I think many "extremists" are painted as vile people filled with either pure evil or pure misinformation. There's so little attempt to understand why the Nazis did what they did, why people fight to the death over religious differences, or what mass murderers really feel.
I don't know what causes people to go to extreme measures in all cases. However, I can see the outline of a few possible reasons.
I see an alienation cycle that seems to strengthen views rather than weaken them. I think that for many people, being cast out is hard to handle and often causes them to shed their views or practices. However, many are the opposite -- when they are cast out their ideas are reinforced.
I'm a self-professed fan of Ted Kazinsky. Do I think he did the right thing sending mail bombs? No, believe it or not I don't think that. But I think he's highly intelligent, well read, and has many great points I've not heard from anyone else.
Maybe it should be understandable to me why people are confused when I reference the Unabomber talking about philosophy. Usually, the reaction is outright disgust. How could anyone listen to someone so horrible? I don't have that reaction. Yet I think the common reaction has taught me quite a bit.
When someone holds uncomfortable views, they're often outright rejected as a person. At a minimum, their views are not discussed. I see this repeatedly where people with "distateful" ideas are pushed away. And while many distateful views are surely wrong, the problem is that pushing these people away causes them to seek refuge elsewhere. Look at Reddit, for instance. Whether you're right, left, or neither, I think you can see that far right groups are aggressively pushed off of Reddit. And if not the whole subreddits, the users are banned from any mainstream subreddit for expressing even a fraction of their views. This doesn't stop them from thinking what they think. They try to find others who will accept them and usually it's just the people thinking the same things.
Ultimately, all of the objectionable people eventually end up on Voat. All of the disgusting people together, in one place. What happens then?
This is the pattern I see. A person who has moderately objectionable ideas is shot down any time they try to discuss their ideas with "reasonable" people. Eventually, the views not directly refuted by logic fester. The person becomes more extreme until they are cast out entirely. Rather than being around people who can "round them out," they end up finding Voat, 8chan, and 4chan which does the exact opposite. Now the rejected person learns they are not wrong, they are right, and if anything too mild. All of the extreme views together in one pot simply makes them all worse.
This is what happens when you reject someone so much. When you don't remotely consider their crazy ideas. The ideas don't usually just die out, leaving a normal person behind. The alienated person keeps seeking answers (whether logical ones or not) and one day they will find likeminded people who fill the void. If more moderate people aren't helping round out "distateful people's" rough edges, people like them will eventually just sharpen those edges.
I can't help but see the extremism factory and it's almost laughable. People who didn't want to deal with "antivaxxers," "flatearthers," or "holocaust deniers" ended up pushing them away until they found those who accept them. And it's almost always just more of their own kind.
I absolutely appreciate people who can round me out and point me in a more reasonable direction. The problem is that there are so few people who do that. I genuinely want the truth and I suspect many "extreme" people do as well. But hardly anyone with a different view than mine is willing to debate and discuss with me so that we're both better for it. Instead, I find myself rejected by more and more people. "Normal" people want nothing to do with me and it's an ever shrinking group who I can have any real conversation with at all. And what do you think that does to me? Does it make me feel welcome by the world? Does it make me feel like it's okay to disagree?
No. It makes me feel like everyone else is just wrong because they will only attack my character. They will not debate my views. Over and over, I am the problem. Not my ideas.
No longer are my ideas fair game to debate and challenge, I am fair game to attack and insult. Or more often, ignore. Of all of the people who have disagreed with me in the past couple years, so few actually tried to argue against my ideas. Instead they argued against me as a person.
So when I believe the white race is dying out and there's an agenda to accelerate that process, the majority of people reinforce that by dismissing it entirely. No contemplation. No middle ground. No sincere disagreement. Just outright rejection. Should it feel like anything other than that they are proving my point?
What about people who grow up in bad homes? What about people predisposed to mental illness? There is a monster inside everyone, if left unchecked. Continually telling these people that they are stupid, that everyone else is right, and that there is no middle ground is the last thing you want to do.
While plenty of dictators, mass murderers, and serial killers are inevitable, I think there are clearly so many more who are just never given the time of day. I don't mind being disagreed with at all. I do mind when 98% of people who disagree with me won't tell me why they do. They just insult me or ignore me. They say nothing they say will convince me otherwise. But if they actually gave me a coherent argument that disproved my views, I would certainly listen to it. Or even if they showed me some kind of middle ground I hadn't seen before, I would appreciate that. Believe it or not, I don't want to be extreme.
I believe we are paying the price for taking the easy way out by pushing away people with ideas that make us uncomfortable. If it's uncomfortable for you to hear an idea, how uncomfortable do you think it is for that person to believe it when everyone hates them for it?
You might laugh if I say: "Democrats are people, too." But will you laugh if I say "Nazis are people, too?" Will you laugh if I say "Communists are people, too?"
If today's mainstream message is acceptance and tolerance, why are there people still never given the time of day? It adds insult to injury. There is no room for moderation in the shadows and these problems will only grow and fester.
I'd like to close saying that I'm very grateful for the people who do give me the time of day. The people most important to me are very patient, do listen, and do debate with me. I don't think everyone has that. I try to offer that for others and I wished that more people who thought differently than I would discuss honestly with me about their views.
Thank you for reading.