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What progressive extremism experts get wrong An entire industry has been built on narcissism

This is not mainstream. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

This is not mainstream. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


June 27, 2022   6 mins

In 2017, when Maajid Nawaz appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time, he openly discussed his past membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group that calls for the restoration of the Islamic caliphate. Back then, he enjoyed some renown as a “counter-terrorism expert”. Today, he enjoys a different kind of renown as a purveyor of dangerous truths or falsehoods, depending on your perspective.

Nawaz’s story of radical self-transformation from extremist to counter-extremist is a classic tale of personal redemption. But it’s also an unmistakable product of our current moment: an age of extremism that demands not only that there must be extremists but, equally, that there must be a whole cadre of experts to monitor, evaluate and police them.

Whenever extremists do or say anything of note, experts are invariably called on to “unpack” it, duly appearing on TV, radio or a podcast to disseminate their expert-takes. Many of these “researchers” are contractually obliged to do these appearances by the organisations they work for, and it’s with some reluctance that they trudge off to the studio, racking their brains for something interesting to say. But quite a few clearly relish the opportunity, especially if it’s on TV, excitedly sending missives from the green room to mark the occasion. For the extremism expert, TV affords the chance to reach a wider audience; above all, it confers legitimacy on them.

Extremism experts now command such prominence that they’re not only breathlessly quoted in news stories on extremism but often drive the coverage itself. Earlier this year, for example, USA Today ran a report headlined: “’Fringe ideas’ are going mainstream in US politics. That’s a danger to democracy, extremism experts say.” More recently, ABC News ran a story titled: “After Buffalo shooting, experts question whether America can face its far-Right extremism problem.” Last week, Voice of America published a piece with the headline: “Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric Could Galvanize Extremists, Experts Say.”

Indeed, the phrase “experts say” seems to have become a standard reportorial convention in news stories on radicalisation. And more often than not what the experts have to say is a veritable counsel of doom: “I think we’re truly in free fall, and don’t have any sense of how to grasp this,” one prominent scholar told Slate, referring to the threat of the far-Right in America. Almost always, the alarmist rhetoric of the expert quoted mirrors and legitimises the alarmist political concerns of the progressive media platforms which petition them for comment.

The epistemic authority of extremism experts used to derive from a period of sustained academic research carried out under the patronage of an academic institution or think-tank, or from direct experience of policing extremists. That’s now changed, chiefly because epistemic authority everywhere has become atomised. You don’t need to be a scholar or former counter-terrorism cop to be an extremism expert anymore: you just need the right kind of “lived experience”.

Up until recently, the kind of “lived experience” required to be an extremism expert came from former membership of an extremist group. Who better to educate us on the dynamics and perils of extremism than those now repentant “formers” who have directly participated in them first-hand?

Before the extremism expert, there was the terrorism expert: these were typically middle-class white men whose specialist knowledge came from extensive foreign travel or prior military service. Their main focus was sub-state terrorist groups and the threat they posed to Western democracies. These people still exist, but they have become less relevant in a political climate in which the more nebulous category of extremism has come to displace terrorism as the primary frame of analysis. They have also fallen victim to the politics of democratisation that “centres” lived experience, because theirs are clearly not the right kind: they are too white, too male, too privileged.

It is no accident that the extremism expert came to prominence just as the threat of terrorism began to wane in Western countries following the final collapse of the Isis caliphate in March 2019. Jihadi attacks haven’t stopped happening since then, but they are considerably fewer in number, more amateurish and less lethal. At the same time, the threat of far-Right terrorism has increased, particularly in America, though it’s still rare and has yet to match the lethality of jihadi terrorist attacks when Isis was in the ascendant in 2015.

With a finite number of terrorist groups to map and study, the experts needed to branch out: so they heartily embraced the concept of extremism, a category so capacious and permissively malleable that it encompasses not only behaviour and thought but conceivably anything that the expert in question deems politically undesirable or “problematic”. This made the field acutely vulnerable to exploitation by political activists whose interest is less to study extremists than to manufacture them in an effort to stigmatise and silence their political opponents.

