General Question

Demosthenes's avatar

To what extent do people have a responsibility to call out extremists in their group?

Asked by Demosthenes (5971points) 1 week ago from iPhone

I’ve probably asked this question before, but I’d like to hear some new answers.

Is failure to condemn tacit approval? Should moderate right-wingers call out white nationalists? Should moderate Muslims call out Islamic terrorists?

If yes, why should they do it? To prove that they don’t “secretly sympathize” with extremists? To delegitimize them?

Do you distance yourself from extremists in the various groups you belong to?

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18 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

Extremists can be violent, or just bossy.
Are you talking about just one group, or both?

snowberry's avatar

As a Christian, I suppose a lot of people would consider me an extremist, and from my point of view there are still people farther toward the end of the spectrum.

But It’s not my responsibility to tell other people how to live. If somebody wants to change, they will do it because they are inspired to do so, but “calling someone out” because they are failing to live up to my expectations is a waste of time and just causes strife.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Absolutely no responsibility to call out extremism. In fact, it is scary and dangerous to think about it.

One person’s extremism is another person’s firmly held moderate view. Who are you or anyone else to tell me that I am extreme? It is a horribly dangerous precedent to come up.

seawulf575's avatar

At first,it looks like you are talking about separate groups, not individuals within a single group. The last statement looks like you are talking about individuals within a single group and not separate groups. Let me try to answer this.
I think that your standards should hold true for you. If you believe that white people are really no different than any other race, then you don’t support the white nationalists. If you are a Muslim and believe that Allah did not intend for you to run around killing everyone that didn’t belong to your particular sect, then you don’t support ISIS or any of the other radical groups. However, there might be any number of reasons why you don’t pick up a banner and go marching against whomever it is you disagree with. First, such as in the case of ISIS, you might not want to make yourself a target. Fear might keep you from speaking out. Secondly, you might not see or hear of or know anyone of a particular group. For instance, there is a lot of talk about “white nationalists” and how horrible and prevalent they are. Yet I know none, have never seen a white nationalists group, a march for white nationalism and have never really seen anything that they have supposedly done. I guess Charlottesville VA would be one of the only times I have heard about that had anything to do with a white supremacist group. But I couldn’t begin to tell you the name of that group or groups of white supremacists. In other words, the second reason is that they aren’t enough of an issue to warrant calling them out.
If asked about specific issues, I would state my views on it. If I felt something was horrible, I would call it out as such. Dylan Roof, for example, was the disturbed young man that shot up a church. I call that an evil act. His ideology doesn’t really play in. As soon as you open fire on a bunch of innocent people, you have no leg to stand on for reasoning.

kritiper's avatar

For the general welfare of society. To do unto others as one would have others do unto the one. It’s civilized common sense.

flutherother's avatar

There is nothing wrong with extremism it’s using violence to achieve your aims that is the problem whatever the aims might be.

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m talking about, if you are a member of X group and there other people who identify as members of X group but you see them as extremists and you don’t agree them and their views, do you distance yourself from them?

For example, if you are left wing, and antifa are also left-wing, but you don’t like or agree with antifa and their violent tactics, should you denounce them? But what I’m really after are the reasons for denouncing them. To be clear, my opinion is the same as @elbanditoroso.‘s I don’t think people have any “responsibility” to denounce extremists within their own group. Of course doing so may be practical and beneficial, but to act as if people must denounce them or else leave themselves open to being labeled sympathetic with those extremists is unfair. (i.e. I disagree with the idea that not condemning is the same as tacit approval).

An example I come across more often would be when a Muslim carries out a violent attack, I’ve often heard people say things like “where are all the moderate Muslims? Why aren’t they condemning this?” as if they must do so to clear any doubt about their loyalties.

Jaxk's avatar

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice… and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Barry Goldwater

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes I think the idea of denouncing another group isn’t really as productive as, say, reaching out to that group to ask them to tone it down….working with them to change them. However, what I see often is that someone does something horrible and our polarized nation rushes to politicize it. Part of that is screaming about how some group isn’t denouncing the action or isn’t denouncing it loudly or strongly enough. It is used as a way to try painting a political opponent in a bad light, not because there is outrage about the act.
If I am a Christian and some idiot goes nuts and starts killing people for Jesus, my response is pretty simple: That’s not what I got from Jesus’ teachings. What does it prove if I jump up on a soapbox and start shouting about how horrible it was?
I have, in fact, challenged some people to denounce violence by certain groups. But I don’t ask them to do that unless they are screaming for someone else to denounce violence by a different group that was doing the same thing, just a different ideological bent. And what I am doing is not really calling for denouncement as much as calling out hypocrisy.

