Who Are the “Extremists”?

People toss out the label, “extremists”, all  the time.  There are environmental extremists, animal rights extremists, gay rights extremists and women’s right extremists.  Conservative use these terms for liberal groups.

I think the term extremist should be reserved for those who want to take rights from their follow citizens.  What could be more extreme than that?

Even in our local community there are those who qualify as extremists.  Mostly, they are ordinary folks who don’t seem to grasp the implications, even to themselves, of what they advocate.

When the first clinic that performed abortions applied for a building permit, a majority of our City Commission voted no.  I was Mayor and told the building inspector he must issue the permit anyway because all requirements were met.  He did so.

This practice of extremism, denying a legal right, continued.  Protestors tried to shut down the clinic by physically blocking law abiding citizens from walking on the side walk entrance.

I’m sure, who did this did not think of themselves as extremists.  They did not understand if they were allowed to block legal access, others could do the same their businesses or churches.

Then, there is the gay marriage issue. Rights and economic benefits come with marriage.  They should be available to citizens equally.  Extremism is to support withholding those benefits and rights from gay people.

The irony is political operatives on the right have labeled women who want rights over their own bodies and gays people who want equal rights as extremists.  That is odd.

P. S. A reminder to local folks, tomorrow, Sunday, August 18, is the monthly meeting of Red River Freethinkers.  The speaker will be William Kirschner, Attorney.

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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48 Responses to Who Are the “Extremists”?

  1. Henry says:

    Jon::”a majority of our City Commission voted no. I was Mayor and told the building inspector he must issue the permit anyway because all requirements were met. He did so.”

    It seems the Fargo Mayor stripped the rights from the city commission and the people who voted them in. Very ironic and extreme.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 12:36 “It seems the Fargo Mayor stripped the rights from the city commission and the people who voted them in. Very ironic and extreme.”

      Actually, it was the City Commission who stripped to rights from those who voted them in. I think I told this story here before so I didn’t wade into it in the blog. I was in NYC signing bonds. A bunch of anti abortion people found out a building permit had been issued and there was mass calling of Commissioners telling them something had to be done quickly to stop the remodeling project for the clinic.

      Building permits and never voted on. Traffic tickets or burglary charges and never voted on. Commissioners asked the City Attorney for advice and he told them, “Don’t get into this. If you call a special meeting, I will not attend because I don’t want to tell you you are about to do something illegal.” They called a meeting anyway and voted to unapprove the building permit because the word “abortion” was not on the application. It was not on the application because an employee in the building permit office, who had filled out the form while talking to the contractor, thought it would be too controversial if it were on there.

      When I got home the next day, the City Attorney, found me immediately and said something had to be done or the City would pay dearly. I had the contractor come in and write “Abortions will be performed.” on the permit. The Building Inspector said he would still not take resposibility to approve the permit unless I wrote him a letter directing him to do so, which I did. A couple hours after I got off the plane the permit was approved. There was a BIG headline on the front page of the Forum the next morning, “Lindgren Orders Permit Approved.”

      The Commissioners grumbled a little, but knew they had stepped in a cow pie and were wise enough to let the matter drop.

      • Henry says:

        It wasn’t your position or the city attorney’s position to reverse the commission’s decree. Yes, both of you had an opinion. The proper agency to make that determination is the judicial. Your job was to act as the chief executive officer of Fargo and enforce the law. You stripped rights away from the city commission.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          What right does a commissioner have to break the law? It makes total sense for the mayor to point this out to commissioners and expect that they would rethink their original position.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 3:07 “Your job was to acti as the chief executive officer of Fargo and enforce the law. You stripped rights away from the City Commission.”

          It is not easy to understand the minutae of our city government, but I’ll start by stating the Mayor is not the chief executive officer in the sense of a governance system like a Governor/President and Legislature/Congress. In Fargo’s system the Mayor and four Commissioners are both administrators and legislators. The Mayor is only one of the five votes and, legally, has no more power than any Commissioner.

          Thus, if the Commissioners had any right to to revoke a building permit, they could have overruled me and done so. They knew they had no such right so they did not even try. The ordinance says Building Permits are issued by the Building Inspector, period. It’s just like speeding tickets are issued by a sworn police offier, period.

          As I pointed out to the dozen or so anti abortion preachers who wrote me, it would not be right for the City Commission to turn down a new Sunday School room at their church just because a majority did not believe in their church.

