John Cleese on Extremism

This monologue by John Cleese of Monty Python, was filmed in 1987 (see transcript below). Who would have thought that it would be so pertinent 30 years later. Americans United tips our hat to one of the finest and most prescient comedians of all times.

"Seriously though we've heard a lot about extremism recently. A nastier, harsher atmosphere everywhere. More abuse and bother boy behavior less friendliness and tolerance and respect for parents.

Alright but what we never hear about extremism is its advantages. Well the biggest advantage of extremism is that it makes you feel good because it provides you with enemies.

Let me explain...

The great thing about having enemies is that you can pretend that all the badness in the whole world is in your enemies and all the goodness in the whole world is in you. Attractive isn't it?

So if you have a lot of anger and resentment in you anyway and you therefore enjoy abusing people then you can pretend that you're only doing it because these enemies of yours are such very bad persons. And that if it wasn't for them you'd actually be good-natured and courteous and rational all the time. So if you want to feel good become an extremist.

Okay, now you have a choice. If you join the hard left they'll give you their list of authorized enemies. Almost all kinds of authority, especially the police, the city, Americans, judges, multinational corporations, public schools, various newspaper owners, fox hunters, generals, class traitors and of course moderates.

Or, if you'd rather be an extremist on the hard right, no problem. Fine you still get a lovely list of enemies only they're different ones noisy minority groups, unions, Russia, weirdos, demonstrators, welfare sponges, meddlesome clergy, peaceniks, the BBC, strikers, social workers, communists and of course moderates and upstart actors.

Now once your armed with one of these super lists of enemies you can be as nasty as you like and yet feel your behaviors morally justified. So you can strut around using people and telling them you could eat them for breakfast and still think of yourself as a champion of the truth, a fighter for the greater good are not the rather sad paranoid schizoid that you really are."

Other articles of interest...
- Racisim in America
- Are Far-Right Extremist Crimes Rising? No, Wall Street Journal
- Hate Crime Data, USA Facts
- Global Terrorism Database, University of Maryland
- How to Fix Presidential Debates
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