Over the last few years, as my colleague Liam Duffy has documented, the study of extremism has ballooned exponentially: there are now experts on gaming and extremism, climate-change and extremism, sport and extremism, gender and extremism, fashion and extremism, music and extremism, neo-Nazi accelerationists, incels, femcels, jihadi poetry, and far-Right speech-codes. One expert has even written an article on “LOL extremism”.

Whereas terrorism experts used to venture off to foreign locales to do research on terrorist groups, the typical extremism expert doesn’t even need to leave their flat to retrieve data: they just need to go online, where they can access terabytes of extremist “chatter”, postings and propaganda. Consequently, many extremism experts have never even met or spoken with an actual extremist.

Unsurprisingly, the role of the extremism expert lends itself to the kind of person who thrives on secrecy, dissimulation and drama. Julia Ebner, for example, spent two years cultivating five fake online identities in order to spy on the online activities of extremists for her book Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists. On one of the rare occasions when she met a far-Right activist in real life, she put on a blonde wig to disguise herself. Ebner insists that the social utility of her findings justified the ethical breach of lying to her research subjects. Similarly, Talia Lavin, a far-left writer and activist who is often quoted by journalists as an authority on the far-Right, adopted numerous fake identities, which included posing as a white nationalist huntress from Iowa, for the purpose of researching her book Culture Warlords.

Before the rise of the extremism expert, an extremist was someone who occupied the margins: which is to say that they were at a distance from the mainstream, if not in direct contention with it. Now, it seems, an extremist is anyone who comes from or embodies the mainstream. He is the “normie” next door. He is your brother, father, husband or son. He is you, whether you know it or not. The Extreme Gone Mainstream, as the title of one recent book puts it.

This was a particularly insistent theme in much expert commentary on the racially motivated mass-shooting in Buffalo last month, where 18-year-old Payton Gendron murdered 10 people at a supermarket. The LA Times, for example, published an op-ed by Colin P. Clarke on how the “Buffalo gunman emerged from a far-Right ecosystem that’s gone mainstream”. Clarke noted, referring to the hate-filled manifesto that Gendron posted online before carrying out his atrocity, that the “great replacement” idea at the heart of the manifesto “is not merely in the dark, conspiratorial corners of the internet”, but “has been mainstreamed on cable news shows, including by Tucker Carlson, who routinely regurgitates far-Right talking points…” Rolling Stone published an even more polemically strident op-ed by Talia Lavin, titled “The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican.”

The notion that the extreme has gone mainstream is, of course, a wild exaggeration. The extreme still lurks where it always has: at the extreme. What has instead happened is that extremism experts have been ideologically captured by progressive politics, believing that anything that challenges elite dogmas — such as the belief that a woman can become a man or that masking mandates are effective — are forms of extremism that must be somehow explained and then silenced in the interests of online “safety”.

While it’s true that Trump and his hardcore supporters believe that the last US election was stolen from them and that there are broad parallels between their thinking and that of the tiny few who have wreaked far-Right murderous violence both in America and beyond, there are, as Graeme Wood has put it, “countless shades of difference between, say, supporting a border wall and wanting to snipe at Mexicans along the Rio Grande”. Anyone who can’t distinguish between the two is not only morally and intellectually unserious, but also singularly undeserving of the title “expert”.

The rise of the extremism expert did not happen independently of the rise of the intensely politicised age in which we now live. It is, in fact, a symptom of that politicisation. Extremism experts are the new clergy, telling us what to affirm and revere and what to fear and banish. Some of them even claim to have special healing powers, advising governments and communities on how to build “resilience” in the face of extremist temptation and seduction. No doubt many feel that they are on a social mission to make the world a better place. But they are no more to be trusted as the objective arbiters of truth than the religious clergy before them.


Simon Cottee is a senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Kent.


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A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago

I think the people in this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.

Michael Gove – 2016
Like or loathe him this observation was spot on.
In typical fashion, this quote was spectacularly misquoted and taken out of context to be used to laugh at him and Brexiteers.
We see time and again “experts” wheeled out without any real checking as to their credentials.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Yes, the extent of real expertise differs greatly depending on the subject matter covered. It is the attempt to pretend that all such “experts” have the specialist expertise of a surgeon and suggest that you wouldn’t want to be operated on by someone who was not an accredited surgeon so you should listen to the other “experts” that exasperates.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Much like Margaret Thatcher on society, this has been turned into a trope that consists of lazily repeating the first few words.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Orwell said the same bout military experts in the 1930s and 1940s. No matter how many times they got it wrong they kep their loyal supporters. What it may be is that it saves having to think for oneself. The responsibility for thinking and decision making is passed onto an expert.

