What is a Political Extremist?

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK and members of the 'alt-right' attempt to organize inside Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

You may hear references to political extremists on the news or in a textbook from time to time. Extremists can be left-wing or right-wing, but their views are typically far beyond the boundaries of logic.

Political extremist refers to a person or group that holds a set of beliefs that diverge from society's norm to a great degree. Extremist is a derogatory term, and to label someone as such is to accuse him or her of holding radical views that do not hold up to scrutiny or logic.

They show disdain for the rights and liberties of others, but resent the limitations of their own activities. Extremists will use drastic measures to gain attention and support their various pursuits, including violence. Groups that are commonly labeled as extremist include Neo-Nazis, white supremacists such as Skinheads, and Holocaust Deniers.

Extremists have many ironic qualities, such as the need to define themselves by naming their enemies. They favor censorship of their enemies but use intimidation and manipulation to spread their own assertions and claims. They often claim that God is on their side of an issue and they often use religion as an excuse for acts of violence.

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Fleming, Grace. "What is a Political Extremist?" ThoughtCo, Nov. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/what-is-a-political-extremist-1857297. Fleming, Grace. (2017, November 28). What is a Political Extremist? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-political-extremist-1857297 Fleming, Grace. "What is a Political Extremist?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-political-extremist-1857297 (accessed January 22, 2018).