Where does extremism start?

What does extremism actually mean?

We all know what extremism can look like in religion and politic, but are we able to recognize it when it manifests itself in other areas of societies?

On Wikipedia’s you read: Extremism is ‘the quality or state of being Extreme’ or the ‘advocacy of extreme measures or views.’

In a society where the conversation is polarized, opinions and information exchanged faster and further than we could have ever imagined and where our communication platforms give a voice to anyone with an internet connection while rewarding click-baits, it seems that extreme opinions have never been so ubiquitous.

Read a comment section anywhere about anything on the internet, and it is rare not to see views that cannot be considered moderate. What is worrying, though, is that it almost seems like the cautious, educated, balanced opinion is being shadowed by the noisiest one. Could common sense and tolerance be a disappearing specie?

At the time of covid19, on day 5 of a confined Italy, I am hearing and reading people judging others for going on a walk or a run while observing social distancing: activities, to date, officially allowed by the official decree.

I have heard family members yell at their beloved and say things such as ‘it is selfish. It is taking advantage of the others who stay at home; it is like the people who do not vaccinate their children because they say others do it?’ ‘What I’d everybody would do it?’ 

Covid19 is a public health crisis; the objectives of the current measure is to protect our health. What sense would it have to do one of the worst things for public health and ask people not only to be confined at home, to limit their contacts and movements but also not to go on a walk or a run for one full month?

An increased number of severe back pain and other lifestyle diseases is hardly what WHO and the health ministries are looking for. And, no, the virus is not floating in the air everywhere, you can’t contract or spread it, walking or running alone in the open air, close to your home, stopping nowhere, touching nothing and keeping yourself at a minimum 1-meter distance of everyone around you.

However untrue and non-sensical, many people repeat the same thing. Even when shown the official decrees, the dedicated awareness articles in media…they just remove the eventual ‘you are not allowed’ but stick to the ‘ it is selfish…’

All these people repeating the same message creates pressure on the other member of societies. More people are contaminated by their idea.

If enough people repeat the same thing, their message becomes heard and amplified, even when it is neither based on science and common sense. It becomes influential. 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines extremism as the fact of someone having beliefs that most people think are unreasonable and unacceptable.

My question is when the majority hold extreme beliefs, what does it make of the moderates, and what does it mean for our society?

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Hi! I am an entrepreneur, social innovator, sustainability advocate, tech4good practitioner, as well as a speaker and advisor. I have chosen to dedicate my life to making a positive impact by inventing solutions to our biggest challenges and helping others be successful at achieving their mission. I love tech & innovation and work to build a fairer and more sustainable world. You can follow me on twitter at Valeria Duflot (@DuflotValeria), connect on Linkedin and learn more about me and my work at: valeriaduflot.com

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