The Distinction between Moderation and Extremism
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Moderation' and 'extremism' are emotion-laden words which almost defy straight definitions. This chapter starts by defining moderation and extremism in politics along these lines: moderation is the acceptance of moral limits in the choice of means to achieve a political end, while extremism is the absence of such an acceptance. Similarly, lack of moral scruples in the choice of means would signify a cynic or a Machiavellian, but not always and necessarily an extremist. The presence or absence of 'moral limits' is undoubtedly the key to an understanding of the distinction between extremism and moderation, but it is necessary to endow the notion of 'moral limits' with a more determinate content. Political ends are conceptualizations, or mental pictures, of future states of affairs which their advocates — philosophers, propagandists, leaders and rank-and-file activists—look upon as both desirable and capable of realization.