Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Who are the real extremists?

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Preamble: This is another text that risked growing into a long multi-part series. To avoid this, I have decided to cut it artificially short. One or two follow-ups might take place, but I will try to err on the side of self-control.

A while back, I asked who the real science deniers are. In the same vein, who are the real extremists? (See an excursion for some other “same veins”.)

Increasingly, the Left appears to apply the labels “extremism” and “extremist” to a great many groups who are nothing of the kind, while their own extremism is swept under the carpet. Indeed, what is referred to as “extremism” is often just common sense and/or something that was mainstream not that long ago. (In some cases something that might still be mainstream, but which the Left hates: condemn it as extremism now and with sufficient force, and it will leave the mainstream. See excursion.)

Consider e.g. the absurdity that pointing to scientifically well-founded results on the “wrong” topics can lead to accusations of extremism (and, depending on the exact topic, e.g. “racism”, “X denialism”, whatnot). Take e.g. an awareness* of human biological diversity, a position that should be entirely scientifically and politically uncontroversial in a sane society, and the perfectly sane, rational, and obvious suggestion that this might** have an effect on e.g. group outcomes—extremism!

*I originally intended to write “belief”, but this word is misleading, as a considerable amount of such diversity is well beyond reasonable doubt.

**Here “might” is justified, because even the suggestion of “might” is typically cause for immediate condemnation. (Note e.g. the Larry Summers situation—and things have grown much worse since then.) However, that some effect is present is virtually unavoidable, and what I have seen so far seems to imply that they can be quite large on the group level, at least or especially in scenarios where the “tails” of a distribution are important. (What happens on the individual level is a very different question.)

Express anything but whole-hearted approval of the (scientifically, at best, dubious) COVID-countermeasures and the associated propaganda and “official truths”—extremism!

Take any of a quite a few Republican positions—extremism! Consider e.g. abortion: here the Democrats have condemned as extremism the suggestion of even limits on abortions that match the typical European situation.* Ditto e.g. the perfectly sensible abortion-_related_ opinion that there is no right to abortion in the U.S. constitution (note the aftermath of “Dobbs”). This, however, is almost indisputably so: the original “Roe” decision has been criticized as wrongly decided from day one—even by Leftist law experts.**

*Together with a slew of other misrepresentations.

**Indeed, I seem to vaguely recall someone condemning as extremist even a constitutionalist/originalist approach, an approach that should be a perfectly valid option to anyone and borders on being the obvious and obviously correct approach to the reasonable. However, here I might misremember.

Consider as counterpoints how this stacks up against e.g. the COVID-countermeasures;* the drive to put children into sex change programs; immense taxes used to finance a bloated government bureaucracy and to hand out money to the lazy and the stupid;** the BLM riots and the Antifa terrorism; threats against the lives and families of Supreme-Court justices; the recent repeated “swattings” against Marjorie Taylor Greene; the all-out Nazi-level persecutions and prosecutions around J6; the abuse of the justice system to harass Trump and various current or past members of his inner circle; the tearing down of statues, Taliban-style, of persons who, long after their deaths, are deemed insufficiently PC; etc.; etc.; etc.

*While the non-Left has erred here too, the Left has been considerably worse, and, going by circulated quotes from Birx recent autobiography/self-incrimination, she and her ilk were more to blame for what initially went wrong in the U.S. than Trump was. He erred in heeding advisors (while the Left likes to accuse him of the opposite) and was in part circumvented by Birx et al. when he tried to do the right thing.

**Were this truly a matter of merely those who had bad luck in life or saw a temporary down, I might not object. This, however, is not now the case in a typical Western country, and has typically not been so for many decades. This is the more perfidious, as the purpose of these handouts often seem to be more to buy votes than to do good.

Or consider, in general, the use of violence and other extreme methods to further Leftist causes: political violence, political lies, defamation of political opponents, etc. is a predominantly Leftist phenomenon, be it in the current (or e.g. 1960s) U.S., Germany at almost any modern point of time, my native Sweden, … What of all the evils that Leftist dictatorships have caused and how they have clamped down on civic and human rights, like free speech, and how they have sent dissenters to Gulags? (And note the disturbing parallels to the current U.S., where true extremists demand a ban on non-Leftist speech and opinions, and seriously talk of imprisonment or worse for dissenters.)

Indeed, a massive problem with the current political climate in a great many countries is how the Left has engaged in large-scale propaganda to shift the opinion corridors, to make what truly is extreme appear normal and the normal extreme. That we should have equality of outcome instead of opportunity and a government that swallows half the GDP, for instance, are opinions that by any reasonable standard are extremist—they are not compatible with common sense, general fairness, a sound understanding of economics, or with, well, anything sane.

Excursion on other “Who are the real X?”:
As I have long observed, the Leftist accusation that “You are X!” typically implies (a) that the accused is innocent, (b) that the accuser and/or large portions of the Left, themselves, are X.

