Where is this Extremism Coming From? – Freedom Philosophy

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We’ve seen the radical left rear its ugly head in the 20th century.

To be sure right-wing extremes – fascism and theocracies – were found throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia; while their chief aim was to ensure security and prosperity for their supporters, they delivered the opposite – joblessness and crushing wars.

In like fashion, the leftist extreme of communism had as its chief aim to eliminate inequality and poverty, only served to bring inequality and poverty to new heights.

Theocracies are no better. Iranians who leave Iran find atheism far more attractive than the average population. The extremism causes people to recoil.

The question arises as to how the extremism propped up to begin with.

People who are enthusiastic about a proposition share the enthusiasm with others – they congregate. A stadium of fans watching a sporting event gets each individual more excited about the game than staying home alone watching it. Through echo chambers, something as nonsensical as putting a ball in a net can excite or disappoint an entire nation.

Echo chambers amplify sound. Echo chambers amplify support for an idea, even a nonsensical one. As people who are enthusiastic about a proposition congregate, and find each other online, and hold rallies, their views are amplified and go to further extremes. The end result is a large group of people no longer fathom another position.

Once scapegoating has begun, the echo chamber amplifies it and hatred is inevitable.
White, cisgender, heterosexual, men have been scapegoated by the left. Immigrants and trade deals have been scapegoated by the right. The evidence is overwhelming that trade deals and immigrants have helped the economy, taking some jobs but giving more.

The evidence is likewise overwhelming that white, cisgendered, heterosexual, men aren’t particularly evil. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey has found that Lesbians experience far more domestic and sexual assault than heterosexual women, this indicates the problem isn’t maleness but that it lies elsewhere.

Genuine causes of job loss, automation, don’t have a meaningful scapegoat with a meaningful easy fix.
Genuine causes of increased assault, cultural depravity and a culture based on a lack of freedom with a total contempt for consent are ignored – “maleness” is the “true” culprit. Genuine causes of poverty – central banking’s inflation – are ignored so the rich can be scapegoated.

The echo chambering is such that if some counter-evidence is presented to the extremist they are far more likely to insult you than to undertake a review of the evidence. It’s not as if these people couldn’t solve a mathematical equation or read a newspaper, they just choose not to critically reflect on their views because they’ve been echo-chambered into the certainty of their beliefs.

The echo chambering has been coupled with coddling. People aren’t being exposed to contrary views. Like the princess and the pea (where people have faced so little resistance to their ideological activism that the slightest bit of resistance causes ruining) The LGTBQ+ advocate that encounters a Baptist pastor cannot control themselves because they’ve been told what the enemy is and the amplification of the echo chamber has solidified that this person is the primary roadblock of their happiness.

The complete lack of sensitivity to the slightest opposition has caused extremism toward moderates. The scapegoating that led to the extremes of the 20th century is very much present in our own time and culture.

Echo chambering has been amplified by social media – congregation and information sharing with like-minded people is easier than ever. The rise of cultural Marxism, AntiFa, and the alt-right is hardly a surprise.

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Brandon Kirby

Brandon Kirby is a philosopher, financial adviser, a founder of a local investment club, and he hosts regular symposiums in philosophy. He is also a member of Canada’s Libertarian Party.

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