Extremism, as with all conditioned things is dependently originated.
It is rooted in Craving, supported by Ignorance.
It starts with having bad friends and not listening to the True Dhamma.
Human beings are such that sooner or later, any group of individuals is wont to say…
Oh, how wicked things have appeared among beings, in that stealing is found, and blaming and lying and the taking up of rods! 20.3Why don’t we elect one being who would rightly accuse those who deserve it, blame those who deserve it, and expel those who deserve it? 20.4We shall pay them with a share of rice.
But, when it comes to exercising authority, even the Buddha had doubts…
I wonder if it’s possible to rule legitimately, without killing or having someone kill for you; without conquering or having someone conquer for you; without sorrowing or causing sorrow?
Leading him to determine that
even a wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma, does not turn the wheel without a king above him.
And that Dhamma is to offer righteous protection to all beings in the realm.
Because even a king rules only as long as they have the support of the people.
Easier said than done! When people in authority forget their duties and responsibilities, they begin to rule unjustly. Once the power structure of society gets corrupted, the people at the bottom begin to suffer.
That Suffering of those on the fringe of society is the source of Extremism.
In the western world, such people are invariably drawn to Right wing fascist groups which emphasize white supremacy and the protection of their inheritance from the multitude of invading ‘others’.
In the eastern world, we have the opposite problem. Those at the bottom of the pyramid are drawn to Left wing Socialist/ Maoist groups which emphasize forcible redistribution of their birthright which is under the control of ‘others’.
Either ways, the result is an angry, dispossessed group which violently hits out at Society. Invoking caste, creed, religion etc is simply a tool for their ultimate purpose of propagating Hate.
The typical reaction of those in authority is more violence, more rejection, more dispossession … which never works!
There is no way to end Extremism without talking to each other.
What is needed is engagement in Dialogue. Understanding. Reconciliation.
What is needed is Love. Not the ordinary kind. The Buddhist kind… the Brahmaviharas.
For never is hatred settled by hate, it’s only settled by love: this is an ancient law.
Is that not the Dhamma?