Davy Humerme
Davy Humerme
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Shame that insight didn’t apply to SAGE, SPI-B , WHO and all the other pandemic panic merchants who pushed a maximal policy response to a minor health emergency with very manageable boundaries.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago

Well, quite. A good read, thanks.

A recent excellent (if thats the right word) example of this breathtakingly cynical strategy were Trudeau’s opening words concerning the trucker protests earier this year – mentioning within the first few seconds the presence of a (single) swastika and confederate flag.

With a clear low opinion as to the critical faculties of his audience, he was unambiguously tying the movement to violent extremism, while at the same time implying that anyone offering support to the protesters was guilty by association of this extremism. The clear message: ‘Do something which I find inconvenient and you’re a nazi or nazi sympathiser. And tell your friends’.

Perfectly transparent to any half intelligent onlooker of course, but a tactic seemingly invisible to almost all of the ostensibly impartial press.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Jam
Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

A lot of people involved in the Trucker protests in Canada believe the swastika and Confederate flag wielders were agents provocateur sent in specifically so that Trudeau could pull this stunt.
The flag wielders were masked (unlike the vast majority of the protestors) and were even challenged by some of the truckers and their supporters.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

A lot of people involved in the Trucker protests in Canada believe the swastika and Confederate flag wielders were agents provocateur sent in specifically so that Trudeau could pull this stunt.

Is it any wonder people believe this given how effective the stunt was?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Excellent illustration of the tactic used by an icon of the globalist left. The unholy alliance of these faux progressive leaders, and their toadies in the fawning MSM and social media, must be broken for democracy – the will of the people – to prevail.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Why do we call them the ” globalist left”? lets use National Socialist , the real term?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Irrespective of which side you support,the liberal media reaction to a clearly fake and false flag during the trucker protest stands in rather marked nonchalance to more regular occurrences in the Ukraine war. Even if you disbelieve Putin’s and Russia’s stance and support Ukraine, the sheer hypocrisy is ridiculous.

On par with “not all XYZ are bad, you bigots” if it’s the next terror attack by the usual suspects, but a single white male does something and the entire class of people (who died in massive numbers to end slavery and Fascism) gets painted as “white n**i supremacists”

Owen Morgan
Owen Morgan
1 year ago

“[T]he threat of far-Right terrorism has increased, particularly in America, though it’s still rare and has yet to match the lethality of jihadi terrorist attacks when Isis was in the ascendant in 2015.

Has it, really? US Attorney General and failed (not at all bitter – honest) nominee for the Supreme Court, the repulsive Merrick Garland has identified unarmed civilians accused only of trespass as “domestic terrorists,” as well as parents who embarrass their local school boards. Garland set the FBI on to parents who legitimately expressed vocally their concerns about the highly politicised state of what now passes for public education in the United States.

Meanwhile, most of the people charged with federal offences during the widespread riots of 2020 have had those charges conveniently dropped. If organised riot, looting and arson don’t amount to terrorism, I don’t really know what does, but Garland isn’t interested in prosecuting anyone who uses violence on behalf of the Left. The Democrats will almost certainly be resorting to similar tactics again, in a desperate attempt to fix the November midterms and it wouldn’t do for Garland to go locking up the footsoldiers right now.

Meanwhile, more than twenty pregnancy clinics have been vandalised, some severely burnt, in a campaign which is far from spontaneous. Garland’s DoJ has barely reacted and certainly has not seen fit to categorize the attacks as terrorism, which they very clearly are, with a manifesto to prove it.

