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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:28 PM
Original message
21 traits of a "political extremist"
Laird Wilcox on Extremist Traits

Robert F. Kennedy wrote:

"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents."


In analyzing the rhetoric and propaganda of several hundred militant "fringe" political and social groups across the political spectrum, I have identified a number of specific traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist "style"..

http://www.lairdwilcox.com/news/hoaxerproject.html


1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.

Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, mental health, and so on as a diversion from the issues under consideration. Some of these matters are not entirely irrelevant , but they should not serve to avoid the real issues.

Extremists object strenuously when this is done to them, of course!

2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.

Extremists are quick to resort to epithets (racist, subversive, pervert, hate monger, nut, crackpot, degenerate, un-American, anti-semite, red, commie, nazi, kook, fink, liar, bigot, and so on) to label and condemn opponents in order to divert attention from their arguments and to discourage others from hearing them out. These epithets don't have to be proved to be effective; the mere fact that they have been said is often enough.

3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.

Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments on little or no evidence, and they have a tendency to confuse similarity with sameness. That is, they assume that because two (or more) things, events, or persons are alike in some respects, they must be alike in most respects. The sloppy use of analogy is a treacherous form of logic and has a high potential for false conclusions.

4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.

Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof, and they also tend to get caught up in logical fallacies, such as post hoc ergo propter hoc (assuming that a prior event explains a subsequent occurrence simply because of their before and after relationship). They tend to project wished-for conclusions and to exaggerate the significance of information that confirms their beliefs while derogating or ignoring information that contradicts them. They tend to be motivated by feelings more than facts, by what they want to exist rather than what actually does exist. Extremists do a lot of wishful and fearful thinking.

5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.

Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view very generously, and others by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours. They tend to engage in special pleading on behalf of themselves or their interests, usually because of some alleged special status, past circumstances, or present disadvantage.

6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.

To the extremist, opponents hold opposing positions because they are bad people, immoral, dishonest, unscrupulous, mean-spirited, hateful, cruel, or whatever, not merely because they simply disagree, see the matter differently, have competing interests, or are perhaps even mistaken.

7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.

Extremists have a tendency to see the world in terms of absolutes of good and evil, for them or against them, with no middle ground or intermediate positions. All issues are ultimately moral issues of right and wrong, with the "right" position coinciding with their interests. Their slogan is often "those who are not with me are against me."

8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.

This may include a very active campaign to keep opponents from media access and a public hearing, as in the case of blacklisting, banning or "quarantining" dissident spokespersons. They may actually lobby for legislation against speaking, writing, teaching, or instructing "subversive" or forbidden information or opinions. They may even attempt to keep offending books out of stores or off of library shelves, discourage advertising with threats of reprisals, and keep spokespersons for "offensive" views off the airwaves or certain columnists out of newspapers. In each case the goal is some kind of information control. Extremists would prefer that you listen only to them. They feel threatened when someone talks back or challenges their views.

9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.

Accordingly, extremists may become emotionally bound to their opponents, who are often competing extremists themselves. Because they tend to view their enemies as evil and powerful, they tend, perhaps subconsciously, to emulate them, adopting the same tactics to a certain degree. For example, anti-Communist and anti-Nazi groups often behave surprisingly like their opponents. Anti-Klan rallies often take on much of the character of the stereotype of Klan rallies themselves, including the orgy of emotion, bullying, screaming epithets, and even acts of violence. To behave the opposite of someone is to actually surrender your will to them, and "opposites" are often more like mirror images that, although they have "left" and "right" reversed, look and behave amazingly alike.

10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.

Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into accepting their premises and conclusions. To disagree with them is to "ally oneself with the devil," or to give aid and comfort to the enemy. They use a lot of moralizing and pontificating, and tend to be very judgmental. This shrill, harsh rhetorical style allows them to keep their opponents and critics on the defensive, cuts off troublesome lines of argument, and allows them to define the perimeters of debate.

11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.