      • Christopher Coen says:

        Why should basic human rights ever be voted on? Woman have a legal right to abortion. Now we have many levels of government trying to infringe on that basic medical right with all sorts of restrictions.

  2. Avatar of realist realist says:

    It seems you don’t hear much these days from far left extremist who used to sit in trees so they couldn’t be cut down and burned down places of business if they decided they didn’t like the fact that their buildings were too close to owl habitat. That isn’t the case for the far right extremists who have been very active lately blocking Planned Parenthood clinics and agitating locally against gay marriage.

    I am always struck by the difference in attitude between the far left and the far right. It seems the far left knows they are breaking the law and willingly do jail time because they realize they have done something illegal when they are caught. The far right seems to feel that what they want SHOULD be the law when it isn’t and that they have the right to insist that it be done their way, not the way the law reads. So they shoot doctors who perform abortions without any remorse. And they think they should be able to override any piece of passed legislation if they disagree with it personally. There seems to be an elevated sense of self-importance among the far right that I don’t see as much in the far left.

  3. entech says:

    Xtremists:
    Fred Phelps,
    Henry,
    Abu bakir Bushir,
    the list goes on.

  4. Ray says:

    By your definition, it would be an extremist position to deny human rights to unborn children.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      I thought he was quite clear in the need to follow the law and the law is settled on the issue of when an abortion can be done whether you like it or not.

      • Henry says:

        The law was previously settled on slavery as well. It changed before someone figured out that people’s civil rights were being overlooked. With the practice of most abortions, civil rights are again being overlooked.

  5. Brad says:

    One point that should be made is the fact that “conservative” by definition is the opposite of “extremist”. By definition, conservative means “cautious”, “moderate”, “humble” . These right wing extremists are not conservative because they are anything but cautious, moderate, or humble. They are thoughtless, reckless, and arrogant.

    It’s actually quite a travesty how the words “liberal” and “conservative” have been redefined to mean whatever the right wing political hacks decide that it means. This is all part of the perverting of the English language and the dumbing down of America.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      Good points. I think that the right wing would want you to believe that Democrats are all “liberal”, but as many have said, Obama’s policies look very much like moderate Republican policies of the 1980′s.

      • Brad says:

        Actually, we currently don’t have a “liberal” political party, at least not among the 2 major parties. What we have is a conservative party, the Democrats, and a regressive party, the Republicans. Of course, that’s only if you rely on the real definitions of those terms.

        I can understand how a lot of these right wingers think of Obama as far left though. From where they are standing (on the far, far, right), even Ronald Reagan is a flaming left wing liberal.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      I agree. The extremes of both the left and right have re-defined the understanding of many words. For example; “liberal. Many Democrats shy away from the term (and justifiably so), due to the baggage implied. Likewise, the name “Evangelical” has taken on so much baggage from the pietistic theological far right that responsible conservatives can’t/ don’t use it due to the false impression it represents, as understood by a large part of our society. It should be interesting to note, that today, both terms seem to be related to the politics of the secular. “Evangelical” seems to have drifted away from the sacred. The calm moderate center is hard to find these days.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        A couple years ago, I was approached and asked if I was an Evangelical. My reply was “No, I am a Christian”.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 2:22 “My reply was…”

          I think the problem of sliding and shifting of definitions is part of the larger problem. The larger problem is there are no documents or beliefs that provide a starting point. There are Jews who did not accept Jesus and those that except Jesus have branched into thousands of subfaiths. Whatever the term “evangelical” has morphed into today is only temporary–a yet new one is coming in time.

      • Jinx says:

        Words and definitions change/evolve over time.

  6. StanB says:

    New York City
    Stop and frisk
    16 oz+ soda ban
    Salt ban
    Gun ban
    Electric cigarette ban
    Outdoor smoking ban
    Food donation to homeless shelter ban
    Plastic bag ban
    Transfat ban
    Loaded words in testing ban. Birthday, dinosaur, television
    Ban on church rentals of public school space for services
    Baby formula ban
    Proposal to ban large popcorns and milkshakes
    Flavored cigar ban
    Extremists
    Styrofoam food container ban

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      And your point is? Many lists can be made. Here’s one for you.

      Ban on breastfeeding in public
      Ban on interracial marriage
      ban on gay parades
      ban on teaching evolution
      ban on critical thinking skills taught in schools
      ban on abortion
      ban on union memberships
      ban on voting without a government issued ID
      ban on getting a government issued ID without original birth certificates.
      ban on gay marriage
      ban on anything having to do with implementing health care

      You see; two can play this game.