Simon Cottee doesn’t acknowledge any of that, being too busy detecting non-existent “broad parallels” between Donald Trump and “far-Right murderous violence.” Anybody who claims to discern such connections is not qualified to discuss extremism from a position of sincerity, never mind authority.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Owen Morgan

Excellent point! I too was puzzled by the absence of “far-left extremists” (except for a few passing hints) in this article. I guess we can deduce that there are no “experts” with “lived experience “ explaining the burning of cities and related murders in the summer of 2020 (as well as the current violent attacks on pregnancy centers) to the fact that Cottee is not an expert on “experts.”

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Owen Morgan

And several of the Supreme Court Justices have been threatened and their homes surrounded by loud protestors. And Garland said nothing.
Cottee has blinders on.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

In fact, Garland issued a “position” on the recent Dobbs decision (overturning Roe and Casey), in which he essentially denounces the decision. And Obama wanted Garland to be a Supreme Court justice – he acts more like a politician than a defender of the interests of the United States!

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Owen Morgan

Well said. Garland is Biden’s Beria, meting out punishment to any opponents to the Stalinist DNC. And the generals such as Chuck “unleash the whirlwind” Schumer and Maxine “to hell with the Supreme Court” Waters are in charge of whipping up insurrection against the Constitution and “racist fascist bigot” mainstream US citizens.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Owen Morgan

This is right on target.

Ian Alexander
Ian Alexander
1 year ago

And anyone who questions progressive dogma is a “fascist”, because the woke elites have no capacity for articulation; just ever weirder slogans, shrill denouncements and thuggery. The problem is what happens after they have bent the needle so far left, having destroyed all capacity for moderate public debate and the trust underpinning civil society, when the rebound eventually happens.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Alexander

The backlash is already happening. There is no longer any room for moderation and tolerance.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Calling everyone to the right of Mao an extremist has diluted the meaning? I’m shocked! Look, this is no different than small company HR departments needing five diversity managers. If the supply of laptop class managers exceeds the demand for them, artificially drive it up. Plus, the fact they can then use it as a cultural and political weapon is a sweet bonus. The SPLC has been skating by for years by calling random nuts who post hateful things from their mom’s basement, new hate organizations. As for the Great Replacement Theory, I will let you guess who was unable shut up about “demographics is destiny”. Articles, speeches, and books with titles like Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution has Created a New American Majority by Steve Philips were not subtle. For added ironic humor, I will also let you guess what direction the voting trends of those “demographics” are heading these days.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
mark taha
mark taha
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Old saying -By a statesman I mean a member of my party and a politician a member of yours. Just substitute “extremist”
and “moderate.”

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

I was thinking of writing about how ‘diet and lifestyle experts’ started the rot of ‘expertism’… but then I realised that there have always been people who exploit ‘knowing better than the common man’.
The difference in today’s expertism is that it now commands easy access to an uncritical media. You cannot even rely on the fact that the expert has a degree in an ‘-ology’ to validate what they say. Not that ownership of a degree is any guarantee in itself.
I am not arguing that all experts are wrong or self seeking. What I am arguing is that expert opinions should be treated with caution, not automatic trust. I reflect on how first aid for burns has changed over the years, how dietary regimes are routinely debunked by their replacements, and how reports in local newspapers are often seen to be wrong if you have knowledge of the event they report.
So, are ‘experts’ often narcissists, armoured in their self-regard, and poor at presenting evidence? Yes, they are rapidly joining the political class in trustworthiness.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

H.G. Wells said something to the effect that while it was fine for a ‘hairdresser’ to be called an ‘expert’ it was indecent in a man of science.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago

I notice that in ‘Pride’ month the banning of ‘Pride’ in Palestine and Turkey has gone largely uncommented on, as has the terror attack on LGBT people in Oslo and the beheading of two gay men in Sligo by an immigrant of ME origin. Had these been western countries and white western criminals the ‘expertocracy’ would have been out in force, and there wouldn’t have been time for the anti Supreme Court hysteria we have seen at ‘Glasto’ either.

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Smith
John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Utterly True!

