Sunday, November 23, 2008

Extremophobia: The hate that may save the world

Just in case anyone thinks that I am picking on Muslim extremists exclusively - in view of many of my previous posts - I want to assure everyone that I am an 'equal-opportunity' extremophobe (just remember that I am the first to coin that term).

Fundamentalists come in all religious (and secular) flavors. They all flavors have several common characteristics
  • they have an unyielding belief that they - personally - are absolutely right all the time
  • they believe 'the others' are always wrong all the time
  • they are entitled to better treatment and more secure rights than anybody else, just because they are who they are
  • they believe that their goals are always so legitimate and pure that any and all means are justified achieving them
  • critical thinking for them only mean criticizing members and ideology of the 'other team'
  • and of course their understanding of their own ideology is the only accepted gold standard for justice, truth and even humanity.
Over the years I have met, known, read about and listen to many extreme fundamentalists: Muslims, Jewish, Christians and secular. They always shared many if not all the characteristics I mentioned before.
When I read about or listen to Jewish extremists like Meier Kahane, Dov Lior or Avigdor Lieberman I am always amazed that I feel I am in the presence of one of their archenemies, the Muslim extremists. When I hear the words of John Hagee, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell I go through a subconscious 'search and replace' mode - substituting Muslim Jargon for Christian Jargon - and right away the logic and conclusions sound like they could be part of a fundamentalist Muslim cleric anywhere in the world.

It does not take a lot of brains to see how racists, ultra-nationalists. and xenophobes also seem to fall very comfortably with the group that satisfies the above-mentioned criteria.

They, all, seem to have their brains frozen in time at a stage of late childhood and early teenage before the switch for concrete to abstract thinking takes place. Unfortunately, their means and influence on half-brained followers is usually more extensive than what their extremist infantile understanding of the world.

Hating extremists, or more precisely hating their way of thinking and dirty means of achieving their goals, should unite the rest of us. It is a lot easier for us to hate 'the extremists of the others', but we will not rid the world of their influence until with equally hate the extremists of our own kind. They are equally dangerous and moreover, they are more in symbiosis with other extremist that with moderates of their own kind.

Moderates of the world unite - You will lose nothing but your extremists.

1 comment:

  1. Here, here. I couldn't agree more. I've often remarked how similar the extremists are among Jews and Arabs. They seem to have a common goal--to wreck the chance for peace. They believe if they can do so then somehow their own maximalist views can be achieved. All they have to do is eradicate the enemy & they will reign supreme.