale for running for president -- to bring America back from the center and away from ideocentrism/extremist viewpoints. On the other hand, extremists are always driven by fear of that which they cannot understand happening around them, and will always be with us in one form or another.

On the other hand, we should strive nonetheless to find a route that is unextreme as possible in our presentation of this article. Certainly the statement, "one man's terrorist is another's hero" is counterproductive in our attempts to be NPOV, and indeed genuinely socially irresponsible. (yes these views do exist, but they are quite apparent without having to mention them; obviously an academic account on the issue would be worth analyzing IF one exists). But not all extremists are alike, either. We should differentiate between different forms of extremism even as we consult with those who study extremist behavior and mentality to understand how they choose to differentiate the different categories of extremism they observe as existant.

Let's start by mentioning all the ways extremism manifests to our knowledge, after which we can correlate these to existing academic works and authors. Just from reflecting on all the forms of extremism I've seen, I can offer the following:

  • jingoism / extreme patriotism
  • fundamentalist beliefs of any kind which deny the validity of another belief without offering a rational basis for the denial
  • attempts to impress one's view over another despite reasonable and rational argument to the contrary (the imposition of one's own religion or way of life on another, or the resistance against the same without attempting to see the other side's point of view)
  • irrational fear of the unknown or poorly understood, especially when sufficient rationale exists to doubt the legitimacy of the fear
  • holding on to beliefs (especially scientific) which seem to deny the rationale arguments posed by the opposing belief outright (the "flat earthers" come to mind here)
  • any philosophy or mentality which exhalts criticism over production (to the point that the person possessing/promoting the mentality/philosophy is so deeply engrossed in finding fault with other parties that they are unable to offer anything of independent value)
  • the pursuit of ideals which exclude the influence and outlooks of a significant minority (this is a sign that the idealist sees the opposing side as a malignancy to an otherwise "pure" world and is, moreover, obsessed with the pursuit of said purity)

Tcaudilllg (talk) 13:37, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

warning tags galore[edit]

So this article has been tagged POV, "citations missing", "cleanup", 2 * "unbalanced section" and one time "cleanup section", dated from either 2006 (no one seems to care about that anymore) or february 2008, whereas this talk page has no entries whatsoever from february 2008. I therefore remove all the tags for the failure of the people who put them up to give any verbose reason. If anyone still feels that this article deserves tagging for disputed content, please do not tag without explaining here. thank you, -- 790 (talk) 00:02, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


I've cut Wilcox' list of 21 things to spot in an extremist down to a few examples. The reasons is that this list of general traits that may or may not be found in an extremist in my opinion is so general, and of so little sophistication in terms of political and social science, that it certainly doesn't deserve to take more than half of the whole section on theories on extremism. -- 790 (talk) 00:27, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Also, the claim that the label of extremism is more often applied to the radical right then to the radical left is, although referenced to Wilcox, not helpful; it would certainly be easy to find sources claiming the contrary, so I think it's safe to remove that claim altogether.

In general I find it not optimal that much of this article (in the form I found) has been based on Wilcox' article published in a periodical with an obvious leaning towards voluntaryism, a political view that is for sure a radical one, and in the view of most people probably an extreme one. -- 790 (talk) 20:01, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Well it's my opinion that you have used several weasel words in the text. ("purport", "allege") Wikipedia typically uses the word "says" or "suggests" instead. Liard Wilcox is a professional in his field and should be respected as such. (talk) 19:11, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

In the literature cited in the article, the writers describe an extremist type and draw similarities between right and left-wing extremists. Does anyone know of writings that take a different view, that extemists of the left and right are different from each other? The Four Deuces (talk) 18:13, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Political - Religious - Other : extreme characterisitcs[edit]

The Laird Wilcox list of extremist characteristics is helpful but revealingly short of certain key factors. This may be because he is dealing with political extremism.

There is a larger series of characteristics for cults identifed in the Orange Papers (] and not surprisingly there is significant overlap. To my mind, significant amongst these are separatist / 'Them v Us'; humourless; guilt-ridden; simplistic / emotive v logical. Others may identify other key factors.

The Orange Papers may be worthy of a wiki-page.

Many of these same 'extremist' factors are relevant to the Extreme-Vegan or even to the Extreme-sports-fan. The extreme-sports-fan is particularly interesting because his extremism is likely to be limited to part-time rather than all-enveloping. (talk) 16:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC) Salisbury-99

Why extremist/extremism linked with destruction? Can it not be extreme measures taken towards passion about something? Is it not being on the extreme side (either right or wrong)?

My comment for the red link in the See also section....[edit]

-- (talk) 06:49, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

POV check for the psychology section[edit]

To say that many psychologists view extremism as a disease (mental disorder?) appears suspect. It's not included in the DSM-IV-TR, last I checked, so it can hardly be called a majority view among the experts. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:26, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

See pp. 3-4 of the source. "Extremism is a pathological illness" is one perspective.[5] The APA does not list mental illnesses until there is consensus. However it has been argued that it is a form of BPD or atypical dissociative disorder. TFD (talk) 16:09, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't support claim as it was written, so I've reworded it. Tijfo098 (talk) 08:43, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

potential resource; 'empathy, imagination, and a healthy sense of humor"[edit]

Fanatics Attack; The best defense against extremism includes empathy, imagination, and a healthy sense of humor by Amos Oz, from How to Cure a Fanatic Utne Reader November-December 2011 (talk) 22:56, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Here is an excerpt ...

As a former Jerusalemite, as a recovered fanatic, I feel I’m fully qualified for that job. Perhaps it is time that every school, every university teach at least a couple of courses in comparative fanaticism, because it is everywhere. I don’t mean just the obvious manifestations of fundamentalism and zealotry. I don’t refer just to those obvious fanatics, the ones we see on television, in places where hysterical crowds wave their fists against the cameras while screaming slogans in languages we don’t understand. No, fanaticism is almost everywhere, and its quieter, more civilized forms are present all around us and perhaps inside of us as well. (talk) 06:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

potential resource[edit]

Bollywood vs. Bin Laden; The soft power of Indian films takes a hard line against extremism. by Shikha Dalmia Reason (magazine) February 8, 2011, reprinted in Utne Reader also. (talk) 22:10, 16 January 2012 (UTC)