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago

The mainstream US media has never used the term “far-Left extremism”. Not even to describe the gunman who opened fire on the Republican congressional softball team in 2017. The shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter who targeted the Republicans because they’re Republicans. If CNN was ever gifted an opportunity to give the appearance of leaning even slightly to the center, that was their chance. This is how you know the term “far-Right extremism” is nothing but a cudgel, applied gratuitously by the extremists who dominate news writing.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

The mainstreaming of woke is the mainstreaming of extremism.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

A lot of what you’ve said is also true of modern “experts” in general, of countless varieties.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Let us not forget that Nazism is ” National Socialism”…. It is an extreme Leftist dogma.. clue in the word ” Socialism”? currently, any one who takes a stance against Woke is instantly deemed ” Extreme right”….. Eric Blair was indeed a prophet!!

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago

According to the FBI, the largest neo-nazi group in America has an estimated 450 members…in a country of 335,000,000.

It is very likely American society had more PhD neo-nazi ‘hunters’ than actual neo-nazis.

This is what we get with university degree hyperinflation. It’s much harder to write something new and groundbreaking on George Washington or Plato, so degree-seekers find some obscure topic with little competition to obtain that PhD.

But then they’re stuck. In order to stay employed, these PhDs must promote their area of expertise. For example, the neo-nazi movement must be massive and dangerous in America, otherwise these PhDs’ books won’t sell and a job will be out of reach, let alone tenure.

Journalists who are looking for something sensational to sell, without putting in any effort on their part, latch on to these PhD misfits…and voilĂ …the neo-nazi group s in America must include your brother, father and son along with half the nation. Better check under your bed and in your closet.

But the fact remains that according to the FBI, the largest neo-nazi group in America has an estimated 450 members…in a country of 335,000,000.

Facts are inconvenient and stubborn things.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

These “extremism experts” can thrive only in a climate where feeling trumps facts and well-informed analysis. Fear is the feeling which motivates the public most effectively, and so those who hire, instruct and disseminate the fear-mongers for political gain are those driving the phenomenon.

COVID hysteria and the lockdowns showed the way, and the “progressives” who were its promoters saw a winning tactic that they now employ to generate fear of the “fascists” next door. Only when leaders expose the tactic and discredit it will the rule of truth over “lived experience” be reinstated.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

The article has 10 mentions of far-right extremism plus mandatory Trump reference and swastika image (which may not be the author’s doing), versus 1 person considered far-left. The author is a senior lecturer in our universities.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

My reading of it is that he is noting the obsession with right wing extremism among the ‘expert’ community; their tendency to exaggerate the threat; and their presenting loose associations such as supporting Trump as evidence for their ideas.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alphonse Pfarti
Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

Perhaps Internet algorithms have an impact on the soaring extremism. Extremist views or superfluous articles on the new haircut of a pop star draw more attention than articles on how to collaborate to solve common problems. See for instance The civilization of the goldfish, by Bruno Patino.

S A
S A
1 year ago

Another issue with these “experts” who are basically over educated, under skilled, bored people (a lot of whom are women) is how they distort the ecosystem they claim to be “studying.” I wonder how many of the most extreme statements are actually people in the communities and how many are self appointed “experts.” Or in the case of Whitmer “kidnapping plot” law enforcement authorities.

There seems to be currency for these “experts” making groups seem more extreme to justify their positions. These people seem unable to construct appropriate mechanisms to analyse the phenomena they claim to know so much about.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
1 year ago

How can something be ‘less lethal’, it’s either lethal or non lethal.

Patience Easy
Patience Easy
1 year ago
Reply to  Barry Stokes

If 19 people are killed in attack X and only 5 people are killed in attack Y, then attack Y is ‘less lethal’ than attack X.

I don’t make the rules 


Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

In tune with this article about the extreme language in reporting news, I’ve given up on the Times and am just about ready to stop the Telegraph. According to these news outlets, everything is a catastrophe and disastrous in the U.K. and the west generally – meanwhile my mundane life of retired comfort goes on, without a ripple.
I know they have to attract eyeballs, but the sensationalism of mainstream news reporting, citing equally sensationalist experts, is just not providing any perspective or insight.
Brexit was just an overly intimate trade agreement that we left. It maybe impacted the economy, but the so called experts hysterically claim it’s been an unmitigated disaster.
Irish terrorism will never escalate again because Islamic terrorism exposed it as evil, so the GFA will continue no matter how much the media, the left wing and Tory Rejoiners rant about the risk of terrorism returning.
Covid is a bad cold for some, death for those who are vulnerable (includes me) which required a less onerous response to protect just the vulnerable. But Johnson was stopped from being pragmatic by a hysterical media.
But Ukraine is pretty bad, for Ukrainians – although it is matched in its barbarity with wars going on elsewhere about people far away. Prices go up but they went up more because of the Covid response.
Our safe and cosseted life in the U.K. goes on.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

Expert – Ex as in “has-been”, Spurt as in “drip under pressure”
It’s an old gag from my school days – and probably from long before that.
But it’s becoming more true with every decade that passes.