For many extremists shortcuts in thinking and in reasoning matters out seem to be necessary in order to avoid or evade awareness of troublesome facts and compelling counter-arguments. Extremists generally behave in ways that reinforce their prejudices and alter their own consciousness in a manner that bolsters their false confidence and sense of self-righteousness.

12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.

Most obvious would be claims of general racial or ethnic superiority--a master race, for example. Less obvious are claims of ennoblement because of alleged victimhood, a special relationship with God, membership in a special "elite" or "class," and a kind of aloof "highminded" snobbishness that accrues because of the weightiness of their preoccupations, their altruism, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves (and others) to their cause. After all, who can bear to deal with common people when one is trying to save the world! Extremists can show great indignation when one is "insensitive" enough to challenge these claims.

13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.

Extremists often predict dire or catastrophic consequences from a situation or from failure to follow a specific course, and they tend to exhibit a kind of "crisis-mindedness." It can be a Communist takeover, a Nazi revival, nuclear war, earthquakes, floods, or the wrath of God. Whatever it is, it's just around the corner unless we follow their program and listen to the special insight and wisdom, to which only the truly enlightened have access. For extremists, any setback or defeat is the "beginning of the end!"

14. BELIEF THAT IT'S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A "GOOD" CAUSE.

Extremists may deliberately lie, distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics, engage in censorship or repression , or undertake violence in "special cases." This is done with little or no remorse as long as it's in the service of defeating the Communists or Fascists or whomever. Defeating an "enemy" becomes an all-encompassing goal to which other values are subordinate. With extremists, the end justifies the means.


15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.

Extremists have an unspoken reverence for propaganda, which they may call "education" or "consciousness-raising." Symbolism plays an exaggerated role in their thinking, and they tend to think imprecisely and metamorphically. Harold D. Lasswell, in his book, *Psychopathology and Politics*, says, "The essential mark of the agitator is the high value he places on the emotional response of the public." Effective extremists tend to be effective propagandists. Propaganda differs from education in that the former teaches one what to think, and the latter teaches one how to think.

16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.

Extremists perceive hostile innuendo in even casual comments; imagine rejection and antagonism concealed in honest disagreement and dissent; see "latent" subversion, anti-semitism, perversion, racism, disloyalty, and so on in innocent gestures and ambiguous behaviors. Although few extremists are clinically paranoid, many of them adopt a paranoid style with its attendant hostility and distrust.

17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.

Some extremists, particularly those involved in "cults" or extreme religious movements, such as fundamentalist Christians, militant Zionist extremists, and members of mystical and metaphysical organizations, claim some kind of supernatural rationale for their beliefs and actions, and that their movement or cause is ordained by God. In this case, stark extremism may become reframed in a "religious" context, which can have a legitimizing effect for some people. It's surprising how many people are reluctant to challenge religiously motivated extremism because it represents "religious belief" or because of the sacred-cow status of some religions in our culture.

18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.

Indeed, the ideologies and belief systems to which extremists tend to attach themselves often represent grasping for certainty in an uncertain world, or an attempt to achieve absolute security in an environment that is naturally unpredictable or perhaps populated by people with interests opposed to their own. Extremists exhibit a kind of risk-aversiveness that compels them to engage in controlling and manipulative behavior, both on a personal level and in a political context, to protect themselves from the unforeseen and unknown. The more laws or "rules" there are that regulate the behavior of others--particular their "enemies"--the more secure extremists feel.


19. INCLINATION TOWARD "GROUPTHINK."

Extremists, their organizations , and their subcultures are prone to a kind of inward-looking group cohesiveness that leads to what Irving Janis discussed in his excellent book Victims of Groupthink. "Groupthink" involves a tendency to conform to group norms and to preserve solidarity and concurrence at the expense of distorting members' observations of facts, conflicting evidence, and disquieting observations that would call into question the shared assumptions and beliefs of the group.

Right-wingers (or left-wingers), for example, talk only with one another, read material that reflects their own views, and can be almost phobic about the "propaganda" of the "other side." The result is a deterioration of reality-testing, rationality, and moral judgment. With groupthink, shared illusions of righteousness, superior morality, persecution, and so on remain intact, and those who challenge them are viewed with skepticism and hostility.

