An Extremist and Proud of It

Dr. Tibor Machan
Daily Bell

Yes, I am that for sure, an extremist. I am totally against taxes, consider them extortion. I think all government regulations are vile, cases of prior restraint and thus unjust. I think a government has only the function assigned to it in the Declaration of Independence, namely, to protect our rights.

I knew I was an extremist from the time Barry Goldwater announced that “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” That’s because an extremist is just someone who holds a set of positions that is internally consistent, uncompromising, and demands full integrity.

Of course, once you enter the political fray, it is pointless to be all these things except in how you identify and hold your political position. In the political philosophy one is convinced is sound, everyone ought to be an extremist, even a politician, but in one’s strategies for realizing one’s principles in public policy it is quite all right to be practical, pragmatic, or prudent. This extremism is a matter of holding certain views, not in throwing bombs or murdering one’s adversaries.

Politics takes place among thousands and thousands of people and many of them have agendas very different from one’s own. To make any headway at all in the direction of the policies that would help realize one’s political philosophy, at least to some degree, one cannot simply hold out for the vote that will agree with that philosophy. Here is where compromise is required but never in watering down one’s ideals.



It is mostly those whose views are wishy-washy but who do like to wield power who promote the idea that compromise in how one thinks about issues is necessary, even honorable. But that is false. The world does not conform to a compromised position on anything – it is a consistent system of facts disallowing any inconsistencies or contradictions as possibly true. But the sociology of politics does make compromises useful, provided one never forgets the goals that are being served by it. In and of themselves compromises are worthless – they are in fact evidence of incoherence. But as means to get closer to one’s objectives when inescapably working with a lot of folks who hold drastically different views they have merit.

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