Is it me, or is all kinds of extremism more common nowadays?

To me, it seems like there are far more people nowadays who belong to extremist political ideologies than there used to be, both far left ( commies ) and far right. ( Nazis ) I wonder why that is.

Is It Normal?
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  • The social media echo chamber, plus hard times, plus a felt need for a sense of certainty about things, plus the polarising nature of political discourse as it has come down from universities. What I mean by this is that as academics need to publish papers to get money, eccentric ideas from extreme standpoints have gained traction because they are noticeable. Ideas from the new left have become and are still becoming normative and missional buzzwords and catchphrases of 10 years ago like 'overturning orthodoxies' are now becoming old-fashioned, because their mission has largely been a success, at least within the academic domain. It all leaks out of that domain and into the general populace when professors teach undergraduates on the basis of this stuff and then voilà, you have this rather zealous, young, educated white-collar workforce full of theories influenced by the left-leaning extremes occupying top media jobs, centres of culture-production and education, and powerful NGOs. The universities openly teach it as a form of activism, because if you are an academic, why wouldn't you want to make the world a better place? This missional approach is unfortunately a little over-infectious and its young audience is vulnerable and uncritically trusting of institutional authority - because how many reasons has the average person got NOT to trust mainstream educators, if they've gone in for a mainstream education and paid a lot of money to do so?

    I would say that SOME of the far right appears to be a reactionary force from people who haven't come out of these institutions, against educated elites taking it upon themselves to 'redefine morality' through the culture they shape and the roles of authority they occupy, with all the gung-ho insensitivity that the young display at their worst.

    I get the impression that the most vociferous of these extreme advocates (both left and right) haven't really lived yet, or at least have lived sheltered lives with few challenges to their value systems - or they are just really, really single-minded, or are so desperate for certainties and in-group belonging that they refuse to take seriously whatever goes against their chosen theory of the world.

    I say this because I have had life burst my own idealistic bubble and forced me to factor in the painful nuances and shades of grey in things, and my own certainties have been shaken. The left-leaning critical-theoretical ideas of academia shocked me when I first encountered them and were treated as normal and good, and a thing that ought to be spread as far and widely as possible, when I didn't agree with them at all. My views were very inflexibily conservative at that time, and became all the more militantly so when I felt that the institution regarded them as illegitimate. Before I had very many views at all, I remembered thinking in high school, when feminist themes were slipped into the final year of English Literature studies, 'Why does my English teacher go on and on about the role of women, and injustices against women, and why is she treating this like the most important issue in the world, and like *I* ought to treat it as important? It has never even crossed my mind to think about it before now. I'm no victim and there's nothing I can't do. Leave me alone!!'

    Nowadays my views are more nuanced. Neither political extreme is 100% right, but nor are they a clear-cut 50/50. And just because neither is 100% right, that certainly doesn't mean that the truth does not matter! It just takes more guts and perseverance to rise to the challenge of trying to seek it out. I am more comfortable now in that I don't need absolute certainty or scholastic-style consistency in my views, and I don't need one side to be absolutely right and the other to be absolutely wrong in order to feel that the beautiful mess that is life, makes enough sense for that sense to be plausible.

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  • Its encouraged, deliberately cultivated.

    Divide and conquer.

    You encourage people to take hard stances on everything, two sides, no variety of choice. You can play entire populations that way.

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  • 100% yes. I work in a big building and I will walk by black people and they will openly talk shit about white people. Ill walk by white people and they will openly talk shit about black people. In the south people do not hide their racism like the other states. They will tell you if theyre racist. But I never use to hear this kind of stuff until recently.

    Its funny I'm actually really good friends with a black family that I work with. Ill go to their house and watch boxing matches. I use to train with them years ago. I know the whole family. They will openly tell me they hate white people but we are still cool which is weird. They like my wife their kids play with my kid.

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    • Here in Sweden, it's incredibly uncommon to hear white people talk smack about immigrants in public, they mostly do it privately it seems, but you constantly hear immigrants, 99% of time it's muslims, call us " Swedefags " wherever you go. People seem too scared to call them out. I think it's pathetic, to say the least.

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      • I think the southern states of the USA is already branded as racists so they have nothing to lose. If you are white and have a southern accent people often automatically already assume you are kind of racist. But yeah people are really outspoken about it here but I dont feel like they use to be like tjey are now. It use to be a lot calmer.

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        • In some respects there must be a sort of freedom not to feel like it matters how you are perceived. But then again, it does make you a scapegoat and a target for the rest of the world watching you.

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    • You are more fortunate than some, to have such good friends! Your story warms my heart somewhat. There is hope for peace on a grassroots level. It's better, I think, when people don't hide their racism, but find ways of overcoming it and caring for each other as a community without being shamed into it. Here in Europe there is so much shaming and signalling and competition and division and suspicion between different racially-divided communities that the kind of integrated living you describe, seems rare and beautiful. And on the outside we preach tolerance and anti-rascism!!

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      • It doesnt mean you cant be friends. This black dude named Chris from that family was kicked out by his mom when we were in our very early 20s. He moved in with another dude from our circle at work named brad who was white and lived in the redneck part of town. Chris said when he got his room at brads house there was a confederate flag hanging on the wall. He said "brad can I uh... take that shit down?" And he took it down and lived there for a few months lol

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        • That's just amazing. I need to see what it's like to live that way. No fuss, no shame, no personal grudges, just mutual compromise.

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  • I would agree with this. The Western world seems very polarised atm.

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  • Its certainly more publicized.

    I do believe its also more common because the internet allows things to spread very fast...

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    • It's an ideological arms race. The culture war is heating up, so both sides amp up their efforts.

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  • I'm sorry, I can't explain why, but it does seem like there certainly are a lot of extremists around these days.

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