20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.

Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their "enemies," and celebrate when it occurs. When a critic or an adversary dies or has a serious illness, a bad accident, or personal legal problems, extremists often rejoice and chortle about how they "deserved" it. I recall seeing right-wing extremists celebrate the assassination of Martin Luther King and leftists agonizing because George Wallace survived an assassination attempt. In each instance their hatred was not only directed against ideas, but also against individual human beings.

21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.

For example, if they lose an election, then it was "rigged." If public opinion turns against them, it was because of "brainwashing." If their followers become disillusioned, it's because of "sabotage." The test of the rightness or wrongness of the system is how it impacts upon them...
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jesus_of_suburbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick for truth.... (edit) ...... mostly
Edited on Tue Jul-13-10 06:37 PM by jesus_of_suburbia
7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.

Extremists have a tendency to see the world in terms of absolutes of good and evil, for them or against them, with no middle ground or intermediate positions. All issues are ultimately moral issues of right and wrong, with the "right" position coinciding with their interests. Their slogan is often "those who are not with me are against me."





There are absolutes of right and wrong.

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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. There are absolutes of right and wrong
True.

But it is largely hubris of the first order to claim to possess them.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. ...the use of checklists.....

<grin>
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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. *lol*
I laughed out loud when I saw the title of your post

+++++ to you!
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sounds like nearly every republican and teabagger I know
Edited on Tue Jul-13-10 06:36 PM by liberal N proud
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
42. I fit that profile
proudly. I do not advocate that Reverend Phelps has the right to "express" himself at GLBT events. Some assertions do not require underwriting or endorsement by an authority figure before the logic of it can be accepted.

I could go on and on, but I draw the line at checklists. :P

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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. +1000
Thanks for posting
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
6. I've met a lot of people on the far left and the far right to whom these points apply perfectly
Even right here on DU.
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bobburgster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
82. I was thinking the same thing.....
"Even right here on DU."
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:51 PM
Response to Original message
7. inclination towards groupthink
ohh yeah.... :rofl:
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. Oops! Need to clean up my act and quit calling the neo-fascist corporatist mother-f*ckers
motherf*ckers. :P
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. omg Number 13!!!!
Is that GD lately or what??!

All of these are spot on and we see shining examples here every day (#21 too shows up a hell of a lot around here) but number 13 just made me :wow:
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. 3, 4, 10, 11, 12.
I'm realizing how many arguments I have at DU are about the behavior on this list. For example, I point out when someone is doing #4 when they attack Obama and the response is 10, 11 and 12. I'm bookmarking this thread.
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Yep. #14 is pretty common around here too lately.
There was a post a few days ago that said that when confronted with facts, extremists become even MORE tethered to their beliefs, even if the beliefs are in direct contradiction to the facts. All too true.
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. Say's "Number23"
:rofl:

You're right - doomsday thinking is off the charts here compared to anybody/everybody I deal with in real life.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
41. I guess irony impairment knows few bounds- not even big wide oceans
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 10:20 AM by depakid
;-)

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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #41
61. Have you figured out which on the list you do the most often?
I know it must be difficult to pick between so many examples.
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #61
99. Word!!
:rofl: :rofl:

They need about 10 more characteristics to describe that one.

I have no idea why that simpleton keeps responding to me. I have even asked him repeatedly to leave me alone but he won't. It's not enough that he is wrong on every single issue. He needs to be embarrassed and shamed before this entire community as well, I guess.

