Tuesday, February 14, 2012
We all know extremism is a bad thing. And radicals are extremists. And crazy.
I remember well those extremist radical abolitionists, and what crazy, abnormal freaks they were. And when that radical abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy began publishing his wild ideas in the formerly normal, peaceful town of Alton, Illinois, the disruption he visited on that place was so extreme that the good, normal citizens were compelled to burn his shop, smash his press, and hang him, in order to restore their peaceful, normal atmosphere.
In their normalness, goodness, and conventionality, they were confident in the knowledge that some humans will own others as property, and that's just part of the natural order of things.
Problem is, when we take a look around at the shape of the society we're living in and ask who was right, back then in the 1850's? Only the "extreme radicals" appear to have had a sense of what the future held!
As it turns out, it was the conventional point of view back then, the reasonable and normal sorts of opinions held by reasonable and normal people, you know, people like us, that appear to have been extreme.
Photo: Pennsylvania Congressman and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the radical Republicans, by Matthew Brady.