RE: Extremism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Mon Jan 08 2001 - 01:39:50 MST

('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is) >From: "Jerry Mitchell" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: RE: Extremism
>Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 12:44:31 -0500
>Obviously no one can take any words away from anyone, we all can choose
>whatever words we wish. To clarify my point though... When using the word
>extremism to refer to someone else's ideas, then 99 times out of 100 (maybe
>100 times out of 100) what you are really trying to tell them is that their
>ideas are not "good" (extremism definitely seems to have a negative
>connotation) BECAUSE they are so radically different then yours (the
>mainstreams, the communities, etc...) view.
Not necessarily true; although I DO believe that extremist positions are deleterious and impracticable to implement in their entirety, I consider positions extreme only when there is only room on one side of them, not on both. It is this characteristic of extremist positions, however, that entails that they are rigid, inflexible, absolutistic, and that their followers tend to belong to a monochromatic club typified by mutual back-patting and smug self-certainty in the absence of unbiased consideration of the consequences of the full implementation of the entirety of their positions.
>You don't have to address the
>content of the ideas at all other then try to use an argument by
>intimidation. You don't address if the ideas are actually "correct".
Actually, I am maintaining that the extreme end of any position must be of necessity pragmatically unimplementable, and therefore incorrect, if correctness possesses the pragmatic characteristic of empirical possibility. The form (or position) extremism dictates with regards to any particular issue so skews, ossifies and rigidifies content that it renders the practical implementation of such content impossible, and thus renders the idea, when taken to the extreme demanded, by extremism itself, of every consequence of it, worthless due to uselessness.
> This is
>why I was asking if anyone had a use of the word in any other use then the
>one outlined above. If that is it's only use, then yes... I do suggest
>dumping the word as anyone could use it to support "any" argument they
>wanted for any reason just as long as they contrast against the right
I have given the reason the word has meaning in another post; the moderate and the extreme co-define by correlative opposition; they therefore both possess meaning due to this opposition, and it can never be categorically stated that what possesses meaning lacks use. In fact, the identification of a position as either extreme or moderate tells us a good deal about both the practicability of the position and the psychology of the holder(s) of it.
>Example: Transhumanist need to quiet their extremist banter about AI as the
>average person certainly would think the establishment of a
>hyper-intelligent race of machines on earth would be a threat.
Actually, I do not think that an infinitely intelligent machine can be built by finitely intelligent peopl, nor can we evolve one given less than an eternity. A machine self-aware and intelligent enough to revolt against its makers and extinguish or enslave them does not seem to me to be a good idea, though. These are issues that we must keep in mind and carefully consider as we move cautiously, moderately forward.
>I like the idea of the uber-machines so this is just an example to
>illustrate the point. :P also note, that I didn't have to bring any evidence
>or facts into the sentence above, accept to show that it was an extreme view
>because the mainstream didn't believe it.
No, the population of the believers of a position does not mandate it as either moderate or extreme; the majority of the German people held extremist views about jews in the 1940's - at least the majority of those who were aware of the implementations underway. The bell of the curve can be skewed in an infinite number of ways. What determines whather a position on an issue is moderate or extreme is dictated solely by whether there is room for other positions on the issue on both sides of it, or on only one.
> But see how I can throw an
>additional negative word at the view even though it really doesn't matter
>how many people believe in an idea? I could care less if I was the only
>person in the world that believes in a particular view if I thought it was
>rational and logical. I mean at one point in history, Einstein was the only
>person who believed in relativity (until he told someone else about it) so
>I'm just trying to illustrate that the number of people who accept an idea
>is irrelevant to it's validity.
That is not at issue, it is a solely a structural matter, as I have outlined above.
>Jerry Mitchell wrote:
> > I don't think it
> > cognitively efficient to use the word, meaning it doesn't add any useful
> > information to what's being said (other then the fact that the person
> > the word thinks that what is being described is radically different from
> > "their" ideas).
> > I for one cant find a
> > reason to keep this anti-word in our language. If someone can spot a real
> > use for this concept, please let me know.
>I think that if I can't use the word to talk to somebody who uses it,
>that takes a powerful communication tool away from me. If I were to rant
>to that person about the word being meaningless, how far do you think
>I'd get in trying to communicate?
>There is a real use for this word as long as people worth talking to use
>it. I think Joe is worth talking to. And there is such a thing as
>extreme inflexibility. Maybe *that* is what "extremism" is really about.
>What do you make of that definition?
>Just thinking here.

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