Oh well. If getting his ass handed to him is what he wants, I guess I'm all too happy to oblige... :)
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
10. Wow. So much of this is familiar at DU.
These traits are present in people from all points on the ideological spectrum. I don't think "extremist" is how I would describe. Maybe dogmatic.
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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. They are present in most people in the heat of debate...
...at least in some form. The big difference is the tea baggers and other RW wackos act this way in REAL LIFE. They live and breath it 24/7
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
11. Liberals could learn some positive attributes from this list...
You need vigilance, the desire to conquer or wield political power, and discipline in order to WIN!
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
13. This is genius! .. and so relevant to our current situation.. on both sides.
Thanks for posting!
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CBR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
14. 6, 9, 20 nt
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
15. ha, a thread complaining about political extremism
posted by somebody with an anarchist avatar. :crazy:

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disillusioned73 Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #15
29. lol - good on....
the problem with the left isn't that we have TOO many extremist - it's that we don't have enough to combat the onslaught from the right.

The left tends to sit back and wait to get smacked in the mouth and then react, we need more proactive attacks towards the right to push back the political spectrum pendulum to the left - just a thought...
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on point Donating Member (613 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #29
43. The left leads and relies on logic, the right relies on emotion and delusional thinking
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Remmah2 Donating Member (971 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #15
58. What's wrong with that? nt
nt
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #15
70. No kidding...
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 01:25 PM by liberation
Other people's avatars and nick names in this thread are also all sorts of hilarious when you notice the logically dissonant disconnect between their avatars or "nom de plume" and what they actually write as their opinions.

"Having it all both ways" seems to be a defining national characteristic for Americans, so I should not be surprised but DU is such a fertile ground for that ever so American hypocritical approach to basically everything.

I love the fact that the "list" is so subjective that you could apply it to basically anyone.

LOL
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
18. Nice post Hitler.
I hope you enjoy President Palin.

(That should cover 5 of the 21.)
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
19. Wow.
"USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES." - that's one I'm SO tired of, though many of these traits are exhibited here - and not in a good way.
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
22. Character assassination. Is that not what all Rethugs do? Kerry "lied" about his
Vietnam service, Obama is not a legal citizen, and so and so on. And it is so incredibly obvious.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #22
30. Yeah, those "rethugs"
are the only ones who do it. :rofl:
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Of course, there are political extremists on the left but that is what came
to my mind first when I read "character assassination". The Repubs really seem to excel at that.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. Of course they excel at it.

But you gotta admit there's some irony there when you're using the word "rethugs" to make your point. :rofl:
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #32
95. I think first of what the media and the right did to Gore. Remember 'serial exagerrator?' nt
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Dr. Strange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #30
88. Pffth!
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #22
96. We can go back further than that...
Gore claimed to have invented the Internet...
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
23. LOL!
The truth hurts. :rofl:
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
24. K & R
:thumbsup:
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Bobbie Jo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
25. Well...that pretty much nailed it.
K&R :kick:
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
26. I AM quite certain that the last few elections have been rigged, and
Edited on Tue Jul-13-10 11:00 PM by tblue37
I believe that whole point of electronic voting is to enable such rigging.

Even when we won in 2006 and 2008, I believe we won by larger margins--and even that we won more seats in both houses--than were reported. I think enough votes were shaved to reduce majorities and margins.

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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. "Even when we won" - that's sad. And affirms the OP's post in spades. n/t.
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Lost4words Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #28
49. you didnt specify the number you refer to,...
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #26
78. The electoral process in this country has always been "rigged"
when in our country's history has a poor man (never mind woman) ever been able to campaign successfully for any major office, never mind the presidency?


Exactly.

We may have somewhat working democratic processes at local and low office levels, but when it comes to federal scope... the electoral process has always been rigged and favored the economic elites. And it is no coincidence, since the economic elites are the ones who founded this country by them, for them, and to be owned by them.
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 02:59 AM
Response to Original message
27. This should be required reading for all DU members..
thanks for posting.
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NoPasaran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
31. Sounds like a description of the Internet
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
34. To the center everybody!
/
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
35. Hmmmmm... just sounds like religion to me.
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corkhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
36. Know thy enemy. Rec'd & bookmarked.
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deacon_sephiroth Donating Member (315 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #36
37. and thyself
or perhaps frist and foremost thyself, lest we become the enemy. I've been guilt of a few of these from time to time.
(not you personally, just replying because of what you said, I speak only for myself)