To take just three examples: Feminism contains more sexism than, maybe, any other movement/ideology/whatnot—and certainly far more so than e.g. any typical grouping of non-Leftist men. (Indeed, a case can be made that even specifically misogyny is more common among Feminists, with common attitudes including e.g. that women are not mature enough to give meaningful sexual consent, and that women should not be given a choice between house-and-children and career-in-the-office—they must pick the career or they are branded as “gender”-traitors.) Still, the Feminists clamor about sexism-this and sexism-that. Various Black and Black-related movements/ideologies/whatnot, e.g. CRT, BLM, or the older ramblings of the likes of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, are far more racist than any typical grouping of non-Leftist Whites. And still … (Indeed, the Democrats are arguably even the anti-Black party, with common attitudes including that that Blacks are to be grateful for handouts, and that someone who does not vote Democrat is not a “true” Black.*) Then there is the question of tolerance and intolerance: The current Left screams and screeches about the need for tolerance and how intolerant others would be—but if we look at actual acts and opinions, intolerance lives solidly on the Left.

*An upcoming text with some further reading suggestions will give one or two pointers on this topic.

Excursion on perfidious condemnations:
A particular problem, be it with “extremist”, “racist”, “offensive”, and a great many other words, is that the Left appears to follow a strategy of one-sidedly declaring something to be this-or-that, then condemning anyone and everyone who does not adapt to their one-sided preference, and, once the this-or-that has gained enough momentum or become sufficiently established, to condemn even uses that long predate the one-sided declaration. This notably with no regard for the facts of the matter, the actual intents of past and present users, or any other rational criterion.

I first encountered this phenomenon with the Swedish word “neger”—a long established word for someone Black, which had no negative implications beyond what the speaker might have had to the underlying concept. Notably, the only thing that this word had in common with the U.S. “nigger” was its origin in the Spanish (and Latin) word for the color black. Then, at some point in the 1980s, some fringe group began to claim that “neger” was offensive and racist, and that using e.g. “negerboll”* was equally offensive and racist. Most Swedes considered them crazy—at the time. Some ten years later, they had won and “neger” was arbitrarily considered offensive and racist in wide circles, including among most politicians. The “negerboll”? Since renamed to the prosaic “chokladboll” (“ball** of chocolate”)—the odder, as it does not, strictly speaking,*** contain chocolate. As a contrast, I have yet to hear anyone object to the German use of “schwedische Gardinen” (“Swedish curtains”) as slang for the bars on the window of a jail cell. (Note that “negerboll” referred to something widely considered positive to the eaters, while these bars are something highly negative to the prisoners.)

*A type of sweet that is darkly colored.

**I stress that the Swedish “boll” does not have the connotations of testicle of the English “ball”. Otherwise objections might have been more justified, if less for reasons of alleged racism and more for reasons of propriety.

***Cacao, yes; chocolate, no.

Since then, I have encountered a great many cases, especially in U.S. English/on the U.S. Left, be it words ,symbols, or anything imaginable. A particularly interesting case is “Oriental”, which (at least until somewhat recently) was the standard British English word for someone broadly from the “far East”, while the PC crowd in the U.S. had already managed to make it “offensive” with a complete lack of reason. Recently, I encountered an attempted pseudo-justification. It claimed that the word implied a thing, not a person, which falls on the circular reasoning implied, because this drift in use* has been caused by the spuriously claimed offensiveness to begin with. Moreover, that any use of any form of “Orient” would be misguided, because it implied a position relative something absolute, say, Europe and/or referred to an outsider’s** perspective. This, too, is nonsense: uses of “Orient” have always been logically paired with “Occident”. Europe was the West/the Occident/what was westwards of the Orient; while what was eastwards of the Occident was the East/the Orient.***

*If true at all. I am not certain that this difference in use is actually established.

**And note how such outsider’s perspectives cause loud protests when applied to various non-Western, aboriginal, and/or “ethnic” groupings, but go without comment for e.g. Germans, despite the true meaning of the English word referring to a superset (which at least partially includes the English too) and e.g. the French word to a subset (and a subset without a meaningful current existence, at that).

***Here, a legitimate complaint about “Oriental” would have been possible, namely the large area covered, the drift in meaning, and the possibility that different countries could choose incompatible terminologies. (This complaint, however, I have yet to see.) Compare with how the U.S. “Middle East” is (was?) considered the European “Near East”; or consider how someone starting in German would likely travel eastwards to reach Japan, while someone starting in California would almost certainly go westwards.


Written by michaeleriksson

August 27, 2022 at 12:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] that already goes on, as with the current misrepresentation of non-extremists as extremists (cf. [1]), including the gross and inexcusable distortions around J6, or with the deliberate entrapment that […]

  2. […] norms to be able to turn the normal into “extremism” and extremism into “normal”. (Cf. e.g. [1].) It also well matches the approach increasingly taken by governments worldwide, that “we, the […]

  3. […] the family of texts on who the real extremists and the real science deniers are, there is room for a text on “Who are really the angry ones?” […]

  4. […] *At least, [1] and [2]. […]

  5. […] invention of threats, whatnot. I have already written about the artificial conversion of the Swedish word “neger” from a perfectly everyday word to something “racist” and “offensive” that is almost as […]

  6. […] (Also note a similar drift of pushing an “is offensive”, “is racist”, whatnot angle to distort meaning on another level. Cf. e.g. [3] and an excursion in [4].) […]

  7. […] for tolkningsföreträde, and some other texts on similar abuse, e.g. an excursion in [1] dealing e.g. with the Swedish words “neger” and […]

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