"Extremism" is a word we hear more and more these days.
It's not that we now have more people with strange ideas than we have had in the
past. It's just that today's political and social attitudes make it easier for
these people to sound off and be heard.
Extremism can be
difficult to define. I prefer to think of it as a strongly-held system of
beliefs that is shared by a tiny minority of the population who have no problem
with using violence or anti-social behavior to try to gain attention for their
cause. Extremism can come from either the liberal or conservative side of the
political spectrum or could well be apolitical in nature. It may or may not
involve religious convictions, but the extremist usually exhibits what might
otherwise be known as "religious fervor".
normally people who are in serious need of "getting a life". If it wasn't for
the often-violent behavior that tends to accompany the expression of their
beliefs, they would most likely be laughed at and/or ignored. One can't help
but wonder if there's anything else in their lives that means anything to
Extremists come in
many flavors - from AIDS activists to anti-abortionists to rabid
environmentalists to private militia to good, old-fashioned terrorists. The
ones that I really can't figure out, however, are the animal-rights
The whole notion that
animals have "rights" in the same way that humans do is preposterous. "Rights"
are tenets of human law that apply only to humans. Having mercy on animals is
not the same as endowing them with "rights". Using common sense and not
engaging in the wanton slaughter of animals is also not the same as saying that
animals have "rights".
Nature is not a kind
place. The sick, weak, and less capable do not last long. Carnivorous animals
must prey on other animals in order to survive. Man is little different.
Although we are omnivorous and can survive on plant food alone (how well is
still a good question), our primary source of food comes from animals. Also,
since we don't have our own protective layers of fur, we must clothe ourselves.
Prior to the invention of synthetic fibers, the primary source (and still the
best source) of warm, protective clothing was animals.
People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals - better known as PETA (an acronym I prefer to
translate as People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) - has seemingly taken upon
itself the task of putting a stop to Man's use of animals for anything. Among
other things, they put on campaigns decrying the wearing of furs, they moan and
groan about "humane" ways of killing animals, and they promote the elimination
of meat from the diet. Of course, it's hilarious to see how many things these
folks own that are made from leather. One also wonders how many of them enjoy
ham and cheese omelettes. I'd like to see them go out into the jungle and try
to stop a hungry lion because of the "inhumane" way it kills its prey.
Another popular (at
least in the media) group of extremists are those who form private militia
groups to combat the "secret government", the "UN takeover of the world", and
the "total dismemberment of the Constitution". This is much the same mentality
as possessed by those who scream about how this country is becoming a "police
state" when they get pulled over for a traffic violation. Wake up, guys! It
ain't happening, and it ain't about to happen. Why the federal government
wants to enter into conflicts with them is beyond me. If they want to spend all
of their money on firearms and go hole up in a remote shack in the uncharted
hills of Montana, more power to them. Until they come out with guns blazing,
Because of the
violence tendencies inherent in extremism, it can't be ignored. However, let's
not make the mistake of thinking that they're anything more than a relative few
disgruntled people who probably don't really need much more than a good spanking
and an early bedtime without supper.
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