K&R
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #37
45. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
slutticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #37
76. Beat me to it....
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
38. What's needed is more "extremists" on the left. I have always argued.........
.......that to counteract the Rush, Hannity, O'Reilley and savage's out there we needed someone with a personality like Ed Schultz. I am not a huge fan of Schultz, but we need more of people like him to counter the large number of ass holes on the right. I for one am not a liberal that believes in turning the other cheek. If some fucktard comes up to me and gets in my face and gives me shit for my beliefs then "game on". We need more of the 60's shit to counteract these so called teabaggers. The right in the 60's were afraid of the left, now we cower whenever they scream socialist.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #38
44. 14. BELIEF THAT IT'S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A "GOOD" CAUSE.

Extremists may deliberately lie, distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics, engage in censorship or repression , or undertake violence in "special cases." This is done with little or no remorse as long as it's in the service of defeating the Communists or Fascists or whomever. Defeating an "enemy" becomes an all-encompassing goal to which other values are subordinate. With extremists, the end justifies the means.
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LiberalLovinLug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #38
56. Its a quandry
By "60's shit" you mean yippies as opposed to hippies I gather.

I think you are right....regretfully.
I was hoping, and it seems Obama and others are still hoping, that good will, reaching out, trying to listen and compromise will work in this day of screaming assholes on the radio and FAUX News network.

I might add that humor is another weapon that the left has. Every great (actually funny) political comedian past present and, I would hazard a guess, in the future, are decidedly coming from the left. Why? because they are observers and students of society. IE: when one takes the time to actually see how the world works and what is the truth, and one has human empathy, one naturally veers to the left on issues.

But yeah, I'd say in this day and age, we need more brave outspoken and brash progressives to counter the overwhelming cascade of diarrhea pouring from the right side. In fact we need a few to actually exaggerate charges against the right like they always do to us, so that we can watch them sputter and twist and get red in the face and, like us, are too busy defending themselves to wreak more damage. Fire with fire.
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kenfrequed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #38
90. actually
I would prefer a bit of old school labor activism to the sixties. Wobblies, real socialists, and har core unionists.
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
39. great list, thanks for posting k&r
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jbeing Donating Member (116 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
40. K & R....Now...
I hate to sound like an idiot, but now I'd like someone to go
point-by-point and help me with how to respond to each of
these traits. I find myself getting so exasperated and
sometimes tongue-tied that I can't think straight. Any help
would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #40
50. Don't worry, a month in GD and you'll be a real pro--or give up on politics
for good.

You'll know you've made it when you get labeled--something, the "what" doesn't matter.

Welcome to DU--and kudos for wanting to do it right (just remember that's not really what we're about. :toast:
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #50
62. When you *really* have made it you'll get labeled with two conflicting labels..
On the very same thread, if you're truly outstanding you'll get labeled with two conflicting labels for the very same post.

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snooper2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
46. That list could be used for truthers as well
:evilgrin:

:hide:
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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
47. IF politics and real life were more like a polite debating society (with as little relevance),
then following the rules according to these guidelines would make sense.

Unfortunately, life and politics are not a game, though many treat it as such. There are real consequences to actions taken in the ruling/governance of nations and people.

Compromise may work in negotiating a contract or other limited instances, but in the real world of today, it is a roadmap to disaster.

If one (or both) sides of an issue are not "negotiating with honor and honesty", the "high road" only leads you off the cliff.

If facts are irrelevant, those holding faith-based views cannot be reasoned with.

If rules are only for the other side, playing on that field is simply stupid.

To use a favorite phrase of some "extremists" on this site, those advocating acting according to this archaic (though quaint) set of guidelines are, in effect, saying It's Better To Lose.

I am not.

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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #47
91. Yes, T Wolf. Our problem is that we're trying to avoid these traits
while the other side uses them as a handbook. We're (I think) fighting for our country and our way of life, against people like Boner, Inhofe, DeMint, Bachmann, and the entire Hate Radio juggernaut, who passionately want to destroy us. And trying to do it while behaving like effete gentlemen and ladies.