    • Brad says:

      Gotta love that Republican Bloomberg. He is the poster boy for corporate fascism.

      • StanB says:

        So sorry, he was a democrat, then a republican, now an independent who is just to the right of the very left but now way conservative. He just keeps changing directions to what ever serves to get himself elected.

        • Brad says:

          “He just keeps changing directions to what ever serves to get himself elected.”

          I pretty much agree, although I think he is making enemies on both sides of the political fence.

  7. dan says:

    At what point is extremism appropriate? Some extremism is necessary. In June 1942, hundreds of Jews and Dutch communists were executed in a gas chamber filled with exhaust gas from automobiles. Anyone who did not agree with the Nazi’s methods were extremists and sent to the gas chambers as well. The extremist Allies shut the Nazi’s death camps down. Before the Nazi’s began their holocaust, they studied the Progressive American compulsory sterilization programs. These programs were aimed at sterilizing the mentally ill, the deaf, the blind and those perceived as having low IQs. Extremists eventually won out in their activism against this program. Without extremism, certain groups would be left unchecked and able to pursue what ever sick policy they wish to undertake. Many people today who are against abortion are considered extremists however; I believe that 20-30 years from now, abortion will be viewed in the same light as the Nazi holocaust and people will wonder what the boomer generation was thinking as they killed their own with scalpels. No civilization that killed it’s own ever survived the test of time. As America continues it’s economic decline (Fed printing fiat money creating a money bubble), I’ll be interesting to see if America will pull together or destroy it’s self from within when they wake up one morning and discover that their money is completely worthless. For me, it’s really difficult to see where our country is headed. I don’t see the future in a positive light and neither do hundreds of companies who are cutting worker’s hours and laying people off. Never before in the history of our country have so many people been on food stamps. I hope I’m wrong. I really do. I would hope my boys would have a good future but I can’t help but see the writing on the wall.

    • Brad says:

      ” For me, it’s really difficult to see where our country is headed.”

      For me, it’s pretty easy to see where it’s headed. It’s headed down the path of dictatorship, which every country always does. Every form of government always gravitates towards dictatorship simply because there is always someone who wants complete power and control. In this case it is whoever happens to have the most money. That is who owns the government and owns us.

      The general pattern is dictatorship followed by revolt followed by temporary democracy followed by dictatorship, followed by revolt, and on an on. It’s a continuous cycle, and we just happen to be at the tail end of the democracy part of the cycle.

      • dan says:

        I agree. History provides proof of this. It’s a natural revolving cycle and unfortunately my boy’s generation will probably see dictatorship at the current pace of events. It’s quite evident by the current administration that laws can be changed by executive order and the Constitution is a archived document.

        • Brad says:

          ” It’s quite evident by the current administration that laws can be changed by executive order.”

          What laws has he been able to actually change by executive order? I don’t know of any.

          Most of it is just theater to make it appear as though he is doing something because congress is determined to block anything he tries to do. A more reasonable congress would eliminate any need to try executive order.

    • Michael Ross says:

      “(Fed printing fiat money creating a money bubble), I’ll be interesting to see if America will pull together or destroy it’s self from within when they wake up one morning and discover that their money is completely worthless. ”

      After 30 years of decline, interests rate are rising. Foreign bond holders are dumping. Should this continue into a panic out of UST’s it will result in a monetary crisis such as the wold has never see.

      http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-most-important-number-in-the-entire-u-s-economy

      Interesting that this is began just after the Supreme (above almighty God)
      Court declared the Feds position on gay “marriage” thus, according to Romans 1: 32, has passed a death sentence on America.

  8. Beau Weber says:

    Speaking of laws:

    From where does society acquire its standard of…and definitions for… “law”? I maintain that any position which deviates from THAT standard, is by definition…extreme.

    The law of God is the standard. It is written even on the heart of a “free” thinking atheist…for if it weren’t, then everything would be legal, and all positions would merely be preference without regard for morality.

    My verbalizing this will clearly qualify my name to be added to the list of “extremists” found above. I welcome it and would expect nothing less.

    • Michael Ross says:

      Great comment Beau! Questions for an Atheist. If there is no God/Creator where do our rights come from?

