“Dad, are you an extremist?”

Why do you ask, kiddo?

Well, I was arguing with some friends in school and they said I am an extremist and that my ideas are too radical and one-sided.

Interesting point.
You know, whenever you’re confused about a term, the best thing to do is look at the dictionary. After all, every word in our language is a concept trying to describe a specific characteristic of something and to distinguish it from all other concepts.
The word “extreme” stands for a high degree of something in relation to an average or the ordinary. It is easy to understand the meaning of extreme temperature, size, power, etc. The problem that it doesn’t tell us anything about how good or bad that degree is.

Why not? Isn’t extreme always a bad thing?


Is extreme health bad? is moderate sickness good?
Is extreme intellect bad? and what about extreme stupidity?
In some areas in life like nutrition, exposure to the sun and physical exercise, moderation is good. But in others, the more extreme, the better. The word extreme or extremist by itself says nothing about the value of the thing measured although this term is abused today to describe something negative.

Hmm… so what about holding extreme views or opinions?

The problem with what your friends told you is that extreme ideas are somehow negative. Let’s think about it for a second. If an idea is correct and positive, what can be bad about holding that extreme view? What can be wrong about extremely advocating human freedom? Is it bad to have extreme integrity? To be extremely honest or productive? No.

The worst thing about society today, and especially politicians who represent the common view, is that they praise the ordinary, the moderate and the compromise. If someone holds a non compromising or radical view, there must be something wrong about it.

Reality is extreme. It has unequivocal laws that are consistant and eternal. So if we hold ideas that represent reality, we should be as extreme as possible and as principled as possible. We should be extremely consistant – same as reality.

So are you an extremist?

I am an extremist in my principles. I am an extreme advocate of rationality, of justice, of independence, of integrity and honesty.
I am against people that are moderates in their ideas, those who compromise irrationally, who think that the middle of the road, the center and the ordinary have any virtue.
Radical, principled people are the ones driving our society forward. They do not compromise and they are extremists if you compare them to the ordinary men today. They live their lives to the maximum and I hope you will live an extreme life.


Good point. So I’m not giving up. I’ll continue to argue with them till they realize they’re wrong.

Don’t waste too much time on it. Some people will never get it.

Okay Dad.

Good night dear. Have extremely sweet dreams.

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