It's not going to work

As you accurately state, playing on a field where only your side is following the rules is stupid, and completely futile.
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Lithos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
48. Very good!
:thumbsup:
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Populist_Prole Donating Member (774 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
51. Definately recommend
I've also copied and pasted to notepad to add to my collection of profound dissertations.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
52. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
53. hmmm ... is it just me, or does that sound like half of DU?
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 11:49 AM by SteppingRazor
:hide:

On edit: Of course, I shouldn't be throwing stones in my glass house. I'm pretty tied up in no. 9. I recall the words of my avatar, in his obituary of Richard Nixon:

"I have had my own blood relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.
Nixon laughed when I told him this. "Don't worry," he said. "I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you."
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #53
54. Yeah, that OTHER half...
:evilgrin:
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. zing!
:toast:
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
57. You might have to be dead not to fit at least one those traits or behaviors
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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
59. I wonder if 'centrists' and 'pragmatists' understand they can also be extremist
in devotion to their particular beliefs or if they exempt themselves by the false virtue of moderation and moral "flexibility".

Extremism is more about zealotry and tactics than position along any spectum.

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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #59
84. +1
Part of the entertainment value in this thread is seeing who doesn't seem to think these apply to themselves just as easily as some others.
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #59
86. Yeah, I may be an "extreme" pragmatist...
but at least I admit it. ;)
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janet118 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
60. But what if the elections were rigged? n/t
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #60
63. 4, 6, and 13
:nuke:
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. 18
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #64
66. 16
:rofl:

This is fun!
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #66
69. 1, probably 2
maybe even 9
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The Green Manalishi Donating Member (426 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
65. Well Done.
I pretty much write off anyone who fails to ascribe good motives to the opposition. Anyone who demonizes the opposition is not worthy of being taken seriously.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #65
89. You do what???!?
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 04:52 PM by Doctor_J
I pretty much write off anyone who fails to ascribe good motives to the opposition.

You honestly think that Boner and Hate Radio have good intentions????!?!?

Jesus, no wonder we're losing
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The Green Manalishi Donating Member (426 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #89
94. Yeah.
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 05:51 PM by The Green Manalishi
Outside of a few people in psyche wards, I've never met or heard of someone who doesn't think they are doing the right thing, or acting for the right reason.
Doesn't mean they aren't wrong, but if you want to reach them it's counterproductive to attack the person. I know I'm never going to talk sense into Rush, but if I start off a conversation with something like "Anybody who listens to Rush is an idiot" then there goes damn near any hope or chance of getting a ditto head to see the light.

There have been, and most certinly are, things I'm wrong on, and I'm always willing to listen to the other side on *ANYTHING*. But if someone comes off like I'm evil or stupid because of what I believe then screw them, they've lost as far as I am concerned, they are an idiot not worth listning to.
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uncommon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
67. Excellent thread
Unfortunately I have seen a ton of this behavior here on DU :(
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
68. Right on. Sarcastic comments to follow.
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 01:24 PM by Deep13
1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.

I hate how our communist, fascist, Muslim, foreign, white-hating president does this. Of course if a person says crazy shit like "Obama is a communist" then it is fair to question his sanity. And when ones values are so obviously based on who has the power to keep him in office or remove him, I think it's okay to point that out.

2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.

This is a how-too guide for Republicans, Fox "News", Fundies and Teabaggers.

3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.

Stopping an economic depression is exactly what Hitler did!

4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.

I don't need proof. I have FAITH. That still means something around here, yah know! I'm just like that great conservative commentator, Stephen Colbert. We think with our guts!

5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.

Bush didn't mean to bankrupt the country and kill a bunch of innocent people on an unnecessary war!

6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.
7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.

I've seen Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson. Some of our critics ARE essentially evil. Basically, if a political person is using this list as an instruction manual, he's evil.

8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.

