Sunday, April 8, 2007

Moderates vs Extremists

What makes a moderate a moderate? What makes an extremist an extremist/ The difference is in their attitude towards the idea that the ends justify the means.

For the extremist the ends always justify the means. No matter how evil the means the goodness of the ends makes the means justified. The greatest good justifies the evilest of means. This is what is meant by bearing any burden and paying any price in order to reach a goal. Set the goal. Do not question how the goal is achieved. This is the extremist creed.

For the moderate there are means which are simply not justified by any ends whatsoever. There are acts so evil they must simply not be done. For the moderate is is better not to achieve the goal than to achieve the goal through evil means. For the moderate there are burdens which simply must not be borne; prices which simply must not be paid. For the moderate evil is evil. You cannot justify doing evil by the good which may result.

Extremists do not like moderates. To the extremist the moderate is a coward. To the extremist the moderate is a wimp. To the extremist the moderate is weak. Those who are willing to accept failure rather than pay the price for success simply must not be listened to. Their views must be ignored.

Nor do moderates like extremists. To the moderate the extremist is dangerous. At his worst, claims the moderate, the extremist can be truly evil. To the moderate some cures really are worse than the disease. The moderate is concerned about the price of success. The moderate asks whether the village really was saved if trying to save it lead to its destruction? Was trying to create heaven on earth worth it if hell on earth was the result? To the moderate those who consider asking such questions a sign of weakness and cowardice are among the most dangerous people who ever walked the earth.

The most critical battle is not between the Muslim and the non-Muslim. Nor is it between West and East or Republican and Democrat. The truly important battle is between moderate and extremist. The question is what price should be paid for success? is it possible for sucvcess to cost more than can be paid?