“Counter-Terrorism” has become “Counter-Extremism”.
It’s a subtle but dangerous blending. Attacking innocent civilians to promote a cause is terrorism. Having a view that is not the same as the majority is extremism.
Terrorism is always bad and it is the government’s job to protect its citizens from such evil. Extremism on the other hand is such a vague term that it can be applied to any group who does not hold a mainstream belief about some issue.
For example atheists would call the belief that the world was created in 7 days extreme, thus making young-earth Christians “extremists” in their eyes. On the other side of the coin, Christians would label atheists “extreme” for throwing all the rules of reason out the window by believing that the universe popped into existence from nothing! The subsequent, heated discourse between the two groups is essential to a freedom loving, democratic society and it is the responsibility of government to promote an atmosphere in which beliefs can be debated and possibly refuted.
The problem with the term “extremism” is that it can be applied to any group who holds a minority opinion, or at least has a relatively small voice nationally speaking. Extremism is a subjective term that depends on the beliefs of the “labeller”. Nobody in their right mind thinks their own beliefs are extreme, but you can almost guarantee that somebody thinks they are!
Even more worrying is the power that it gives the media. All the mass media needs to do to silence its political adversaries is call them “extremists”. If the term is used enough, people will start to believe it, and all of a sudden MI5 is monitoring every aspect of the media-labelled “extremist’s” life.
Most worrying for freedom of speech in Great Britain is that a self-proclaimed progressive is defining the values that are to be accepted and those values that are to class people as “terrorists/extremists”.
Progressivism already has a fiercely totalitarian side to views and values it does not understand (ie Bible-believing Christianity) and now we are arming these misguided, misinformed mini-despots with the full force of a communist state’s political weaponry.
Have we all gone totally insane?