I know it! That damn liberal media is censoring us! Except for Fox News, the WSJ, the Boston Herald, the NY Post, Limbaugh and other talk radio, Drudge, conservative TV preachers, numerous RW hack authors, corporate network news and countless special interest publications we have no way to get our conservative ideas out!

9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.

Remember all those surrender monkeys who were against the Iraq war?

10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.

So you LIKE terrorists?

11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.

Most of them are either jingoistic or religious.

12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.
13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.

Fundies are really good at this. As a side note, good things can end in this world and bad things can begin. So sometimes the doom-sayers are accurate.

14. BELIEF THAT IT'S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A "GOOD" CAUSE.

Dr. Tiller. Torture. Killing civilians. Bankrupting the country. Stopping medical research or birth control because of what god wants. Most here reject this idea to the point of expressing sorrow for the family if a prominent bigot or fear-monger dies.

15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.

My gut tells me that this is insulting.

16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.

Happy holiday?! What do you mean by that, you Christ-hating atheist bastard!?

17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.

'nuff said

18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.
19. INCLINATION TOWARD "GROUPTHINK."

Yeah, Mom.

20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.

Like the clock on the Fred Phelps website indicating how many days a certain murder victim has been in hell.

21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.

And they will cheat to make sure they do. And not just in big way like stealing the election in FL in '00 and Ohio in '04. How many Obama, Kerry, Gore or other D. signs have you lost? Of course, It's not extremist to observe that the system is slanted to the right.


Let me add one: projecting the faults of ones own side onto the other side.
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louis-t Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
71. This reads like the business plan for Glenn Beck's 'show.'.
I don't think he's missed any one of these.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
72. They forgot the most important item of all
22. Extremists believe that they can pigeonhole what an "Extremist" is through a checklist of alleged traits...


Unfortunately for the squishy middle though, we ARE entering a Manichean Age; the Dominator Hierarchy and its handmaiden the Capitalist "economic" system have brought humanity to Peak Oil and Massive Global Climate Destabalization along with the internal contradiction of capitalism causing global economic meltdown...

You can use these checklists to continue to wallow in denial if you wish... :shrug:
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drmeow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
73. What this analysis leaves off
is that all these traits exist on a continuum. We all may have each trait to a greater or lesser degree. There also are differences in terms of whether the trait we have is applied to individuals or ideas (for example, I definitely think that the ideology and ideals of the left are morally superior to those of the right - that doesn't mean I think I personally am morally superior than all people who believe the ideals of the right ... although I certainly think I'm morally superior to GWB and his entire administration). Individuals can be extremists about a single issue or globally extremist. Finally, there is a big difference between feeling or thinking a certain way and acting on those feelings and thoughts or between thinking something in the heat of anger or a debate and thinking it all the time.

In that respect I think # 14 is a key characteristics that really separates the extremists from people who just believe passionately about something. All of us here at DU feel passionately about leftist politics - we wouldn't be here if we didn't. We also feel that this is a safe place for us to say things a lot of us haven't felt safe saying in this country for decades. As such, I think we may say and feel things which fit in this list (sometimes we mean it but not always). But I think most of us draw the line at 14 (which is why the extremists seem to often get the better of us).
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
74. I think this also works for religion as well
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Spheric Donating Member (512 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
75. Better than 99% of the people I have ever met must be "political extremists."
I can't think of anyone who doesn't show several of those traits to at least some degree.

I think the author is defining "people" not "extremists."

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slutticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
77. Excellent list
We can all learn from this.
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Winterblues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
79. 14. BELIEF THAT IT'S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A "GOOD" CAUSE.
Torture, Deny Habeas Corpus, Warrantless wiretaps, etc.
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
80. I'm not an extremist?
I only marginally meet a few of those criteria. I'm disappointed.