Yellowdog's avatar

In the case of white nationalists, you would have to narrow the scope down to extremists in white nationalist and white supremacist organizations.

The number of white nationalists and white supremacists is comparably small. But most of the official groups purport to be non-violent—although there are some groups that are ALL violent, ALL extremists and ALL potential terrorists.

White Nationalists believe North America and Europe are primarily the nations by- and for- white people, yet white people are often times the ones not allowed to celebrate their ethnicity or get scholarships or grants or other financial aid. They say, this is THEIR land and THEY are becoming a minority in it.

They fail to recognize that this land originally belonged to Native Americans, was taken from them, and that much of America was built on the back of black slaves and other minorities who came for labor or to make a new life for themselves—this is how America became the multicultural land of opportunity. A White Nationalist nation would not be a land where anyone can achieve.

I look at many websites of certain off-groups, from religious cults to survivalist enclaves, and a lot of them have a survivalist / us-against-the-world mindset—and white supremacists are often in these categories, not the political right,

It would be good if someone could say, “Hey, Jacob, you’re getting too violent. You scare me.” But I suspect that they won’t because they don’t want Jacob to lash out at them.

And, maybe, other white supremacists secretly admire the mission and manifesto of someone more violent among them. They will do what others do not dare,

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I view extremist groups the same way I would a religious cult. I believe the mentality, people they recruit and the methods they use to manipulate them to be the same. I think we do have an obligation to call them out.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Interesting question but no. Extremists dont listen and it would be very dangerous.
I’m white, hetero and a patriot, I could get in but if I tried to change minds, I may not make it out. And a second try would not be allowed.

These arent nice people who are reasonable, the are convicted of their radical beliefs.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I believe that they do have an obligation to “keep their house in order.” Especially if they don’t like being lumped in with such extremists.

I’m not saying that they are completely responsible for any/all extremism, but they have a unique opportunity to talk/reason with extremists they are aware of. Christians, and Muslims constantly claim to be peaceful. If they notice extremism growing somewhere, they should get involved in reminding those people of the so called “peaceful” base of their religion. At least try.

aubreysanders8's avatar

There are all sorts of group psychology concepts involved in this question, and I love it!

Group polarization refers to a discussion of a topic within a group that leads to group members holding an even more extreme opinion following the discussion than they did previously. Therefore, if a group had a discussion of closing US borders to protect from terrorists, group members would form an even more extreme opinion after the conversation.

That said, there is also a phenomenon called minority influence, where a person holding a strong view can shift the opinion of the group. That’s where I think your question comes into play. If members of a group speak up and stay strong, they can make a difference in the opinions of a group. For this reason, I believe that it is important to speak up when we hear people make dangerous remarks.

I do think that people have the right to their opinions. And I have freedom of speech to respectfully disagree and provide people with information that might alter their opinions to something less toxic for our society.

Not to mention, I love a good debate. :-)

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I know that Christians often do speak out when shootings occur, regardless of who the shooter is or who the target was. I have had pastors speak out against violent attacks. The harder part is that there aren’t many Christian terrorist organizations and the ones that do exist and are probably the most violent aren’t in the US. There was the Army of God that was targeting abortion doctors back in the 90’s in the US and that really was about it. And I can’t think of a single Christian that I know that felt that was right and in line with what Jesus wants for us.
But I agree that if I were confronted with a situation where I found a group of Christians from, say, my church that were considering violence, I would have a duty to convince them of the error of that path, or at least try. At a bare minimum I would have to alert the authorities to stop the violence. And I’m good with that duty.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I am happy that you help. It’s going to take a lot of civilian help, to even lighten the blows from extremists. The lone wolves are the hardest to see.

seawulf575's avatar

^Unfortunately, there will always be the nut jobs. And sometimes it seems it is hard to see the good through kooks.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I get it. I think that some people just “crack” too, sometimes. They go from seemingly “normal,” to crazy or something. It’s near impossible to see those types.

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