      I’ll ask a question asked by Ray Comfort to a atheist/evolutionist in “God Vs Evolution”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ
      ” Is rape always wrong”.

      Being an atheist he couldn’t really answer the question. Can one of you?

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Michael 11:52 “If there is no God/Creator where do our rights come from?”

        That’s easy. From ourselves. We have figured some things out over a couple hundred thousand years.

        • Michael Ross says:

          But we don’t agree on what our rights are. This means constant strife, hatred, suspicion among individuals and wars among nations. It means the most powerful will determine the “rights”, or lack thereof, for the rest of us. What we have “figured out” comes out of a Christian world view.

    • Brad says:

      “The law of God is the standard.”

      Whose God? And who decides what is the law of God? The problem is that anyone can claim anything to the come from God when God is an invisible entity. In fact, people can make up anything they want to suit their political agenda and then just say it comes from God. Can’t argue with it because it’s from God.

    • entech says:

      And where does God get that law from.
      Does God approve moral laws because they are just and moral.
      Or, are they just and moral because God says so.

      In the first case we don’t really need God to tell us.
      In the second we could have Genocide, stoning non virgins and so on.

  9. Brad says:

    “If there is no God/Creator where do our rights come from?”

    I can’t speak for atheists because I’m not an atheist myself. But we really don’t have any rights. We are thrown into this world against our own will, and most of us are forced to endure any and all sorts of pain and misery along for an undetermined period of time and then eventually die. That seems more like a jail sentence than a “right”.

    • Michael Ross says:

      Life sucks. You got that one right Brad. But what nation has provided the most personal freedom, material prosperity, safety and security in our borders for ordinary people the world has ever seen? And which nation has been most influenced by the christian gospel? Hmmmm? Look at what Egypt is going through right now.

      • Brad says:

        I don’t think I would try to thank Christianity for America’s success. I can think of quite a few mass atrocities (the Crusades for example) that have been committed in the name of Christianity that would make Egypt look like a Sunday picnic.

        • Michael Ross says:

          Christians of the middle ages were almost as ignorant as pagans. The Bible was only in the hands of monarchs and clergy. The Reformation began to change all that. America’s founding was a product of the Reformation. Sad to say the vision of the founders, a modest republic, has been lost.

          • Brad says:

            Well, some of the founders were also slave owners, which I consider to be one of the greatest atrocities ever committed by America and by mankind.

            When you ask the question about which country has provided the most personal freedom in human history, it depends largely on who you ask.

          • entech says:

            At least now the Christians have the Readers Digest to keep them misinformed instead of ignorant :)

        • Michael Ross says:

          Chattel slavery was invented in colonial America. I am fully aware of human failing.

  10. Beau Weber says:

    “That’s easy. From ourselves. We have figured some things out over a couple hundred thousand years.”

    “From ourselves”? So majority rules then? And in time a different majority will rule…and the previous rules and standards will go to the wind.

    There can then be no standard, for each of us has mere preference. My preferences, which some may call “extremist” are then no more right than, say yours. And, therefore, no more…wrong than yours. So calling my preference “wrong” or “extremist” makes no sense at all. Something cannot be called “extreme” without it at the same time being a deviation from the standard.

    So my question remains…from where did that standard originate? If it is merely man’s standard, those standards ebb and flow. Are there no standards or laws which are stable and never change? If there are, what I am hearing is that man created those standards. But if man created those standards, then man can delete those standards whenever the time seems right to him…or to me.

    So how can anyone call me “wrong” or “extreme” if man creates his own standard. It is simply my preference at odds with someone else’s preference. How can one preference or feeling for things trump another’s? It can’t according to the logic presented here.

    One cannot ask who the “extremists” are, according to your logic, if all positions are equal across the ebb and flow of time.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Beau 2:12 “So majority rules then? And in time a different majority will rule..There can be no standard.”

      As you well know, there are rights in the U. S. that cannot be taken away by the majority. There are ancient records which show many of the principles outlined in the Ten Commandments existed before the Jews. They are a product of human experience. Those societies who organized themselves in ways that did not self destruct were more likely to survive and we are a product of that process. Thus, it is not true that anything goes when there is no religion. The rules by which we live are a product of experience outside of religion.

      The place we see change is in religion. Christianity replaced something before it. Before that, something else was replaced. Someday something will replace Christiantiy. That’s because religions must provide what people want. Otherwise, there is no money to keep it going.

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