Actually I'm gonna have to dismiss this definition of an "extremist". It seems more like a definition of "irrational person".
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
81. Note for later
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The Wielding Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
83. Intolerant Extremists!!! My new battle cry. Lousy Corp. loving Republicans!
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
85. Should I be a political extremist for claiming the entire Republican mantra
is holistically a big lie in a riddle wrapped in an enigma, wrong-headed, bad for America, phony, and mostly about concentrating wealth among a precious few and placing power with large corporations (corporatism run amok), then all I can say is extremism in the defense of liberty (i.e., extremism in defense of our Republic's founding principles) is no vice and I am willing to bear the slings and arrows of rebuke from the religious RW zealots who abound on the local landscape. :P
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babsbunny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
87. Wow! That sounds like me when it comes to Republicans/Teabaggers
Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
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GETPLANING Donating Member (370 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
92. Reads like a Wikipedia article about Bill O'reilly
Or Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingraham.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
93. Snap, bitches.
Perfect. too bad it applies to too many DUers.

Julie
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JustAnotherGen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
97. Excellent!
Thanks for posting this!
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Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
98. This applies to so many on DU.
I wish I could rec this thread, but since it's been over 24 hours I'm going to just have to kick it instead.

:kick:

That being said, the loudest voices on the right, and many of the loudest voices here on DU meet many of the criteria on the list. The problem I find is not that an individual is passionate about what they believe, but they are irrational and absolutely unwilling to listen to anyone else. (Even someone who might agree with them, but have a slightly different take on the matter.)

I have no problem with an individual who might hold extreme views, especially if they can defend them with facts and logic. The problem arises when a person has passionate views (even if they aren't necessarily extremist) and defends them to the point of being irrational. For example, anyone who doesn't walk lock step with them becomes "evil" or the "source of the problem."

I've noticed that such groups can develop rather quickly, and become ripe for creating an Us vs Them style of persecution.
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-15-10 05:06 AM
Response to Original message
100. To remind people that we've all got extremist tendencies(Kind of long):
I give you examples of extremism, mostly because people keep linking back to this thread every time someone says something they don't like:

#1: Anything in which Firedoglake is mentioned will immediately be met with "OMFG LIARDOGFAKE! ROFL! That woman teamed up with Republicans once!!!!!111111one".
#2: Liardogfake again. A dozen other sources deemed too critical. Haters. Leftbaggers. Firebaggers.
#3: Rush Limbaugh criticized the president because he wants to see him fail. You criticized the president, so you must want him to fail too.
#4: The economy is doing great! Stop linking to anything that says otherwise, it's all lies!
#5: This number alone could go on for pages. Dozens of things that would've caused apoplexy if Bush had done them explained away. Since someone will demand examples: Warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, assassinating US citizens, drone strikes.
#6: You never wanted the president to win, you're a hater, you're too stupid to understand ten dimensional chess, you want a pony.
#7: You want President Palin.
#8: Starting flame wars in the hopes of getting a thread locked. Gravedancing. Following people to other sites and reporting what they post there here.
#9: Anti-Republican, and that's all. Nothing else matters but the D. Unless they criticize the wrong D, then they're hated too.
#10: You want President Palin.
#11: You want President Palin and/or Republicans to win. If you don't stop criticizing bad policy, Republicans are going to win, and then where will you be? You just want a pony.
#12: I'm a pragmatist. You're not being realistic enough. You just don't understand how politics work.
#13: If you don't stop criticizing Republicans will win and we'll all die!
#14: Warrantless wiretapping, The "Good" war, assassinating people, drone strikes, Guantanamo.
#15: Long picture threads.
#16: This one is too easy. If someone posted a thread titled "I think the President's shoes were attractive, but his socks could have matched them better" there will instantly be a dozen responses. None good.
#17: This one doesn't really apply to anyone here.
#18: There's authoritarians, but they're on all sides.
#19: Excessive back patting for a post that pretty much could be summed up as "You never loved him anyway!".
#20: Pretty much everyone does this to some extent too.
#21: Ralph Nader.

Way too much of this list isn't actually characteristic of extremists. It's stuff everyone does to some extent or another. Depending on the definition of extremist I'm either proud to be one or proud I'm not one. Depends on if you're using the "Fervently believes in causes" definition or "Willing to commit violence to further their cause" definition, respectively. There are centrist extremists too, by the way. It isn't just the left and the right.
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