Phil Gurski
Phil Gurski
1 year ago

Great piece Simon! You have outlined all the reasons why I NEVER refer to myself as an ‘expert’ in (counter) terrorism. When everyone is an expert no one is. Thanks for posting!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

” Far right”?… aka anyone who even tries to disagree, let alone express disagreement to or about the four woke horsepeople of the apocalypse, racism, climate change, lbgtq and equality….

Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden
1 year ago

Using fear to justify political agenda to provide safety; like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Anyone who thinks that right wing terrorism is on the upswing clearly has never heard of the 1990s.

John Allman
John Allman
1 year ago

You seem to be quite an expert on extremism expertise. I.m impressed.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
1 year ago

What happened to my comment?

rob clark
rob clark
1 year ago

Extremism experts are the new clergy, telling us what to affirm and revere and what to fear and banish.”
Spot on! Great Article.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

” Extremism” is the phrase used by extreme LBGT , sanaloid eco zero, racism obsessed , class warrior National Socialists to describe anyone who disagrees with them.

In reality the only extremism that these people actually encounter is the extreme cowardice and papier mache backboned, quivering fear and lack of guts and total capitulation of any form of moral courage in standing up to them from politicians, media commerce , finance and the man in the street… redolent of the dark days of the 1930s In Germany.

Stefan Glockner
Stefan Glockner
1 year ago

I agree with the main premise this article proposes however it did not address the idea the extreme conspiratorial thinking has captured much of the traditional republican base as much as wokeism has captured the left. Both these more ideological less rational ways of seeing the world are bringing the extreme into the mainstream on both sides and causing a rift that the media and political players without forsite are all to happy to magnify

Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden
1 year ago

Good article, I think putting the “culture war” in proper context.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
1 year ago

I don’t understand the utility of the word “extremist”. It’s entirely subjective – the more someone’s beliefs differ from mine, the more extreme he appears to be. But this is equally true the other way round.

There are ideas which justify illegal violence. There is no need to call them “extremist”, just tell the police to do their job, and watch people likely to break the law.

Tim D
Tim D
1 year ago

A better term is Minority Extremism. The mistake is bathing in mis-labels (spin is a term often used justifying the lies).
I did not read carefully all the comments that follow. I acknowle your analysis, but the cause and conclusions proferred is false, and so is the most of the commentary.
I label the problem of Media “Expertitist”, the illusion elevating one guru person on the “b**b Tube” video feed knows the answer, determined by the Corporate Profit generated.
We confuse ourselves because we are sloppy in language. Racism is inherent in the constitution, but the real danger is Segregationsim – my extreme is the only correct one.
My terms for the Political Wings of Parties is now Left Wing vs Wrong Wing.
I note from the linked article of the author other misclassifications as political, “For the neocons and the liberal hawks who supported them, it was the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I note it was the War Conservative President George Bush who lied and perpertrated the illegal War in Iraq.
I am an Obstetrician-Gynecologist by training. It is ironic that Society celebrates that the wealthy College dropout Bill Gates (whom I presume has never taken a college Chemistry course) knows more about Vaccines, and that Legislators or Supreme Juveniles of the U.S. Supreme Court who never grew up know more about fetuses and women than I.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim D

Might the Justices know more than you about law and the Constitition? Or do you consider your ad hominem remarks as tantamount to legal expertise?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim D

I don’t get this snipe about SCOTUS. They admitted they weren’t experts and had no business ruling on it in the first place thereby defending democracy and letting the people vote on it. Don’t worry narcissistic females will still be able to exterminate their fetuses with abandon; they just might have to drive a longer way to do it.