In this highly politicized world, the term “radical” seems to be applied to more and more people, which is, by the day, shrinking the “sane, non-radical” middle.
But that really isn’t the case at all. The term radical is being mis-applied is so many circumstances that it has become a commonplace label in order to further one political agenda and minimize the other.
So what would be a true definition of a political radical. Well, it can vary, but I believe the vast majority of people in the world would call the ISIS terrorists “radical.” Chopping off heads isn’t a political norm, at least not since the French Revolution. Radical in a political sense must be understood as far, far out of the norm – not believed by the vast majority of people, or at least not seen as a viable political alternative.
This is where the term is abused today – liberals calling conservatives radical and conservatives calling liberals radical.
They aren’t radical. They are coming from different ideological orientations and both of those orientations have been used successfully to one degree or another to run modern democracies. That should prove in itself that the liberal-conservative divide is not about radicalism.
The reason I bring up this topic is that there’s a video making its rounds, produced by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich where he is making the case where he claims Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is a radical, more dangerous than Donald Trump. With all due respect, Secretary Reich, you are wrong, and your video is a cheap ploy to marginalize an ideology you disagree with.
Some of the examples in the video which Reich uses to prove his radicalism claim of Cruz was doesn’t believe in gay marriage (a position President Obama held publicly for the first two years of his presidency – did that make Obama a radical). Cruz believes that the second amendment guarantees an individual’s right to have a gun (the same as the Supreme Court ruled in 2008), takes an originalist view of the constitution (believing that the Founding Father’s meant what they wrote). The video goes on, but hopefully you see my point.
What is my point? Reich has a problem with what Cruz believes because Reich has a different political orientation. If Reich calls Cruz a radical, then Cruz could also certainly call Reich a radical. When in fact neither of them are. They are ideologues, standard bearers of their party, their side of the political spectrum. They are two of the same thing – just opposite each other. Both sides could comfortably rule America (not together, of course) and each side would have large swaths of support.
The radicalism charge is overblown. Why don’t we just acknowledge we respectfully disagree and talk over those issues using logic, facts, and common sense.
But hey, I know I’m asking a lot. It is, after all, an election year.